Urd, Urd, Urd. Urd is the word. Or at least it has been for CA-and-TX based Schiit Audio for the last year or so. Their long-awaited Schiit URD CD transport is finally available to purchase as of this morning after years of R&D and fine tuning. Covid supply issues and general market changes likely didn’t help the situation, but the Compact Disc player + “USB Hub” is officially here and up on the company site for direct order.
The Urd is a CD transport, that is, it doesn’t have any direct analog outputs on the back panel. That means you will have to attach this beast to your other external DAC devices to get sound prepped and ready to active listening. There are a few more tricks up the Schiit sleeve, of course. The Urd also acts as a USB dispatcher of sorts, so owners can essentially switch more seamlessly between other USB sources like a computer or another streamer type device for better sound. A one stop shop for USB-ness.
Fans of the Schiit brand (are their are many) have been waiting for the CD transport for quite some time, so the reaction now that the product is officially in the market will no doubt be interesting to observe. The $1,299 starting price is telling as well ($1,349 for the silver finish). Usually known for their budget fixins, the new price tag teases more high end allure with the custom USB solutions branded “Unison” from Schiit. All USB ports get the Unison treatment, so if Schiit’s take on the interface is your cup of tea, you are in for a real treat. Also quite fashion forward is the choice of not only USB-C all around, but the included AES and RCA Coaxial output options. Those paying close attention might notice already, 2 USB-C in, 1 out, AES and Coaxial, but no optical in this case. It might be considered a bit unusual sitting next to your standard CD from yesteryear, but the transport does make a solid bid for a new leash for the old tech in your system. There are many CD collections still roaming around out there, lovingly tucked into the shelving of plenty of audiophiles houses. Heck, many good ears out there logically state that some of the best sounds can still be had from CDs. In HiFi, everything can matter, and anything is ultimately possible. Hopefully this new transport can help fill the void left by the veritable Oppo series of CD/DVD players, which were close to the same price point when they left the market a few years ago. We shall see.
More info: Schiit Urd