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AVM Audio CS 2.3: Reliable CD Receiver

AVM Audio CS 2.3
AVM Audio CS 2.3

The AVM Audio Inspiration CS 2.3 is a small form factor device available in black, silver or chrome and includes a 140W Class D amplifier with built-in the company’s own streaming system called the X-Stream Engine, this so-called Engine is controlled by a free app An AVM called RC X that can run on Android or iOS.

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The AVM Audio Inspiration CS 2.3 supports Apple Airplay 2, as well as the usual network services such as Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz and more, via an internal ESS 9038 Q2M DAC chip that supports up to 32-bit/384kHz or DSD128. You can use this device with other AVM products to create a multi-room system. There are a lot of additional detailed options hidden in the software of this unit which I will leave for you to explore, but they include a lot of configuration options such as the ability to change the maximum volume for individual sources, global and individual tone controls and for example while AVM limited itself to just two user-selectable filter settings for the ESS DAC.

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On the front panel of the AVM Audio Inspiration CS 2.3 there is a screen that is partially controlled via touch controls. That is, you touch selected glowing white dots on the screen to change a limited range of commands. I found the screen itself to be sharp, but I found the touch interface to be limited in the range of commands and only satisfying in terms of response time during use. In general, the touch interface turned out to be rather unclear.

To the right of this is a slot-loading CD drive based on the Teac transport. Moving further to the right, you’ll see a bunch of source buttons. So you get a source button specifically for the CD player and one specifically for Bluetooth, but the other sources are then weirdly dumped onto the remaining single button and I don’t understand why AVM didn’t have room for more source buttons? You press this last button to switch between the remaining sources.

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But wait, you say, doesn’t a physical remote come to the rescue? Of course, that’s as it should be, but one cruel oddity is that the AVM Audio Inspiration CS 2.3 doesn’t come with a physical remote control. And such an accessory is necessary because the front panel is not enough for the correct operation of this device – and I will talk more about this a little later. The app is the only comprehensive default remote control.

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On the back of the AVM Audio Inspiration CS 2.3 you’ll find a recessed rocker power switch (and I’m not sure why it’s recessed – it’s a problem if you’re feeling for it in the dark) and an IEC power socket. Above them is a pair of Bluetooth antennas. To the right of the antennas are the coaxial and optical outputs, as well as the coaxial and optical inputs. Below it is a USB port for connecting a remote control, but I’ve never seen one, a USB connector for a music source, Ethernet and HDMI ARC for connecting to a TV. In the upper right corner there are quite thin and slender speaker connectors. Below them are the Pre Out and Line Out connectors. Then a couple of pairs of line inputs.

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Finally, you’ll see a pair of phono jacks, a set screw for the ground wire, and, oddly enough for the indoor model, a pair of boot plug jacks. The built-in phono stage supports moving magnet and moving coil switchable via the front menu. When using a moving coil, you can add one of three pairs of 100, 200, or 1000 ohm load forks.

The AVM Audio Inspiration CS 2.3 is framed in aluminum in silver or black, and is also available in an elegant CELLINI version with a chrome front panel. Like all AVM Inspiration devices, the CS 2.3 is handcrafted in our factory in Malsch, Germany. Repeated, intensive quality control at all stages of production and a break period of several days for each individual device guarantee the highest reliability and stability in operation.

Characteristics of AVM Audio Inspiration CS 2.3

Power: 2×140 W at 4 Ohms.
DAC: 384 kHz/32 bit, DSD256
Connectivity: 3 analog inputs including 1 MM/MC phono stage, 2 digital inputs/outputs (coaxial + optical), 1 HDMI ARC, 2 line outputs, 1 3.5 mm headphone output .
Network player: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, DLNA, Roon, Qobuz (built-in)
Dimensions: 340 x 320 x 100 mm.
Weight: 7.1 kg

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