CAMBRIDGE AZUR 540CV2 CD PLAYER,Group Test win in May, but Marantz's CDSOOI is no more. Its replacement, this CDS003, arrives in a new suit - an off-the-peg interpretation of the bespoke look of Marantz's SA-IIS2 - and a higher price-tag.
Under the new clobber it's evolution rather than revolution, with the CDS003 using the same audio circuit and DAC as the outgoing '5001 - but there's been some purposeful tinkering around this player's edges.
The Marantz feels solid when loading a disc is quickly ready to play.

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The sound is substantial, with plenty oflow¬frequency heft allied to impressive bass modulation and drive. Voices are detailed and expressive, each gasping intake of breath or punchy plosive revealed faithfully. And up at the top of the frequency range, percussive sounds are just bright and shiny enough. The whole frequency range knits together convincingly.

The CDso03 has impressive speed and attack, and the low¬volume subtlety can build real atmosphere. The soundstage it describes is spacious, and the Marantz is decisive enough to keep unruly material under control.

The '5003 is perfectly able to thump along with testing tempos, but while it doesn't have two left feet it's not the nimblest player. Judge it on a strict performance¬per-rupee basis, though, and you'll find it very persuasive.