Shanling T100 to the T200 shootout

I got a chance to listen to these two players today and was wondering what others think about these. First these are both really good players. I was listening to them on a really high end Krell (not sure the models .. really big monoblocks) and B&W signature 800 system. For me, I did not hear any memorable difference between the two for redbook CD. Some people have stated the T100 sounds better but I liked them both. SACD was quit interesting... I used the following disks: Chick Corea Rendezvous in NY, Moussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition (telarc), and Monty meets Sly and Robbie (telarc). The last disc showed very little difference between CD and SACD I think do to the heavy bass like that dominates the recording. The CC showed little difference in instruments like the vibraphone and vocals (which surprised me) but a significant difference in the Piano. In CD mode the Piano seemed to be almost secondary to vocals and the vibes. In SACD mode the piano really stood out. It became really obvious that he was playing really fine grand piano and not something smaller. looking back at the liner notes it turns out to have been a 9 ft Yamaha concert grand. You could really hear the hammer hit. On the Moussorgsky the whole orchestra was bigger, more dynamic, and cleaner..

The one thing that did not really change was the imaging, both imaged well. The soundstage was not much bigger or wider it was just cleaner somehow. I'm thinking about picking up the T200 but I can get the T100 at a great price.

I only spent a couple of hours and would like to hear from someone that has spent some time with these players...
Get T200 only if you are caring your limited SACD collections. If I were you, will surely get the great price T100 first.

I am sure there will be more SACD models coming by times when you have more software in responding format.
Pick up the T100 at the great price and mod it if you want it hot rodded. Prices appear to be falling for both of these great players due to an apparent lack of demand...just watch Audiogon for a few weeks and you'll see.
Unless you are willing to commit to SACD than just go for the T100 and get the modified version - it steps things up a great deal. Also the 200 does not decode HDCD if that makes a difference.
I did not realise these have been selling poorly.. My local dealer said the T100 has been discontinued, hence the good price. One thing this has convinced me of is that the average consumer will never buy SACD just for better 2 channel audio. IMHO the differences between the two formats were subtle even on a super high-end system with me listening like a surgeon. If I did a direct switch between the formats on the current track it was obvious but if I listened from the beining to the CD layer it did not sound like anything was really lacking. Sort of like the tube vs transistor level of difference... maybe a little more. Maybe the wow factor of multi-channel will be enough to keep sacd and dvd-a didn't work for quad... I find it interesting that I've never walked into a high-end shop that has said "you got to hear this...I've got the new xxxx SA or DVD-A player" Even the drug pushers are not convinced..
Consider also that the T200 decodes only stereo SACD. For multichannel SACD playback you'll have to look at another machine.
Disclaimer: I am a Xindak dealer.

Before purchasing either Shanling unit, make sure you take a look at the Xindak SCD-2 ($1695 retail). We WERE Shanling dealers, right up until we heard the Xindak.

Best Regards...Mike - Father & Son Audio
It seems like many of the high-end SACD player are 2 channel. Currently I'm looking for a play for my 2 channel CJ based system so the lack of multi channel is not an issue. In my mind it is hard (and expensive) enough to put together a really nice 2 channel system. Between getting the room acoustics right and maintaining a good looking room 2 channel is all I can do on the main floor of the house. My main issue is that I don't upgrade often so my decision will stick for a number of years. I will buy a universal player of some sort this fall for my HT system to experience the whole multichannel audio thing. This room is a play room where looks are not as important and I will be willing to give up some sonics.. it's primarily for movies. I think I'm going to have to give these another listen...
Fs_audio, I've seen pictures of the Xindak but have not see any reviews of it. I just email the distributor to see if there is a dealer in my area. Care to give a "unbiassed" review? I would like to understand what you like about this over the shanling...
Personally, I am not sure why anyone would choose a Redbook only player when the SACD version of the player is also available. I think that SACD definitely offers real sonic improvement, and while the format is not growing at breakneck pace, it is growing.

