I'm sorry to hear about your CD's being stolen, I hope you get a good settlement from insurance. I have to say, that was one of the most informative, measured, and interesting product reviews I've ever read. Bravo!
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Hi this is Stewart from SOS and I also want to congratulate you on a very good review. I am glad to see there are Audiophiles out there that give a piece of gear time to properly burn in before doing a review. As you put more hours on the Shanling it will sound even better.
It is unfortunate that one of the most stunning things about the player, the blue halo around the platter, is counterproductive to what you like. Being that I am using Pass Amps which also have a large blue glow it is a match made in heaven, sonically and aesthetically.
Having anything stolen is always a drag. But the positive aspect is that you probably had a part of your collection that you are pleased to be without, so you get to replace what you loved and try lots of new stuff.
Thanks all, for your responses and your encouragement. This is my first published review. I took time trying to get it right and I' m really glad it hit the spot for you.
Thanks also for your sympathy on my loss. My CD's are slowly being replaced and Stewart is right, there is a silver lining to the cloud. I only regretted that my usual evaluation software was not available for the review.
I don't really like making comparisons in writing when a good impression of a unit can be conveyed without them and when the whole point is to use the part of your brain which listens, not the part which reads and analyzes. But here goes anyway. Other high end players I have heard and still remember well include the Linn CD12, which unfortunately I liked better than any other player I had ever heard. Another setup which is better than most others is the Ensemble transport and Dichrono DAC. Apart from that, I have listened to the comparably-priced Linn Genki, whose best characteristic seemed to be PRAT. On the level of detail, timbres and relaxed musicality I really preferred the CD-T100. Another player I know slightly is the Moon Eclipse, which I remember as sounding much like the Shanling, especially the SS outputs. It is more expensive, of course. Then there's the Linn Ikemi, which is a terrific player and may match the Shanling in many categories. Heck, it may beat it, but I am happy enough with the CD-T100 that I'm not much interested in the comparison right now.
My previous player was a Cambridge DiscMagic transport and IsoMagic DAC with a plastic optical clock-locking cable between them and a Wireworld Gold Starlight III digital interconnect. Total price less than the Shanling. That setup actually had a lot of good qualities. To my ears, the Shanling beat it on harmonies, bass extension and weight, digital artifacts and a bit on soundstage, but not by a mile in any of those categories. It was the sum of them all that made the difference.
The player is approximately 18 inches by 11.5 inches by 4.5 inches--I just went and measured it with a tape, so published specs may be slightly different. But that gives an idea. I don't have a scale so I can't weigh the player at home ( and I don't really want to truck it over to the fruit and vegetable store today ). But it must be close to twenty pounds.
I don't actually dislike the blue halo. Aesthetically the whole machine is a success, including the blue lights. I find them tiring only when I myself am tired after working very late and decide to listen to music instead of going straight to bed. It's then that listening in the dark becomes attractive. In future versions perhaps the company will make it possible to turn all the lights off, the way you can dim the alphanumeric display right now. In the meantime, I'm sure I can find a satisfactory workaround.
I did purchase on of those for the same reason (aesthetic) . I kept it 2 monrhs for running it in. But I desperately waited for any good bass to come.
Nothing happened . I tweaked, changed cable (by the way the Ac cable given with the CD-T100 is just the same nice-looking , poor performance) ... nothing better.
Conclusion : This (very) nice thing does not produce music , merely some boring sounds. Hopefully my dealer took it back at puchasing price (Major advantage of that Shanling there are so few on the market that it is really easy to get rid from it).
Finally I got that Audio Aero to replace my old krell KPS 30i , and -whow- it made quite a change!
My advise : keep the shanling for its look may be as a bedside light , and find yourself a (real) good CD player.
I'm sorry you weren't able to hear any bass from your player, Jimbo--I hope your unit wasn't broken. (BTW, the stock Shanling tubes do not supply as much low end as the WE396A's.) Whatever the reason, our experience seems to have been different, but I'm glad you have now got a player whose sound you like. I would just like to make it clear that I bought my CD-T100 for its sound; looks were definitely secondary.
You are quite right that the stock AC cable can be improved on. (When I did this I heard better bass extension and weight, incidentally.) However the stock cable is still very much better than the ones that the great majority of high-end manufacturers supply with their units. I have swapped it for the stock (molded) cord on my second player, a Shanling CD-S100, and got a big improvement in clarity and soundstage.
