Somebody had to do it. The high end of Blu-ray players, even this early in the game, couldn't top out at $1,995 with a Denon unit, could it?
Audiophiles want more and are willing to spend like sailors on leave when it comes to expensive disc players, even if record labels refuse to release music in the Blu-ray format at any level of high-resolution audio. So Goldmund did it. They made a $16,900 Blu-ray player and got a lot of press for it - both good and bad. The consumer/computer websites that don't understand jitter, power supplies and all of the lovely black magic from the world of audiophilia all said "phooey," while the mainstream press all drooled at the gem-like price tag on such a traditionally mainstream item as a Blu-ray player. Goldmund wins on both fronts.
The problem with a high-end Blu-ray player today is that it the format is changing so fast that Asian companies one thousand times bigger than Goldmund (and then some) can't keep up with the HDMI versions, the Blu-ray profile and the HDCP copy protection updates with their mass market players - how the hell can Goldmund beat them at this computer-convergence game? In fact, they can't, and in reality their customers don't really care. What they are buying is something somewhat handmade. They are buying something built to the Goldmund standard and, absurd as it might seem for some to buy a $16,900 Blu-ray player, I would argue it is equally absurd that Mark Levinson has the balls to sell an AV preamp for $35,000 with HDMI 1.1 (two versions behind the current standard) and no matching Blu-ray player. Harman could buy all of Goldmund with petty cash if they wanted, yet somehow they got trumped when it came to getting to market first with a Blu-ray player. And I say bravo.
Read more about the high points and low points of the Edios 20 on Page 2.
• The Goldmund Eidos 20 BD is built
like a brick shithouse, complete with the AC Curator power supply and
mechanical grounding system, much as you would expect from their CD
transport or a top of the line audiophile player from the likes of Linn
• The fit and finish of the product makes an Aston
Martin look like a Ford Pinto left out in the rain for 15 years to
rust. This is no six-pound plastic hunk of junk Blu-ray player that you
will throw away in 18 months, even if technology passes it by rather
• Goldmund doesn't even disclose the
technology used for the Blu-ray section of this player, nor do they say
who sells them the mechanism. My guess (and it's only a guess) would be
Panasonic or Pioneer, so the markup on this unit is sky high. You are
truly paying to have the build quality and hand-craftsmanship.
upgrade path for this unit is not looking very promising. Where the
comparably-priced Meridian 800 has truly been "future-proof" as a
high-end CD, DVD and DVD-Audio transport for more than a decade, you
shouldn't expect the same from Goldmund. They have a bad reputation for
support from back in the '80s and they have little to no control over
being able to update this player to Profile 2.0, add Internet
connectivity and so on. With all of this talk about how "future-proof"
the Meridian 800 is, you will note that, unlike the Goldmund Edios
20BD, it doesn't play Blu-ray discs. Do you really want to watch movies
in your $300,000 theater without having them in HD on Blu-ray? I
The Goldmund Edios 20BD is the most
exotic, most audiophile and most crazy Blu-ray player currently on the
market. If by the time you have read this far and you don't want one
(badly), it wasn't built for you. This player is for the extremist with
the money to invest to be first, even if the investment won't last
forever. The time you spend watching Blu-ray movies with your Goldmund
today has to be worth so much to you that the cost of the player is not
really a pressing issue. You need to be the client who buys a share of
a Citation X to save 30 minutes on a trip, because those 30 minutes
make the increase in price over other jets worth it. The fact is that
there is no higher-end Blu-ray player on the market and there are
people who want just that, those people who define the ultra-high end.