Audio Research introduced its first Reference series CD player in 2005 with the Reference CD7, then evolving into the Reference CD8 in 2008. Both players met with critical acclaim for their musicality and reproductive accuracy. People still want to play their CDs, but they also want to add other digital sources such as computer audio to their music systems, so we created the Reference CD9 CD Player/DAC. It combines the best of both, a super high-resolution compact disc player with a super high-resolution digital-to-analog converter that is stunning in its musicality.
The Reference CD9 incorporates four digital inputs: Asynchronous USB 2.0HS, AES/EBU, RCA, and Toslink. All inputs handle 24 bit / 192k resolution. As you would expect, the Reference CD9 retains the Philips PRO2R transport, still the best dedicated CD mechanism available. It is simply unsurpassed for compact disc playback. Benefitting from what we have learned in the development of the Reference DAC and the DSPre, the REF CD9 utilizes quad 24-bit DACs running in mono mode, with dual master oscillators; one for 44.1/88.2/176.4 sample rates, the other for 48/96/192kHz sample rates. Sample rate conversion is selectable for all inputs, allowing playback in native resolution or via upsampling, including compact disc and—for the first time—the USB input. Additionally, there is a selectable digital filter, with either fast or slow rolloff.