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  1. #1

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    Default CEC CD-3300 Review


    (shown with mapleshade conepoints/heavyhats)

    Specs:
    Freq Resp: 20-20kHz +/-1dB
    THD: <.025%
    S/N Ratio: 93dB
    Channel Seperation: 98dB
    24/192 Burr Brown PCM1738 DAC's
    Single-ended output stage
    CDR/RW compatible
    Outputs: RCA; Balanced; AES/EBU; Coaxial; Toslink

    Build:
    12.5lbs, very well built. Chasis is very rigid with no flex of any kind. Isolation feet are hard plastic with a rubber insert. Drawer is solid and nearly silent in operation. Buttons have a very solid feel and appear to be metal, not plastic; when pressed, you hear a relay click (physical relays, no transistor switching, this is a good thing usually only seen in very expensive machines). The transport is absolutely silent, otherwise. Initially reading the CD takes a little time, though track changes are fast.

    Performance:
    I've allowed the player to run for about 48hrs continously. Extended break-in reveals the best attributes with this player. Run it all night for 2 nights before critically listening. Alot of slam without being in-your-face. Very good bass response, but never muddy or sloppy. Silky, tube-like midrange that lets you hear the wood of instruments, vocals are realistically rendered. Mid-bass warmth gives the sound a fullness I haven't heard in a long time, very non-fatiguing; and quite simply put, the best treble I've ever heard on a CD player, period; and settles in perfectly after break-in. The CD-3300 sounds like a digital turntable--its the best of the digital/analog domains rolled into one. The air around instruments and their front-to-back placement on the soundstage is spooky. Just what digital needs to sound, well, more analog. One caution, this player is absolutely unforgiving of poor recordings--and with this player, you'll quickly find out which ones are poorly done--My "Best of the Guess Who" CD sounds horridly tinny and lifeless; its always sounded bad, but this player reveals everything, making this disc a beer coaster. This is the price you pay for neutrality and resolution.

    Conclusion:
    If you're considering a CDP in the $1500 and under range, you must take a close look/listen to this player; especially at it's current $499.00 price (retail $600.00). This player will be in my system for a very long time. It has a very professional feel to it's operation, switching, etc. Very solid and the gamut of digital/analog connection options on the back.
    Last edited by steveinaz; 01-01-2004 at 08:04 PM.

    Source: Squeezebox Touch/CIA Power Supply
    DAC: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Linestage: Placette RVC Passive
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Subwoofer: SVS PB12-NSD

  2. #2
    Stronzo
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    Default

    Considered this piece of equipment for some time. Good to see you enjoy it. What other sources have you used in your rig to compare it to?

  3. #3

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    Well, this replaced my Cambridge Audio D500SE, a stereophile recommended player--and lets just say I'm very happy with the upgrade.

    Source: Squeezebox Touch/CIA Power Supply
    DAC: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Linestage: Placette RVC Passive
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Subwoofer: SVS PB12-NSD

  4. #4

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    Thumbs up

    Great write up. Glad to hear you are enjoying it.
    Make it Funky! :)

  5. #5

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    Default WTG!

    Steve, nice write up... i'm sure we'll be hearing more about your new CDP soon. i look forward to reading more about what you discover about it.
    good going there. Sounds like you did your homework before finally deciding on that one.
    PolkFest 2012, who's going>?
    Vancouver, Canada Sept 30th, 2012 - Madonna concert

  6. #6

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    Great review, Steve. A good CD player can have a huge impact in your system's overall sound. I really like the look of the CD-3300. It looks very classy and simple. Glad to hear you're really enjoying it.

    Maurice
    CD Player: Original CD-A8T
    Pre: Antique Sound Lab Passive T1-X DT
    Amp: NAD C270
    Speakers: B&W DM6
    "I would rather have a cup of tone than an ocean of power" **Dr. Harvey Rosenberg**

  7. #7

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    Thanks all, I'm enjoying this thing tremendously. Got the Mapleshade conepoints/heavyhats on it this morning and updated the pic.
    Last edited by steveinaz; 12-27-2003 at 05:58 PM.

