I've had a CD37 on home audition for the last couple of days and in between the various building works I've had a chance to listen to the player. The CD37 is a natural upgrade to the CD72 that I own (now available to purchase on gumtree if anyone is interested!) An interesting point to note is that one of the reasons for buying a CD72 was that the DACs could be upgraded to the similarly award winning CD92/CD192; a 192 upsampling improvement over the 24 bit DAC in the CD72. However by the time I made a decision to upgrade Arcam had revamped their CD player range and the boards were no longer available.
Straight out of the box the it was clear that there was a need to run the player in, over the last couple of listen sessions there has been a marked improvement with greater definition and more detail being pulled from the discs. The sound stage is wider and fuller than the CD72, with greater separation of the instruments and voices; the close vocal harmonies on Gillian Welch's Orphan Girl along with the sparse guitar picking stand out. One thing I like about Arcam's sound is that it's laid back, not strident or aggressive so you can enjoy hours of listening without the feeling that your ears needed a rest. Not all Arcam's disc spinners were this easy going, I once auditioned an Alpha 7SE and after twenty minutes I was longing for the quiet dead of night.
The transport and tray are solidly engineered, and the player takes time to load and read discs, no doubt due to the fact that it also plays SACDs. I don't own any of these although I've ordered one up from amazon to get an idea of what this format does sonically. I won't go into my cynical view of vinyl vs CD vs other formats here, I'll save that for another post. Suffice to state that the SACD format hasn't taken off as perhaps Sony would have hoped, no doubt not helped by the iPod generation, streaming and downloads.
Which leads nicely to why spend a very large chunk of cash on a seemingly soon to be obsolete item of hi-fi? There are personal and practical answers to this question. I've amassed a large collection of CDs and I prefer to spend time listening to the music rather than copying it to a hard drive, mp3 player or whatever, that is when I'm not out enjoying the hills and fells. And when I'm out I prefer Natures Soundtrack so I have no need to carry my favoured tunes around on a flash drive.