World Premiere Review!
Oracle CD players have always reminded me of that classic Sci-Fi movie, The Day The Earth Stood Still and the ship that landed in the park. I can still see Klattu (Micheal Rennie) descending the spaceship ramp and delivering an ultimatum to the people of earth to end war or perish. Another way to look at the $9950 Canadian dollars CD 1500 MK III is simply to note the massive satin aluminum no nonsense construction. The appearance is a testament to a very serious engineering effort that seems to say, we have held nothing back. From my humble point of view the ultra high end components from this Canadian Company might just as well be made from unobtanium; however I can borrow one for a listen, yes that I can do.
Note: The manufacturer wanted to list the price in Canadian dollars because of the varying exchange rate.
and Bolts Rundown
The slant front panel houses the business side of the deck that has a rectangular dot matrix display and five control push buttons. The buttons are marked by symbols; the functions are from left to right, load/read, skip back/repeat, fast and skip forward, play, and stop. The left side pushbutton needs to be activated each time you load or change the CD. That's because the CD 1500 is top loaded and has no CD drawer. You must first spin up the newly loaded CD to read the TOC track i.e. Table of Contents. On the brushed aluminum remote the front panel controls are duplicated with a few additional functions. The A/B button lets you loop CD selections for a comparison, the Program button lets you select tracks on a CD to replay in the order you have selected. The remaining Repeat, Pause, Play, and Stop controls are conventional and work just as you would expect them to work.
Looking at the back of the CD 1500 we will see how we output music to the rest of the system. The 15 pin locking D connector from the power supply sits in the center. There are balanced left and right channel analog out XLR connectors left of the center. Right of center is a locking 75 Ohm BNC plug with a digital 0.5 volt output, and next to that are the conventional left right channel RCA output jacks that I used.
Up And Listening
Let us start out by trying it in a system setup I was
evaluating when the player was delivered. It consisted of a digital class
T amplifier and a compact Op-Amp based preamplifier. For
all subsequent tests I used my Audio Quest 12TC speaker cables connected
to Aurum Cantus Leisure 2SE speakers. The music played in this
set up reached higher than a dog whistle and was faster than a speeding
bullet. The bass was exaggerated down to the subsonic just like the
The lesson reminded me that a CD player is a source component. Therefore it is at the beginning of a complex electronic chain and every thing that comes after it will affect the sound. What I needed to do was some component swapping to find a marriage that would last. Since my long time friend and reference buddy the Audio Research SP-9 MK3 Preamplifier was in the hospital getting repaired I dusted off my Prima Luna 2 Integrated Amplifier. Now the PL 2 is a 35 WPC all tube integrated that has KT 88 output tubes and has never gotten a bad review anywhere from anybody.
It takes about 650 milliseconds to know that a tubey duo like the PL2 gets along very nicely with the Oracle 1500 24 bit 128 oversampling CD player. The main thing that smacks you in the pineal parts is the sound stage. The stage between you and your speakers opens up like a flower, the sound space gaining image depth width and height. Now with the added S.R. Factor (Spatial Resolution) we can now join the performance.
My newest CD resolution test disc is: LOVE The Beatles Cirque du Soleil sound track album [Capitol EMI 9463-79808]. The very first cut on this album is the vocal track of the song "Because". At a volume level far below the vocal portion are faint sounds of bird calls, wings flapping and insects buzzing. Some sounds traverse the stage from the right side then move to the center and disappear far left. The combined Oracle CD 1500 and the Prima Luna 2 Integrated Amplifier is now a big improvement, all the subtle nuance and placement of sounds between the speakers are located just where they should be. I could leave this system set up just as it is and be quite content for a time but, that is not my definition of an AUDOIPHILE.
My Reference Returns
us return to the same Beatles sound track with the
Oracle CD 1500 MK III the AR SP 9 and the Sanders ESL amplifier as a system. The
spaceship Oracle is certainly up to the job, it is dead quiet and nimble
defining each and every musical note. Let's cue up track one, Because
from the Cirque du Soleil album once again. At exactly 50
seconds into the track you hear the faint sound of bird's wings moving
from the right speaker traveling toward the rear behind the left speaker.
Then at 1 minute and 8 seconds there is the almost imperceptible buzzing
of insect's wings appearing first just inside the left speaker than
quickly moving to the right speaker. What I at first thought was the sound
of a bee I now believe it is just the buzzing of a fly. I can better hear
the frequency of the sound and the rapidity of movement; this seems more
attributable to a large fly. Now I can conduct a direct CD player
comparison to the Oracle CD 1500 MK III using my own CD players and the same Because
CD track. A turn of the SP 9 source selector brings my Marantz DV 8400
SACD/DVD-A/CD player on line. The change over doesn't get me more inner
detail what I hear is a top to bottom tonal shift. The bass is more
pronounced and everything above that is slightly warm and mellow by
comparison. One more turn of the AR SP 9 source selector brings me too my
hot rod Cambridge Audio CD transport and S700 D/A converter. The analog
out of the two piece