I owned a Cayin CD22, an upgraded version of the CDT15 for Hong Kong market by its local Agent. Though I didn't have the opportunity to compare CDT15 with Rega's CD player in a Hi-Fi dealer's shop in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the Owner of the shop demonstrated to me the comparison with a Classe CD player which was three times the price of CDT15. The winner is still the Classe but not by a broad margin with CDT15's solid state ouput and he assured me that CDT15 was better than Raga pricewise and sonically.
CD22 sounds great once the original Sovtek 6922 tubes were replaced with Siemens E188CC. Even my wife in next room could hear the higher fidelity that CD22 could deliver. With changing the tubes, the solid state output will be better and its tube output is disappointing.
Hello, 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 dating back to 1998, where Cayin won an amplifier shootout, beating 7 other highly regarded amps from Sun audio, Jolida( no contest here), GRAAF and Sonic Frontiers. Of course,there are never any real 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 seemingly enough to give it the ''modified'' designation of the original Cayin 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 personnify 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, being so much the same essentially.
As far as comparing with a Jupiter, I think the Jupiter has it over the Cayin, slightly, in 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, 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 manufacturers - some YBA lines, QUAD (speakers), Marsh amplifiers, well, you do the search and be amazed at the numbers of manufacturers a few of them acrually trying to hide that fact ( ''manufactured in PRC'' says Cambrige!) What is there to hide? This is GREAT stuff!! I own some QUAD 22L speakers, yes this venerable brand is manufactured in China now, in an ultra-modern plant (for the L speaker series that is) Hear these and be totally amazed at what you get for the price....However, while many UK or US manufacturers use Asia in the production of ''secondary' or ''value'' product lines,(not QUAD, they market this uneder their own flagship name) 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 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, what you get with the Cayin CDT15 is a world-class product, but with the economies of scale that the Asia productivity can bring to the ordinary audiophile who cannot afford megabuck items like the Krells and Accoustic Research of 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 for the money,(like Shanling, as a matter of fact) 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, but I have been pointed at for buying ''Chinese'', so here's my opportunity to provide some explanations!. I'm just an audiophile 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 ! I heard, the Cayin A88T right next to a megabuck amp at three times the price (name withheld)...well, audition on your own and draw your own conclusions.
I guess I will be getting some nasty e-mails of the type '' if everyone purchased as you did our economy would fall''. The truth is that I am not worried at all about everyone have the same buying habits as mine. High-end audio is greatly about snob-appeal, and the established brands from the USA, Europe and Canada have nothing to fear, unless they start falling asleep on their own laurels. This is why brands like Cayin, Shanling and others will actually serve as a good wake-up call to all, and energize the industry with innovative well-built products offering excellent bang for the buck. What's wrong with that? Hey, this was supposed to be just an answer to a thread !!! Sorry if I got carried away here...Those who are not in agreement with me, please form an orderly line....Thanks for reading and happy musical journeys to all !
I am eyeing a similar model-Japan. Actually many of their products. Popular here in Japan. The Japanese model is slightly different. Tubes ECC-88(6DJ8) guessing Sovtek. Dealer recommends & distributes EAT for 300B amp, did not ask about the CDP. I heard the CDP thru a line amp into the AS-300B MKII with stock tubes. Was very impressed. Got me re-considering the Uni/SACD route, was strongly considering the DV-50 now at $3,500. The Cayin CDP runs about 1/2 at $1,750. But only CD/HDCD.
Curious what tubes are recommended for replacing the stock Sovteks on the CDP?
Any other advice, interconnects, etc... I will be running into a tube-pre-amp.