Just as you thought that the compact disc was dead, or at least dying, Audio Research has announced further enhancements to its CD6SE and Reference CD9SE CD player/DACs.
Most obvious is the revised styling, which now closely resembles the aesthetics of the latest Foundation and Reference components. The upgrade includes a restyled faceplate, new switchgear and illumination, and a black plexiglass display.
Under the covers, a new FPGA-based USB V3.0 card ensures compatibility with the latest MacOS and Windows operating systems, and allows full streaming capability from ALSA devices such as Aurender and Roon Nucleus.
As before, the CD6SE uses a Philips Pro2 transport, linked to four 24-bit DACs operating in mono, and featuring dual master clocks to best cope with both 44,1/88,2/176,4 kHz and 48/96/192 kHz sample rates.
Its four digital inputs now include an AES/EBU input instead of the second Toslink optical input offered previously, while coaxial RCA, a single Toslink input and USB are retained. The Reference CD9SE has the same input complement.
In line with its Reference status, the CD9SE analogue section uses a vacuum tube-based configuration employing four 6H30 triodes, while power regulation is via a combination of 6550WE and 6H30 tubes.