audio with realistic timbre

CEC TL5100 cd-transport

Cyrus Disc & Dac-Master

A "new member" in my system..
After the "discovery" of the Nono-Dac and its qualities, I ran across a CEC cd-transport at at affordable price. Because of the fact that my Cyrus Dac-Master is unused since (Yes! I do like the Nono-Dac!) and sells better together with the Disc-Master, I decided to place a bid. Okay, to shorten a long story: I now own a CEC TL5100 cd-transport. This makes a nice comparison test with the Cyrus Disc-Master, which is also a dedicated cd-transport.

First of all the relative high weight of the CEC attracts attention: almost 9kg is heavy for a standard size audio component. When opening up the CEC (what is this with us "diy-ers"??) the first thing I noticed was the almost extreme deadening of the cabinet. All different circuits have their own enclosure, all deadened using lead/bitumen. When knocking on the cabinet, things sound really muffled. Also the choice of components is excellent: I felt no urge to heat my soldering iron.. The transport is belt-driven like lots of turntables, obvious for the same reason. There are almost no operating buttons, making it really Spartan. The remote is "El Cheapo"...
The Cyrus weighs about 3kg because its cabinet is made of some kind aluminum/magnesium alloy, which is used as standard for about all Cyrus components. Inside are also good components used and the transport is Philips made, CDM 9 Pro, if I'm not mistaken. Deadening the cabinet is something the alloy itself should take care about...

The sound?
Both components were connected to the Nono-Dac using a SPDIF (coax 75ohms) Kimber cable. Although both transports have an AES/EBU output, SPDIF is used because the quality of AES/EBU cannot match a good designed SPDIF, despite the RCA-connector in between! When compared, it is clearly 1-0 in favor for the CEC.... The real specialist shows its reputation! We listened to the differences with quite a lot people having all the same conclusion: The CEC is an oasis of rest, thus creating more clearness and better projection. Especially at mid/low and low-end response the CEC is superior to the Cyrus. To use a worn out phrase: "more analogue sounding.."

Vice versa?
And what if the CEC is connected to the Dac-Master? Well, the difference is as big as before, be it that this is the case when the Disc-Master is connected to the Dac-Master using SPDIF. The Dac-Master has a "Pro"-connection (AES/EBU 110ohm) especially for the Disc-Master. When the Disc-Master is connected through this "Pro"-connection, it performs way better than using SPDIF. A cause for this can (probably) be found in a moderate design output/input SPDIF, something more English designed components suffer from (source: Forums at different sites.). By the way, the CEC through SPDIF even sounds better than the Disc-Master at "Pro", be it that the difference is not as big as when both are connected using SPDIF...