It was in 2012.

We were planning our own CD player of the highest quality when we came across an interesting project while researching.

Up until this point, we've given every computer a wide berth when it comes to high-quality music reproduction.

It was the mediocre results of the previously common playback scenarios. Music files were compressed to save storage space, hardware and software were off the shelf. Everything is more bad than right. We were convinced "analogues".

But now it got very interesting.

The Cics Memory Player project, an uncompromising music computer that has been optimized from a purely sound perspective right down to the deepest operating system and registry regions and that no trick was left out to manipulate a computer in such a way that it is only entrusted with the task of perfect music playback .


We spent more than half a year building and tuning such a player. The result was sensational, no question about it. It was the time when we recognized the potential of the enormous computing power of modern processors and that we could never go back to the CD player.

It was very large, the service spartan.

The Cics Memory Player

Windows XP ultra light

250 reboots were required to keep the OS and hardware down to the bare minimum to only play music.

150MB, the entire system was only "light"

The project was strict.


On the hardware side, there was a component list of select components that had to be painstakingly worked through. Nothing was left to chance. The list of modification points for the operating system, the bios and the player software was even longer.

Should the effort be worth it?

We have absolutely no doubt about that. In terms of sound, the player played so easily past our long-standing reference and work devices that it was easy to overlook the somewhat cumbersome control.

The fact that this music server was completely silent because the components were cooled passively was pleasing.

(original image)

Reference CD Player

Ease of use
intuitive, easy 80%
Functional range
Play 40%
Audio performance

*A Wadia23, a heavily modified Teac VRDS 25X, an equally heavily modified Naim CD3 and an Accuphase DP-430 were used as reference devices.

Cics Memory Player

Ease of use
Complicated 30%
Functional range
Play, save 65%
Audio performance

The very mediocre operating concept of the Cics Memory Player left a lot to be desired, and its dimensions were more than impressive with a height of 16 cm and a depth of 46 cm(!).

The idea of developing a variant that combines the advantages of both concepts grew from day to day.

During the development of our first own music server, the Cics Memory Player remained as a sound reference.

Because the Cics Memory Player had impressively proven one thing. It is worth seriously considering the actual resources of modern computer components when it comes to processing music information.

If you look at it correctly, the "common" CD player is nothing more than a hidden digital computer that scans the silver discs peppered with ones and zeros and finally converts them into analog signals and outputs them. A gentle digital revolution.


The forefather of a digital source device is the CD player

What makes a good CD player?

We know about the essential areas of development and coordination that make a compact disc player an extraordinarily high-quality playback device, they can also be found in our STEREOPLAYERS and are optimized down to the last detail.

Optical drive

The quality of the mechanical drive is important for the correct reading of the digital signals


Once CD playback has started, the data must be transferred in real time. Errors that are present on every CD must be corrected. In addition, there is a "mini computer" in every CD player, which also takes over the control

Digital to analog converter

The Achilles heel of any digital audio component. We humans can't do anything with zeros and ones, forming an analogue and therefore audible signal from these codes is an art in itself

Output amplifier

The converted signal from the DAC is not strong enough and must therefore be amplified. So a complete component through which the entire signal must be channeled


A good, stable power supply is a quality-determining factor in any audio component. A good power supply quickly becomes expensive, the reason for often suboptimal solutions

Streaming – old school

Since a CD player cannot rely on buffering storage capacities in everyday life, it has to stream your compact disc in real time. What does that mean?

Even if the term "streaming" is associated with modern multimedia solutions, especially today, it is a major disadvantage of the conventional CD player, due to the principle involved.

It means that the information on the CD is read out at the exact moment it is actually being output.

If there are errors on the medium, they cannot be reconstructed by repeated or slower reading. One helps oneself with error correction systems, which take effect in this case and fill the original information with digital zeros in order not to have to interrupt the playback.

Since errors, which are also indexed in several categories, are present on almost every CD, this auxiliary solution does not read very audiophile.

Nevertheless, for many years the CD player did not have to worry, there was no real alternative. The main reason for this is certainly the amount of data that could easily be written to a disc. This only becomes really clear when you look at the usual memory prices of the respective time.

Development of memory prices

The data volume of a music CD has always been the same since 1982. Do you want to save all the content lossless on a hard disk, a storage volume of about 1GB is required. If you now look at the financial outlay that would have been necessary at the time, the efforts to develop a data-reduced audio format are easy to understand.

0 Euro
104000 Euro
1600 Euro
90 Cent
45 Cent

Today, storage costs no longer play a major role,

even if you have a large uncompressed

music library.

Heute spielen Speicherkosten keine große Rolle mehr, selbst wenn man eine große unkomprimierte Musik-Bibliothek anlegen möchte.

These are completely new requirements in an old context.

At the beginning of the 1980s, the "Red Book" format was still agreed in order to have a standardized audio protocol that reduced the amount of data to at least a tolerable level, but today there is no longer any need for it.

But on the contrary.
The opportunity is being used today and the red book format is increasingly being ignored. The recordings that were once downsampled are available in full resolution on master tapes. More and more high-resolution AD converters are also moving into the recording studios of music productions. As a result, more and more productions are reaching the market that contain more information than can be accommodated on a compact disc, because:

Unfortunately no High Resolution Audio

On a compact disc, the native resolution is limited to 16bit / 44.1kHz.

At this point we would like to state clearly that a 24-bit/192kHz recording, for example, does not sound better than one with 16-bit/44.1kHz on principle. That's completely wrong. The ultimate quality of a music production depends on an incredible number of factors, so that here and there it can even be the other way around.

But, and here comes the important thing:

if a production is native in different resolutions, a high resolution will certainly be better. Because it simply contains more information.

This is one of the main reasons why we don't want to invest more energy in developing a CD player today, because its capabilities are outdated due to the system.

There are further changes and developments in digital technology that can be integrated into a music server concept and raise the level of a digital source component significantly above that of a conventional CD player.


CDs can be read absolutely accurately. Once the reading process has started, a request for the inserted album is triggered in the background. This is a database that makes all data from a CD production available in verified form.

Metafiles: all information around an album. Artist, title, genre, release date, etc. are adopted, they can also be customized at this point.

Checksums: the contents of the actual tracks are stored in the form of checksums. During ripping, the same calculations are used to generate your own checksums and compare them with those in the database. If there are deviations, the speed of the readout is reduced or repeated.

Ultimately, the bit-by-bit data is written to the internal hard drive storage and can be accessed at any time from then on. Flawless as the music was originally written to disc.

Memory Playing

The performance of modern solid state disks and RAM memory makes so-called memory playing possible.

This means that a selected piece of music is completely transferred to the main memory (RAM) before it is played.

Hard disk activity is then no longer required for actual playback. The music just “flows” out of the main memory.

On the one hand, the "inherent" source of error in real-time playback including error correction of a conventional CD player is definitely eliminated, on the other hand, the performance is prevented from being impaired by HDD activities.


A network connection opens up completely new possibilities.

Playback can be controlled smartly using a tablet, for example. You are informed about what is happening at all times.

A piece of music you are looking for can be found quickly and easily, browsing through your own music library reaches a new level.

Access to internet radio or streaming services expands one's own music collection and inspires people to discover new music.

It is now possible to reproduce music flawlessly and "bit-perfectly" in a way that was once only possible in the best professional music studios.


As you will no doubt have long recognized, when we were looking for the ideal digital source, we decided to develop a music server; there are too many reasons against a new edition of the CD player.