Review: Accuphase Accuphase DP-500 CD Player

Category: Digital

Musical Tastes: Jazz, classical, female vocalists, blues.

Important Sound Aspects: Get as close to a live sound as possible with as little glare as possible. Harsh, cold or brittle sounding music is a turn off!

The DP-500 has been in my system now for a month and replaces an Accuphase DP-57.

The DP-57 had been with me for a few years and was a good CD player. However, there were certain frequencies that made me wince. When I auditioned the DP-500 I was simply hoping to get rid of the "wince". I was not expecting a totally different music listening experience! When compared to the DP-57, the DP-500 added considerable layers and depth to the soundstage, widened the soundstage beyond the speakers at times, placed each instrument or voice more squarely in its own spot, made instruments and vocals sound much more like the read thing, and gave added height to the soundstage. There is significantly more detail and ambient information in the DP-500 when compared to the DP-57. Also, sound seems to "pop out" at you more.

Of interest to me, I rarely hear significant differences between cables from the same manufacturer. In this case, there was an audible difference between using Tara Labs Air1 and the Tara Labs ISM The2 interconnects. Instrument placement in the soundstage became more precise and the amount of detail heard seemed to increase. There appeared to be a slight change in tonality to voices and instruments that made the overall sound more realistic. I ended up purchasing the Tara Labs ISM interconnects and am not sure that I would have upgraded to from the DP-57 to the DP-500 as readily without the ISM cables.

There is some good info online regarding the build of the DP-500, including the use of multiple processors and the development of a proprietary transport. I can say that the transport is as solid and quiet as on any player I have seen. One quibble, although not vital, is that there is no "Open/Close" capability on the supplied remote. You have to go to the actual player to open the transport. I have found no other issues that I could consider to be weaknesses.

This review would likely be of more help to people if I could compare the DP-500 to some of the current players by other manufacturers. However, comparisons to some other players would be unfair because I listened to those players in dealer systems that often cost far more than my own system. Having said that, the other player that I was considering was the Ayre C5xeMP. I listened to that player through a dealer system with speakers that were too close to the rear walls, making depth of soundstage quite shallow. As regards overall impact, the DP-500 sounded more natural and musical to me than the Ayre did. The Ayre seemed to accentuate the leading edge of notes more than the DP-500, but did not seem to give the richness of timbre in notes.

Associated gear
BAT 250SE amp, BAT 42SE preamp, Focal 1027 BE speakers, Tara Labs Air1 speaker cables, Tara Labs ISM The2 Interconnects.

Similar products
Wadia 6 CD player, Accuphase DP-57
Dear Brian,
I read your article on the accuphase dp500 . You wrote this 3 teams ago.
I m considering buying a new cd player als my Meridian cd player broke down after 12y service.
Buying à completely new accuphase is to expensive i m afraid but I have an second hand possibility in an DP500. It will cost me 2950€. I m wondering if the DP500 is still in with new players as technical evolution in DAC developmend is probably going fast.
My system is all Quad , Quad II, 24, ESL63
Can you gave me your opinion.

Sincerely Stephan Billiet

Having both the 57 and the 500 in my possession at the moment:

The DP-57 is a DAC for the ages with loads of detail and musicality, though it won't plummet the depths of the bass region.

The DP-500 owns the better transport which provides a remarkably quiet, SACD like presentation.  The DAC for some reason doesn't provide as much gain as the 57 and some detail gets lost in the more forward presentation. 

If you combine them you get the SACD sound in spades, with fleshed out mids and better bass.  





Thank You for the DP-57 and DP500 comparison. I love my DP-65v Reference cd player! I can only imagine how the newer generation(s) Accuphase CD/SACD players sound.


Happy Listening!