Roksan Attessa CD Transport & Integrated Amp Review

Posted on 5th April, 2024

 Roksan Attessa CD Transport & Integrated Amp Review

James Michael Hughes auditions an attractive new silver disc spinner and amplifier combination…


Attessa CD Transport & Integrated Amplifier

£549 / £1,195 RRP respectively

Roksan Attessa CD Transport & Integrated Amp Review

Roksan's latest Attessa family of entry-level hi-fi components is very comprehensive. It comprises two integrated amplifiers—both with a built-in DAC and one with a music streamer—plus a matching CD transport and a record player for vinyl spinning duties. In this review, we're trying out the basic Attessa Integrated amp without a built-in streamer and the Attessa CD Transport. And what a pretty pair they make.

Both are very well-made and beautifully finished. Construction feels substantial and solid, with pressed steel casework and a fine alloy front panel. They are offered in a choice of silver or dark grey and are elegant-looking minimalist designs. The triangular left/right cutaway lower section is subtle but stylish and breaks up the otherwise boxy appearance of the units. Both the amplifier and CD player measure 432x76x349mm; the former weighs 10.37kg and the latter 6.1kg.

Roksan Attessa CD Transport & Integrated Amp Review

The Attessa Integrated delivers a quoted 80W RMS per channel into 8 ohms (130W into 4 ohms) and features a 400VA toroidal mains transformer, which you would never call small. Despite this, the amp is physically very quiet. Put your ear close by, and maybe you can detect an extremely faint transformer buzz, but it's utterly inaudible once you move a short distance away.

Its built-in DAC was developed in-house and has two coaxial (RCA) S/PDIF inputs and two optical inputs. The coax handles digital signals up to 24-bit, 192kHz, while the opticals go up to 24-bit, 96kHz, as you would expect. The CD Transport has a coaxial output but no optical option, by the way. Bluetooth connectivity (16-bit/48kHz) is also offered. In addition, there are two analogue line inputs, plus a moving magnet phono input for vinyl. These can be adjusted for sensitivity with high, medium, and low options. It's also possible to fine-tune the left/right stereo balance by 3dB on either channel. There's a stereo preamp (or subwoofer) output, and the speaker sockets are 4mm binding posts.

Roksan Attessa Integrated Amp Review

A small infra-red remote control is included, which operates both amplifier and transport while also letting you access some of the amplifier's 'hidden' adjustments, such as stereo channel balance and analogue input sensitivity. Those particular skills can also be accessed more familiarly from a smartphone using the MaestroUnite app. Alas, I had some issues getting this to work. It was puzzling because while both amp and transport had clearly been 'recognised', access was not being allowed. I thought this must be down to me, but while searching online, I found evidence that other Attessa users had faced similar issues. However, as is often the case with setup procedures, it's easy when you know how.

With help from Roksan, I eventually got it going. The app needs a Wi-Fi 'one-time passcode' (OTP) for it to work. This number flashes up on the Attessa amp's narrow screen during setup. The instructions do not mention this, but by luck, I noticed it after searching the instruction book and checking the label on the box! What's needed here is an illustrated step-by-step guide to make the setup process clear and straightforward.

Roksan Attessa Integrated Amp Review

The Attessa amp runs reasonably cool. It gets mildly warm to the touch after an hour or so of use, but nothing more. However, Roksan strongly recommends you place the CD transport beneath the amp when stacking both units to ensure adequate ventilation.

The company also urges users to avoid 'Litz' type speaker leads, suggesting that the power amp section is sensitive to high capacitance cables – if these are used, it may run sub-optimally. The volume control knob has a smooth, solid and weighty feel. It functions as an input selector if pressed in and held down. The knob itself is free-turning, and the volume level is indicated by a display with 20 points. Each point has two brightness levels, displaying 40 discrete level steps in total.

Roksan Attessa CD Transport Review

The CD Transport is simple and straightforward to connect up and use. After unboxing, I was surprised to find a CD in the disc drawer. It's actually there to protect the mechanism during transit, which is something I've not encountered before. As mentioned, the transport only has one output. Thoughtfully, Roksan provides a cable to connect it to a DAC or DAC-equipped amplifier.

