December 12, 2009

French Beauty - Metronome Technologie CD One T Signature CD Player

This CD player from Metronome achieved a number of impressive 'most's in my system.

Firstly, coming in with a list price of RM46,920, it is the single most expensive piece of equipment I ever had in my system.

Secondly, it is the most handsome piece of gear that ever got into my system. The Metronome CD One T Signature has an understated elegance in its look that I found very appealing. Its line was clean and purposeful, but was not cold. There was an economy in its design with no unnecessary adornment, which is how high-end should be, in my opinion. The photographs do not do the CD One T Signature justice, really, it is better seen in person.

A cool artistic touch is the symbols used for the control buttons. They stumped me initially, I could not decipher them and had to refer to the manual. I realized then that Metronome used only the top half of the normal symbols for play, stop, pause etc. on the player. I truly marvelled at the creativity of its designer.

Third, its sound.... It is simply the most beautiful sound that I have ever heard from CD in my system. The 'T' in the Metronome CD One T Signature signifies that it has a pair of tubes in its output stage (can't remember the tube type used though), thus it has that musicality, analogue smoothness, and organic-ness that tube gears can so effortlessly demonstrate. Though in this case, the Metronome goes further in its virtue, it has that high-end sheen in its sound, leaving you with no doubt that you are listening to a piece of exceptional equipment.

Nothing demonstrated the CD One T Signature's quality better than a song sung in French - the 'India Song' track on Youn Sun Nah's 'Voyage' album. I didn't understand one word of it, but the song melted my heart, Nah's voice was at once nuanced, seductive and extremely beautiful.

Violin was another that showed off these qualities excellently. The CD One T Signature brought out the beauty in Itzhak Perlman's and the London Philharmonic Orchestra's strings on their collaboration in Vivaldi's 'The Four Seasons' (EMI Classics). The strings has a liquidity, a shine and a silkiness that was the best that I have ever heard from this CD in my system.

The CD One T Signature also turned the stereotype of tube gear upside down by sounding assured, confident and dynamic (rather than the warm, slow sound that can plague some). The CD One T Signature's class leading performance in these areas will beat many solid state players except just a handful of the very best. On the 4th movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.5 (Herbert von Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker, DG), the Metronome held the complex threads together without once falling apart. It got loud, but the music was organized while emotional and exciting at the same time. Horns blared, timpani whacked hard, massed strings charged ahead, double basses dug hard. The movement sounded ominous, apocalyptic, but triumphant at the end. It was an exhilarating ride! This Tchaikovsky CD is not exactly an excellent recording. Many CD players would spew out rough and unlistenable sound, however the Metronome transformed it into a real performance.

This CD player has a magic touch, it made the best out of every CD that went into it. The CD One T Signature would tone down ear-grating sibilants, round off a few rough edges and imbue music with a slight silky honey smoothness, these are the qualities that will attract the listener to listen on and on. I bet you'll put one CD after another into it and your listening session would stretch on and on. Well, it did that to me!

The Metronome CD One T Signature has left my system since, I am truly sorry to see it go.

Metronome Technologie is carried by CMY Audio & Visual, contact John, tel: 03-21439206

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