German high-end audio brand AVM is bringing two brand new all-in-one players to the rapidly approaching market Bristol HiFi Show – the Evolution CS 5.3 and the Ovation CS 8.3 Black Edition. The models have all the features of the increasingly popular just-add-speakers systems, combining amplification, streaming, a CD player and a DAC in one device.
Both models have different specs and technology powering them, with the Evolution CS 5.3 boasting 350 watts of amplification per channel, while the Ovation CS 8.3 Black Edition claims an even more powerful 2x 500W. The new Black Edition further utilizes carefully selected premium components and a special grade of tubes (valves) that AVM says are specifically reserved for this model and “elevates the Ovation tube stage in our flagship All-In-One CS to the next level. ”
Both players have a slot for a CD player, while players with a high-resolution digital library are also provided. Hi-res audio files up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM are supported, with the Evolution further processing DSD256 files, while the Ovation only goes up to DSD128.
Tidal Connect, Qobuz and Spotify music streaming services are supported on both devices, as is Apple AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth wireless streaming. The units are also Roon Ready certified and you can connect them to your home network via Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet.
In terms of physical connections, the models differ quite a bit. The Evolution model has three pairs of line-level and one pair of XLR inputs, an MM/MC switchable phono input, HDMI ARC, two digital inputs (coax and optical), and a USB-A port. The Ovation Black Edition, meanwhile, has no phono stage and keeps it simple with one pair of XLR inputs and one pair of line level on the analog side. It has more digital inputs: two optical, one coaxial, USB Type B and USB A inputs. Both models also have a dedicated headphone amplifier with a 6.3mm headphone jack on the front panel.
The Evolution beats the Ovation in terms of speaker connections, offering two pairs of speaker connections compared to the single pair on the more expensive model.
For design, the Evolution CS 5.3 offers a choice of hand-brushed aluminum silver, black, or a “CELLINI” chrome front panel (for a fee). The Ovation CS 8.3 Black Edition (unsurprisingly) only has a sleek “night black” finish and a blue graphic display as opposed to the Evolution’s standard white. However, on request you can also get other “individual finishes” for your Black Edition.
Speaking of price, there is a significant difference between the two when it comes to cost. The Evolution CS 5.3 costs £10,495 / €10,090, while the Ovation CS 8.3 Black Edition costs a hefty £18,495 / €16,490.
We’re excited to see how these streamlined systems sound when we hear them on demo at the Bristol Show. The AVM players are distributed by PMC in the UK and will be paired with PMC and new Martin Logan Motion speakers at the show this week on February 24-26 (there is still time to buy tickets (opens in new tab)).
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