Roksan Caspian M-Series 1 CD review

The Caspian M-Series 1 CD is now discontinued. Tested at £1450.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Unashamed tweakers, the bods behind the Roksan M series-1 have hit gold with the latest upgrade


  • +

    Solid, substantial build

  • +

    timing, dynamics and detail are all immaculate

  • +

    tight, weighty bass

  • +

    brilliantly musical


  • -

    Nothing sonically, but the styling got a mixed response

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Do you find yourself constantly obsessing over the next upgrade to your system? Always wondering what a cable upgrade would do to the overall sound? Can you simply not help but tinker with your set-up? If so, you'll understand Roksan's ethos when it comes to CD players.

Eschewing complete new models, Roksan prefers to tweak its existing player – and boy does it like to tweak. Thankfully, the company makes quite a good job of it. We've tested some cracking disc players, but we were shocked at how ordinary the M series-1 made rivals sound.

Built for the duration
Perhaps Roksan knows this, which is why the styling is on the brash, showy side. Think 'Ferrari sports jacket' for the kind of overstated, look-at-me design, which lacks a little class. But hey, if it floats your boat – and you can make out the LCD display – it feels well put together and built to last.

On the inside, the M series-1 uses the company's latest disc mechanism and motherboard, plus an all-new DAC. But it's the sonic ability that really seals the deal for the Roksan. The timing – so crucial a component of any hi-fi kit – is impeccable.

Whether listening to Radiohead's cluttered 15 Step or Bonobo's intricate Recurring, the Roksan keeps an impeccable hold on the music while delivering bags of musicality and subtlety. Beethoven's Midnight Sonata is delivered with all the minutiae present and correct, sounding so realistic you can picture the room it was recorded in.

Can't stop fiddling
Dynamics are superb, too, with Holst's Mars sounding every bit 'The Bringer of War' thanks to stirring, rousing strings that build to a crescendo with effective use of complete silence.

Treble is crisp and distinct, basslines are deep and post-Friday-lunch tight, while the midrange is evocative and clear. This latest incarnation of the Roksan M-series 1 has it all when it comes to sonic performance, and it's well worth the extra money. It's such a truly versatile all-rounder, we'd make this the next upgrade to your system.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test