A FEW SIMPLE WORDS
Mr Jaromir Waszczyszyn, the owner of Ancient audio about the new player:
"I have the pleasure to present the new, already fifth, version of the first Polish CD player. Compared to the previous, fourth version, the outside appearance was not changed, just like the tube output stage. The keyboard and display have the same form. New is the generation of the mechanism, now it is the CD-Pro2M.
Fundamental changes were made to the electronics. The converter "Silver DAC II" has been used, previously applied in the reference player Lektor Grand. The only change is the single topology, instead of the symmetrical one. The output filter of the D/A converter is of the first order, just like in the flagship model. Also the power supply circuitry was changed, due to the usage of very quick capacitors, the power supply has lower output impedance for the changing component. Internal cabling is made of silver, just like in the previous version. The ground cable is a silver band.
The player has an analog regulation of the output voltage and a high maximum output voltage. This will make it be willingly used for directly driving power amplifiers. An additional asset is the preamplifier function -the player has additional analog inputs.
Another very attractive characteristic is the possibility of upgrade for owners of the older model, Lektor IV, the best selling player in the history of the company. Upgrade is being done by exchanging the mainboard, that contains all the electronics of the player. The player version is shown on the volume level display"
That said the creator. And now the owner of one of the Lektors, namely me. To make it clear, I tell upfront, that I do own an Ancient Audio CD player, namely the Lektor Prime (test HERE ). I bought it. Since some time, the devices constructed by this company set the reference point for me in some areas. No, I am not a fanatic, or a thoughtless admirer, and I know, that there are other, fantastic, products in the world, to which I give voice in my reviews. Answering the next question -I am not very acquainted to Mr Waszczyszyn, we don't even call ourselves by first name, and this for a few years. I am not sure if this will calm down the suspicious readers, but it is a fact. AA has reached a level, that destines it to treat their products as if they would come from a most renowned Japanese manufacture. And that is the approach I have taken to the newest product that left the hands of Mr Waszczyszyn, the, in comparison to the top of the pricelist, budget player Lektor V. And it's task was not an easy one -Prime is a heavy weight player.
"First, I would like to say that Lektor V is worse that the Prime". Really. If it would be different, I would be standing in front of AA domicile, a few seconds after crossing the Krakow streets, with the more expensive device in one hand and a bag full of stones in the other. To break the windows. On the other hand, the sound of the "five" is attractive enough, to appreciate it. What impressed me most, was probably the space. I got used to the fact, that the Lektors are masters in this area, but every time I power-up a device from that make I sit down surprised by the size of the stage and its organization. Recordings from the soundtrack from "American Beauty" (Dreamworks 50233, CD) showed huge differences between the near and distant planes -both in timbre and in amount. The scene window was not converging trapezoidal, like even in the best digital devices, but contained the rectangular shape, even more the shape of the recording room. With the mass recordings, commercially processed (eg. deprived from dynamics) the near plane was really close, closer than with the Prime, and that what was visible by "American Beauty", by "Enjoy The Silence" Depeche Mode (Venusnote, XLCDBONG34, SP CD) was shown fully: the near plane, beefy, strong and filled was a bit in front of the speakers. Gahans voice was close to touch, coming out from the window created by the speakers. Prime showed, that in reality it is a bit further, and does not have so filled lower mid frequencies, but now, with the "V", the dancing and dynamic spirit of the music was uncovered. I mentioned filling -the cheaper Lektor does whatever it can, and it can quite a lot, to make the mid and the bass frequencies super-attractive. It does it's job splendidly, breaking the myth that the "audiophile" sound is a dry, ultra-transparent, skeleton-like creature. The details are not polished like in the more expensive equipment, there is no deep insight between the musicians, it is more the emotion that is reproduced, the "nerve" of the music is being maintained. The timbre was not sacrificed in the name of detail and resolution. The latter is very good, but in other players in the price range below 20000 zł it is also good. Lektor V plays enthusiastic, going incredibly low with the bass. On the lower end it sounded more powerful than for example the Prime or the EMM Labs system, tested in the same time for "Audio" . In the recording "Beer Roots" from "American Dream" it played with verve and power, allowing the Avantgarde Acoustic Uno Picco speakers (test in this edition of HFOL) spread out their wings -and they have enough to be proud ofit. There is no doubt, that this is something in surplus, something extra, something we won't get elsewhere. From the point of view of absolute neutrality it is a certain deviation, but how pleasant.
