“Making history”: Hi-Fi Choice thinks Exposure’s new XM CD shows there’s still plenty of life left in CD yet

While some in the audio industry seem convinced that the era of compact disc has well and truly had its day, David Price isn’t so sure. “It rather reminds me of 1988, when compact cassette knocked vinyl off the top spot for the first time,” he writes in Hi-Fi Choice. And we all know what became of vinyl, eh? Good job, then, that companies such as Exposure are still investing in CD.

The XM CD player is the latest component in Exposure’s award-winning XM series of half-width hi-fi separates. As well as being a standalone CD player, it can also function as a CD transport for the company’s matching XM5 integrated amplifier or XM7 preamp, both of which have built-in DACs.

“It certainly has character, and feels really nice to use. The red, front-mounted display looks very retro and gives the player an even more quirky feel,” notes Hi-Fi Choice reviewer David Price.

He’s also impressed by the top-loading disc mechanism.

“Many audiophiles have got fed up with cheap plastic drawer loaders and there’s been a move to slicker slot-loading systems – but few offer proper top loaders, last seen on the very first generation of CD players from 1982. One of the reasons is that this requires a fair bit of mechanical engineering on the designer’s part – you can’t just buy the top cover assembly off the shelf from a Chinese OEM supplier for pennies. Instead, Exposure has come up with its own aluminium ‘sled’ operating on runners, plus a magnetic puck to lock the CD itself in place.”

Exposure XM CD player – titanium front above

And the sound?

“The XM CD is a really impressive little thing, giving a genuinely enjoyable and engaging musical performance”.

“It has a surprisingly wide and spacious soundstage…and a pleasingly smooth tonality.”

“Another key facet of the XM CD is its clarity… It’s possible to hear inky-black silences between the notes, rather than low-level detail being smeared and running into the next strike of the snare drum. This in turn invests the player with a surprisingly dynamic, lively sound that’s fun to listen to even at lower volumes.”

Read the full review in the November 2019 issue of Hi-Fi Choice.

Find out more and track down your nearest dealer at www.exposurehifi.com (where you can also view / download the review in full).