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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

SOUNDBOXES II - The Classic Roksan Attessa CD Player

The Most Analogue-Like CD Player . A Classic.
The Roksan Attessa - A fine piece of Hi Fi kit to play your favourite easy instrumentals and vocals on. A quick introduction first – from a dated website:
  Roksan has introduced its Attessa DP3 (US$2,795), a top-loading CD Transport with a centrally housed drive chamber covered by a powered lid. The inner drive chamber is painted matt black to absorb spurious light while a low inertia magnetic centering puck clamps the disk from above. A laser sled drive system is said to give finer resolution than other mechanisms. The actual drive mechanism is isolated via a four-tiered suspension to decouple it from the plinth and the main chassis. The main circuit boards are also further isolated to eliminate the effects of microphony on delicate signals. 10-stage regulation divides servo mechanism and circuit board for optimum performance. A full-function remote control is standard.
I acquired this player off eBay (UK) after a local second hand dealer demonstrated a sold unit in his shop using a power and pre-amplifier set-up. The sound was exceptionally refined despite the somewhat less than sleek design of the player. The version that I am commenting on here is the full CD PLAYER version, and not the CD TRANSPORT which requires an outboard Digital-Analogue-Converter (DAC). It was in fact a very bulky disc player that could not have appealed at first sight. It could have been invented in the 1980s when STAR WARS and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA consoles were the rage on the movie screen. According to the instruction manual this player was manufactured in June 1993.
In keeping with the genre on this website, I tested it with tracks from the DECCA Phase 4 instrumental remasters from Duttonvocalion, and a selection from the 1991 EMI ‘Compacts for Pleasure’ two disc collection featuring Franck Pourcel, Geoff Love, Ron Goodwin and Manuel and the Music of the Mountains. The strings were full bodied and sounded as though they were playing in a thickly wood paneled concert hall or studio. You could almost hear the ‘sound of wood’. The slower the piece, the sweeter and more precise the reproduction.
I had also tried out the ‘faster attack’ tempo of smooth jazz tracks, but the player came up slightly short in this regard. The excitement of the studio atmospherics was missing even if every note and bass line was right on cue. Sung Opera did far better, especially of the likes of Lesley Garrett, the Celtic Tenors, Mario Frangoulis, Sarah Brightman and Helmut Lotti. The soundstages were quite expansive and the voices reverberated as one would expect – off the wooded panels of a good recording venue!

For the faster paced EZ instrumentals, such as the album FESTIVAL TROPICAL by Gunter Norris, his Big Band and Orchestra, the satisfaction of listening was also evident – tempo, drums, loud opulent brass – all came across naturally. Maybe it’s because they were all recorded ‘live’ in a studio, instead of having the sounds mixed from separate recording tracks and venues!
As you can see from the pictures, this is a bulky player whose engineering marvel lies in its so-called four-level suspended CD mounting bay. The idea of a top loading system, complete with a magnetic puck, is thus far, an evergreen design imitated even by newer high-end players from Raysonic, Naim, Shanling, and Goldmund.

A final note: I had partnered this player for trial runs with an AUDIO ANALOGUE PRIMO SETTANTA (70W) Integrated Amplifier, then with a SONUS FABER MUSICA (50W) Integrated Amplifier. Both brought out the best in the Attessa. In both runs, the amplifiers were matched with Focus Audio FS78 speakers, equipped with Straightwire interconnects (Symphony II) and Nordost Blue Heaven (Speaker cables)
 Some specifications:
Sampling frequency: 44.1kHz
Analogue Output: 2.0 Vrms
Dynamic Range: 97 dB
Optical pick-up: 3-beam laser
D/A Conversion: Crystal Delta-Sigma
Power consumption: 10W
Weight: 9kg
Email me at if you would like to correspond further on this fine player. Alan.

POSTSCRIPT (April 2015): for those of you intending to acquire the Attessa, please be aware that it will NOT play CD-Rs or CD-RWs. All normal 'Red Book' CDs (i.e. bought from record stores online and offline) will paly normally, so will HDCD and DSD-encoded discs. I have not tried SACDs though.


  1. Hi, this is the Roksan Attessa DP2 not the DP3 (which I have - transport version) - the DP3 wasn't manufactured till about 96 I think. Plus it would have in the right hand corner ATT DP3.

    1. Thank you Mark for pointing this out. There was nothing in the manual, or on the player itself to identify its exact numerical model number. I shall leave the original posting intact so that readers can read your amendments in tandem. A swell product from Roksan. Cheers!