Review: Shanling CDT 100 Modified CD Player

Category: Digital

This Shanling CDT 100 is a modified version run with the stock tubes and bought from an individual advertising modified units for sale on Audiogon.

I opened the cd player on 12/29/02 and all my expecations of it's visual appeal were instantly exceeded! What a beautiful (audiophile level) piece of equipment. Set up was as easy as it gets. I elected to hook up only the "tube output" and not the digital output side of the unit. I ran the DC-1 in the bypass mode and used very inexpensive monster cable interconnects ( I need a 11 foot length at the present time). Speaker cable is a generic type though "Shot Gunned" to the aerial 10t's.

I turned the unit on and played a Mannheim Steamroller disc and was immedialtly dissapointed. This is the first tube type of equipment I have owned; however I remembered from articles and individuals that tubes have to "warm up". So I put the cd on endless repeat and ran errands for about two hours. When I returned I could not believe the incrediabble sound difference.

WOW!! I sat down and listened to the entre CD start to finish. I heard music I have never heard before; the seperation was incrediable and individual instruments made their presence known. Low freq.'s were not Boomy, but yet produced sound waves that punched through my body. The highs were detailed, light and most of all "Crisp", and the mids were everything I had always heard a tube would produce. Very Very Somoooooooooooooooooth! Enough of the classicial stuff, time to rock.

Out came BTO, Grand Funk, Stained, The Cars, Hootie, etc.. For five hours I listened to CD's and was totally blown away. The lexicon processor was constantly at the 0 to +5 level and the music was incredialbe. It was as though I had my own private concert, I was there. The detail of all the various music was incrediable.

Now time to upgrade my amp to CAM 350's and my interconnects and cables.

Associated gear
Aerial 10t's, Krell KAV 250a/3, Lexicon DC-1 Ver. 4

Similar products
What mod did you have done?
What about the headphone listening and
the soundscape ?
Is it airy ?
Do you have the impression that you could walk between musicians?
Is there many microscopic details ?

There's the issue of burn in - and then there's the issue of tube warm-up. I don't think you experienced the full flower of the CD player's burn in after two hours (granted, I've never heard the unit so I can't know - but burn in ususally, not always, but usually takes a bit longer). Tube warm-up - a vital thing for tube listening is another deal altogether. Tubes will not produce sound at all for the first 30-60 seconds they're on. Then they fuzz into life and sound dead and lifeless for an indeterminate period. I generally find (with gear like my Dynaco 70, or ARC Classic 60 amps) that music becomes listenable after 2-3 minutes and gets audibly better for the next 30-60 minutes (pretty dramatically better over the first 20 minutes - then very subtle improvements in speed and transparancy after that to the terminal level after about an hour). Now, preamp tubes may take different periods, and I imagine any given tube will take a varying period to warm up over its life span, and at various starting operating temperatures etc... The point I'm trying to make here is that you probably didn't need to put on "endless repeat" (a burn-in strategy) for 2 hours just to hear your tubes warm up. A quick 5 minute trip to the mailbox would probably suffice to get you started most days...
I to have just recieved my mod shandling (with parts connection mods), even though this unit is no where near burned in, what a difference from my prior cd player(arcam 72)! The soundstage has greatly expanded, detail has increased. The tube side just a little softer, solid state more punch. Not sure what the stock unit sounds like, but this mod unit is outstanding.
assoc equipment-- Audio Research LS25,Bryston 4BST,Walsh 300's Cat Cable interconnects and speaker cable
Thanks for your reviews guys,I have recently bought an un-modded CDT 100,it certainly is all it's reviews promise.I'm tempted to go for the mod,but it's not a simple matter from over the pond in the U.K.Has anyone had a cooking version and sent it for the upgrade.You find reviews of either version,but nowone seems to give a comparison.Can anyone give a comparative opinion?
thanks in anticipation.