One thing I would like to add is that the format is certainly targeted to audiophiles. No one will be able to hear the difference on a boom box, so it ain't for that crowd. And with so many of us feeling that CD does not offer us all that we desire(not that SACD does either), why not embrace a superior format?

Just my $0.02
See the initial review at

Of interesting note, the T200 has many modded extras of the T100 - standard.
I went back to listen to these players today. I'm convinced they sound equally good on CD. I'm not convinced that the t200 sounds better on SACD. Part of my problem is that the t200 had difficulty playing hybrid discs as CD. It worked some of the time but more often than not it told me there was "no disc".. excuse me? what was that shiny thing you just spun for the last minute? Sometimes it would just skip ahead until it found a track it liked. I did a little playing with volume levels and I'm starting to think that my conclusion of SACD being better for certain types of instruments may just be level mismatch.

I still have not listened to multi-channel SACD since I’m looking for a 2 channel player at the moment. I will tackle the multi-channel issue when I finish my HT room later this year. I’m not sure if multi-channel SACD/DVD will be better that CD but I’m sure it will be obviously different. I’m not sure SACD is obviously different (good or bad) than CD. So why am I trying so had to convince myself SACD is better for 2 channel ??? I’m on the typical quest for better… To be honest I'm not a guy that thinks CD sound harsh...I actually like the way my CDs sound.. my CDP is just acting flaky.. is it just my tube gear that makes CDs sound good to me??? But then again I liked CDs with my mosfet amp to..

If SACD or DVD-A is better why is everyone debating it so heavily? Shouldn’t it be obvious by now? I’ve seen more conviction over the sonic benefits for items like cables, power cords and even green markers than SACD or DVD-A. The differences between LP to CD was obvious.. the difference between VHS and DVD was obvious. Some debated the merits but no one debated if there is a difference.. I don’t upgrade often and I would not consider either of these cheap. I’m trying to pick a player for the next 5 years and I’m just getting confused and frustrated. Admittedly neither of these is a bad choice and if they were the same price it would be easy. Argggg
Why not consider a stock Sony XA777ES? It provides two channel and multi channel SACD, and you can always have Dan Wright mod it to add a tube stage later if you want.
I had a Sony 777 and it kept giving me the no disc read out on SACD's and I just finally said bye to it. I still own the 5 disc 333 but rarely use it in SACD. I own the Shanling 100 and an Electrocompaniet as a transport with a Chord DAC 64. The combo is really great.
The 777 seems to be a fine player but I think if I'm going to go multi-channel I may as well get a universal player with video. At this point I'm thinking about just buying the T100 (for my 2 channel music only system) at a good price and use the price difference to buy a universal player for my HT room. I can either just buy something moderately priced like the Pioneer 47ia or Dennon 2900, or pick up something like the McCormack in the fall. If I really decide that I'm missing out on SACD in the music room I could run a set of balanced interconnects from by HT room to my 2 channel room. It won't be as convenient as having the player in the same room but it will allow me to use my tube amp with SACD/DVD-A.

I did a little searching last night and I'm amazed at how many post on various site I've see where people have already bought into and give up on SACD or DVD-A. Most people site a lack of software and being under whelmed after the new toy glow wares off.

One of the attractions of this hobby is the process of making trade-offs and building a system that suits some personal needs. I found that the process of selecting other components (tube vs trans amp/preamp, speakers, etc)and making trade-offs to be fun. With these components no matter what the choice you are almost guarrenteed they will work well into the future.

The whole SACD/DVD-A/CD issue has been frustrating since the future value of the equipment is less in the hands of the audiophile and more in the hands of the vendors. If for example SACD dies on the vine you will have just bought into the next divix or minidisc. If it flurishes and you invested your money elsewhere you will have bought one of the last beta machines.. maybe on that bad since CD is not going away but you get the point...

