Review: Shanling SCD-T200 CD Player

Category: Digital

I just got this in and hooked up. I'll give it a few hundred hours to break in before commenting on its sound, but I'll describe the ergonomics and build quality while my initial impressions are still fresh in my mind.

This thing is built like a tank. The casing looks like it could stop a bullet. The remote is sturdy as well. The remote also allows you to mute the output which is coming in handy for on-the-fly cable swapping
It's a beautiful piece of industrial art, especially when its running and glowing in the dark.
Packaging is top notch, and the owner's manual covers operations well.
Nice sturdy looking power cord.
optional cone feet included.
Head phone jack with remote volume control.

Still trying to figure out were the three cone feet attach. There are four felt feet, but no threaded hole for the three cones. Hmm... The owner's manual makes no mention.

The remote control battery cover is spring loaded. The hex screws went flying when I opened it. Also the remote is not backlit.

I played the included dual layer demo CD in my Eclipse and was not impressed with the Redbook layer. I wonder if the deck is stacked in favor of the SACD layer. I don't blame Shanling, if so. I'm sure it's a freebie to them with the SACD license.

The lettering above the unit's function buttons is in a rather faint white font that's difficult to read in the light: Impossible in dim light.

Well, that's it for now. I'll be back in a couple of weeks with a review of the sound.

Associated gear
VAC Avatar SE, Synergistic Research interconnects, Gutwire Chime Speaker Cable, JMlab Mini Utopia speakers.

Similar products
Sim audio Moon Eclipse CD Player (Redbook)
Denon DCD-1650AR and assorted Asian DVD/CD players.

Is this the standard or modified T200?

See if the felt feet will unscrew... on my CD-T100 you unscrew two felted pieces ( the front ones, say ). Then you screw points into the resulting holes, and slip a point with a felt top under the chassis near the back to make the tripod.

The SCD-T200 does not play CDs nearly as well as the CD-T100. This is because its chipset is selected for SACD. On the other hand the CD-T100 won't play SACDs at all.

The new remote is a lot better than the old one--buttons are not "for pixies" ( as UHF mag called them ) any more. But apparently the remote could still use a bit of work.

Looking forward to your impression of SCD-T200's sound. I heard it at the Montreal show--stayed for an hour or so.
I'm not familiar with the T200 upgrade. What's it about?

Thanks for clueing me in on the cone feet.
It's been continuously on for 2 days now, and things are getting better already. Gone is the brittle, harsh, sibilants-fome-hell treble. The (redbook) soundstaging, although narrower than my Eclipse, is very precise left-to-right, but there is not much depth, so far. The dynamic range is not there yet either. I don't expect it to compete with the Eclipse in this regard, but it's still quite flat. No better than, say, a <$1000 asian player.

Stay tuned for more updates.
The upgrade info can be obtained by search through the Audiogon sight. "Underwoodwooly" is selling new, modified units, asserting the upgrades bring the T200 to levels heard from $10,000.00 players. Mods are via Chris Johnson, of Sonic Frontier. Check out detailed upgrade-description. I am awaiting some feedback...I am compelled to get into this unit.
Siddh,You may want to check out the Xindak SCD-2 Tube output Player.Do a search here and at The AA under Hi Res and Digital forums for more info.Do either one of these players modded beat a $10,000 player,I seriously doubt it.My tweeked Xindak player will certainly compete with those in The 4 to 5K range though.Xindak Tweeked $1900 range or less...Shanling tweeked/modded $3490 .Another option...JD
Well she's all burnt in now, and sounding very good -especially with SACD. Describing the sound is little complex because there are essentially four different players in one unit: A redbook and a SACD, each with switchable output stages - either tube or solid state. So, rather than describe each combination in detail I'll just give my general impressions.

Redbook: Although there is no upsampling, I find the sound equal to, or better than conventional players at this price point. It is an imaging champ, and provides very good detail. Midrange and bass are as good or better than other players I have heard in this price range e.g. Arcam FMJ. Tubes and Solid State give predictable results with the tubes mellowing out the highs and adding a lushness to everything. Solid state provides a more detailed albeit drier sound, but with more impactful bass.

SACD: In a word: Wow! Extended highs, lows, presence, soundstage width/depth, pinpoint imaging and the dynamic range is detectably more gradient. I am now totally sold on this technology. I prefer the tubes here because there is no need for solid state and the tubes make everything more analog like.

Aside from the sound, I don't think I will ever get tired of looking at this unit - especially in the dark when the transport glows blue and the tubes glow orange - way cool! It has become the visual focal point of the system.

So, in summary, I am quite pleased with this unit from a sonic, visual and cost/performance perspective. I have heard better, but at literally twice the price (and more). The switchable output stages make this the most versatile player I've encountered and nothing compares to it visually.
Thank you for the review! Now I know what to buy when the upgrading time comes.
My I recommend you read this before buying this SACD player or any else :
Does anyone recommend a good laser/head cleaner for the SCD-T200? [Especially for a top-loading machine like this.]Thinking about getting a Shanling and would like to think that a weekly or monthly tune-up would be essential!
Duddley, have you considered changing out the OEM tubes to another make like the Western Electric 396A? My SCD-T200 is on its way to me. There is a positive review on substituting the OEM tubes for the 396A. Just a thought.