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Audio Research


Frequency Response: +0-3dB, 3Hz to 96kHz at rated output. 0.15dB 20Hz to 20kHz. (Balanced, 200k ohms load)@ 192kHz sampl

Distortion: THD+N Less than .003% at 2V RMS BAL output.

Signal-Noise-Ratio: 110dB

Dynamic Range (AES17): 110dB

IMD (SMPTE): .002%

RMS Noise level: -95dBV (20-20kHz)

Gain: 14.0dB Balanced, 7.0dB SE.

Input Impedance: Digital: 75 ohms RCA, 110 ohms AES/EBU, OPT 660nm TOSLink fiber 44.1 to 96kHz.

Output Impedance: 660 ohms Balanced, 330 ohms SE Main (2), 20K ohms minimum load and 2000pF maximum capacitance.

Output Polarity: Non-inverting.

Max. Output: At 0.0dB input, 5V RMS into 200K ohm balanced load.

Digital Sample Rates: 24 bits @ 44.1kHz to 192kHz, SPDIF, AES/EBU and USB 2.0 HS.

Upsampling: Select upsampling or Native mode; CD, RCA, AES/EBU, TOS upsample to 176.4 or 192kHz. USB upsamples to 88.2 or 96kHz.

Master Oscillator: 22.579mHz ±20Hz for 44.1, 88.2 & 176.4kHz. 24.576mHz ±20Hz for 48, 96 & 192kHz.

Intrinsic Jitter: <10ps

Outputs Digital: XLR Balanced AES/EBU 110-ohms 4V P-P, BNC coax SPDIF 75-ohms 0.7V P-P.

Channel Separation: 107dB @ 1kHz.

Push buttons: Power, Previous, Stop, Pause, Play, Next, Input.

Signal Format (disc): Sample freq. 44.1kHz, Quantization bit; 16bit linear/channel, Channel bit rate; 4.3218Mb/sec, Channel modulation code; EFM (8-14 modulation), Error Correction; CIRC.

Drive Mechanism (Top Load): Wow & Flutter; Un-measureable (Quartz stability); Discs; Accepts 5” (12cm) and 3” (8cm) sizes.

Optical pickup: Type; 3-beam LDGU (Laser Diode & Grating Unit), with holographic diffraction light pen, 




The Reference CD8 has been extremely popular, winning acclaim and awards internationally for its stellar performance since being introduced in November 2008. An engaging musical performance has kept its sales surprisingly strong, even in the face of new digital technologies. The fact is that lots of music lovers still embrace their compact disc collections and will not give them up.
After four years it is finally time to replace the REF CD8. People still want to play their CDs, but they also want to add other digital sources such as computer audio to their music systems, here comes Audio Research REF CD9 CD-DAC. It combines the best of both, a super high-resolution compact disc player with a super high-resolution digital-toanalog converter that is stunning in its musicality.


The REF CD9 incorporates four digital inputs: asynchronous USB 2.0HS, AES/EBU, RCA and Toslink. All inputs handle 24-bit/192kHz resolution. As you would expect, the REF CD9 retains the Philips PRO2R transport, still the best dedicated CD mechanism available. It is simply unsurpassed for compact disc playback. Benefitting from what was learned in the development of the Audio Research REF DAC and the Audio Research DSPre, the Audio Research REF CD9 utilises quad 24-bit DACs running in mono mode, with dual-master oscillators; one for 44.1/88.2/176.4 sample rates, the other for 48/96/192kHz sample rates. Sample rate conversion is selectable for all inputs, allowing playback in native resolution or via upsampling, including compact disc and – for the first time – the USB input.

Additionally, there is a selectable digital filter, with either fast or slow roll-off. On the test bench, the bandwidth of the REF CD9 is five times that of the CD8, with one tenth of the distortion, greater dynamic range, and it is also quieter. Like the REF 5SE, REF PH2SE and REF DAC, the analogue section is valve-based, with four 6H30 dual-triodes, and there is vacuum-tube power-supply regulation featuring 6550WE and 6H30 valves.

The front panel has the familiar, dimmable CD display on the left side. On the right side here are three vertical LED displays indicating Sample Rates (192-176.4-96-88.2-48- 44.1 top to bottom), Input (CD-RCA-USB-AES-TOS top to bottom) and Fast-Slow- Upsample-Power (top to bottom). Underneath the LED displays there are seven silver metal buttons for Power, Previous, Play, Next, Pause, Stop, and Input. Silver handles are standard with a natural front panel. Like its predecessor, the chassis and top cover are black, and the footprint remains the same. In addition to the digital inputs, the back panel includes Digital Outputs (AES/EBU and BNC), single-ended RCA and balanced XLR outputs, and a 15A IEC power connector. It comes with our new, metal remote.