First Impressions (At about 36 Hours)
So this thing has been running in while I'm at work off an on for the last week or so. Right on the box Cambridge said '36 hours for optimum performance). This first write up will be less about the sound and more about just the general things I've noticed while using it.
First of all...the USB input. I had to fiddle with it a little bit on my Macs to get it to work. It wasn't a driver issue but it seems my unit was set to USB 1.0 out of the box (which means a cap of 24/96). You'll have to go into the player's menu and change it to 2.0 to get your full 24/192 (native) playback. Once I got it working though there've been no issues. Another thing I noticed once I got it working right is it takes control of your computers volume (as I think most proper DACs should). No adjust from the computer at all. Lastly (and somewhat annoyingly) it doesn't lock on to 24/176.4. It will push anything of that sort to 24/192. It's only annoying to my OCD brain as it doesn't seem to actually cause sound problems.
This second part is really just going to be me gushing about how much I like the look and feel of this unit. It weighs 25.5 pounds and screams build quality. The brushed look just looks great and the remote has the same substantial fit and finish. There are LEDs but they're small and do just what they need to do without 'getting in the way'. Also, when I was initially reading about this unit I saw them talking about the display. How clear it was and what not. I just kind of wrote it off as marketing crap and expected a plain ol' typical CD player display. Boy was I wrong. They said you could read it from across the room and you absolutely can. It's stunningly clear and if you'd like it can be toned down or even disabled for 'stealth' listening. It displays the sample rate when in USB mode (a nice touch) and will even read tag data from a CD if it's included (the only one of mine I've seen work so far is the Union Station CD 'New Favorite'). Bottom like, it's a very well built and well operating unit so far.
Now for a little something about the sound. Since I still have my Calyx 24/192 DAC I decided to have a little fun and use the Cambridge as a transport and the Calyx as a DAC. I expected to find the same thing I found with my SA8004 and that's that the Calyx's USB implementation was just flat out better than the Coax in. I'm surprised to say that's not the case. I heard much less of a difference between the USB and Coax with the 851C as a transport. Meaning that this unit has a better transport than my old SA8004. Good on ya Cambridge.
Anyway, that's it for now. I'll post more after I do some serious A/Bing once my Line Router gets here.
Edited by MorbidToaster - 7/27/12 at 7:18am