I trued the WE 396a and also the Western Electric 2C51 which i found slighly superior. None did anything to the bass extension. Bass are missing in that shandling, but it is not the worse : the worse is that this CDP does not (re)produce emotion , it is definitely not musical at all.
The sound is accurate but awfully "dry". Even a cheap Philips is softer than that. I thought first it needed a long burn-in, I kept it two months and it was very dissapointing to check that nothing bettered.
That dryness is so much the opposite of the warm and smooth sound and look and feel of the tubes !
Listen : the sound is softer on the transistor output !!!
You can tweak it as much as you want, I am pretty sure that the way they chose or dedigned the output op'amps circuit is THE issue. Components change may not even be sufficient to make it sound what it should ( and deserve regarding it's outstanding look).
So , you are happy with the CDT-100 , this probably indicates that there is room for some other improvements in your system before discovering the shandling weaknesses.
Your experiment with the AC cable indicate the direction you should follow, starting with trying some alternative power amplifiers.
Ok , I have to agree with you : the problem is my system : it is too good.
You know the best system only reproduces what the weaker item allows to reproduce . That is why I realised how weak the shandling was compared to the rest of my system.
Now if your system is weak , the CDT100 may well be sufficient, but beware if you ever plan to improve it next, then the CDT100 may become the problem.
CDT-100 is not performing well enough.That's all I can say.
Jimbo, your point about amplification is an interesting one; I have in fact upgraded my power amp since this review. My new equipment is tubed, and bass is less powerful and extended, although very satisfying all the same, in my humble opinion. Everything else is much better. I conclude that the CD-T100 reveals still more music when the associated equipment is improved.
I cannot disagree with you when you say there are better CD players. Perhaps you can even find a better-sounding one at the same price; I would expect this to happen eventually anyway, as a result of continuing research and development. And I wholeheartedly agree with your approach to choosing a player, which, if I understand it correctly, is to use your ears. IMO a review should help you choose what to listen to, *before* you make a decision to purchase. I would never want to buy sound equipment simply because of what I read about it.
Finally, without knowing more about your system, it's hard to follow you when you say the Shanling sounds disappointing because your associated equipment is too good. That may well be true--you probably have the kind of system most of us only dream about--but in that case, weren't you hoping for a bit too much at this price point?
Well Tobias I do think your new tube amp is to be re-tweaked : check your tubes , expecially the driver ones, revise your cabling system. You should get a reasonnable amount and qualitity of bass from tubes. May be your previous transistor amp was a bit "heavy" on the low medium and the improvement you experience shows that bass should be looked after somewhere else.
I have got both Krell (300W/ch) and Audio Note (18W/ch) amps and I tell you the AN has a better bass slam than the Krell.
I agree with you that we all should listen before buying that is why , concerning that Shanling I wanted to make clear in this Forum about the lack of musicality and teh weak bass end.
The distribution of CD-T100 is so confidential and the availability so low you have merely no chance to try it at your home .
You will therefore try to make up your mind reading those posts and some press or webzine articles.
They are far too favourable to the CD-T100 (IMHO).
Having been very dissapointed, I would like People willing to acquire should to also consider those 2 points :
1- why are so many tweaks, tubes evolutions and electronic kits proposed for it ( after all if it's so good it should not need those )?
2- whay are so many CD-T100 being sold -brand new- second hand so quickly after its introduction?
Well, that will be all on my part about that topic , I just hope my posts do restore some kind of equilibrium !
Nobody had issue with your opinion. It is the manner in which you display your opinion that shows what an ass you are.
To answer your two questions-
1) People will roll tubes. People buying $1200 CD players want to mod them to make them sound a little better. Everyone wants something for nothing. People mod $5000 CD players, and roll tubes in $5000 amps. None of this means Tobias' review or his point of view is or is not valid. Ask yourself why his gushing review was well-recieved, while your counterpoint, which might be valid, is pissing people off. Read what you write before you click "submit as-is".
2) Why are there so many for sale? They're a hot item. Everyone's talking about them. This means there are 2 types of people selling them; 1) The guy who bought one because it was hot and decided he didn't want it or it didn't work with his system, or he thought it was a piece of crap, or maybe he liked it, but not as much as his other player. 2) The guy who's trying to buy low and sell high. It's called business.