Operation is fast and smooth, though the buttons are all relatively small. It's, therefore, easier to use the remote handset when operating the unit. In the default Auto-Standby setting, the amp switches off after about twenty minutes of inactivity, but I changed this so it stayed on all the time. However, it seems Auto-Standby cannot be overridden on the transport; press the volume knob, and it will switch back on again.


The Attessa combination sounds solid, focused, and clean. It's well-balanced and surprisingly full-bodied and natural, considering the price point. The top end is pleasingly lucid but not too sharp. The end result is tactile and immediate yet smooth and refined. There's almost a slight sheen to the tonality. By this, I do not mean a kind of false euphony but rather an attractive refinement that marries a crisp transient attack to a cultured and graceful nature.

Roksan Attessa Integrated Amp Review

I moved to these Attessa components from a much more costly setup. Indeed, my CD transport alone is more than double the price of these two Roksan items together. Okay, there wasn't quite the same transparency, dynamic attack and separation as my regular system, which is to be expected given the disparity in price. But equally, there was nothing to spoil the enjoyment of music. Indeed, as I listened, I forgot about the sonic gap between the Attessas and my system. Music is reproduced with relaxed authority; it has a precise, believable presentation that doesn't leave one feeling short-changed.

In my experience, a dedicated CD transport paired with an amplifier with a good internal DAC often sounds crisper and more focused than a typical all-in-one Compact Disc player. So, exactly how good was the Attessa transport? To gauge this, I enlisted the help of a Marantz SACD player and played Shostakovich's 2nd and 5th Symphonies conducted by Dimitri Kitajenko from a dual-layer SACD. Due to its higher specification and greater resolution, SACD provides a benchmark for CD.

Roksan Attessa CD Transport Review

I first listened to SACD via the Marantz, then swapped over to the Attessa, which played the disc's CD layer. SACD should – and did – sound better, which wasn't surprising. But the CD layer via the Attessa really wasn't massively far behind. There was a tad more air and space with SACD, plus added depth and transparency, yet you needed to listen carefully to hear the improvement. It was apparent if you concentrated, but those listening casually might not notice much difference. That was an interesting comparison and high praise for the Roksans. It clearly demonstrated that both transport and DAC are working to a very high standard.

Roksan Attessa CD Transport Review

The human voice sounded pleasingly natural. I tried the historic 1944 Decca recording of Britten's Serenade for Tenor Horn and Strings with Peter Pears and Dennis Brain. Despite the dated mono sound, the voice sounded impressively true and tangible. Playing Yamanakabushi—an album of Japanese melodies with flautist Jean Pierre Rampal backed by traditional plucked Japanese stringed instruments—there was a nice contrast between the open purity of the flute and the incisive attack of the three Koto drummers.

I was most impressed by a stereo recording of baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau singing Odes, Psalms, and Lieder by CPE Bach on the DG/Archiv label. Again, I was taken by how natural and smooth the voice sounded and how the keyboard was reproduced effortlessly. On Sonny Rollins' Way Out West, the great man's sax sounded rich and fruity, while Shelley Manne's drums were crisp and tactile. Ray Brown's bass was full-bodied and weighty. Originally recorded in 1957, the sound was rendered with remarkable dimensionality and an impressive sense of space.

Roksan Attessa Integrated Amp Review

The Attessa combination pulled every strand of the music together. The timing was good, with lots of forward drive in terms of pace and rhythm. But what impressed me more was the sheer listenability of the overall sound or the way you were drawn into the music. The Attessa combo is well able to focus one's attention on the music rather than the sound of the music itself. As a result, I found myself listening to whole albums straight through when I'd only intended to play a track or two.


Roksan's new Attessa integrated and its matching CD transport perform remarkably well together. So much so that you can easily forget that they're the company's entry-level designs. In the sort of system they're likely to be used in – i.e. relatively 'affordable' ones – the speakers will probably be the weakest link. Indeed, I became rather taken with these little boxes and could happily live with what I heard – even having gone from a vastly more expensive system. So they are well worth auditioning; moreover, I would say they're a 'must hear' if you're currently climbing the hi-fi ladder. You won't go far wrong.

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    James Michael Hughes's avatar

    James Michael Hughes

    An avid audiophile for many decades, Jimmy has been writing about hi-fi since 1980 in a host of British magazines, from What Hi-Fi to Hi-Fi Choice. Based in London, England, he’s one of the UK’s most prolific record and CD collectors – no streaming service can yet match his amazing music collection!

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