pl | en
CD player + integrated amplifier
Canor CD-2 VR+ + TP-106 VR+

Price: 2890 + 3490 euro

Distribution: Audio Center Poland

CANOR, spol. s r.o.
Strojnícka 1, 080 06
Prešov, Słowacja

tel./fax : + 421 51 7710396



Text: Wojciech Pacuła
Translation: Marek Dyba

Canor is a really small Slovak company from Prešov – that's a city with a train connection to my home town Cracow (or at least there was a direct train some time ago). For a very long time Prešov meant for me a place where my older colleagues went with above mentioned train to buy some Zlaty Bazant (famous Slovak beer). The beer was good and cheap – that's what these guys thought when spending some hours on the train there and then back. When I became old enough to join them there was no use anymore as anybody could buy any beer in any shop in Cracow, including Zlaty Bazant. How was I supposed to know that I would go there eventually to find a company that had kept a low profile but managed to accomplish some significant achievements on audio market…

If I recall correctly I visited Edgar's (that was its name at the time) little factory in 2006. Great slivovitz, nice people and … an assembly line for Pro-Ject electronics. I found out that Edgar was a brand name for some tube devices they made. It was in fact more of a hobby for company's owners because the main business was designing and manufacturing of phonostages, headphone amps and PSUs for Pro-Ject. The new products called „Boxes” - small devices made for Pro-Ject, won the market and everything started to happen in Edgar twice as fast as before. That required some restructuring of the company. A separate part was created to keep production of tube devices and Zdeněk Březovják, Chief Engineer and co-owner (of Edgar) was put in charge. Soon the company was forced to change its name because there was another one having same name. The new name emerged on the market on Dec 1st 2007. So yes, it is a new name on the market but an „old” company with many years of experience. First Edgar's amplifier was presented back in 1995. It was a TP-101 model, which is still produced nowadays in mk II version.

In my opinion it is only now that this company has a chance to conquer not only Slovak but maybe also European or world's market. Two new devices - amplifier TP-106 VR and CD player CD-2 VR finally received new finish – aluminum fronts (forget the wood), some acrylic inserts and fine remotes. What's important – these are well considered, designed devices that should work very well and not just be „tube” devices. Yes – tubes are the main focus of Zdenek. He uses them in pre and power section of integrated amplifier but also in his CD player. But it is also important that power supplies in both devices also utilize tubes. I recall very well the first version of TP-106 amplifier using four vacuum tube diodes and I also remember that the sound was really good. But it was only the VR version that proved this technology can still be developed, improved. For the review I received VR+ version with power tubes swaped from 6L6 to KT88, couple of Mundorf capacitors added, and some other minor changes introduced to the circuitry. CD player also received few improvements including some flexible supports for a disc. I have already reviewed both devices in regular versions (without „+”) for „Audio”. But this time I received both devices at the same time so this review concerns a set – amp plus CD player. If you are interested in a review of player alone – I am preparing such a test for „The Absolute Audiophile”, most likely edition no. 3 (it is an Italian web magazine published in Italian, English and Chinese). It is available via Zinio.
The basic versions of VR cost 2450 and 2990 EUR.

So far we've tested following Edgar/Canor devices:


Płyty użyte do testu:

  • Gerry Mulligan, Night Lights, Philips/Rainbow CD, PHCE-3064, CD.
  • Jack Johnson, Sleep Through The Static, Brushfire Records, 56055, CD; review HERE.
  • King Crimson, In The Court Of The Crimson King, Universal Music Japan, UICE-9051, HDCD.
  • Lisa Gerrard, The Silver Tree, 4AD/Sonic Records, SON212, CD.
  • Tingwall Trio, Vattensaga, Skip Records, SKP 9087-2, CD; review HERE.
  • Tommy Dorsey, A Portrait of Tommy Dorsey, Music Collection International, Gale 404, 2 x CD.
  • De Vitae Frugaciate, Claudio Cavina/Concerto Delle Viole/Roberto Gini, Glossa, GCD C80901, CD.
  • Bing Crosby, On The Sentimental Side, Music Collection International, ETDCD 055, CD.

