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Price: 22 000 euro

Manufacturer: LOIT design Private Limited
9 Kallang Place #02-02
Kallang Basin Industrial Estate, Singapore 339154
tel.: (65) 63048089 | tel. kom.: (65) 91003239 | fax: (65) 63966995



Country of origin: Singapur

Text: Wojciech Pacuła
Photographs: Loit, Wojciech Pacuła, Art. Lebedev Studio
Translation: Krzysztof Kalinkowski

I saw the project of the Loit player more than one year ago, by coincidence, and I was delighted. And not only I – please have a look at the first photo (and then the one below, showing the details), and you will know what I am talking about. The project was made by the Russian industrial design creator Artemy Lebedev and his studio Art. Lebedev Studio. The design was finished on 04 April 2007. The investor was the privately owned company LOIT design Private Limited, housed in Singapore. According to Lebedev, he had the following design conditions – the player had to be unique, beautiful and brilliant like a piece of jewelry. Interestingly, together with the CD player, which was called Eagle at that time, an amplifier was also designed, in the form of an anti-vibration platform, where the player would be placed upon. So I quickly found the manufacturer and I posed one simple question: if he would be interested in having the gear tested in “High Fidelity”? And I received quickly a response: “Yes! As soon as the work on the player will be finished, you will be the first person in the world to see and test it.”

Since those events two years have passed, during which, the company had to overcome many technological challenges, adapt the project to the real world, etc. Please look at the first two pictures to see, how long the way from the design board (computer) to the final client was. I think, that it looks now even better…
The shape and the main features remained the same. The player is based on the Philips CD-Pro2 LF drive and six, three per channel, double triodes 6H30, Russian made, which work in the amplification and I/V conversion sections (the latter is very rare). The I/V is also patented by Loit engineers, who created a circuit allowing to make it in one stage, in an active circuit. The device is enclosed in a chassis made from two modules: one very rigid, vibration resistant molded steel triangular frame and a braid carbon fiber enclosure placed on that frame. As you know, carbon fiber transmits vibration without accumulating them. The display is also unique – this is a very big LCD unit. The device is supported by three pillars.

Like I said, time passed until I received this device for testing. Mr. Kam Lup Yoong, the representative of the company, made everything he could to speed things up. The first ready unit went to the Dutch representative of the company, and was on the verge of being shipped to me, but I was asked to allow the company to showcase it on one show. I responded “why not”, as actually the more people see it the better. In the meantime the device was briefly at one of the French reviewers. So finally I was not the first person to touch it.

And maybe it was not a bad thing, that it did not reach me immediately, because the player was quickly damaged. As it turned out, the unit was prepared to be used with 220V line voltage. And the European voltage is 230V, some of the voltage stabilizers burned down, destroying also the OCXO module – the ultra low jitter word clock. The device was repaired in Holland, but the clock module was not able to be reactivated – so the clock from the CD-Pro2 kit had to be used.
I had to choose, if I take this unit, or wait for a completely new one. The second choice would mean, that I would have to wait for another half a year – the players are made one by one, and the orders have to be made in advance. So I decided to test the device as it is, agreeing with Mr. Kam Lup Yoong, that when another 230V unit is ready, I will make a supplementary test.


A selection of recordings used during the test:

