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Unison Research CDPrimo CD Player Review Print E-mail
Monday, 05 March 2012
Article Index
Unison Research CDPrimo CD Player Review
Listening and Conclusion

Along with all of this, the CDPrimo was so tonally natural sounding, I found myself gravitating towards singer songwriters, jazz, world, and vocal music.  I had never heard Cat Stevens sounding so stunning as when I spun various tracks from his Gold collection, all mastered from the original tapes by Ted Jensen. On tracks like “Lady D’Arbanville”, “Sad Lisa”, and “Morning Has Broken”, Stevens' famous voice sounded amazingly present and his acoustic guitar was all wood and steel.

On Bettye Lavette’s masterful Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, the crack band and stellar material chosen for the project were infused with an energy that mirrored their commitment to the material.  Lavette’s unique take on classic tracks by the Moody Blues, Led Zeppelin, the Animals, Pink Floyd, The Who, The Beatles, and more, is a thing to behold.  Her rendition of Ringo Starr’s “It Don’t Come Easy” usually sends shivers down my spine, but the effect was enhanced by the CDPrimo, as her voice floated with precise, holographic imaging between the speakers.


On a brilliant new album produced by Bob Belden, Miles Espanol: New Sketches of Spain, a host of Miles Davis alumni and master musicians band together to pay tribute to the classic Davis Sketches of Spain album. Belden produced a similar album a few years ago called Miles From India, which featured Davis alumni teaming up with musicians from India.  Miles Espanol is beautifully arranged, performed, and recorded. The mix of Western and exotic instrumentation coupled with amazing improvisations makes this an entrancing listen. The CDPrimo created a huge soundstage, as wide as I had heard from any source component. Chick Corea’s sublime piano solo on “Trampolin” perfectly illustrates the CDPrimo strengths. The piano sounded percussive and alternatively mellow, as Corea varied his attack, and it was easy to follow Corea’s hands as he travelled the length of the keyboard.  What makes this even more remarkable is that while all of that is going on, there are percussion parts and other instruments floating in and out. The CDPrimo was able to make perfect sense of all the complexity.

I should also mention that the bass performance of the CDPrimo was second to none, in my experience with CD players. There was an authoritative weight and natural warmth that created a solid foundation for the rest of the frequency spectrum. Electric and acoustic bass instruments had real impact and articulation.

A final note concerning the USB input. I must admit I simply found no use for it. My computer is not in close range to my main reference system, and I do not have a spare laptop to dedicate for music playback.  I prefer Ethernet streaming for my music server set up, so apologies for not being equipped to render an opinion. But those with MacBooks, and the like, integrated into their systems would not have to purchase any additional hardware to mine their digital files with the CDPrimo.


The Unison Research Unico CDPrimo is the least mechanical sounding CD player I have had in my home system to date. There are a number of very good players at the $2500 price point. While I have not heard all of them -- nobody has -- I have heard quite a few. The CDPrimo would be my top choice if I was shopping for a CD player in this range, which in fact, is realistically what I am willing to spend today.

Some talk about the uncertain future of the CD, and CD players general. I say there is still, and will continue to be a market for great sounding, superbly engineered players. I myself will have a disc spinner in my system regardless of the doomsayers predict. Last year, 253 Million discs were sold, and there are billions of discs sitting in listeners collections worldwide.  I do, however, believe the future of CD players will depend on making them digital hubs of some sort, with digital inputs, as both Unico players have.  The Unison Research Unico CD Primo was a sheer pleasure to live with and I can’t recommend it highly enough to those in the market.  It is visually stylish, sonically beautiful, and an excellent value.


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