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Cafad

YBA Heritage CD100/A100 combo

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A few weeks ago I purchased a YBA Heritage A100 integrated amp.  That amp performed so well that I found myself wondering if it was worth picking up the associated Heritage CD100 player as well.  So I wondered and I googled and I ordered based on what I found.  I must say, I am glad I did.  The YBA components compliment each other very well.

 

There are already several pics of the A100 in my 'Addicts Guide' thread but none of the CD100 so let's correct that shall we?

post-130663-0-36122700-1447461366_thumb.

Not the greatest pic but it does show off those toggle switches.  Once you've experienced toggle switches you won't go back to buttons, toggles are so much more tactile than buttons.

 

post-130663-0-67001800-1447461385_thumb.

And an internal shot, note the R core power supply.  It may not be important to some but to me the fact that those opamps are mounted in a "press in" manner that enables me to roll them with ease is a very big thing.  There will be some Burson discretes tested out in this puppy by the end of the month.  

 

Edit:  I just noticed I left the cd in for this pic, I do recall the YBA doing a very nice rendition of the "Gregorian Masters of Chant" album.  Great atmosphere on that album.  I also seem to be wearing my uggies, what an overly informative picture.

 

post-130663-0-83227600-1447460832_thumb.

And the required 'action shot'.

 

I have yet to get to the details of this review (however it is a long weekend for me so I should be done by Monday night) so this first post is more a preview.

 

The YBA gear gives great atmosphere, almost as effectively as the Sansui AU5900 actually.  Where the Sansui uses a whole heap of warmth to impart its atmosphere the YBA's utilize a fullness of tone to achieve a similar effect.  It feels like there is more meat in the middle of each note with the YBA combo and that makes the bass sound more full (not deeper or faster but it feels like it has more staying power, you can really sink your teeth into it), lets the mid range fill out the soundstage and tonally fleshes out the top end as well (piano is an absolute delight through the YBAs).  

 

The toggle switches on the cd player really work for me, for some reason it is so much more satisfying to use a toggle switch than it is to just press a button.  On a more practical note it also allows for two functions per switch, up for one and down for another so YBA can utilize all the usual functions without crowding what is otherwise a very clean looking face plate.  The coax input on the back is a nice addition too, so the player can double as a single input DAC.

 

The only thing I have found that displeases me about the YBA Heritage gear so far involves the functionality of the remote control.  There is no 'punch through' function on anything, so if you have selected the cd player and you want to change the volume you have to select the amp button first or the volume button is inactive.  Similarly if you want to change the track that is playing and you have just adjusted the volume then you have to select the cd player first, otherwise the track forward and back buttons are inactive.  A 'punch through' function on the volume control would have been nice.  I will say this for the remote though, it is extremely well balanced.

 

I'm very impressed with the YBA Heritage gear and that is without any reference to the price.  At two to two and a half K per component I would say they were a good buy but since they cost $1650 for the amp and $1299 for the cd player I would say they are a screaming bargain.  (they are on special though, normal RRP is $2K for the amp and $1550 for the spinner, including postage, mine were purchased from A1 Future Shop)

 

 

 

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I think we may have to agree to disagree on that point.

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Don't you go applying double inverse psychologilizology.  I won't fall for it you know.

 

Edit:

Hang on... or are you just disagreeing with my statement that we would just have to agree to disagree?  And does that mean we are disagreeing to disagree?

Edited by Cafad

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It looks like four stereo opamps, TL072CP is the code name.

 

Here are a couple of closer up pics that I hope will upload with enough resolution for the printing on the opamps to be readable.

 

post-130663-0-64317400-1447554414_thumb.

post-130663-0-94039300-1447554426_thumb.

 

If anyone has an opinion on the two blocks of wood I'd love to hear it.

 

 

Also, the case screws are a bright and shiny stainless steel and look great when set against the clean aluminium cover.

Edited by Cafad

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If anyone has an opinion on the two blocks of wood I'd love to hear it.

 

 

 

I'd assume it makes the sound more organic? Dampening of oscillating vibrations of the opamp? I've seen wood enclosed film capacitors that supposedly makes it sound better. Could be the same marketing/tweak/mod concept?

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Adds tmber!   timbre!