  • Stereo Sound Reference Record. Jazz&Vocal, Stereo Sound, SSRR4, SACD/CD.
  • Ann Richards, Ann, Man!, ATCO/Atlantic Records/Warner Music Japan, WPCR-25181, CD.
  • Cassandra Wilson, Silver Pony, Blue Note, 29752, CD;
  • Charlie Haden &Antonio Forcione, Heartplay, Naim, naimcd098, CD;
  • Chris Connor, Chris Connor, Atlantic/Warner Music Japan, WPCR-25163, CD.
  • Chris Connor, Witchcraft, Atlantic/Warner Music Japan, WPCR-25166, CD.
  • David Gilmour, On An Island, EMI, 355695, CCD.
  • Depeche Mode, Ultra, Mute, DMCDX9, Collectors Edition, CD+DVD+FLAC 24/44,1.
  • Dominic Miller, Fourth Wall, Qrious Music, QRM 108-2, CD;
  • Freddie Hubbard, Open Sesame, Blue Note/Audio Wave, AWMXR-0012, XRCD24.
  • George Michael, Faith, Epic/Sony Music, 7753020, 2 CD+DVD.
  • Gerry Mulligan Quartet, Dragonfly, Telarc, CD-83377, CD.
  • Harry Belafonte, Belafonte at Carnegie Hall, RCA/Sony Music, 7783322, LPCD-M2 Mastering, No. 0953, HQCD.
  • Jim Hall, Live!, Horizon/A&M Records/Universal Music Japan, UCCM-9225, CD.
  • Laurie Anderson, Homeland, Nonesuch Records, 524055-2, CD+DVD;
  • Madaleine Peyroux, Bare Bones, Rounder/Universal Music LLC (Japan), UCCU-1188, CD.
  • Milt Jackson Quartet, Statements, Impulse!/Universal Classic&Jazz/Victor Entertainment, UCCI-9088, CD.
  • Pink Floyd, The Dark Side Of The Moon, EMI/EMI Music Japan, TOGP-15001, SACD/CD.
  • Savage, Ten Years Ago (Twenty Years Later), Extravaganza Publishing Srl/Klub80, CD002, CD;
  • Savage, Tonight, Extravaganza Publishing Srl/Klub80, CD001, 25th Anniversary Limited Edition, CD;
  • Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto, Getz/Gilberto, Verve, 24/96 FLAC.
  • Suzanne Vega, Close-Up, Vol 1. Love Songs, Amanuensis Productions/Cooking Vinyl, COOKCD521, CD.
  • The George Shearing Quintet&Nancy Wilson, The Swinging’s Mutual!, Capitol/Toshiba-EMI, TOCJ-9468, CD.
  • Thom Yorke, The Eraser, XL Records/Warner Music Japan, WPCB-10001, CD.

Japanese versions of the discs are available on CD Japan.

Those of you, who know my CD player - Ancient Audio Air – probably noticed some common points between the Passeri and my player. There are of course some significant differences, but the “core” is very similar – the same Philips drive and the 6H30 tubes on the output as well as power supply using many transformers. And an identical remote controller. But the construction does not say anything about the sound. We can make some guesses about its class, but we cannot deduct anything about how the unit plays. In this case, the similarities in construction are surprisingly convergent with the sound. I think, that those two players have more in common, than they have different, and although finally they do not sound the same, they are closer together, than to any other player. So this will also be, to some extent, a story about the Air player.

The Singapore made player handles each kind of music equally well. This is not a device to play only one genre of music, it does not matter if the dominant in a recording is a human voice, a big-band or a guitar. All those elements are treated with equal attention. The sound of the Passeri can be described with only one word: balanced. “Well-tempered” would also not be a bad description.
The player involves the listener in its world so hard, that we play subsequent discs with curiosity, waiting for what it will show, how it will interpret music enchanted in the pits and lands of a CD. And when we choose a track, for example On An Island from David Gilmour disc with the same title, we wait for what happens next, as if we would listen to this piece for the first time in our lives. And I am not saying, that this is an ideal sound, because that is not the case, but about the fact, that everything is well placed together, well tempered (I told you this is a good descriptor…), and that tonal balance, dynamics, coherence, etc, although important, do not have such weight as elsewhere. On this quality level those elements are just there, we perceive them subcutaneously, not as something constructive, but rather as a “foundation”. I want to tell you by that, that departures from the imagined original, from things we know from other, better devices, do not have such a big impact on the perception of music, as they do in worse players.