Well this has turned into yet another long winded ramble...
Btrvalik-I agree strongly with what you found regarding SACD-it would appear to a large extent you need to go the almost "world class" level of equipment to hear the sonic benefits of SACD.
I think you make a key point when it seems a lot of people who have very good systems struggle to hear very much of a difference with this superior format.
I do really believe SACD will now only survive as an audiophille format which is no bad thing but it doesn't represent a lot of the music I like to hear.
Good luck on your descision.
I recently interconnected my two systems with Audio Control balanced line drivers, so I can use source players from either room and feed the signal to the other room. It sounds really great. Last night I listened to Diana Krall's "Live from Paris" DVD on my two channel system (sourced from my HT room). Would this be something to consider if you just purchased a Pioneer 47Ai? I read these are great players...almost bought one myself. And, not to beat a dead horse, but Dan Wright does tube mods to the Pioneer players, too. I think it runs $700.
That is exactly what I have in mind... I'm planning to use this for distributing movies from a DVD changer to three other TVs/HT amps in the house so adding another link for music would not be that big of a deal. I would still do the t100 since the whole point of my 2 channel setup is to keep it simple (CD, preamp, amp). Sending the signal half way across the house should have some sonic drawback. Did you ever try sticking the AC unit on a processor look to see if it had an impact? Someone also suggested looking at the Jensen transformers.. seems like a lot of high-end companies use these. I've heard that Sony is planing to introduce a 400 disk DVD/SACD machine this fall. I don't expect the sonics to be great but who knows maybe of they do a ES version it will be fairly good... Where did you get the AC units?
First, an audiophile who does not admit to the superiority of SACD over CD falls into one of the following:
1) the system does not have the capability to show the differences
2) they themselves do not have the capability of hearing the difference
3) is lying
4) owns a VERY special CD player. And, please let's not flatter ourselves here, most of us do not
5) has not listened to the new format in an appropriate setting

The first 3 or these may be hard to stomach, but we need to seek truth, not political correctness.

The reason why the high resolution formats are not taking root is software. The available software excites very few people. Instead, we have been offered 3 or 4 titles in many categories of music, leading to the format being several miles wide, but only several inches deep. Most of us, like me, fall into all of this of owning a player, wanting to buy music, yet being only able to buy something her or there.

Again, I have the player. I am ready, able, and willing to buy music. When I go to the record store(wonder why I still call it that), I first check out the SACD section, and am only able to purchase something once in a great while. Why can't I simply go to the store, and if I am in the mood for Bjork, buy a Bjork SACD? The release of The Police, Dylan, and The Stones on SACD is encouraging, but what about Limp Bizkit, Mase, and Staind?

The war between SACD and DVD-A is insignificant next to the war between CD and the high resolution formats.

While I cannot speak as an authority on the superiority of SACD or DVD-A over one another, my opinion is that SACD is the audiophile's choice from a user's perspective. The very requirement of a display negates DVD-A from being a format targeted to us. Moreover, as time passes, the propoents of DVD-A have proven to be a collection of crybabies and primadonas. Instead of focusing on the benefits of their system, they tend to trash SACD and anyone who carries that flag.
That's a pretty defensive stance-I for one wanted to embrace SACD I can't help it if it hasn't worked out for me..
I'm delighted for those who have embraced it and they are happy with it.
What level of system do you think should show up the differences?
Also the ability to buy a very good SACD player is limited perhaps out with the pretty serious cash-this is just as big a problem as you rightly point out about the software.
I considered my next upgrade to be a higher end SACD player-in the 4th biggest city in the UK I couldn't find one to audition and the CD replay capabilities I read about didn't want make me want to but a 777ES without hearing it...add to the lack of software and the descision wasn't hard.
I admit not to being a typical audiophille I probably want to be hit the eyes (ears?) with large differences on upgrading/replacing and perhaps it is partly my fault but..
I'm not into bashing SACD these forums are important about sharing experiences and I started out pro-SACD but ended up indifferent to the format.
Anyway isn't vinyl the true audiophiles choice?
I'll take your list as being pointed and not a flame...

