Shanling CD-A10: Tube CD player revisited

Shanling CD-A10 tube CD playerShanling CD-A10 tube CD player

It must a ages ago when I yield to temptation of Chinese tube revolution. Army of Chinese tube players amplifiers come to our market.
Brands such as Vincent, Shanling, Xindak and other super cheapoes suppose to show us how to manufacture cheap analogue high-end…

At that time I wanted music source and didn’t exactly know, what to buy. Rega Jupiter was one of my picks, but too expensive at that time. I cost mere £2000 if I’m not mistaken.
So I started researching informations and listen to various CD players. Long story short, I get an ingenious idea to try one of basic models CD-A10 from Shanling company.

New player was available for about £1000. Rigid chassis made of CNC machined aluminium. Cased transformer, separate analogue and digital power sources, 24-bit Burn Brown PCM1732 DAC with HD-CD capability. Op amps and Tube in path. CD transport by Phillips.

All seem to be amazing by first look. Decision was made very quickly, when I find out about £350 price tag from Chinese factory. Thought I can’t get it wrong this time.

Player has been delivered, unboxed and everything look exactly like on the picture. But after I connect it to preamp, bad things start coming. Sound was ehmmm… tedious. Like someone throw thick blanket over the speakers. No detail, space, dynamic, nothing at all. I couldn’t listen to it, because I would be bored to death. After while of thinking I went for a screwdriver. Schematic was drawn down after quick examination. Well… I thought, it won’t be playing well without proper upgrade.
Opamps were taken off. Chinese MKP caps exchanged for excellent Jensen paper oil. Then I modified tube output which was just working as a buffer instead of amplification?????. Chinese tubes couldn’t be removed or exchanged so I left them there and use them to amplify signal from DAC in pure class A.
Few modification in power supply were made in the end.

Shanling CD-A10 tube CD player

Shanling CD-A10 tube CD player

Any sound improvements?

The sound is unbelievable now. Hard to describe… It’s punchy, fast, clean, detailed with great space. I really start enjoying listening to it. Only one disadvantage occured. Little distortion in background which would be hard to fix. Coursed by wrong PCB design. Doesn’t matter, consider I use a CD player as a transport for a while.

I would never buy anything like this, reviewing my experience. Great look and relatively good quality components don’t make a good sound. Next time better save up, carefully pick, then throw out few hundred quid for this kind of player.

Thank you for reading. Please comment.

About author of article:

Libor is coming from Czech Republic and currently specialising in hifi servicing and upgrades.
Please visit his webpage at BB audio.net

 
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2 thoughts on “Shanling CD-A10: Tube CD player revisited

  1. CD drive from phiLLips is probably why, cus phiLips is the real mcoy. You probably got all Chinese knock offs with PHILIPS with 2 L’s! Otherwise known as Chinese junk.

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