AVM’s CS 8.3 Black Edition Streaming Receiver: Just Add Speakers
German manufacturer, Audio video Manufaktur (AVM) has been building handcrafted luxury products in Germany since 1986 and while it took a few decades for their outstanding products to establish a foothold in North America — the wait has certainly been worth it.
All of their design and engineering is done in house, and having inspected under the hood of a number of their components, the parts and build quality is second to none. When you ask consumers to spend almost $18,000 on a streaming receiver with a built-in CD player — it better offer more than just off-the-shelf components and mid-tier sound quality.
The new CS 8.3 Black Edition takes its place as AVM’s best-sounding All-In-One. It features a specially selected version of the latest ESS DAC, a new upgraded tube specially made for the Black Edition, upgraded internal wiring, upgraded speaker binding posts and special Black Edition casework.
The Black Edition features the new top-of-the-line ESS SABRE 9038 PRO fully balanced double-quad DAC. AVM uses only the best 2% pre-selected DACs then applies additionally temperature-stabilized high-precision clocks.
The DACs are powered by a double regulated highly refined separate power supply. The circuits are channel-separated on their own circuit boards for perfect channel separation performance.
This additional efforts improve the signal-to-noise ratio considerably compared to the already outstanding CS 8.3 standard version. In addition, these converters can also process DSD128 (5.6MHz) signals. The sampling electronics allow adjustable sampling rates on the SPDIF inputs (44.1-192kHz) and enable the selection between two filter characteristics (smooth / steep).
In this process, the clock of the digital signals is completely regenerated and, due to this effort, jitter is effectively and practically completely eliminated. In addition, the CS 8.3 can also down-sample; this function is important for playlists with different sampling rates and formats from different sources.
The signal routing of the digital signals is consistently impedance controlled. The USB input is XMOS-based, galvanically isolated and always works asynchronously. Without driver up to 96kHz, with suitable driver up to 384 kHz and with DSD128.
The Pure CD drive is supplied exclusively for AVM by the renowned manufacturer TEAC. Worldwide, only AVM is supplied with these unique drives. The special feature of this drive, which is based on a mono-focal laser, is the pure CD playback according to the so-called Red-book Standard with the signal output as SPDIF signal to the following D/A converter stages.
The sound advantage of this drive is thus exclusive to AVM. The drive in the CS 8.3 is also heavily noise-insulated with thick acoustic felt mats. The CS 8.3 is completely software updatable.
In addition, important parts of the digital circuits can be easily replaced, the complete D/A converter board and the XMOS input board are replaceable and the CS 8.3 is thus also hardware upgradeable.
As a matter of principle, they only use 4-layer circuit boards with black coating in the OVATION CS 8.3, the inner layers of which serve as power supply and house the ground lines.
The entire signal path is completely DC- coupled. Three low-noise switching power supplies provide separate power for analog + and – (including so-called low-drop-out controls), one power supply provides power for all digital circuits, whereby the digital audio section is regulated separately.
According to Jay Rein, president of Bluebird Music, “this additional effort improves the signal-to-noise ratio considerably compared to the already outstanding CS 8.3 standard version. The special amplification circuit, designed and refined over several product generations, is extremely faithful to the original performance and the tubes, which are operated gently, are estimated to have a life expectancy of over 20,000 hours.”
The CS 8.3 Black Edition features a custom-made Pure CD drive with mono-focal laser, a 500 watt stereo amplifier, (250 watts into 8ohms) and AVM’s rock-solid X-Stream Engine which supports: Apple AirPlay2, Spotify Connect, Roon Ready, TIDAL Connect, Qobuz, UPnP, Webradio. Multiroom & Party Sync Mode, Bluetooth 4.2, 384kHz/32bit, DSD128, and offers convenient control via RC X App of iOS & Android.
A high quality class-A headphone amplifier is also included.
AVM CS 8.3 Features
- All-in-One Streaming CD Receiver with 2 x 500 W (into 4 ohms)
- Black Edition Tube
- X-STREAM Engine® for HiRes streaming incl. DSD, controllable over RC X APP
- USB A for external hard drives (NTFS & FAT)
- 1 XLR line input, switchable as Hometheatre Thruput
- Bluetooth 4.2
- Multiroom function: AVM RoomConneXion®
- Headphone output 6.3mm on front panel with dedicated Class-A headphone amp
- Pure CD mechanism with Slot-in (Red-Book standard), exclusive to AVM
- Digital signal conversion with to selection Double-Quad DAC for max. 384/32 PCM and/or DSD 128 (ESS SABRE 9038 Reference DAC)
- Tone control and parametric loudness with bypass-function (controllable also over RC X APP)
- Numerous menu functions (adjustable input sensitivity, individual naming of inputs and more)
- Minimal stand-by power consumption and auto power down (APD)
- Trigger in, ext. IR Sensor, 2 x Trigger out
- Streaming formats: MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG Vorbis, FLAC (192/24 via LAN), WAV (192/24 über LAN), AIFF (192/24 über LAN), ALAC (96/24 via LAN)
- Webradio: Airable Internet Radio Service, Internet Radio Station Database (automatic updates)
- Streaming Services: Spotify Connect, AirPlay, Qobuz, Tidal, HighResAudio, ROON ready, Webradio
- WLAN & LAN
- 2 variable outputs (balanced and unbalanced)
- Digital inputs: 1 x USB (asynchronously galvanically isolated, DSD128/384 kHz), 1 x S/PDIF coaxial, 2 x S/PDIF optical, 1 x AES/EBU)
- 2 digital outputs (S/PDIF coaxial & S/PDIF optical)
- Upsampling rate adjustable from 44.1kHz/16bit to 192kHz/24bit
- 2 switchable digital filters (smooth/sharp)
- Low-diffusion power supplies, separate for CD-drive and audio electronics
- Large, blue illuminated graphic display, dimmable
- Supplied in AVM OVATION Flight Case
Price & Availability
The Black Edition is offered in a new “night black” livery featuring special casework and black knobs, as well as a silver finish with silver knobs. The improved CS 8.3 Black Edition is offered at the same price as the standard CS 8.3 model, which is $17,495, ($22,495 in Canada).
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