Building on the success of the Blu and the QBD76, the RED Reference Mk III CD player now has the latest technological updates and has been revised with developments to improve performance even further. The Mk III version includes Chord's High Definition USB input with the ability to process DSD files.
With stunning looks and state of the art design the RED utilizes ground breaking technology to give the most accurate reproduction of compact disc that can be obtained. With internal 176.4 KHz upsampling data transfer, selectable RAM buffer clock retiming and both 1024 and 4096 tap length filtering, the RED earns its reference status in the Chord range.
Starting on the outside the RED features the Chord trademark design and is manufactured from solid aluminum giving a rigid support structure for the CD mechanism. As in the Mk II version, (shown above), the Mk III includes a lens in the CD dome giving a view of the loaded disc and a powered rather than manual opening. The front panel design incorporates ball bearing push button control for the commonly used functions and a dual display showing CD status on one side and input, buffer and frequency information on the other. Uniquely the CD mechanism sits at 45 degrees to allow front access even if placed on a stand or in a rack. At the rear connections are made via gold plated phono or BNC coax, plastic optical fiber or balanced XLR style connectors.
I can hear more into the details of this recording than nearly any other CD player I've ever encountered. The layers of details tonally are staggering. The energy of the first movement of this quartet, which is Beethoven's only real attempt to product a comic opera, without voices is like the opening of a bottle of champagne. The player is not varnishing the sound in any way that I could detect, it's providing a stark no holds-barred version of the recording.HiFi World, Five Globe Award Winner
Internally the latest CD Pro 2 mechanism from Philips is re-clocked using a highly accurate crystal oscillator then the synchronized data is fed to the upsampling and filtering electronics. In the Mk II an 18,000 tap length WTA filter, (upgraded from the original 4096), is used to minimize the transient timing errors and reconstruct the digital data to either 44.1, 88.2 or 176.4 KHz sampling frequencies.
This data is fed to the rear XLR and optical output connectors and also via a dual data bus to the digital to analogue conversion electronics. Now based on the QBD76, (originally DAC64), the digital signal is converted from 176.4KHz to analogue audio using 18,000 tap filtering and 76 bit digital signal processing core. This is followed by 64th bit 7th order noise shaping, 2048 times oversampling rates and improved pulse width modulated elements. This gives much better measured performance. better detail resolution with a smoother more focused sound quality. The DAC also features RAM buffer technology that sequentially takes in all the data, re-times it, then sends it out giving jitter free operation. Digital data from other sources can also be fed into the RED via the optical or AES balanced XLR connections.
All of the above innovations are implemented in Field Programmable Gate Arrays that can be reprogrammed by simply changing the EPROM memory chip, thus future proofing is assured.
The RED Reference Mk III retains its status as a truly unique product. As a standalone CD player it is able to deliver the best reference CD playback. The addition of digital inputs and outputs also gives it the ability to act as both a CD transport and DAC for other audio components making it completely versatile.