There is an element of musical presentation that has became very important to me, or should I say it is becoming more and more important all the time. It is about making presentation so energetic as it ussualy gets during live concerts. And the reviewed devices do that very well. Anybody who goes to live concerts surely remembers how dynamic the presentation is, right? During concerts it is achieved thanks to usage of high-efficient stage loundspeakers and powerful amplifiers but also because the source of sound are live instruments. It is simply not possible to achieve the same level of realism, of this overwhelming energy at home, no matter what system you have. Not even the Avantgarde Acoustic Trio, although one of the best loudspeakers in this aspect, can produce dynamics equal to what can be heard during live performance. The dynamics I am talking about is not same one as in common sense. It is about this intensity throughout the whole frequency range so not exactly what one would understand when using this phrase. Canor's set proves that even though the biggest limitation in presenting dynamics lays with loudspeakers but the right electronics could strongly contribute to this aspect of sound. Energy of its presentation is simply amazing! The voice of Rossana Balconi, a soprano, from remarkable De Vitae Fugacitate recording, (its subtitle is: Laments, cantatas and arias in 17th-century Germany), and Ihr bleibet nich Bestand verplflicht by Adam Krieger in particular, was so natural in its attack, power that it sent a chill down my spine… And like this alone wasn't impressive enough the clarity of the treble was also absolutely incredible. Describing something with negative terms surely isn't the best way to express an opinion but in this particular case it was the lack of distortions usually brought to the sound by electronics that made the sound so remarkable. And it didn't matter if it was a tube or solid-state amplifier. Sound without distortions which derived from very low harmonic distortions, low background noise, low intermodule distortions and so on, wasn't an effect of pure luck. I remember very well quite emotional phone call from Radek Łabanowski, an editor from „Audio”, who was responsible for conducting all measurements for reviews, and called me to share the big news regarding Canor's TP-106 VR amp, that he was just testing. It offered so low distortions, noise floor, so equal run of frequency range that it made to the very top ones among all devices he measured before. And not just among tube devices as for them the maximum power output is usually given with 3 or even 5% level of distortions while for SS devices same data is given for level of distortions of 1%. I also remember my answer: „yes, and you can hear that in the music”.

So the treble is very clear, vibrant and in some very natural way warm, but not warmed up. Even very difficult musical material doesn't cause any disorder in the presentation. It would seem perfectly normal with Jack Johnson recording where main parts are played by his voice and guitar (both absolutely astonishing!) but there is also some percussion and bass playing. When the first piece starts you can hear first in one channel guitar with lots of „dirt” and hum in the background (you hear working amp placed in this club) and then directly in front of you enters Johnson's voice. Yes, I mean enters, appears suddenly out of the blue. It was so perfectly recorded that it seemed more natural, realistic than it really had been. One can have this strong impression when playing this recording on any system, but if one uses a really good one than appearance of the voice is an absolute surprise, it enters suddenly without any warning – it gets you every time. Canor surely did surprise me damn well. The voice was „big” with proper „weight”. It felt powerful and palpable – not like a reproductions from recordings usually sounded. This incredible ability to present pure energy with clarity and amazing treble was revealed even better with jazz recording of Tingvall Trio, from Vattensaga CD. Piano had an attack that felt like I stood next to it. Obviously when you attend live concert you sit in 5th or 10th row and you don't feel this energy so strongly – but as I said many times before: live music and mechanical reproduction are not the same thing. We always try to achieve similarity but there will always be some difference no matter how hard we try. When recording jazz music microphones are placed very close to instruments – that's the only way to get a good recording. Canor's presentation was remarkable as the distance between me and the instrument was like one meter which means very close to the distance between microphone that recorded the sound and piano. Of course it would be better if the sound was more live-performance-like and not like what microphone picked up from its placement. I totally understand these who claim that their system should offer performance as close to reality as possible. But what system can do is take us to rehearsal, to the studio to show us what sound engineer did with recorded material. That's the „painful” truth so please don't kill the messenger (Slovak system in this particular case)!

Zdenek's devices have the ability of great differentiation of tone and timbre of instruments. Specially this first ability is not that common not even among quite expensive systems. Even the best amplifiers at similar price level like Emitter I ASR or tested for the same edition of HF Experience Two from Trafomatic Audio can't do it that well. Such differentiation when each guitar pluck each riff from opening piece called 21st Century Schizoid Man from In The Court Of The Crimson King are so distinct from each other showing us the real intentions of a musician is amazing. What's more – in this dense recording each instrument has its own space and harmonize with all others. Not all the instruments are shown in the same way – no „average” presentation same for all of them specially when presenting on the soundstage is concerned.

Some – like cymbals for example – are presented very precisely in particular point in the space where their sound comes from. Others – like some guitars - are shown quite big without clear outline defining where the central source of sound is. That's another fine example of the influence of very low distortion, low noise floor and so on on the sound. Amplifier offers also great resolution but carried out differently than by even more resolute but not so clear sounding Experience Two. And the latter is also a tube amplifier with tube power supply section but it's a SET based on 300B tubes. Canor offers more energetic presentation and really (!) better differentiates tones. Timbre on the other hand is an advantage of a Serbian amp.