1) the system does not have the capability to show the differences

The system used for the test (about 30-40K worth of Krell and B&W) is most likely more accurate than my CJ based system at home. So if it takes a better system than either of these the difference is kind of subtle..

2) they themselves do not have the capability of hearing the difference

Could be the case, if it is all the better.. I can use the cash to buy other expensive toys... I'm not trying to sway anyones opion here I'm just tying to figure out what I want to buy...

3) is lying

This is a bit accusatory.. The fact of the matter is I really want to convince myself high res is better... the math says it is.. I really want to buy a SACD player.. the problem is I can't seem to lie to myself...

4) owns a VERY special CD player. And, please let's not flatter ourselves here, most of us do not

I'm currently using a rather old Sony ES that is not bad but not even SLIGHTLY special..

5) has not listened to the new format in an appropriate setting
If I can't hear the difference in a fully treated room.. what is the chase my house is more appropriate ? If you look back at my original post my first impression was that SACD was better. On a second extended listen I'm not so sure... I still find it interesting that the guys at the audio store who tend to profit more if I buy the SACD player are not so convinced either. They just say "it's a different sound.. some like it some don't". On other gear they are very clear as to what they like and don't like about the gear they carry.

Beyond all that ... you hit the nail on the head..the real issue is the software. If the difference is not something that most audiophiles adore the average joe does not stand a chance. Without the average Joe SACD does not stand a chance. Let's face it Sony & Phillips are in it for the money.. they are hoping their investment in SACD pays off. If it does not it will die on the vine. These guys are in trouble since their royalties on the original CD patent have already or will soon run out. That is not to say SACD is just hype by a big nasty corpration... I would do the same thing... If the revenue from a current product is going to go down I will do my best to come up with the next best thing... It just may be too good for simple cash spending mortals.
In the beginning, I try to A/B same versin of SACD and CD. Not impressed by remastered recording from 10 or 20 years ago. Then, try DSD recording Mahler symphony by TELARC. Don't even need to bother A/B, that's something I can only hear from LP. Since then, I have been trying to convince people to give SACD chances.

As far as some people has very advanced CD player upsampling like crazy or adding tube to the output. Some companies try to push the sound quality based on existing CD source people have. However, I think, you can have the same or better quality at SACD at lower lost.
Using tube preamp and a mid priced SACD player would be cheaper at this point, although I agree we need more software. "Tube" is still the same "dirty trick" by many CD player makers now. It smooth out the sound, I am not surprized by the comment of "not much difference between CD v.s. SACD on tube based machines", especially on Krell/B&W type of setup(these things usually need tube somewhere in the link to warm things up). It is the "tube" dominate most of sound. Besides the magic of "tube", my ears told me that SACD is better format than CD. All those CD machines upsampling to high frequency, aren't they trying to design a CD player sound like a "more true&honest" SACD?
Yes, I definitely wanted to make a point and not flame. My list said people who do not prefer SACD to CD fall into ONE of those categories, not all. And, yes, I truly come across peole who lie about the sonics.

I use SACD in my second system, and while I am comfortable with its performance, it is no better than snayone else's on the site. SACDs do sound better than CD. Perticularly in the area of the foundation of music, which is where CD most bothers me. Also, there is a sense of the music flowing(as opposed to chopping the event into tiny, tiny frames), which I also fault CD heavily on. Those 2 things are why I like vinyl better than CD. I usually say to myself, "Hey, this disc/my system sounds really good!" when listening to an SACD.

One more thing, in no way do I feel SACD is superior to vinyl!
Like many, I have a decent collection of CD's and records. Not thousands of cd's and records, but a lot of music nonetheless. Lately I find it hard to listen to many of my old favorites as I have heard them just too many times over the years. So if all they do is re-release old tunes, its not going to make it by me, no matter if its at half the price and no matter how wonderful the latest and greatest sounds. But my real fun is is stopping at the Salvation Army on the way home from work and picking up five or ten new records and experimenting with completely new sounds.
Add two more facts:
Some high-end redbook machines converts PCM(CD) to DSD(used in SACD) and have good result simply because coding/decoding/tranmission on DSD is simply better.
New high end CD players tend to play games on upsampling to smooth out the sound and increase the dynamic. Some upsamples at almost 5 to 10 times than orignal data. SACD used higher sampling and bits in original as is.

