CATCH CD'S 2ND WAVE WITH THE CD 360, OUR NEW HEADPHONE CD PLAYER

I’m Chris Bisha, founder of 360°Sound. I've been involved with hifi CD technology for over 30 years. I believe strongly that CD is a viable and collectible format. So I'm designing a new CD player that's suitable for hifi listening, and that delivers a different kind of industrial design aesthetic than we've typically seen in CD players. We call it the CD 360.

The CD 360 is under development by 360°Sound’s parent company, Enco Systems. For 35 years Enco has been a representative of Philips Electronics, the Dutch electronics company that invented CD. We worked together with Philips in the ’90s to develop the CD Pro, the drive that’s at the heart of the CD 360.

The CD Pro is a precision compact disc drive designed to be a “CD engine.” In other words, it’s a high quality core around which some of the most respected names in hifi have built their finest CD playback gear. Featuring a die-cast housing, it’s also a robust drive that has been used almost exclusively in CD jukeboxes worldwide.

In my role with Enco, I’ve been supplying and consulting with boutique hifi manufacturers around the world for years, and it’s always been my dream to develop a hifi CD player of my own. With CD transitioning to a specialty audio product, I decided now is the time. With the help of a luthier and a veteran digital electronics designer, I envisioned a headphone-based CD player with aesthetic inspiration from classic guitar and amplifier designs.

The CD 360 is a manual top-load design that incorporates some of my favorite elements of listening to music on spinning discs. It can run with its lid open, so you can see the CD spinning as it plays (trippy). Its controls are intentionally limited for easy operation and to encourage listening to the music program in sequence (as God intended).

The 360 is handcrafted entirely of hardwood – specifically guitar tone woods like mahogany, ash and maple. You’ll find other guitar design elements, like the knurled knobs familiar to fans of the Fender Telecaster. You’ll also find classic amp design touches, like the back-painted plexiglass front panel similar to the one that gave the Marshall Plexi its name.

I designed the CD 360 with a built-in headphone amp, because I live in a small house with my wife and two young children. I love the different sonic experiences produced by my collection of headphones. But the 360 can also be the front-end of a traditional hifi rig, as it features analog output, as well as digital output in S/PDIF format.

The CD 360 is like no other CD player I’ve seen, but product development is also a bitch. Philips discontinued the CD Pro, and I’d almost given up hope of getting the 360 into production. Then through our regular interview series – CD Junkies – we discovered a fascinating subculture of CD collectors. Some of these collectors are quite smitten with the 360, and asked us if it was available for sale. So we’re considering a custom approach, in which we build to order a limited number of these quirky beauties.

We have two working prototypes. The one featured in these images boasts a bird’s-eye maple front & lid with swamp ash sides. The gloss finish creates a burlwood effect. The other proto features curly maple front & lid with mahogany sides and a matte finish. The idea is to give you some input into the materials to build yours.

I hope you’re intrigued. I’d love to give you some more detail on this project – hell, you can even pre-order yours, if you’re feeling it. If you do find the CD 360 interesting, please fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page and let me know what questions you have. We’ll keep you up to date.

Perfect sound forever,

Chris

Fill out the form below for more information about the CD 360.

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