One of the most important discriminators of such sound is the ability to “see” everything in one, quick glance. We put on the Gilmour disc and immediately we fall into that quiet, autumnal mood. We notice of course, that the sound is slightly washed out, this is a curse of those years, the digital copy protection used by EMI (because this is a Copy Controlled Disc, and not a plain CD) took its toll, but we take the sound painlessly, from another perspective than we should, but because we do not know about any other perspective, it does not matter. To a large extent this is a result of a very fluent, smooth sound. A very similar sound has my Air, and to an even higher extent the Lektor Grand SE and the system Jadis JD1 Mk II+JS1 Mk III. This is a splendid achievement – I heard something similar only in the mentioned players. The smoothness I am talking about translates to some extent into smaller resolution, slightly worse drawing of the shapes than in the Air. Like I said, except for the Air I never heard such a coherent and pleasant sound for the money.

And it is not so, that the midrange is most important here. Although it is promoted here by the delicately shortened treble, yet this is not the classic pushing out of the midrange. Because this is a very balanced sound. The midrange is a part of a greater whole and I did not have the need to analyze it in isolation from the rest of the sound. The voices are just there, the guitars are there, etc. Like the guitar of Jimmy Hall from the disc Live! or the vocals of Chris Connor from Free Spirits. The elements are strong and saturated, but not “oversaturated”, they do not escape from the mix, they are not enlarged compared to the rest of the sound. The virtual sizes of the instruments in recordings are with the Loit exactly as I know them from the best digital and analog sources. They are not as big as with a good turntable, but aren’t also thinned like in a digital source.

With all that the Loit builds a very wide “background” of the events. I mean, that when we have a synthesizer in the background, it is shown as the authors meant it to be shown, as a kind of background, “lining”, on which the first plane is created. The sound of the synthesizers – I am thinking, for example, about the disc Fourth Wall Dominic Miller and the single Dream On Depeche Mode – there it is strong, deep and silky. If needed it surrounds the listener, and if it is shown in front of us, then it is deep inside the sound stage. I think, that the buildup of the background is related to that, how the unit keeps the natural reverbs of the instruments, especially from the middle of the sound spectrum. I think, that it is shown better here than in the Air, and although this is not yet the level of the Grand SE or the Jadis system, this is the first CD player costing below 50000zl, which tried to do something like that, and one of the few which does it this way, regardless the price.

The bass was shown brilliantly at that. It is a bit longer than in the Air and not as well differentiated, but the differences are not so big. Its character is slightly soft, it is a prolongation of the smooth midrange. The low sounds of the synthesizers from the Miller disc, and from Homeland Laurie Anderson had the required depth and timbre. They were not as controlled as in the Air, or not so deep. But we will not notice it without a direct comparison. The more, as this part of the sound spectrum, starting from the lower midrange, is slightly stronger in the Polish player, resulting in an impression of more depth and fullness.
And this is why probably the shapes are not drawn as precise as in the best digital sources – nothing comes for free. I am talking about a small shift, I am sure, that for most music lovers it will be like touching God, but we have to be aware of that – we are talking about top players, best solutions, which make the CD a hi-end sound source.

Like I mentioned, the upper treble is slightly withdrawn. I am not sure if this is a change in timbre, or just a shortening of reverbs, but this results in an open, vivid sound, but without such a brilliant drawing of the air, of the tape hiss, etc, as the Air does it, or the turntable SME 20/3A. Like I say, there is no impression of “closing” the sound, and that because the upper midrange is quite strong and resolved – everything there is shown precisely, dynamically and three-dimensionally.

Do you have a picture of this device now? I hope so, because otherwise I will doubt my writing abilities… Not everything has to be clear from the beginning, you have to deal with a sound of that class for some time to be able to get the sense out of some comparisons. Some of that what I wrote should be perceivable for anyone, even for owners of players costing, for example 1500zl. A good digital source for such price is worth its weight in gold. This is the reason, that anyone who found something nice, like the Xindak CD-06, or Music Hall cd15.2, knows to hold on to it. But the requirements for such devices are exactly the same as those posed for a highest level unit, like the Loit Passeri. I mean communicativeness, the ability to play in a way, that does not induce negative reactions, due to a too bright or too dead sound. This should be a direct sound, and it does not matter how much the player costs. More expensive players will do things better, there will be more of everything, but the basic expectances from the Xindak and Loit are the same.

