Hello, this is a copy that I just left on another thread, feeling that this may actually be a better place for it.
I do own a Cayin CDT 15 cd player and find it an absolute steal for the price, so please take into account my natural bias when reading the following comments.
I auditioned both the CDT15 and the CD22 (at different occasions) and could not detect any difference in sound. The CD15 may have had a touch more transparency, but I'm not sure about this. I actually looked inside an saw for myself that the drive, Burr Brown dacs, servo system, and op amp where virtually the same also. I have assembled a few high-end kits myself (mainly amps) and I do have a fairly good technical background and expertise as far as these things go. Sparks Audio is the manufacturer of the Cayin CDT15, while Hit Audio is an aftermarket distribution and ''tweaker'' company, which is why the cdt15 is ''re-badged'' as the Hit Audio CD22. The initial design of these products come with VERY strong input of the German co-owners of Cayin. Cayin products have been very highly reviewed in Europe. I actually have a copy of a respected french magazine dateing back to 1998, where Cayin won an amplifier shootout, beating 7 other highly regarded amps from Sun audio, Jolida( no contest here), GRAAG and Sonic Frontiers. Of course,there are never any winners in any shootout, especially in French mags where there is much bias and personal tastes of the reviewers. This is just to say that Cayin is considered up there with the best, at least in Europe.
Back to the cd players, the Hit Audio CD22 has some different parts (not many) but just enough to give it the ''modified'' desigantion of the original CDT15. I doubt very much that these mods represent an advance in sonic performance. On the contrary, as I do not know if Hit Audio are ''modification gurus'', I am kind of worried about anyone tweaking and risking a degradation of the original performance intended by the original designer, just to spot on a specific area of that performance, if that. I personnaly think that it's mostly a marketing-driven thing, so that a CD22 can differentiate itself as different and maybe command a higher price as this is a ''modified'' unit after all. I think both players are excellent for the money, but I personnaly would not pay a cent more for the 'Hit Audio'' version and would actually go for the original Cayin un-tweaked CDT 15 if I can get it, but only if, as the Hit Audio CD-22 is an excellent value also.
As far as comparing with a Jupiter, I think the Jupiter has it over the Cayin on the area of keeping the beat and pace. But for the other ''audiophile'' things that these players should do, and overall musicality, I prefer the Cayin. It has marvelous transparency with the tubed output (do change the stock tubes), an incredible front-to-back holographic soundstage (with the tubed output, do change the stock tubes, the solid state outputs being only adequate. With the Jupiter, everything sounded nice, but somehow much the same. With the Cayin, you get more versatility with the ''extremes'' of both the low bass and sweet top end with a great tube-like midrange, so that every cd sound like the unique works that they are.
Build quality is just awesome and the equal of anything out there up to and above $ 3,000.00
So this player is manufactured in Asia - much like other manufactuers - some YBA lines, QUAD (speakers), Marsh amplifiers, well, you do the search and be amazed at the results...However, while many manufacturers use Asia in the production of ''secondary' or ''value'' product lines, Cayin products will compete with any manufacturer's ''main'' product line.
They are that good. After all, the Cayin innards do bear the Burr Brown, Philips, and other non-Chinese, well-known names, so we are also encouraging these companies - and the resulting dealer networks in North America - unless you buy directly from a Chinese distributor and get it shipped directly from there - sorry but I prefer a ''local'' transaction !
In essence, with Cayin you get a world-class product, but with the economies of scale that the Asia productivity can bring to the ordinary audiophiles who cannot afford megabuck like the Krells and Acoustic Research or the audio world. But let me tell you, you do get awfully close to these genuine legendary performers (and actually beat them on the price-value scale).
When people find out how good the Cayin line is, it will be like everything else - demand will grow and increases in price will surely follow.
I am not associated in any way with the company, a dealer or reseller. I'm just an audiphile who is overly impressed with the sonics, build quality and finesse of the Cayin CDT-15, just as I am impressed with Cayin tube amplifiers which will be my next purchase !