Today's CD machine maker is borrowing the technology from a newer SACD format. You tell me why! Are those engineers nuts?
I've no doubt there is a large amount of truth in what you say however I simply cannot accept that any failings on SACD must be down to something on your list.
Consider this.
There are have been several posters recently on the Miles Davis mailing list who state that both Kind Of Blue and Black Beauty sound worse on SACD than they do on the last remaster--this shows to me at least there are some flaws in SACD,they find others marginal in comparison to CD and some have a list of about half a dozen that sound superior to CD in their systems.
The only way SACD will make it or any format is if all discs are issued in this format and that they are all hybrid at the same cost as regular redbooks. This way all players could be made with the SACD capability in the future and at all price points including car audio systems. We would then be where we are today with redbook players and the various price and quality points of them. Anything else and it doesn't really fly very far. Why can't developers see that?
Again, people are arguing their horses running faster than cars because of emotion. Any one think their PC's 386 running better than P4 here? Because your horse running faster than a crappy car, does not mean any car will lose to your horse. Get a newly released symphony SACD recorded in DSD, and hear them yourself. New technology like SACD is invented 20 years after Mile's. Do you really want to use this thing to judge a new format? ?? ???
Even you have Leica, it is hard for it to have a reprint from a picture taken 20 years ago. Go out and shoot today. Don't keep claiming your picture taken by old Kodak 20 years ago is better than today's Leica. The reason of so so picture is because even a 100% perfect copy machine can't convert old picture to new ones. Free yourself to take new pictures today and tell other people what you see. The real limitation is short of new SACD recording, but we can boost it. If audiophile don't, who will?
I also have more LP and CD than SACD, but to tell you from my heart, accoustically SACD is better than CD and it is easier to use and keep than LP. (I also agree with Trelja that LP still sounds best to me so far.)
I decided to pick up the T100 yesterday... and I love it. I brought it home, set it up. popped in a few favorite discs and enjoyed... no analysis required. My basic thoughts at this stage are that I will optimize my 2 channel setup for redbook and my HT setup for SACD & DVD-A. My 2 channel system is based on CJ tube gear and the shanling, my multi channel system is based on rotel, and tweaked to death halfer amps. I've got tubes to work there magic on redbook and SS for the extra punch of SACD (with less need for smoothing)

So here is the big shocker...

I really like upsampling... I've always thought this was pure marketing hype... just a new word for oversampling. I did not really pay much attention to upsampling when I was at the store... just so happened that the players I like the most: cary musical fidelity, and shanling all up sample. I also really liked the sim audio players which do not.. The T100 lets you switch it on/off on the fly so it is a real easy A/B. The shocking thing to me was that I notice more of a difference with the upsampling on/off than between SACD & CD. ...Don't go nuts I'm not saying upsampling is better than SACD.. As discussed here before upsampling is just oversampling with a different noise more information.. To me the soundstage seems bigger and deeper..but why?

This got me thinking a bit...

Here a complete guess so don't take this too serious... The thing I do for a living is build Voice /IP gear for large telephone carriers. One of the things we do is generate something called comfort noise. VoIP can be heavily compressed depending on the codec used. When it is received on the other side, the background noise has been removed via something called silence suppression. The dead silence (between words) is not desirable to someone listening on the other end since they are use to hearing background noise. Voice quality is judged with something called a MOS (mean opinion score). If we inject artificial noise (comfort noise) into the receiving end the MOS jumps by a huge amount. There is obviously no new information in the audio stream but it is pleasing to the listener and get a higher subjective score. If we measured the signal it would be worst since it contains more noise... I'm wondering if there is a similar situation in audio with tube gear, vinyl, and upsampling, etc... vs transistors, CD, and SACD.
In a church, lots of echo (but phase is random due to many reflections) and we love it. In a samll room with mirrors, echo is too strong and coherent, we hate it. Tube add some distortion, we may like the extra harmonics. You are right about these except upsampling.