And this is why I like the Singapore made player so much. Its communicativeness was on a very high level. You can listen to it with pleasure and interest. First listening sessions were made using the headphones HiFiMAN HE-6, planar phones with brilliant resolution and splendid timbre, and I knew already then, that I am listening to something special. Passeri does some things better than my Air, and some things worse. But in general this is the same quality level, and my player is customized, upgraded and polished – under constant supervision of its constructor, Mr. Jarek Waszczyszyn. And the Loit is a classic production model, made in small series, but in series. It is brilliantly made, its external design came from a known designer, and this is added value to the device. Yes, this is a really well made player.


Loit Passeri looks like a landed space ship. It has a dumpy shape, with low laid gravity center. It is made from a combination of a thick plate and cast rack and enclosure from carbon fiber. In the corners we have massive cylinders, with their lower part extendable – we can level the player with those. As it turns out, those are not just feet, but decoupling elements, similar to products from the German company finite elemente – the element coupling two metal surfaces is a ceramic ball. To simplify the leveling, there is a spirit level under the CD cover. This is a round “eye” lit blue.
In the front you can see a very big LCD display. It shows big digits – the track number and time, a symbol for start, stop and pause as well as a bar graph, which shows in which part of the track we currently are. On the pictures of the prototype you can see, that initially the display was a LED one. LED displays are least noisy, while LCD ones are the most noisy ones (in terms of high frequency noise). So the company needed to take care of that noise designing the power supply. Below the display there are small, metal buttons to operate the drive. There is also a button used to open the big, massive cover with an integrated disc puck. I must say, that this is the only element, that is not so well done, the motor operating the cover is really loud. It resembles that what I heard while testing the Gryphon Mikado for “Audio” some time ago.

On top you see tubes, protruding from holes in the enclosure, placed in an open angle to the front panel. Those are 6H30 NOS tubes from the factory Reflector, from USSR times, when those tubes were not available. That because they were used in radar and geophones used by the Russian army. The first person, who received allowance to export them was Victor Khomenko, the co-owner of Balanced Audio Technology. Khomenko called it a super-tube and sold with BAT logo. Now the tubes are available freely from Sovtek. But like I said, the tubes used in the Passeri come from the cold war times.
The tubes in this device work in the whole analog stage – directly from the converter chip the signal comes in balanced form to two tubes working the I/V converter, and then to the amplification section. The latter works in trans-impedance mode. All tubes work in class A, without negative feedback. The anode current is stabilized in discrete stabilizer circuits, utilizing MOS-FET transistors, bolted to the aluminum base.
There is actually no back plate – it consists of two flat elements, covered by aluminum plates. All connectors are placed there – analog XLR and RCA sockets and digital ones – also RCA and XLR. XLRs are from the Swiss Neutrik, while the RCAs are the splendid WBT Next-Gen, gold plated. Unfortunately there is no digital input – a pity! I think, that contemporary digital players should be something like transports/DACs, to be able to connect some file player to them.
It turns out, that not only I was surprised by that. Srajan Ebaen, in his short description of the unit (based on received materials) also noticed that and asked Kam Lup Yoong about that, who responded: “I fully agree that the trend is towards the media player, USB DACs etc. I saw lots of USB-enabled products over the past few years but only a few with asynchronous USB to know that results weren't optimized. I think the market now sells features instead of returning to our roots of superior sound. As an audiophile manufacturer, we wanted to design something really unique, excellent and not just good whose value would last for many years after the customer's initial investment. That's the main reason we didn’t include a USB input when we developed the product. We focused more on getting the sound right. It took us five years of full-time effort to develop our Passeri and its patented active I/V technology breakthrough which shortens the audio signal path to one single stage unlike others which use either passive or opamp IV and mostly need 2 to 3 stages (I/V stage, filter and buffer). But streaming technology is maturing and easier to adapt. We will study the possibility of developing a media player or USB DAC."

