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Compact Disc Player



Manufacturer: IDEKTRON
Price (when reviewed): 35 528 PLN

Contact: Unternehmens- und Technologieberatung GmbH & Co.
Entwicklungs- und Produktions-KG
Herner Strasse 299
44809 Bochum | Germany


The tested product was supplied by: CORE trends

company, whose main sound sources are still players of 120 mm, digital optical discs nowadays is sort of a sensation. Yes, Audionet offers in addition also four "Network Components", but I have the impression that the real fun for its designers is still a Compact Disc, maybe with addition of other discs, such as: SACD and DVD-A / V. It was not just a coincident that the top line presented at the High End 2016 in Munich, Scientist Series, included a CD player, not a network/file player. I bet that the latter sooner or later will join the line but rather as an answer to customers' demand, than actual needs of people from the company.

The CD Player under review is called ART G3, or "Aligned Resonance Transport Generation 3". ART is a company's solution name referring to the multiple-way decoupling of transport from the ground. The first "layer" is the chassis itself. It is made of three types of material – bottom and side walls are made of steel, there is a granite plate underneath (see Ancient Audio) and MDF is also used for the upper part of the chassis together with additional side walls. Still other mechanical properties are introduced via aluminum front.

The second "layer" is the way the transport is mounted inside the device. The new version features a well known Philips CDM-Pro2LF (VAU1254 / 31LF) mechanism, used not only by Audionet, but also by number of other manufacturers of high-end CD players. The transport has been suspended under 8 mm aluminum plate with another, steel plate screwed underneath. The whole is suspended on braided strips, supported by Teflon props.

The fixing system of a transport and decoupling it from vibration are key features of this company's disc players' designs. Since the first version they already changed everything - e.g. G2 and G3 use different type of transport, and G3 and the top player Planck use different D/A Converters. However, the extensive decoupling remains unchanged, all changes are applied into everything around it.

The Generation 3 indicates yet another version of the device. In fact, this is the fourth version, because after the original ARC-E there was the V2 version in 2002, and after that, in 2006, the G2. As you can see, the device has been offered for several years, and it's been 10 years since its last revision. In the DAC section one finds the long time obsolete AD1955 chips supporting signal up to 24 bits and 96 kHz - so it's no wonder that its USB input accepts signals also only up to 24/96. This indicates that using a different transport mechanism for the G3 is the most important change comparing to the G2, although some small changes were introduced also to the digital and analog sections. All signals from the digital inputs and read from a CD are firstly upsampled to 24/96, and only then converted to an analog signal. If one uses the "high bit" mode same circuit converts the input signal to 24/192.

"The Mother of all CD Players," as it is called in the company materials, is a top-loader player, with a manually operated lid - an aluminum plate, sliding along Teflon guides. One puts a small disc weight one the disc made of a material called POM, which is used by many turntable manufacturers for platters and sometimes also chassis (see HERE [Polish] and HERE). Front can be black or silver, and display a blue or red.

Since the launch of this device a lot of time has passed. However along with the refreshed version of the Planck, also this Player was brought to customers' attention reminding them also that changes in Audionet occur very rarely and it is only when the company is confident that they will bring significant changes into the sound. So let's look at this classic CD player, which as sort of a time machine takes us back to the times when such devices were the peak of technical possibilities.

The Audionet Player was placed on the Finite Elemente Pagode Edition rack without additional anti-vibration feet and without additional platforms. In my opinion it worked for it best. It was compared with Ancient Audio Reader AIR V-edition CD Player and two-box CEC TL0 3.0 + 3.0 DA0 Player. A signal was sent using the unbalanced RCA Siltech Triple Crown interconnect to the Ayon Audio Spheris III preamplifier, and from there with another unbalanced IC to the Soulution 710 power amplifier. A separate session was devoted to listening to the ART G3 using headphones HiFiMAN HE-6 driven by Bakoon HPA-21 amplifier. The signal from the Player was delivered using Acoustic Revive Triple-C FM (1.8 x 1.4) interconnect.

