This is the second posting on my system components. This time round I’d like to talk about my Copland CDA822 cd player….

There are 2 schools of thought on which component is the most important in a hifi chain, one says it is the source, another says it is the loudspeakers. Both have their proponents.

In my early hifi years, I was more inclined to the latter. With the system I had, it was true that a change in loudspeakers gave me the greatest magnitude of change in sound (for better or worse), not to mention that when I auditioned a system, at a dealer or a friend’s place, the loudspeakers were usually the most visible component. Changing CD players or amps usually did not create the same level of impact on the system’s sound.

As the years went by, I was not so sure any more. As the resolution of my system increased over time (ahem! :-) ), I realized that any change in the hifi chain could create a significant shift in the sound quality. A change may tip the system from excellent to unlistenable and vice versa.

So now I am a fence-sitter on this issue (or to sound better, I’m now the whole-system-synergy-is-important kind of guy :-) ).

What has this got to do with the CDA822? Well, it is the component that illustrates to me in the strongest manner that the source equipment does matter a lot. The Copland contributes tremendously to my emotional connection with my music. With it, I constantly want to bob my head, wave my hands and tap my feet in time to the music. It does not allow me to do easy listening, every piece of music comes off with such conviction from the artist that it forces me to pay attention.

The Copland’s sound is bold, dynamic, and has excellent timing, yet it also retains a high degree of delicacy and details. It can convey the sultriness of a saxophone and the rhythmic throb of a double bass on a jazz piece. It can convey the scale of an orchestra at full tilt and yet resolve a solo violinist’s delicate touches.

In contrast, some higher end digital replay gear that I auditioned in my system might better the Copland in the some audiophile parameters such as resolution and soundstaging, but I was sometimes left cold with the portrayal of the music.

Well, people say digital technology advances at lightning speed, digital gear that is a few years old may be superseded by the latest and cheaper implementation. However, the CDA822 took my latest model, mid-range universal player (albeit at less than half the price of the Copland) to the proverbial cleaner on cd replay. The CDA822 is beaten comparing the cd layer to the sacd layer on a hybrid disc (and only in the treble region mostly), however I put this down to the superiority of the sacd format instead (but that is story for another day).

If I look for an upgrade to my digital front end, the first priority would be to retain the musical emotion that the Copland so ably displayed. I hope I would have greater exposure to high performance digital gear working with av xpress, and find a worthy successor to the CDA822 when the time comes.

But I have a feeling that it may not be such a straightforward task….


Zimmermann said...

Some people say that the best CD player Copland has ever made is the CDA 289.Have you ever had a listen to it?

James said...

Very ,very musical player..

If I am looking for A single box digital front ,this would certainly has been shortlisted.

What do you think of the Copland Room correction devise?

2V1G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
maggielurva 愛美姬 said...


i am going to tempt you with audionet art g2, meridian 808, esoteric x03.... just don't regret having known me ;-)

hifikaki said...

Hi Zimmermann, James,

I'm sorry, I don't have any expereince with the CDA289 and Copland's Room correction devise so I can't offer any opinion.


Like the chinese proverb says, 'release the horses', I'm waiting eagerly for your digital assault :-)

Richard said...

meridian 808,
Now Maggie you have got to be fair....808 is the best single box cd ever made.Go an look for your multbox player to compare.

Audionet is a fair game though

GadgetBuzzer said...

Meridian and Esoteric... these I like a lot... :-) Can't justify upgrading my G98DH digital transport to an 808 yet... and probably not likely unless I have loads of spare cash... cause I'm keeping half an eye on servers. No experience with audionet though. dcs is lovely too... but pricey.

haven't heard the Copland room correction unit before but the more well known brands are Lyndorf and TacT. I like the TacT since I use one but then it may not be others' cup of tea... ;-)

Jues said...

The problems with a lot of Digital fronts are that you have to spend atrocious amount to get significant difference.

That is why I like COPLAND ,ELECTROCOMPANIET and nPRImARE a lot .

You forget about them as a machine andcocentrate on the music..

Raymond said...

I am thinking of getting a digital room correction{thinking of Lyndorf }How is your experience with the Tact has been[That is a damn good unit]?

guan said...

Having Heard The Copland CDA289 And owning The Primare CD31,i know exactly what Zimmermannn is talking about.

Tjhe problems with a lot of Scandinavian products are their understated look .What you see normally deceived awhat you hear

chen said...

I would certainly heed gadgetbuzzer's advise to keep an eye on the music server.

i think if you are happy with yr Digital front, it is wise to wait how the servers progresses to to the audiophile community

hifikaki said...

I'll be intrested in music server. I understand that one can now buy hi def downloads, that would be appealing to me as an audiophile.

Anyone knows of a credible music server implementation on our shore please share experience.

GadgetBuzzer said...


I don't have much experience with Lyndorf but I believe that it is less flexible than the TacT, which could be good or bad depending on how much you like tweaking the sound.

Before I go on, it is always best to do what one can on room treatment and preparation before going down the room correction way. I use room correction because I am renting my place and don't have the luxury of a dedicated listening room. So room treatment is not an option for me.

I like my Tact 2.2XP. And since i like tweaking, I love being able to adjust the sound to my liking. Mind you that it won't do wonders so you have to start with a decent system. And the other thing is that I like to feel my bass... so the 2.2XP does an excellent job integrating my two subs with my main speakers.

In a nutshell, do explore room correction to find out whether it suits you. And when it does, it's a great addition.

I'll probably do a piece on this in AVXpress one of these days.