Generally speaking Slovak system doesn't sound nor like a tube one neither like a solid-state. Of course it presents some advantages of both of them but I can't clearly state that it sounds more like one of these two. It is not this kind of marriage though as in many hybrid amps with tubes in input and solid-state output. Such designs, except for few most eminent ones like Tenor Audio products, offer something between two technologies and not really the combined strengths of both. Canor on the other hand tries at the same time to present what's best in tube technology – ability to differentiate tones, fantastic timbre, coherency of basic sound with harmonics and fabulous, vibrant treble with what we expect from a good solid-state – energetic presentation with extended, punchy bass, and the output power that allows to drive most of the loudspeakers.

But life is not perfect and neither is any system including Canor's. Along with tube and ss strengths this system has also some of their weaknesses „Weakness” is a relative phrase – it doesn't really mean here that the equipment is faulty. In audio when we say „weakness” we think about something that doesn't fit either to our imaginary perfect sound or our real reference system. So in fact it is more like a feature but with „-” in front.. Anyway – Canor is not a perfect system. Even remembering that it is not the most expensive one but also not the cheapest I must say that there are some elements of the sound that I would like to be different, better. For starters – depth of the soundstage – here there is quite some space for improvement. There is a very nice order there on several levels – differentiating tones, placement in space and so on, but no depth comparable to what Experience Two offers. Its sound isn't so clear, so strong as from Canor, but the depth of the soundstage is much more to my liking. Also events in the counter-phase that are used in Lisa Gerrard's Shadow Hunter (from The Silver Tree) to build soundstage behind listener, are not so prominent, unequivocal, engaging as in my reference system. Slovak system doesn't offer such colorful mid- and lowrange as mine does. I could tell that Canor needs different loudspeakers to present its top performance. Combination with Harpias is quite OK, but I could hear some exaggeration in the midrange and the speakers were here to blame. It is some flaw that doesn't appear in more expensive loudspeakers. Canor somehow exposed this weakness which made voices to sound not so smooth like with other amplifiers. So I would rather recommend speakers like DM2/10 from Dynaudio or Pegasus Chario over Monitor Audio, Bowers and so on. It should be about smoothness not emphasis. There is no problem of brightness or sibilants with Canor – nothing to complain here. I should also point out that the mid-bass is little laid back. When listening to De Vitae Fugacitate for a moment I thought that the sound was a little „light”. But than I listened to Tingalli Trio and Lisa Gerrard and found out that bass was nicely extended, it was clear and tight, but amps like ASR, Krell S-300i or Struss Chopin MkIV offer richer sound. That is why you might think that the tonal balance is slightly shifted up but in fact it's not. So you should chose for this set some clear sounding speakers and rather colorful than dry.


CD-2 VR+
CD-2 VR+ player is a heavy piece of solid crafted device. It is a classic player with metal case, aluminum 10mm thick front panel with inserted stripe of some black plastic (or maybe acrylic). There is a small round spot in the middle with orange Canor logo glowing inside. There are five metal push-buttons above it with control functions. The „play” button is bit bigger than the others. At the sides there are two black buttons „stop” and „dimmer”, to dim or to turn off a display. Below there is one silver button „power” - when you use it a red LED starts to blink but it stops when power tubes are ready for use. The device as a whole has a very nice look as if it was created by a professional designer. I already mentioned a display – it is one of the best I've ever seen. It can be matched only by these in Simaudio Moon devices. It is large, easily readable and good looking – it is composed of many dots (like in dot-matrix), but these are big and the spaces between them are also significantly greater then in most cases. Awesome!!! There is also a black stripe covering masking frame of Philips drive. On the back panel there is a pair of RCA outputs, and EIC socket with mechanical switch. I've been told that in future there might also be a balanced version of this player.

