Review: Shanling CDT 100 CD Player

Category: Digital

Ah audio reviews. When the sound is worth a thousand words the reviewer goes meekly forth with adverb and adjective in hopes of presenting something objective about the Shanling CDT 100.

This is a 6n3 tube CD player, four of them and not a common tube like the 12ax7 which you can tube switch to your hearts content. The tubes are surrounded cool looking triple ringed tube protector of the Star Wars Attack of the Clones design with eensy, beensy screws to fumble with if you want to swap your 6n3s. Also cool is the clear acrylic top loading CD spinner which flips up like a submarine hatch. You can tell what disc you have been playing when the CD is at rest and when the CD is spinning the CD hatch glows blue jean blue. Way cool! If you like cool looking equipment, then this player is the height of coolosity.

In the back of the machined aluminum body you’ll find two sets of RCA outputs like the Gamut CD player. One set is for a “tubular sound” and the other is for a “digital sound”. When I auditioned the Shanling in my Joule Electra OTL, tubed stereoblock with 94db sensitive Cabasse Catalane 500 speaklers, the tubed outputs sounded liquid, airy but “tizzy” in the high treble, like an out of focus trumpet. With the “digital outputs” trumpets sounded precise but less musical. In both cases the soundstage was wide but deeper than my own Cal audio Labs Ikon MkII with a VAC digital to analogue converter.

In this price range there has been a lot of hubbub over the Gamut CD player being a megabuck Burmeister beater but I preferred the sound of the Shanling over the Gamut.
The Gamut is too bright for my system even though you can hear “every voice in the choir” with the Shanling there is something more musical with character like you’ll smell the incense wafting around the pews in the choir. If you prefer bubbles and minerals with your water like Perrier you’ll like the Shanling player. If you like the taste of neutral Evian then you’ll prefer the Gamut.

The Shanling comes with a remote control. There is a delay of a few seconds in function after the buttons are pushed. With the remote you can also switch to the 24/96 sampling rate. I have found that the 24/96 mode is best left on. The Shanling CD player is worthy of your audition. And please do audition it in your home before buying.

Associated gear
Joule Electra OTL stereo amp
Casbasse Catalane 500 speakers

Similar products
Gamut CD player