Upsampling or true higher sampling like SACD allows DSP to operate at lower noise and DAC is easier to achieve good result compared to original CD. But it means to be "more accurate", not like privous bad things turning out to be good. Even though it is less noisy does not mean it has no distortion. Processing DSP and DAC in real CKT is not distortion free, so different methods of upsampling still carry it's own charactor(from different distortion) on the sound. That's why different upsampling machine still has its own flavor. You may like the flavor. Yet don't forget that upsampling has more added flavor than SACD because upsampling is still engineering added iteration v.s. bit by bit real SACD. And engineers have the freedom to sweat it more on upsampling trying differnt iterations but there is no game on SACD(not needed anyway).

There is a negative side on upsampling. Some musician or recording engineer may protest the upsampling because it use the same method to DSP process all CD's. In the end, it will make all CD's sound more or less the same(or say close). And it might be smoother than real live one is, even the performer intends to make it rough. There is a dangerous thing, good or bad singers all sound pretty smooth, you can't tell good v.s. bad singers and recording engineers any more. Keep adding the same sugar to every cake can be "unwanted" at some point. You can't tell its blueberry or redberry, all you got are sweat cakes.

The nice thing is that you still can use all your CD collections.

"Tube" is kind of doing the same thing, so it all depends customer's choice. Enjoy the music.

BTW don't forget that you like upsampled one because its DSP/DAC operating at higher rate like SACD. New CD machines take the idea and try to improve the sound. Does it tell you which format is better technology?
Bluefin of course the problem is that I'd rather listen to Miles Davis than a symphony, even one recorded in DSD.
Although I wouldn't mind that too..
So what you saying buy a £2k SACD player to hear a single disc that is better?
I'm sure over time the true potential of SACD may be realised but in the meantime I'm buying at least 6 new current releases a month.........
If Sony had got their SACD's right and the format at this stage highlighted a clear difference on the music I LIKE then I would have invested further in the are kidding yourself if you think it matters if audiophiles take the format up-it's the masses that need to buy into it.
Otherwise all we will get are symphonies recorded in DSD and a limited format for audiophiles....
Bluefin, you state "There is a dangerous thing, good or bad singers all sound pretty smooth, you can't tell good v.s. bad singers" You mean Diana Krall can actually competently sing jazz when she's upsampled? That I've got to hear!
To all of you hifi-nuts.
Speaking of paranoia,it is NOT only to make it difficult/
impossible to make an All digital copy,that Sony did not put
an digital-out on their SACD-players.Mutch of the better sound from SA-cd are because of NO-digital out.
After many years of solid state (Meridian pre,power ,
Sony--Cd) i changed to tubes Shanling cDt-100+ Shanling SP-80 monoamps. It took me 3 month to fine-tune (using Mullard
EL34,but so far China 6SL7,+6SN7, US NOS on way!).
The only complain are "T-100" has no phase,polarity shift
so i have to turn the power-chord (+ + +) 180 degrees to get it right. And YES it has to be 24/96 for the thrue
+ the one interconnect"
+ the one L-Speak-cable"
And yes turning the power-chord 180" i have to change,
Digital-out,and Sub-Wofer as well.
BUT a warning!!! don"t upgrade the electronic"s,it is done w love to music ,w.extremely care,and when you get it right (fine-tuning),it gives you 99,99% of everything(foot-
tapping,soundstage,3D etc.etc.)Here we have total synergism.

Greetings from Sweden.
I owned BOTH in the past. I regret selling the T-100 when I think of it.

T-200: One major flaw (at least for me) was the noise made by the higher-speed Sony transport. Since this transport is up on top and not enclosed, the whirling noise drove me crazy as you could clearly hear it during softer music. Kept this one all of two weeks before getting rid of it. Sound-wise, it was very nice when not distracted by the noise.