    Source: Squeezebox Touch/CIA Power Supply
    DAC: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Linestage: Placette RVC Passive
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Subwoofer: SVS PB12-NSD

  8. #8

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    Default

    See new additional data in blue above.

    Source: Squeezebox Touch/CIA Power Supply
    DAC: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Linestage: Placette RVC Passive
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Subwoofer: SVS PB12-NSD

  9. #9

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    Default

    What does single-ended output stage mean?

  10. #10

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    Default

    Originally posted by Early B.
    What does single-ended output stage mean?
    I received my CD3300 yesterday and am amazed at its performance. Steve is absolutely correct above with his impressions of this player. The solid bass, neutrality, freedom from treble harshness, and smooth presentation of vocals reminds me of the best SACDs and DVD-As I've heard.

    I don't fully understand what CEC means when they refer to the single-ended output stage and they don't document much about the design. In the CD3300 it seems to be a part of a set of technical innovtions they've developed to get a solid state digital output stage to sound like a tube design output stage. From what I can gather, there are two important design innovations: 1) single-ended "Class A" output combined with 2) Load-effect free circuitry. My understanding of Class A circuitry is that it has inherently less harmonic distortion than standard solid state output devices and sounds smoother and less fatiguing to most people. Class A solid state devices have some problems that CEC has managed to do away with with their load-effect free circuitry.

    Whatever they've done, it works amazingly well for the price. I'm using mine with its balanced outputs going into a Rotel RC-1090 preamp and Parasound A23 amp into a pair of LSi15s. I didn't know CDs could sound this good.

    Thanks for reporting on this Steve. I'm actually thinking of buying a second one.
    1. JM Labs Electra 920.1 and CC30; MB Quart Vera Sub; Pioneer SC-57; Squeezebox Touch; Panasonic BDT-500 Blu-Ray; Samsung 52" LCD; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S3 cables
    2. Polk SDA-SRS 2.3TL; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 SE; Classe Model 25; Marantz SA8004; Acoustech PH1P; Squeezebox Touch; Music Hall MMF7; PS Audio P1000; MIT S2 cables
    3. Polk SDA 2A; Parasound Halo JC-2 and A21; Musical Fidelity X-DAC; Squeezebox Touch; PS Audio 4.7; MIT S1 cables

  11. #11
    Stronzo
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    What part of Northern VA are you in Emlyn?

    I seriously considered this unit a few months back. I instead found a external CD ROM that just shames every source I have come across... I would love to, time providing and you allowing, to do a shoot out between these two units!

    Sean

  12. #12

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    Hi Sean,
    I'm in Burke. Will be occupied the next couple of weekends, but am interested in comparing at some point. Send a PM and I'll get back to you.

    Mark
    1. JM Labs Electra 920.1 and CC30; MB Quart Vera Sub; Pioneer SC-57; Squeezebox Touch; Panasonic BDT-500 Blu-Ray; Samsung 52" LCD; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S3 cables
    2. Polk SDA-SRS 2.3TL; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 SE; Classe Model 25; Marantz SA8004; Acoustech PH1P; Squeezebox Touch; Music Hall MMF7; PS Audio P1000; MIT S2 cables
    3. Polk SDA 2A; Parasound Halo JC-2 and A21; Musical Fidelity X-DAC; Squeezebox Touch; PS Audio 4.7; MIT S1 cables

  13. #13

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    There is one on sale at AudioAdvisor. Its a demo piece.
    Thanks

    Tapesh

  14. #14
    Stronzo
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    Emlyn,

    Sorry for the late response! If you would like, e-mail me at:

    coquinino@hotmail.com

    It would be interesting to do a few comparisons, and I for one am very curious to hear this CEC in action!

    Will hopefully get in touch with you at somepoint down the road!

    Sean

  15. #15

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    Steve - Does this player have a belt driven mechanism?

    Nice review by the way, nice looking player!

  16. #16

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    Thanks, the more I play it, the better it sounds. No, this one is not belt driven.

    Source: Squeezebox Touch/CIA Power Supply
    DAC: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Linestage: Placette RVC Passive
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Subwoofer: SVS PB12-NSD

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