On the other side of the frequency spectrum, the treble has magnificent resolution. But -just like the mid frequencies -is not detailed, or rather minute. The difference is not big, at first sight, but in this case critical. In being detailed it is all about showing as much as possible from the sound structure -attack, etc. And that's it. Lektor V approaches it from another angle -how to play everything as good as possible, how to show the timbre, the structure, as accurately as possible, and the details will come themselves. A slight semantic move changes the perspective -now the sound is not composed of millions of particles, that we try to glue together, with a good or not so good effect, but from a drawing, that we try to differentiate. This approach changes the perspective completely. In direct comparison to very thorough players from dCS-a or Gryphona (for example the ingenious Mikado) Lektor will seem a bit rounded on top and bottom of the scale. And it will be the truth. Nobody is perfect. It will not be a rounding commonly associated with the tube, the attack is clear and powerful, only the slight polish of this part of the sound, it's slight warming, allows to justify this statement. The mid-range is not sluggish nor romantic -nothing of that kind. I don't know really how to describe it, but it is about the mid frequencies are filled, and a bit warm while keeping good dynamics and detail. The new recording of Madeleine Peyroux "Half the Perfect Word" (EMarcy/Rounder 703279, CD?), recorded in a warm manner, known from her previous disk "Careless Love", but with lower resolution, showed it clearly. A slight deviation in the direction of bulb-sound, like the Jadis DA30 (test in this issue of HFOL) and the record plays like slime twisted around a fork. With the Lektor there was nothing in that direction. It didn't make the recording's resolution better, but it also didn't make it worse.
Lektor V is a superb device. It has it's flaws though, like everything else on earth. What was that, what I didn't like in it? Actually, taking into account it's price -everything is OK. But when thinking about hi-end, then the sound of more pricey devices is more laid back, not as eager to jump enthusiastically on every recording. Bass is slightly shorter, maybe not better controlled, it is not about that, but just a little thrifty. And also this -V does not show any mercy to older, worse recordings, showing their sometimes not very pleasant mid frequencies. But for this you need competitors like the newest EMM Labs system or Lektor Prime. To make it clear -we get a superb preamplifier, better than any other in the 10000 zł price range -for free. It is worth to listen to the Lektor, at least for this
Lektor V of the Krakow company Ancient Audio is a top-loader CD, with no classic drawer, and where the disk is placed directly on the mechanism spindle. Like all Ancient Audio players, this one is a variant of this solution, because the CD is totally exposed to the open, not covered with any kind of hatch or flap, which would hide the disk inside. Other companies do use the same solution extremely rarely, the most known solutions are from the Japanese company 47 Labs, and to Metronome'a. Mechanically the player is divided in two sections: the main section, with the mechanism and the chassis made from wood. One can order the Lektor with the plate made from marble (it will cost significantly more). In front of the metal slab with a hole for the drive -in this role Philips CD-Pro 2M -a golden strip with chrome control buttons was placed. Besides typical function we have here also a button labeled "Analog-In". Lektor V is a CD player with an integrated preamplifier (the voltage output level is controlled only from the remote - it is better not to lose it...) and we have one line input at our disposal (RCA). We have to mention another button just in front of the disk -it replaces the sensor that informs the electronics of closing of the drawer or lid. It must be pressed every time a disk is changed, otherwise we won't hear anything from the player. Operating the Lektor resembles a bit operating an analog record player (now we know why the CD is on top) and we can get used to it. But first we will run some time to it and back.
|© Copyright HIGH Fidelity 2006, Created by B|