Source: Srajan Eaben, Bridges, „”, HERE .

The device is built in such a way, that horizontally, through the middle, there is a thick aluminum plate, separating the inside in two, separate parts – the power supply is below it, and the audio circuitry above. Lets us start with the first one. In the middle there is a toroidal transformer for the drive and digital sections. It works with four integrated voltage stabilizers, mounted on heat sinks, and four capacitors for filtering. In front of them we can see a beautiful word clock – a big can from the company Vectron. Next to it there is a soldered circuit, which is the result of the repair carried out in the Netherlands. To the sides there are the power supplies for the tubes – separate for the right and left channel. Those are very worked out – each takes the space a power supply of a big amplifier wouldn’t. The basis for each power supply is a big toroidal transformer from the Canadian company Plitron, working with a Hammond choke. The voltage is rectified with quick diodes. It seems, that the voltage for each tube is rectified and stabilized separately. Close to the front there are four MOS-FET transistors, a part of the stabilization circuitry for the anode voltage. The heating voltage is also stabilized here. There are a lot of high quality capacitors in circuits for all sections separately. There is also an IC DSP NPC SM5847 – a multifunctional digital filter, probably working with the word clock. Here, probably, the upsampling is done. Here is also a PCB with the digital outputs – those are decoupled with splendid transformers.

On the other side we have the audio circuits – two separate PCBs. Due to the absolute separation of the left and right channel there is a very low crosstalk, at -115dB. Each PCB has Teflon sockets with gold plated pins for the tubes. The output is coupled by two very big, custom made capacitors (oil type?). In the I/V circuit there are Wima capacitors and Dale precision resistors. Almost all active elements have their markings removed. Also the two (per channel) DAC chips. The only remaining markings were on the big chips – the Burr-Brown ISO154. Those are high class optical isolators, which separate the drive from the DAC chips. The DACs are 24 bit and eight times oversampling units. We do not know, what exactly they are. But the digital filter NPC I mentioned earlier is usually used in combination with the Burr-Brown PCM1704 chips (24/96), so this can also be the case here. Anyway the circuit looks superb!

In the middle there is the drive section. This is one o the best (in my opinion, equally good drives are made also by CEC) CD drives in the world, the CD-Pro2 LH from Philips. Here it is mounted very solidly, on a stable support. The drive is decoupled from the frame by four Alpha Gel washers. Those are made from soft silicone and act as splendid vibration absorbers. Let me just remind you, that a similar method was employed for decoupling of the drive (the same kind) in the player Nagra CDC. Although in the original Lebedev design the remote was very original, made from metal and nicely looking, we get a standard remote with this player – exactly identical to the one supplied with Ancient Audio.

Technical Data (according to manufacturer):
Output voltage: 2/4V rms (RCA/XLR – 2=hot)
Channel separation: 115dB (1 kHz)
SNR: >100dB (weighted “A”)
Total harmonic distortion (THD): 0.008%
Power consumption: 170W
Dimensions: 495 x 398 x 146mm
Weight: 16 kg

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  • CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air (previous it was Prime, tested HERE)
  • Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC (tested HERE)
  • Cartridges: Air Tight Supreme, tested HERE, Miyajima Laboratory Waza, tested HERE.
  • Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III with Re-generator Power Supply; version II tested HERE)
  • Power amplifier: Tenor Audio 175S, tested HERE and Soulution 710
  • Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom version (reviewed HERE)
  • Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann (tested HERE)
  • Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, 600 Ω version (reviewed HERE, HERE, and HERE)
  • Interconnect: CD-preamp: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, article HERE), preamp-power amp: Wireworld Platinum Eclipse
  • Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, tested HERE
  • Power cables AC (all equipment): Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
  • Power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2 Filtering Power Strip (reviewed HERE)
  • Audio stand Base – under all components
  • Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD (article HERE)
  • Pro Audio Bono platform under CD