You know what CanJam and the personal audio community needs? Other than a weekend in NYC in the middle of winter, we need a fixed-disc front end for our systems. A CD player, my friends! That’s right, step right up, it’s just down there in the “Things You Didn’t Know You Wanted” aisle. You know you’ve got crates and boxes of CDs stashed somewhere. They’re the 4.7″ shiny round things that Starbucks doesn’t sell anymore. (Hint: you probably ripped most of them into your iTunes library back in the aughts.) Well, dust off all that fabulous lossless, 16 bit/44.1 kHz goodness and get ready to party like it’s 1994!
I have to admit that at this CanJam I was not completely focused on all the fine gear that is always on offer. Some folks who attended on Saturday might remember me as the guy walking around with a “mystery box” under his arm. That’s because I was walking around with our CD player prototype and hitting people up for their opinion on the state of CD in general, and on our concept in particular.
I was pleasantly surprised at the graciousness and generosity of the people who took some time to speak with me about the cube, or the chunk, or whatever code name I was using. I got the chance to explain that we’re going for a different vibe with this thing. It’s a manual top-load design with a lid reminiscent of a record player or old-school hifi console. It’s inspired by vintage guitar and amplifier designs. The proto that I had in New York is inspired by a ’59 Les Paul — mahogany sides with a curly maple top and face. With the lid open, the Plexiglas surround that conceals the Philips CD Pro 2 drive module is inspired by Marshall “Plexi” amps (which got their nickname from the plexiglass control panel they feature). And the whole thing is held together with the same type of fasteners used on many amp cabinets.
Since this wasn’t a working prototype, I didn’t have a lot to say about the electronic particulars (more on that in a future post). Even so, I received only positive feedback from all the CanJammers with whom I spoke. Everybody dug the vibe and the iconoclastic look. But to be honest, while most people admitted to having a ton of CDs packed away somewhere, a common take was, “I’m not sure I’d buy one, but it’s a really cool idea.” Fair enough. It’s going to be a limited edition (each one will be unique and hand-built) and we’re hoping to bring it to market for under a grand.
We hope to make the player available to the personal hifi community for pre-order very soon. So, dig out a couple of your old favorite discs and get ready to put this thing to the sonic test. We’re excited to share our looking-forward-back vision with you as soon as we can.