Hopefully audiophiles are driven by the desire to get closer to the recorded music when they upgrade equipment. Sometimes these new purchases are significant and the difference is immediately audible. I recall the joy of realising that NAD could do something with amplifiers that Clive Sinclair couldn’t; that a Gyrodec got more from vinyl than a PL12D; that some interconnects were more revealing than others; that sorting the mains was really important, be it cabling or the a dedicated spur when rewiring the house. When I bought my Musical Fidelity A5 CD player, I thought that this device extracted just about as much from a silver disc as possible and never contemplated replacing it.
I was thus dismayed when it failed to turn on recently, but I knew about John Sampson and duly called him. Mindful of recently retiring and having a few pence left in the retirement pot along with the permission of my delightful and discerning wife, I allowed myself to add the premium upgrade to the repair. A few days into listening to the resurrected machine I am tempted to reach for religious vocabulary to describe the difference. The extra detail is a glorious revelation. Rather apocalyptic? Well, the Greek word apocalupsis does means something like , unveiling’ and this is what the upgrade has done, allowing more of the music to be heard, more of the depth, separation and detail to be audible. My first impressions were of an arresting presentation, the kind of natural sound that makes you put down the distracting article and pay close attention to the music. Which is really what it should be like.
So, I am grateful to John for the restoration and enhancement of an old friend. Needless to say, in the context of a Devialet amplifier and Spendor D7 speakers, this is a breathtaking system on which to enjoy music. This time I really do not intend to replace the JS version of the A5 CD player, and that is no mere hyperbole to reassure my better half that the upgrading habit is coming to an end!