CD-player C.E.C. TL51XR

Players and transports CEC have always been appreciated by music lovers and audiophiles as clear, comfortable sound, durability and recognizable design. It was felt that the appearance of the components is not dictated by the desire to surprise anybody, but only design considerations. First of all, I mean legendary CD-transport TL1, released in 1991 and became a kind of symbol of the Japanese high-end. Then, I remember, many wondered why in this gigantic machine cost $ 8500 used belt-driven drive, a clear remnant of the past. Some people thought it was a cunning marketing ploy orchestrated to attract attention. To understand the true meaning of this decision, it is sufficient to recall that the first product released by the company (it was founded in 1957 in Tokyo) was a high-precision motor for turntable, and the main products for decades - do players, tonearms and mechanical drive. Later in the design of CD-transports, the company realized that for high quality playback of digital discs have to solve the same task - to achieve rotational stability, isolation pickup (laser head) and minimize all kinds of vibrations. The only difference is that instead of a constant angular velocity is necessary to maintain a high accuracy linear. Belt-driven same drive was the best solution, because it eliminates the rigid connection between the engine and the tonearm (carriage of the laser head). This allowed to drastically reduce the number of reading errors and, respectively, to achieve a more "analog" sound. A silent engines C.E.C. took advantage of the top models of many Japanese manufacturers - Sony, Philips, Pioneer, TEAC and others.

In a recent budget model TL51XR traced all the same unchanging basics: centrally located, top-loading trucks and heavy clamp, belt-driven drive and precision engine included in the closed loop digital servo. Heavy brass clamp works as a flywheel, smoothing the instantaneous velocity fluctuations. Thanks to the enhanced design of the chassis unit is too heavy for standard hi-fi size - 10 kg live weight.

Stuffing and digital circuitry of the player, I would not have called traditional. Conversion is performed by two modern DACs Burr-Brown PCM with balanced outputs. With this configuration, it turns balanced path with minimal distortion. If you look at the table and compare the characteristics of the outputs RCA and XLR, you can make a winning gives this architecture. Before converting the sampling rate rises to 192 kHz, in the same format as the digital filter operates with a delta/sigma configuration.

In the analog part of the company implemented the principle of CI (current Injection), implying an extremely short signal path and a direct connection to a power source. This can significantly improve the performance even when using a standard operational amplifiers. Another patented feature, LEF (Load Effect Free), used in amplifiers CEC, reduces intermodulation distortion. Learn more about this circuitry can be found on the company website.

In addition to normal and balanced analog outputs are provided in the player and digital - optical, coaxial to RCA and professional AES/EBU. In addition to them on the back showed up and corporate 9-pin interface Superlink.

The chassis is divided into three parts. In the center is the drive with the accompanying electronics, to the left - the audio section, and on the right - power supply with toroidal transformer in the enclosure. Recent additional compartments closed 2-mm steel screens. For better isolation powerful support legs have sorbotanovye insert. Workmanship components and assembly is very high, transport works absolutely silently.

After the disk is put into the compartment and the lid slid, playback starts automatically. Further control is possible or the buttons on the front panel or the remote control.

As always, the test source starting from the disk Reference Recordings. It contains a rich palette of colors and a lot of timbral atmospheric nuances, creating the effect of a live performance. It is not surprising that not so long ago this book with some modifications was re-released on SACD. The first thing you have zamechesh TL51XR - the apparent lack of an intermediary between the listener and the music. Not the slightest veil attempts anything neutralize or, conversely, to emphasize. A sort of intelligent neutrality when the source to the extent attentive and not impose their point of view. The scene stands like a glove, the orchestra has a scale, the maximum possible in our listening room. The upper range of transparent, cymbals, triangle, and especially in "The Dance of buffoons", sparkling, bright, with a long reverberation subsides. Dynamic contrasts are transmitted clearly and quickly, lower case although not amazing depth, but nevertheless gives to feel the breath of a large hall, the movement of air. Actually music is perceived is completely solid, tools are passed naturally, smoothly, with minimal simplifications.

Cassandra Wilson disc - a good test for a sense of rhythm. Complex pattern percussion and exotic percussion instruments be read easily and supplemented good tonal intelligibility. Wooden sticks, sticks, drums, etc., - all of them are clearly separated, and therefore confidently recognized by ear. At the same time I felt formalism murderous mathematical precision that sin many "right" players. Do TL51XR rather humanitarian character, and he impressed me more. Perhaps the only point of criticism - some free treatment infralow component, the lower bass sometimes as though detached from the main music fabric, trying to be separate from it. It is possible that additional experiments with spikes, platforms, and other accessories to help achieve complete synchronization.

And the last test - intelligibility. Please note that at trade shows or in audiosalonah appliances, usually demonstrated in chamber music, small jazz compositions, etc. It is very easy for any system of genres, but you put something like "Metallica", Dream Theater or Paget with Plante and immediately understand what is what. And a very important role is played here by the source - at high level of jitter sound becomes dull, on complex passages with an abundance of tools, it can become a real mess. To TL51XR this does not apply - this is one of the few players for the money, without noticeable effort digesting soundtrack with so saturated spectrum. Rich synthesized harmonics are not simplified, and the tools themselves are not mixed in the bunch. Sometimes, though, there is a barely noticeable stiffness of the string group, but that's a minor nit-picking.

I even find it difficult to give any advice on the selection of the other components of the system - so clear link seems to me the player. Better if the power will be with balanced inputs, everything else - at your discretion.

C.E.C. TL51XR CD-player photo