AUDIONET in „High Fidelity”
  • TEST: Audionet pre1 gen2 + eps [Polish] – linestage + power supply
  • TEST: Audionet MAP1 [Polish] – preamplifier/AV processor

  • Recordings used for the test (a selection)

    • Diorama, The Art of Creating Confusing Spirits, Accession Records 23450-2, 2 x CD (2002)
    • Pat Metheny Group, Offramp, ECM/Universal Music K.K. UCCU-9543, „Jazz The Best | No. 43”, gold-CD (1982/2004)
    • Art Tatum, Piano Starts Here, Columbia/Sony Classical 97 22218 2, „Zenph Re-Performance”, SACD/CD (2008)
    • Johnny Coles, Little Johnny C, Blue Note/Audio Wave AWMXR-0006, XRCD24 (1964/2013)
    • Michał Urbaniak Group, Live Recording, Polskie Nagrania „Muza”/Warner Music Poland, „Polish Jazz vol. 24”, CD-R (1971/2016)
    • Franz Schubert, Winterreise, wyk. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Alfred Brendel, Decca 464 739-2, CD (1986/2001)
    • R-Men, I thought about you, T-TOC Records MCDR 3002, „Platinum Gold Sound“, Master CDR II (2010)
    • June Christy, Something Cool, Capitol/EMI Music Japan TOCJ-90033, HiQuality CD (1966/2006)
    • Novi Singers, Fife, Four, Three, Polskie Nagrania „Muza”/GAD Records GAD CD 025, CD (1977/2015)
    • Rival Sons, Great Western Valkyrie, Erache Records/Hydrant Music QIHC-10059, CD (2014).
    • Vangelis, Spiral, RCA/BMG Japan 176 63561, K2 SHM-CD (1977/2008)
    Japanese issues available at

    Some good solutions flow through time, surprising more and more users. Some people simply return to what they knew before, and what has been overshadowed by novelties promising all kinds of good staff for half the price. Others are discovering them for the first time, marveling at the fact that they were permitted to be sidelined. But that's how the market works, especially the one associated with technologies.

    In audio it is driven on one hand by the companies, which every now and then must have something new in their range – that's how it works - otherwise they could lose to their competition and even the best good intentions are not enough, and on the other by engineers developing increasingly powerful components, systems, developing new components/circuits that measure better than previous ones. This forces change, regardless of whether the solution (product) could still be useful, or its time has already passed.

    This leads to a kind of "reaction", a resistance to change. But let's not be some naive "primitives" - progress is a good thing. After all, these "old" solutions were also invented once, it is not so, that only technologies developed within a single, well-defined segment of time (meaning "long, long ago") have some value. I would suggest a more flexible attitude towards progress: Let us take what it gives us and filter it through our actual needs, expectations, taste, in a wise way, "conserving" achievements of the past.

    Some of these ideas have a chance to appear again only because of the fact that something has changed in their environment and the benefits they offer are finally visible. I think that's what Audionet Player is about. Not that previously it had no fans, on the contrary, in some circles it was highly praised. But the reasons for doing so, however, were specific to a time and a given circle of people. In the sound of ART G3, which is significantly different from the G2's, we find all these things, ie. a hint of "vintage" but also of modernity and something timeless, which has nothing to do with one (resembling the past), or other (pivoted toward future) trend.

    It is particularly rich and reliable. There is no slight brightening of the sound anymore, that was a signature of the previous version, and that many music lovers liked a lot. Now it is a sound with rich lower end with an energetic bass. The latter is well differentiated even better than before; very good in absolute terms. For it is well focused, and has the same mass and energy. It does not favor any of the instruments, because these same qualities can be heard in the case of a double bass, piano but it still sounds great when generated electronically.

    It may therefore seem that it's a warm or even dark sound. But it will seem so only for a moment, and only when we replace with it a device with a clearly more open upper end. This impression comes from the fact that the range of around 1 kHz frequency, which previously was really strong, very "linear", is now slightly laid back, and thus more natural. It's one of the differences between the "objective" measurements and "subjective" perception, in which the latter always wins. Music is perceived subjectively as we are not some measuring apparatus that can analyze only one aspect at a time. We are incredibly complex system that analyzes all at once.

    The part of the midrange that is laid back allows the entire midband to develop properly. It is tangible and very realistically sounding. Piano sounds great, because it combines its majesty, power and delicacy. Similarly sound voices, both male and female. They have refined timbre, fullness and pretty good depth.

    There is another part of the range that has been modified, the so called "presence" area around 8 kHz frequency. This is not a classic EQ boost, but rather something of a "tuning". That's why the sound is so open. But that's also why one has to be careful about the accompanying system. This is the case where the anti-vibration feet, power conditioner, and even The Muse interface, the idea of TARA Labs, that mellows sound a bit, do not apply. All these elements made this Player sound tougher, more edgy and I would recommend against it. Without them, sound was a little less differentiated but presented a better tonal balance. It may even not be about tonality with regard to the frequency range but rather about the energy emitted in a said range, meaning something time-related – these are two different things.

    There must be something to it, however, because the soundstage, presented by ART G3 is outstanding. The first plans are tangible, but are not presented up-close. It was best heard with classical music recordings where instruments on the center of the stage were clear and dense, even though they were presented behind the line connecting the speakers. In turn, the closer toward the edge of the stage, the more it was structurally sound, spacial. All the out-of-phase effects were truly impressive - the sound surrounds us, circling around, caressing listener when needed.

