CE Pro February 2022 - 56

CE Products
FIELD TEST
of audible enhancements I
hear from discs and streaming
music (low to high res),
the " clarity " part truly living
up to the Clarus name.
I can drive my system
to reference levels and it
just makes the music more
compelling. Not at all noisy,
distorted, fatiguing or harsh.
The fact is, I'm kind of
blown away on a regular
basis at how much detailed
and crystal-clear musicality
I can get out of the standmount
Studio 20's.
Meanwhile, when it comes
to low volume level listening,
which I often do at night,
the system still delivers lots
of enjoyment thanks to how
clean and dynamic everything
sounds. Effortlessly is
how the system responds to
volume changes.
My listening included
percussion- and horns-heavy
albums like Paul Simon's
world music-influenced
" Graceland " and " Rhythm of
the Saints " albums, Trey Anastasio
Band concert recordings
featuring multi-instrument
wizard Cyro Baptista,
and early Chicago albums;
acoustic guitar and bluegrass
from Rodrigo y Gabriela and
David Grisman; and classic
rock, blues, prog and pop.
Overall, percussion instruments
sound fuller, snappier,
crisper and more pronounced
in the sound stage, creating
more textured soundscapes
and nuances. Bass guitar is
better defined, tighter and
more impactful; acoustic
guitars, mandolins and other
stringed instruments are
vibrant and sharp, and hold
their weight not to be overwhelmed
by electric guitars in
songs where both are playing.
For that last detail, for
instance, tracks such as " Jessica "
from the Allman Brothers
and Boston's " Peace of Mind "
that I've heard hundreds of
times sounded so robust and
energetic, augmented by a
more propulsive transient response
that shined on those
and myriad other tunes via
Qobuz, Tidal and CD. Similarly,
check out Billy Joel's " The
Stranger " title track in highres
- that chorus section
filled with chimes beautifully
washes over the listening area,
and it's like hearing a different
tune. It's funny, with greater
instrument definition and
dynamics I'm also hearing how
much more widespread the
tambourine is in classic rock.
Hearing the slick effects
on Taylor Swift's " Death by
a Thousand Cuts " from her
" Lover " album in MQA on Tidal
was powerful, especially the
The Clarus CODA DAC/headphone amp features a blue/
green/magenta LED indicator and volume/digital roll-off
filter controls.
stunning piano section that
floats near the left speaker,
and the whole track typifies
the system's remarkable imaging
and spacious qualities. Yes'
" Roundabout " from " Fragile "
on MQA offered similar
dimensionality, also showcasing
the ultra-low noise floor
during the song's quiet parts,
which in turn make the crescendos
more hair-raising.
I'll play discs when I can't
find a high-res streaming option,
and my 30-year-old CD
of " Rhythm of the Saints " has
become a go-to demo; with
dozens of instruments like
congas, cymbals, castanets,
triangles, gourds, shakers,
bells and others, a lot could
get lost but instead tracks
such as " Can't Run But " and
" Born at the Right Time "
generate a diverse and deep
sound stage. Same for songs
like " Straight from the Heart "
and " Fragile " on Sting's
" Nothing Like the Sun " CD;
both albums sound lush.
Regarding the CODA,
I'll add that as mentioned
I've used it plugged into my
laptop with a set of low-fi
earbuds and listened to a
variety of content. Even
with these, the enhanced
musical definition is significantly
noticeable; from the
thumbdrive-size DACs I've
tried out, CODA is a top-tier
performer, especially for the
price. Considering MQA's
share of skeptics, the way
those Tidal tracks sound so
wonderfully pristine via the
CODA actually makes me
more of a fan of the format.
Beyond the Concerto's
power conditioning, its
power protection capabilities
did the job when our neigh56
| CE Pro February 2022
CE PRO
VERDICT
Concerto
CODA
PROS: Incredibly reduced
noise floor, enhanced
definition and microdetails;
super transient response
aided by Concerto; great
layout, durability of rear
panel outlets to handle
heavy power cables; CODA is
rugged, easy to install, solid
attachment-sale opportunity;
CODA comes with nice,
convenient packaging
CONS: Concerto price at
$3600 may limit to higher-end
systems; power plug purchase
separate; CODA is small, so
there's always potential for
owners to lose it
borhood experienced some
mini power outages as utility
workers were in the area one
week. More than once I had
the system running when
things went out, but soon
enough after the house power
returned, the Clarus unit
started tick-tick-ticking as
the outlets fired back up in
sequence and the connected
components were fine.
All-in-all, the bottom
line is this exercise affirmed
for me positive attributes
audiophiles point to with
power products and cabling,
plus DAC technologies.
Upgrading these areas
can make a good system
great and a great system
out of this world, and with
the Concerto and CODA,
Clarus has given integrators
solutions at both ends of the
budget to do so.
cepro.com
http://www.cepro.com

CE Pro February 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CE Pro February 2022

CE Pro February 2022 - Presentation Page
CE Pro February 2022 - Cover1
CE Pro February 2022 - Cover2
CE Pro February 2022 - 1
CE Pro February 2022 - 2
CE Pro February 2022 - 3
CE Pro February 2022 - 4
CE Pro February 2022 - 5
CE Pro February 2022 - 6
CE Pro February 2022 - 7
CE Pro February 2022 - 8
CE Pro February 2022 - 9
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CE Pro February 2022 - 17
CE Pro February 2022 - 18
CE Pro February 2022 - 19
CE Pro February 2022 - 20
CE Pro February 2022 - 21
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CE Pro February 2022 - 24
CE Pro February 2022 - 25
CE Pro February 2022 - 26
CE Pro February 2022 - 27
CE Pro February 2022 - 28
CE Pro February 2022 - 29
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CE Pro February 2022 - 40
CE Pro February 2022 - 41
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CE Pro February 2022 - 45
CE Pro February 2022 - 46
CE Pro February 2022 - 47
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CE Pro February 2022 - 49
CE Pro February 2022 - 50
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CE Pro February 2022 - 60
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CE Pro February 2022 - 63
CE Pro February 2022 - 64
CE Pro February 2022 - Cover3
CE Pro February 2022 - Cover4
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https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/cepro/october_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/cepro/september_2021
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