You can't make a conclusive argument, Jimbo, because all you have is your opinion, and as we all know, opinions are like... well, they're like Jimbos.
You call it "gushing", mike1, and I'm blushing. I admit my review is a tad breathless... and I thank you for the honest comment. I'll remember it next time I write.
It's a big thrill to acquire a new component you enjoy, without feeling you've broken the bank. That doesn't have to get in the way of an honest appraisal.
A question more than a review, I am enjoying my unmodified Shanling enormously. If that is because my system is defficient, so be it. The digital glare is gone and the midrange is great. It fits into my,shall I say, laid back system beautifully;
LP12/Origon Live Silver taper/dynavector D17( at the moment it's very sick in hospital, get well soon cards welcomed)
Shanling CDT 100
Creek t43 tuner
Graaf WBF one pre
Pass lab Aleph 3
Living Voice Auditorium speakers.
Observation and questions, everyone talks about WE 396a valves. I live in the UK,if you can find any at all, they are $400 a pair wholesale, I kid you not. Ive got some Sovtek valves to put on sometime.
Everyone talks about upgrading the power chord, any suggestions to what?
Interconnects, I'm leaning to re-cabling over time to Acoustic Zen, Silver Ref between the Shanling and pre, Matrix pre to power, any comments good or bad?
Finally I agree with Mike1, tweaking does'nt mean a product is bad, in this case I think it is that is good and you want it to be better.
A good discussion, better for being heated.
Power cords for the Shanling: I now use an Ensemble Powerflux FSF, which improved bass extension and gave better highs, timbres and dimension to the instruments. A similar cord on my Klyne SK-5A pre gave more of the same.
WE tubes (or valves to esteemed Brits): occasionally advertised here at rather less than the price you're talking. They are quite magical compared with other NOS (I've heard GE and Sylvania), but any NOS tube I've heard is better than stock.
Your system looks very much to my own taste (I have Shanling SP-80 monoblocs and Meadowlark Shearwater Hot Rods, also a Lingoed LP-12 with rewired and Heavy Weighted RB300 and a Cardas Heart). Your description of how your CD-T100 fit into it corresponds with my own impressions.
have heard a shanling cd-T100
dreadful sound and no emotion i' m afraid
the AR CD3 i heard on the same system ( LS15 PRE, VT 100 poweramp )was light years ahead
much cheaper (about 1000 euro) and very close to the AR CD3 was the AH NJOE TJOEB 4000!!
as for the design: looks very cheap - chinese kitch!!
but if you are happy with it that' s what counts most!!
My goodness how it is difficult to take a decision about the Shanling CD-T100 after all what i read in this site. My problem is that the dealer does not want me to try it with my system before i buy it, i mean even if i heard this cd player at the dealer this will not help me a lot, because we don't have the same equipements....I have a Mcintosh amp, Mirage OM5 omnipolar speakers and i still hesitate a lot about it. Either i read a very nice review or a very bad one. Now my question is have you ever heard about the Shanling cd-t100 level 1 modification ??? it seem that result of this modification increase a lot the resolution and the open stage !!!! can you tell us your opinion about it ??? specially the price of this modification is almost $1000 more than the none modified one. Thank you
I raved about this player for looks and value, two years ago. Sorry, I haven't heard a modded version and I hesitate to go for the kind of mods you mention. It's a question of the value added--I really don't know how much can be gotten back at resale.
In my opinion the player represents an excellent value in stock form. It has, as I mentioned above, been steadily improved by the manufacturer, and the T100C model demoed at the Montreal show two weeks ago sounded much better than my original one. That makes mods less necessary.
Another mod option is available from Steve Nugent at Empirical Audio. Reports here of his work on the T200 are excellent, but it doesn't come cheap either.
I wonder why you don't feel your dealer can offer you a reliable demo. When I was evaluating CD players before buying the Shanling, I went around and listened to a good many, both more and less expensive. The associated equipment was all different from place to place, but I made notes on my response to the music as I went along, and in the end I felt I had enough info to make a decision. If the Shanling doesn't turn you on in the store, that could be a sign you should listen to other players--and possibly save up a bit more money to spend.