    Audionet does not build a deep soundstage and does not show a clear "body" of instruments, at least compared to the best CD players, I know. It does not create a continuous "performance", which is characteristic for an analog tape, and which the best of the best digital systems try to match, eg. CEC two-box system (TL0 DA0 3.0 and 3.0). Its resolution is very good, as well as differentiation. Highly compressed recordings, for example: Diary of Dreams by Diorama, etc., tend to “harden” the upper midrange – I already mentioned that when citing "presence".

    So it is not the most versatile player I know. One has to take care about proper “environment” of the Player, and I would not expect miracles when playing poorly recorded music. I mean poor technical quality, error made by producers and not technical limitations, eg. of 1950ties jazz recordings, because these sound fantastic. The player reacts nervously for deep compression – there is no way around it. If you want to do something about it, either get some cheaper player, where such errors are covered up with other errors (eg. warm up sound), or decide to buy something significantly more expensive. The best players get deeper into sound, which makes us perceive such technical errors of the recordings as sound's "feature" or even a "flavor", so a part of the performance and not something that disqualifies it. If, however, we do not mind and we like to hear unusually well played acoustic instruments, well-recorded rock, then there is something to think about, ART G3 is here and now and costs - as for a high-end device - a very decent money.


    I don't know how old are you and if you can even remember all the fuzz about ECM releases. Both, in times of Long Play and later of CD their products were considered as setting the bar in regard of transparency and vibrancy. Their releases were cited as a great example of an audiophile sound delivered by a non-audiophile company, a label focused on music and not on sound.
    Some of the listeners, even a large part of them, however, pointed to the fact that these releases sounded too lightly, were too bright, and even too shrilling. The same recordings listened today, I mean mostly CDs, sound phenomenal. Brightness, that they were supposed to deliver, turned out to be introduced by Players and not recordings and came from a high jitter. Same with this shrill, with the addition of errors coming from the feedback of the output stage of the players and amplifiers. Now, played on high-end Players, the same CDs dazzle and amaze.

    With Audionet CD player, under review, it is the same story. Its performance fully corresponds to what is required from a modern digital source, but with a hint of "vintage" sound, which gives this performance a timeless dimension. Its sound is deep and rich, but also open. It presents the events on the stage in a great way and pumps a lot of energy into the lower part of the range. This is a comprehensive, well thought-through performance, which situates ART among the successful, sophisticated sound sources. Be careful about this “hardening” of the upper midrange I mentioned before, especially when combining the player with other components. If you do, you will enjoy a great, ergonomic player, you can rely on.

    Audionet ART G3 is a Compact Disc Player, capable of playing also recordable CD-R and CD-RW (also those not finalized). This type of construction is a top-loader – there is no classic drawer, and the CD is placed directly on the motor shaft, under a lid that has to be manually moved. The device is extremely robust and heavy. The weight comes mostly from a granite slab, which is a bottom of the housing. It is intended to suppress the vibration.

    The front is made of aluminum, just as the “rails” lid moves along and the lid itself. It is moved by hand and it is really enjoyable operation, because the movement, due to the bed of Teflon, is extremely smooth. A matter of loading the TOC (ie, information about the number of tracks and their duration) was solved in an interesting way. In most cases, for the TOC to be read into Player's memory, one needs to turn on a micro-switch – it is done automatically when a drawer closes or user does it when sliding the lid of a top-loader. Here, instead of a primitive switch an element responsive to the presence of metal was used, so that the top lid is not electrically connected to the rest of the player, which should translate to an extend life of the device.


    Transport mechanism is highly regarded, classic high-end CDM Pro2LH used by companies such as Ancient Audio, Ayon Audio, Jadis, Metronome Technology, Nagra, Reymio, Vitus Audio and many others. They stopped its production few years ago but it is still available for purchase. Audionet modified one very important thing in it - on the axis of the motor they placed quite a high cylinder made of POM one places a weight over. Originally it is a small/low element with beveled edges, which does not guarantee that weight is leveled. Once a similar solution but with a metal shaft was offered by Sony. Transport itself is suspended on a special decoupling system - a heavy aluminum plate is bolted to the bottom and on top there is another, thinner one. The whole hangs on braided belts, supported on Teflon pillars.