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I've owned 2 different YBA CD spinners in the past and agree with you about the toggle switches. They were great sounding CD players but lacked a little in dynamics I thought. Great rich organic sound and a soundstage that was a little recessed. East to live with.

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I've owned 2 different YBA CD spinners in the past and agree with you about the toggle switches. They were great sounding CD players but lacked a little in dynamics I thought. Great rich organic sound and a soundstage that was a little recessed. East to live with.

Lacking in dynamics... I can't say I've noticed a lack as such but I will say that it isn't as dynamic as some.  Dynamic sound is usually a big thing for me too, but I guess I've been enjoying that richness and sweetness of strings in the mids so much that I hadn't really noticed.  So I guess it's dynamic enough for my needs.

 

Definitely a recessed soundstage but then since I am against most things that sound forward that works well for me.  There's also the effect it has on woodwind instruments that sends little shivers down my spine, they sound so spiritual and eerie it's just uncanny.

 

Which models did you have prof?

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I also have the CD100 (earlier model with slot load) and have to agree with your assessment Cafad. Teamed up with an MF M6 integrated and Audio Physic Classic 20 speakers and the sound thrills me. Best cd player I have owned (though I am only really a "mid-fier" and have never spent more than a few $k on spinners). And yes, just love those toggle switches.

 

Re the slot load vs drawer loading, I read an interview with a lass from YBA (Jackie Pugh in Hifi Choice review of this player - 5 stars fwiw) and she said that they changed to the drawer due to getting a better sound. :( Though I would say that the slot looks slicker... :)

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I hada CD200 and a CD 400

 

Both from higher model series than the Heritage then.  Very nice.  That cd400 in the classifieds must bring back some memories.

 

I also have the CD100 (earlier model with slot load) and have to agree with your assessment Cafad. Teamed up with an MF M6 integrated and Audio Physic Classic 20 speakers and the sound thrills me. Best cd player I have owned (though I am only really a "mid-fier" and have never spent more than a few $k on spinners). And yes, just love those toggle switches.

 

Re the slot load vs drawer loading, I read an interview with a lass from YBA (Jackie Pugh in Hifi Choice review of this player - 5 stars fwiw) and she said that they changed to the drawer due to getting a better sound. :( Though I would say that the slot looks slicker... :)

Well if less than a few $K is mid-fi then that's where I work, rest and play.  Very few items I've managed to get my hands on has RRP'ed for more than $3K (of course I try like mad to get anything I buy on special or second hand to maximize my buying power), there's just so much choice out there.  I tend to consider HiFi's starting point at about $1250 per component but there are a hand-full of good buys at less than that too.

 

And I agree, the slot loader does look better but since the change was made in the name of better sound then we just have to live with it.

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What a day.  I locked my keys inside in the morning, took delivery of Def Leppard's new album mid morning, took delivery of my new Job INT in the early afternoon and then had to finish off my YBA listening while being distracted by the fact that I had both new music and new gear staring at me and urging me to listen to it.  Somewhere in there I managed to watch last weeks episode of the walking dead and perform a whirlwind shopping trip, I'm not sure how I managed that.

 

Since I've already posted my impressions of the A100 amp I'm going to copy and paste from my 'addicts guide' thread and then add more comments and adjusted scores in a different colour script, that'll save me a little typing.  

 

 

Highs: The A100 manages to make much of the top end sound soft and delicate and yet still present it in a way that makes it easy to hear.  Brass sounds a little soft and very easy on the ears, a little ambiently sweeter than usual.  Triangle was a bit disappointing actually as it was all sparkle and no twinkle.  Piano is very nice indeed.  The amp manages a surprisingly high level of detail without sounding analytical or overly precise.  I suspect the triangle didn't have enough harmonics for the amp to work its magic with (I'll explain that more effectively as we work our way further down).  I'm awarding an 8.0 here.

With the CD100 in front of it the top end is slightly richer, triangle has improved (if only slightly, still the biggest weakness of the YBA IMO) and piano has managed to improve as well.  I'm awarding an 8.5, in spite of the triangle issue.

