This is one of the greatest CD transport/DAC combo ever built in the digital category of audio components. Everything about the Spectral combo is about getting the best out there – be it parts, technology or materials. The CD transport on the SDR-3000 is a specially source unit from Esoteric’s top of the line transport and then redesigned specifically for Spectral. Hearing the tray slide in and out and you get a sense of the quality of the transport used without even hearing the music yet. When partnered with the SDR-2000 Reference Processor and connected via its Spectralink Interface, this combo will blow you away. The transparency was immediate, the resolution was beautifully crafted and the music was organically prefect. They were so good that Stereophile even classified them as state-of-the-art digital components. The thing that you will pick up immediately is how clean they sound. There was no hint of digital glare, the soundstaging and imaging was stunning to say the least. To keep the SDR-2000 operating its best without any kind of electrical interference, the power supply was kept separated and housed in its own enclosure.
We would venture to say that this combo would rival Esoteric’s P-03/D-03 combo easily and for much less money. The previous owner of this combo actually had to go much higher up the ladder to find a combo that would actually beat it – the dCS Scarlatti system (which by the way costs tens of thousand dollars more). And even then, it was a tough battle. No 42-0 score tally but more like a 42-38 loss by the Spectral.
Both the SDR-3000 and SDR-2000 look very good. Minor scuff marks here and there but nothing major. We have the original boxes, manual and all the accompany cables that goes with it.