The CD5 was designed for one purpose, to play back compact discs with a stunning level of resolution, dynamics and musical naturalness. It is a remarkable digital turntable for your compact discs, drawing you into the music and keeping your attention as you listen to one disc after another.
The CD5 will play back normal “red book” music CDs, CD-R/RW discs, and hybrid SACDs, but it will not play back DVD-A, DVD-video or SACD-only discs. Why? Because we firmly believe that the compromises built into multi-format playback devices sacrifice sonic performance in the CD format. Most music lovers have extensive compact disc collections that continue to grow, so it only makes sense to play back those collections as faithfully as possible. Whether you have 100 or 10,000 discs, don’t you want them to sound their best? Compromise was not built into the CD5’s design.
The CD5 retains the best physical attributes and features of its predecessors while offering dramatically improved performance. The CD5 relies on the substantial Philips PRO2M laser mechanism mounted to a machined aluminum I-beam with Audio Research’s proprietary mounting system and damping for ultralow mechanical jitter. The I-beam, in turn, is bolted to a heavy, machined aluminum plate for maximum rigidity. New high-performance circuit board material and an all-new FET direct-coupled analog output stage with beefy regulated supplies yield better performance that’s measurable: channel separation is improved from 92 dB to 120 dB, and S/N ratio is improved from 90 dB to 114 dB. The CD5 is even “greener,” drawing just 14 watts at idle compared to 26 watts for its predecessor.
Operationally, the CD5’s control functions are straightforward and identical to its predecessor with one exception: it now has a dimmable display with four levels of illumination, plus off. Analog outputs include balanced XLR and single-ended RCA. Digital outputs include AES-EBU/XLR and coax/BNC. The line cord is detachable with a 15-amp connector.
In performance, the CD5 approaches the attributes of the flagship REFCD7: a larger, more dimensional soundstage, higher resolution of subtle dynamics, fewer digital artifacts and less grain. The top end is airier without dryness, while bass definition and control are both more precise and powerful. The overall sense of transparency and purity is simply breathtaking, offering a sense of relaxed intimacy with the recorded performance. You will enjoy finding new information buried in your CDs, and you will be inspired to find lots of new music to add to your collection.
[From the ARC website]