I wanted to start this review with a little background info since there isn't that much info out there regarding Redgum components (and I did a lot of googling!). For instance, I am willing to bet that while you can get a fair amount of info from the Redgum website about their choice of volume control (individual channel knobs or single knob) but did you know that you can adjust balance from the remote, and then reset the balance to 50/50 at the touch of a button?
What about the fact that there is an info sheet stuck to the base of each piece of Redgum gear that includes not only the model number and year but also the name of the buyer and the details of any personal modifications they requested? So if you're buying second hand each piece of gear tells a story. My RGCD5ENR for instance was initially purchased by Tony Wright of Sydney and there is a note that he planned to remove the front panel prior to use. Now I don't know Tony, and I guess I'm not likely to, but having a name to assign to the player makes things a bit more personal. (I can deduce one or two things about Tony though, the first is that he obviously likes his music and doesn't mind paying for good gear, the second is that he is no fool, he has vibration dampened the case with two rows of blutak stuck to the underside of the top panel, cheap and effective, very nice!)
I have said in the past that the design of the Redgum cd players is a little odd, using a cd rom as a spinner is pretty interesting cosmetically, philosophically and practically. I have to admit cosmetically it does make the player look a bit commonplace, it is a definite let down after that gorgeous timber faceplate. Philosophically it makes me wonder just how seriously I should take all the talk of other manufacturers regarding mechanism stability, cd clamps and custom error correction techniques when this player sounds damn good without any of the above. Practically I love the idea of a cheap and easily replaced mechanism, but the lack of a screen telling you what is happening is a bit of a bugger which is why I use my Consonance cd120 as a transport and the RGCD5ENR as a DAC.
Another thing I wanted to mention, the RG175 mono-blocks have their AC power socket very close to their external heat sink so there is not enough room to use certain types of power cords. If your power cord has a thick, round plastic end just behind the three pin plug (as many expensive power cords do) then the heat sink renders it unusable. It isn't a big thing but it was certainly something I noticed as I couldn't use my custom power cords. I believe the newer model (since mine are 2007 vintage) has the heat sink mounted underneath so this is unlikely to be a concern.
And last but not least, Redgum uses Philips remote codes, (as do Consonance and Myryad and many others) so I only need one remote even if I switch cd players. Yeah, I know it means nothing to most people out there but for me it leaves more room on the armrest for cd cases and chocolate wrappers and I really appreciate that.
I'll get into the Pre and monoblock functionality next, and I'll put up a pic of that info sheet I mentioned.
Edit: And here it is.
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