It’s not every day a brand-new product line enters my listening room, so it was with more than a little intrigue I opened this arrival from Germany, courtesy of the new Australian distributor HiFi Collective.
First impressions. The build quality looks superb, the weight is not as heavy as expected and you’ve just got to love the inclusion of white gloves.
Duly unpacked I break all the rules and read the manual. A very straight forward process to attach speakers, add an aerial for FM, connect ethernet and power, and we are away. Curiously once the WiFi is actioned via ethernet, AVM suggest you disconnect the cable and continue wirelessly. This I did without any issues, even with Hi Definition material.
So, what do you get? The AVM CS 5.2 is a streamer (Tidal and UPnP), CD player, FM tuner, DAC, has both MM and MC phono inputs, 3 RCA inputs, and 2 digital inputs. And a power amplifier rated at 330 watts/channel in 4 ohms. (Further detail available here )
Listening. Though I have only had a week of getting to know the AVM CD 5.2 I have had to learn to hear my extensive music collection again. Is it better or worse than my reference system or other systems in the house is not the question, the question to me is, is this a viable option at its price point and is the functionality and over all sound up to the task? A resounding yes to both questions.
Given the amount of technology included in this one box, it is a delight to hear how it performs with such a minimal (visual) impact in the listening room. It really is an all-in-one solution in high fidelity, and also has the unusual ability to run a second pair of speakers into a second zone. I could detect no difference between playing a CD and playing the same CD via UPnP. Both equally engaging. Where the AVM really shines is when you select HiRes material downloaded from the likes of HDtracks. Here the AVM processing really looks after the source material and demands a grin.
The app (Android and iOS) is the main control for the CD 5.2. (There is an optional remote available, but I did not use this). The app is fast, and intuitive. You can select your source with ease, including Tidal, FM pre-sets, and Internet radio which is very well done with a local station offering, all the other analogue and digital inputs and a My Files setting where you will find both your digital library via UPnP and also the music tracks saved on the device operating the CS 5.2.
Listening has been a relisten to my audition tracks that I have been using for years plus a listen to quite a number of recent purchases. I have found the CS 5.2 to be exemplary when all is well with the source, meaning it will reveal the inadequacies of some of your music collection recordings while absolutely shining if the recording/transfer is well managed. If the source is exceptional then the CS 5.2 will reward you and then some. I read all digital signals are up sampled to 192kHZ / 24bit before conversion via a dual DAC to the analogue signal. There are clearly some decisions exercised around this process that lead to the highly engaging sound.
As the only thing to add to this comprehensive all-in-one solution is a set (or two) of speakers this I found most interesting. Starting with my listening room reference Naim Ovator S400 speakers, I actually found an even more balanced sound when driving the two other options currently available in the house, namely the Totem Sky monitor speakers and the Totem Hawk floor standing speakers. My lesson here would be that speaker matching with an all-in-one at this level is critical, as it is with most HiFi.
I look forward to getting to know the rest of the AVM all-in-one range over the coming years. We are off to a very good start.
With thanks to HiFi Collective for the AVM CS 5.2 https://hificollective.com.au/
AVM is found here – https://avm.audio/