    The electronic circuit is very similar to the previous one, although the integrated circuits in the analog section were replaced and some other changes, eg. in power supply were made. ART has been manufactured for several years and they still use the same DAC - Analog Devices AD1955 despite its limitation to 24/96 signal processing ability. Two such chips are used, one for each channel. Nowadays, it's less than nothing, but once it was the most sophisticated solution there was. That's why the USB input accepts signals only up to 24/96. Before the DAC chip one finds the SRC4192I sample rate converter, which converts the 16 / 44.1 signal to 24/96 or 24/192. Signal from USB input is received by the old system PCM2706, and from other inputs by the DIR1703E. PCM2706 is a complex system, USB receiver, DAC and headphone amplifier in one - in Audion only the functionality of a receiver is used.

    The power supply section is divided into two parts - transport has a separate, switching mode one, and the rest of the Player uses a linear one with a toroidal transformer with a few secondary windings. On the side one can still see a large board with programmable LSI chips - is part of the company's control system, in which the connections are executed with TOSLINK cables. It's an ingenuous technical idea, because the devices are galvanically isolated from each other. However, in reality however no other company uses it.

    Inputs and outputs

    I've mentioned USB input – ART is not just a CD Player but also a D/A Converter, although with limited functionality. There are two digital inputs – USB and optical TOSLINK, that accept signals up to 24 bits and 96 kHz. There are more digital outputs, which shows how important for the designers is the transport section of the device. One finds an AES / EBU, two RCA coaxial and one optical TOSLINK outputs. There are two analog outputs - balanced and unbalanced RCA; this devices features a balanced analog section.

    One might be surprised seeing two RCA S/PDIF outputs. But that's another feature important for companies that take a particular care about technical abilities of their products. The importance of the transport section of the Player can be also associated with the whole Audionet lineup – ART might be digitally connected with brand's preamplifier/DAC and it is capable of delivering PCM signal upsampled to 24/192. Many products today are capable of sending a signal up to 32/384 and DSD (DoP) via SPDIF, but this is quite imperfect method of such signal transfer. Audionet allows transfer of such signal via a special connection with separate lines for right and left channel. You can remember a similar solution from my reviews of Chord and dCS products.

    And a word about an important option – the rear panel features a socket that allows one to connect an optional, external power supply called EPS (Enhanced Power Supply). It is based on two 100W toroidal transformers and large total filtering capacity. The voltage is rectified in a Schottky diodes bridge, and discrete regulators are used, MOSFET transistors are employed as active elements. EPS is used to power the analog section. The test was performed without it.


    The "high bit" mode may be set in device's menu. It allows user to set the output signal resolution (16/44.1 or 24/192) and to turn off the digital output. One can also determine whether the player should turn off automatically when not in use or not; user also decides if the disc is to be played when the lid is closed, or only after "Play" is pressed. It will also allow to determine the brightness of the display.

    It might seem that there are only few options but in practice it turns out, that it is enough. Audionet is also extremely ergonomic. The display dims after a while, and when no music is playing it dims even more, and status information moves along the display not to burn pixels out. The information is presented using large letters which makes them easy to read. After the Player is turned on user is informed whether the plug has the correct polarity. If not, one should turn it 180º - we're talking of course about the Schuko plug and socket. Ergonomics is a separate branch of knowledge, and few companies are really good at it - Audionet apparently is.


    The previous version of ART was delivered with a "learning" remote control from Logitech. The new version features a simple, made in China, aluminum remote with aluminum buttons. It is neither particularly nice nor too ergonomic. So during the test I used the remote control that comes with the Ancient Audio Player – after all both devices feature Philips transport, responsive to the RC-5 code.

    Specifications (according to the manufacturer):

    Playable discs: CD, CD-R, CD-RW (finalized and non finalized)
    Disc sizes: 80 and 120 mm (according to IEC 908) 
    Conversion D/A: 192 kHz, 24 bits, Dual-Mono-DAC, Multibit-Delta-Sigma
    Frequency range: 0 – 90 000 Hz (-3 dB) – analog section
    THD + N: typ. 100 dB; (A-weighted/-60 dBFs)
    SNR: > 110 dB
    Chanel separation: > 130 dB/10 kHz
    Output impedance: 33 Ω
    Output voltage (XLR): 3,5 Veff.
    Power consumption: < 1 W (standby) | 40 W (max.)
    Dimensions (W x H x D): 430 x 120 x 360 mm
    Weight: 22 kg



    - Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
    - Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
    - Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE

    - Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE

    - Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
    - Power amplifier: Soulution 710
    - Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE

    - Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
    - Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
    - Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
    - Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
    - Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
    - Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
    - Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE

    - Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
    - USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
    - LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
    - Router: Liksys WAG320N
    - NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
    System I
    - Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
    System II
    - Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA

    System I
    - Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
    - Power Line: power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m); wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
    System II
    - Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
    - Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
    - Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
    - Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
    - Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
    - Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4

    - FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One