 

Mids: Given pride of place (as they should be), nicely musical, loves instruments with long decay harmonics like harmonicas, xylophones,  pipes, etc, and even guitar to a certain extent (particularly with Santana's work, really loving that).  It seems to take those harmonics and use them to generate a very enjoyable ambient atmosphere.  The A100 can do "eerie" with the best of them.  It has the ability to make steel strings sound appropriately metallic and yet not have them sound hard or tight, it's a very pleasant effect.  The only minus here is that it can get a little messy with a full band all playing at once.  I'm awarding an 8.0 here as well (it may improve with a little more running in but that's how it sounds at the moment).

Even more 'ambient hang time' with strings, really loving that.  8.25

 

Bass:  Strong and well controlled but not crisp or sharp.  A little blunt every now and then but very full and a little rich.  If it was a little less blunt it would be getting an 8.0 here as well but as it is I'm marking it down to a 7.75.

More body on display, more fleshed out, very full sounding.  I'd go as far as to call it 'full not fast' in the bass.  I like this warm bass on display but I have to say that it does detract from the larger drums, especially in drum solos.  I was going to mark it up to an 8.0 but that final drum solo I have on my test disc has convinced me to leave it at 7.75.

 

Vocals:  Female:  Clean, clear and melodious, they sound so good (in a realistic way) that I kept getting the urge to hit repeat just to listen to them again.  8.0  An ever so slight improvement, call it an 8.25.

Male:  Seems to bring out some harmonies in the guys too, it's just a pleasure to listen to a singer change the pitch in a single word.  I have heard that before but it really seems to stand out here.  7.75  I can't really hear a difference here so I'll leave it as is.

 

Soundstage:  An interesting result here as when the A100 is playing an ambient/eerie song the stereo and 3D effects are down played.  When you just have a singer and a drummer in the song it displays a very competent control of stereo and 3D imaging.  Again this breaks down just a little when you have several instruments and a singer all active at once.  Overall though, very good, 8.0.

Slightly more relaxed and slightly more recessed with slightly improved stereo and instrument separation  8.25.

 

Overall Performance Integration:

Creates a very effective ambiance by (just my opinion) utilizing the decay of each note, I'm not sure how it does it (something to do with resonances I suspect) but I'm loving the end result.  If there isn't much to work with in the ambience stakes (ie regular rock music) then it does a great job with just regular stereo and 3D effects and very nice vocals but I have to say that I think the amp is much more in its element with slow and sultry music.

As above but that ambiance has taken on a more warm and lush, almost tropical, feel to it.

 

Ability to Emote: 

Has such a good grasp of ambient music that it manages to make those eerie songs feel so very emotional and satisfying.  8.5.  That tropical effect really helps out here, the atmosphere is so heavy and palpable it lets each note decay slower and that gives a longer 'hang time'.  8.75

 

Electric Guitar Test:

Gets the feeling of energy and tone correct (and does a brilliant job with lightly played guitar) but doesn't quite manage the rebelliousness of strongly played pieces.  8.25   OK, it's still not rebellious enough to get to a 9.0 but that warm bodied, thicker atmosphere, effect really adds something to electric guitar, up to an 8.5.

 

80's Rock Test:

Pretty damn good, 8.5.  Most of my 80's tracks lack that extra fullness that seems to dominate a lot of songs today, that may be part of why it does a little better here than it does with the Electric Guitar test as the test track I use for that is a much later one.

And this is where we get to the 'take' part of the give and take, all that warmth and lush feel just doesn't work quite as well for 80's rock.  80's rock just doesn't have (or need, for that matter) that much warm body to it.  8.0  

 

And as has been pointed out earlier by the Prof, the YBA gear isn't really that dynamic and I have to agree.  This is strange for me as I usually value dynamic sound very highly but in the case of the YBA Heritage gear I still like it a great deal even though I have to admit it isn't that fast (OK, it's not exactly slow but it's far more rich, full and lush than it is fast or dynamic).

Still loving it though, regardless of the fact that it isn't actually perfect.  At its price point it's very, very good.

 

 

Edit:  In the past I have often found that adding two components with similar sound (and I've often been talking about the same model range too) has given, IMO, too much of one 'style of sound'.  I have far more often preferred to mix and match amps and players from different manufacturers, I just tend to like my style of sound in between rather than all of one.  This is one of the few times that I really dig the effect of using two components from the same model range of the same manufacturer.  Just realized that while cutting up my stir fry so I thought it should be added in before I forgot.

Edited by Cafad

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Well done, Cafad. As a YBA owner I'm glad to see they are getting some well deserved attention.

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