CEC CD-3300 Review

steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,999
edited February 2004 in 2 Channel Audio
cec_cd3300.jpg
(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.
Post edited by steveinaz on

Comments

  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,999
    edited December 2003
    Well, this replaced my Cambridge Audio D500SE, a stereophile recommended player--and lets just say I'm very happy with the upgrade.
  • gidrahgidrah Posts: 3,031
    edited December 2003
    Great write up. Glad to hear you are enjoying it.
    Make it Funky! :)
  • danger boydanger boy Posts: 15,888
    edited December 2003
    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 :cheesygrin:
  • organorgan Posts: 5,022
    edited December 2003
    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
    Receiver: Harman/Kardon HK3390
    Speakers: Polk Audio RT1000p
    "I would rather have a cup of tone than an ocean of power" **Dr. Harvey Rosenberg**
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,999
    edited December 2003
    Thanks all, I'm enjoying this thing tremendously. Got the Mapleshade conepoints/heavyhats on it this morning and updated the pic.
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,999
    edited January 2004
    See new additional data in blue above.
  • Early B.Early B. Posts: 8,171
    edited January 2004
    What does single-ended output stage mean?
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50” LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

    "God grooves with tubes."
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 2,471
    edited January 2004
    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. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz SR7011 receiver; Parasound A23 amp; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 Preamp; Classe Model 25 amp; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Oppo 105D; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio Power Director; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Parasound JC2BP and A21; Sony 48" 4K TV; Wyred4Sound DAC 2; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; MIT S3 cables
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 2,471
    edited January 2004
    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. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz SR7011 receiver; Parasound A23 amp; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 Preamp; Classe Model 25 amp; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Oppo 105D; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio Power Director; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Parasound JC2BP and A21; Sony 48" 4K TV; Wyred4Sound DAC 2; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; MIT S3 cables
  • tapeshctapeshc Posts: 135
    edited January 2004
    There is one on sale at AudioAdvisor. Its a demo piece.
    Thanks

    Tapesh
  • smglbrthsmglbrth Posts: 1,156
    edited February 2004
    Steve - Does this player have a belt driven mechanism?

    Nice review by the way, nice looking player!
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,999
    edited February 2004
    Thanks, the more I play it, the better it sounds. No, this one is not belt driven.
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