Denon RCD-CX1 Receivers

Denon RCD-CX1 Receivers 


The RCD-CX1 CD/Super Audio CD Receiver combines audiophile design and ease-of-use into a compact unit that takes little shelf space. Featuring Denon’s S.V.H. vibration suppression disc transport/loading system, the RCD-CX1 provides true audiophile sound with music CDs as well as high resolution Super Audio CDs. The powerful amplifier section features discrete devices along with high current compatible power supplies, to provide 75 watts per channel into 4 ohms.


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[Feb 14, 2010]
Audio Enthusiast

This is a review of the Denon RCD-CX1 SACD-receiver (Feb-2010).

My audio needs were as follows: high sound quality, user friendly, and compact. Required sources: tuner, CD, SACD, at least one external line-in, and preferably a remote control. This Denon set in combination with some extras (see below) ticked all the boxes. It is basically an all-in-one version of the separate component set CX3, albeit with a slightly lower-powered amplifier. The CX1 has a 75W amplifier (at 4 Ohm; 37W at 8 Ohm), which is for my use -medium sized 50m2 living room- sufficient.

- Speakers: Quad ESL-2805 electrostats.
- The external line-in of the CX1 is connected to a music server.
- My music server is an iMac holding all my CDs in Apple lossless format. I control it via an iPod Touch (using the "Remote" app, works flawlessly). The iMac streams wirelessly to an Apple Airport Express -at 44.1kHz sampling- and its optical out goes via an external DAC (Cambridge Audio DacMagic) to the line-in of the CX1.
- Tuner is connected to a city provided fixed FM antenna signal with a selection of radio stations.

For me this is the perfect solution: the only 'box in sight' is the Denon (rest is inside a cabinet), and I can play my entire CD collection in uncompressed CD quality, SACDs, and FM radio. If desired, through the music server internet radio is also possible, although of course at compressed audio quality (all internet radio stations stream audio at low bit rates as far as I know).

- Compact unit, solid build quality; this is also true of remote control, and CD-tray.
- Design is minimalistic, only a few buttons.
- Price paid (Europe): 1600 euro.
- CX1 has a pre-out, so using the CX1 in combination with another external power amplifier is possible.

- No digital-in. Only a digital out (with CD signal, not SACD).
- Only a few external analogue inputs (see below).
- User manual is a bit brief on more complex settings like RDS.
- Switching between CD and SACD is only possible by changing the default layer reading setting with the remote control. I would have liked a simple toggle button.
- Volume adjustment via RC goes in 0.5 dB steps which is too fine for me: making a significant adjustment requires too many button repeats. Of course one can just hold the volume button on the RC, but then one needs some training to let go in time, since the volume will change quite quickly.
- The CX1 does not play DVD-audio. Personally I feel that the availability of SACDs is now sufficiently large so that I can do without DVD-a. One could of course connect an external DVD-a, but I didn't want to have another box in sight.

Other remarks:
- SACD has only stereo-out, no multichannel. As I never watch movies and don't want five speakers in my room this does not bother me. Although I acknowledge that multi channel sound has some added audio value, for me personally the drawbacks (more equipment, more speakers) outweigh the benefits so I decided to stick to stereo.
- External inputs: 1x line-in, phono (with MC/MM selector), tape-in/out (can function as 2nd line-in), ipod-dock control connector for control via CX1 remote control.
- RDS tuner has 30 presets (AM+FM combined)
- Volume control is acceleration sensitive, so volume adjustment does not only depend on rotation of knob, but also on rotation speed. This takes some getting used to. Volume setting is shown in dB (-90 … 0 dB). I hardly ever use settings above -35 dB (then speaking with others becomes totally impossible), so for a 50m2 living room I feel this unit has sufficient power.

[Nov 21, 2009]

True audiophile quality, both acousticly and mechanicly. Just bought unit sight unseen and, knowing Denon,
expected above average quality, especially for the price. But this went way beyond my expectations. Clean is the best way to describe the rcd-CX1. Clean and clear sound, clean and simple operation, clean and elegent build. Incredable value for the money.

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