When you look inside you would find out what you've paid for. On the right side there is classical Philips VAM1202/19 drive, manufactured by a Chinese company called Cosmic and described as VAM1210S. Its control has been placed below. Also there should be placed a small PCB with D/A converter – I mean I couldn't find it anywhere else so that was the only possible placement. From the brochure I learned it was Burr-Brown PCM1792A (24/192). From there signal goes to the main PCB with analogue circuitry. Signal runs almost the whole way through in balanced form. In the input section of I/U conversion there are two Burr-Brown OPA134PA per channel. Than there are two double triodes, both from Electro-Harmonix – first 12AX7EH, and than 6922 that deal with buffering and amplifying signal. These are coupled with output with fabulous , expensive Mundorf MCap ZN capacitors. You will find only precise, metalized resistors and lot of electrolytic capacitors in a signal's path. There is a relay in the output section that deals with keying of them all and than there are quite long pieces of shielded cables delivering signal to the output posts. There is also some free space on PCB that might be used for additional chips and relay that could be used for balanced version of the device. Tubes are shielded with vertical metal plates. The main PCB is placed on some flexible supports.

The next section is something that will make smiling all these who favor beautifully built equipment – an advanced power supply circuitry. In the center there is a huge toroidal transformer with eight (!) secondary windings. Six of them serve all digital sections and chips in analogue section and two of them work for a rectifier tube – here its NOS Tesla EZ81. Voltage is rectified and stabilized. Than voltage from rectifier (that is why there is ‘VR’ – Vacuum Regulation in the name of device) goes to the power tubes. There are also lots of capacitors on this PCB although these are cheap Chinese ones.

TP106 VR+
This is a huge amplifier that reminds me by shape and look those made by Copland. Its look is so distinct though that I would call it own Canor's style. What catches the eye is a front very similar to the one of CD player, devided into three parts with black stripe in the middle. In the middle there is a very big, metal knob for volume control with this orange backlight around it. Fortunately it can be switched off. Below there is an orange logo and on/off switch. For both – CD player and amplifier – delay circuits are used so that the anode voltage for tubes is delivered with certain delay extending tubes life. But on the other hand it means you need to wait a minute before you can listen to the music. Below the knob there are two black push-buttons allowing selecting of inputs. On the right side you will find orange LEDs indicating which input is selected. On the back panel there are some standard RCA inputs, tape out, IEC socket with on/off switch, and two pairs of speaker posts. There are no separate posts for different impedance – this one offers 6 Ω. The speaker posts themselves are some gold-plated Chinese ones.

When I took a look inside the device all I could say was: „what a beauty!”. Power supply section takes significant part of the space. It is built around huge transformer with metal shield damped with some material for vibration control. Next to it there are two rectifiers – Sovtec's 5AR4, one for each channel delivering anode voltage for tubes. Voltage is rectified a regulated separately for tubes in the input and output stage. It seems that also the voltage for small triodes is regulated. Signal gets in via gold-plated but quite standard inputs and goes to a PCB with input selector based on Takamisawa relays. There is also a „Blue Velvet” Alps pot there with its axis extended to the front panel – like in good, old times. Signal's path is therefor much shorter which lowers noise floor significantly. From here signal goes with short, shielded cables to input tubes – double triodes 12AT7 from Electro-Harmonix, placed inside nice, anodized shield. Than it goes to the phase inverter – here they used ECC81 from JJ. For this test I replaced both these tubes with ones from Create Audio – highly recommended action! And finally – output tubes – beam tetrodes 6550EH from Electro-Harmonix in push-pull setup, working in class A. Behind them there are two powerful output EI core transformers. From transformer signal goes with short Silver Sonic T-14 cables. There are a lot of capacitors in power supply that deal with suppressing of current pulsation from power grid. It is also worth mentioning that tubes are coupled with great Mundorf MCap ZN capacitors.

Remote control is very alike the one for CD player – nice looking and user-friendly.

g     a     l     l     e     r     y


  • CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Prime (tested HERE)
  • Phono preamp: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC (tested HERE)
  • Preamp: Leben RS-28CX (tested HERE; soon to be changed to Polaris II, tested HERE)
  • Power amp: Luxman M-800A (tested HERE)
  • Integrated amp: Leben CS300 (reviewed HERE)
  • Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann (tested HERE)
  • headphones: AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, 600 Ω version (reviewed HERE, HERE, and HERE)
  • interconnects: CD-preamp: Wireworld Gold Eclipse 52 (tested HERE; soon to be changed to Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, article HERE), preamp-power amp: Velum NF-G SE (tested HERE)
  • speaker cable: Velum LS-G (tested HERE)
  • power cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9100 (CD; reviewed HERE) and 2 x Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC7100 (preamp, power amp (reviewed HERE)
  • power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2 Filtering Power Strip (reviewed HERE)
  • audio stand Base
  • resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD (article HERE ) Turntables change continuously, as do cartridges. My dream setup: SME 30 with Series V tone-arm and Air Tight PC-1 cartridge (also in the PC-1 Mono version).