CDs are 'alive and spinning'

The Pro-Ject CD Box SE and the Orb Jade 2 DAC matched very well.

If the hi-fi pundits are right, by this time next year there will be no more CDs released by some major labels.

There was much buzz in hi-fi forums about the impending demise of CDs after reports started surfacing in the United States about major labels giving up on releasing CDs by the end of 2012.

I have often been asked by worried friends about the future of CD and whether the CD player would still be around.

My answer has always been: "The CD will still be around because there are millions of them all over the world and the CD player will still be made because millions of people will still want to play their millions of CDs."

But one has to be careful about buying second-hand and older CD players because their transports are no longer made and spare parts may be difficult to find even from Internet suppliers.

Most of the high-end brands will keep stocks of the transports they use which should be able to satisfy demand for another seven to 10 years.

Philips has stopped making transports except for the Pro 2 transport which is usually found in top-loading high-end CD players or transports. It is expected that Philips will continue production of the Pro 2 transport for only a few more years.

When Philips closed its CD transport-making department, the engineers left and formed their own company called Stream Unlimited based in Austria and their transports are used in Wadia, Ayon, Pro-Ject and other CD players. If your CD player uses a Stream Unlimited transport, you can rest assured that spare parts will be available for a long, long time.

For the past month, I have been playing nothing but CDs and have enjoyed many hours of sonic pleasure.

This bliss came about by the superb pairing of a ProJect CD Box SE CD player (which uses a Stream Unlimited transport) and the Orb Jade 2 DAC.

Together they created some of the most 'undigital' sounding music I have ever heard for quite a long time. The Orb is in the same sonic category as the Ayre and the Rega DACs - rich, smooth and on the warm-side of neutral.

While browsing around Victoria Music in Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya, I chanced upon CD box sets marketed by a company called Rhino. These are no-frills sets in cardboard boxes and sleeves. Each box set has five CDs pressed in Europe and is priced at RM55.90 - thus each CD costs only RM11.18. (Later, I spotted them at Rock Corner in The Curve priced at RM55.90 for one box set and RM100 for two.)

Some of the CDs that I bought before Xmas.

I bought six box sets - John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Linda Ronstadt, Tom Waits, Carly Simon and Emmylou Harris.

Meanwhile, my wife had loudly hinted that she somehow loves songs by Adele and Michael Buble. And so I bought 21 by Adele and a new Buble release as her Christmas present.

And that was how I ended up having 32 new CDs to play this month on a review system that sounded fabulously 'undigital' and enjoyable.

Well, other audiophiles may worry about the end of CDs, but in one corner of SS4, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, CDs were 'alive and spinning' and will be so till the end of 2012 and beyond.

Happy New Year to all audiophiles out there...


  1. Hello, Mr Lam, hope you and your family are well. Stumbled unto your site and find it is very good.

    Recently, on an impulse, I decided to splurge on a second-hand set (RM2,600) at Amcorp Mall.

    It comprises: Marantz CD-50 (a dinosaur, I know), a Pioneer amp (also looks old), a pair of Mission speakers and a JBL sub. It sounded good, esp on vocals, and the sub gave it quite a kick.

    Mr question: Did I overpay? should I have just bought a new hifi set? I saw an advert from Desa home theatre featuring a complete (impressive) set for about rm3,500.

    will I encounter trouble later on when it comes to repairs, parts, etc?


    Fong (your old pal)

  2. bro,
    the price seems okay. as for trouble later when it comes to repairs, i think only the cd player will give you issues as its transport may not be made anymore.
    listen to the system for a while. then u can go for the av set from desa home theatre. av sets may sound good for movies, but not for stereo.

    happy new year to u too.

  3. Heya¡­my very first comment on your site. ,I have been reading your blog for a while and thought I would completely pop in and drop a friendly note. . It is great stuff indeed. I also wanted to there a way to subscribe to your site via email?

  4. tks. Happy 2012! May all your (hifi) dreams come true :)


  5. webdesign in singapore,

    what is yr e-mail address?


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