Soundstage, February 2008

North Star Design Sapphire CD Player - Alfred Fredel



"I found the unit to be extremely transparent, allowing me to enjoy delicate nuances in several selections without ever getting in the way. The musical information conveyed was smooth, with none of the glare and shrillness that can present themselves at higher frequencies." "Very good spatial accuracy with a believable soundstage" too. "A remarkably dynamic and realistic performance."


"North Star Design uses the Philips L1210 CD transport, a mechanism that is known for its dependability and good performance. Guiseppe Rampino, the company's president, explained that similar to his Extremo DAC, the Sapphire CD player utilizes Burr-Brown PCM1796 chips to achieve 24-bit/192kHz resolution. The analog stage is designed with the same structure as the Extremo DAC's - double balanced with one stereo digital-to-analog converter per channel."


"There are no digital audio outputs, because the company believes strongly that if one would like to use an external DAC, it would be better to invest in one and a separate transport."


"In a fairly crowded field of CD players at the $2500 price point, the North Star Design Sapphire is definitely a first -rate offering and one you shouldn't overlook."


Feb, 04, 2008