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Shanling CD-T35 – New reference CD player with streaming client and tube output stage

The new Shanling CD-T35 is intended to make a statement in the high-end hi-fi sector, drawing on all the expertise that Shanling's developers have accumulated over the 30 years since the very first Shanling CD player in 1994. The company used the legendary Shanling CD-T300 as a model for the new Shanling CD-T35.

Story Highlights
  • With the new Shanling CD-T35, Shanling wants to make a statement and bring a CD player onto the market that meets the highest demands and combines CD with state-of-the-art streaming.

The Chinese company Shanling is probably best known to many consumers in this country for its solutions in the field of personal audio devices, but it has a very long history that was actually characterised more by classic hi-fi systems. The company has been aiming to build on this for some time now, and with the new Shanling CD-T35 is now even presenting a product that it describes as a reference-class CD player.

Shanling wants to use all of its expertise from 30 years of development in the CD player sector, as well as its expertise in converters and streaming at a high-end level, as the company itself describes it. The new Shanling CD-T35 thus combines CD with streaming, relies on an output stage equipped with tubes and can also be fitted with a headphone amplifier on request. In addition, and this is quite exciting, the new Shanling CD-T35 is a continuation of a solution from 20 years ago, namely the legendary Shanling CD-T300.

A reminiscence of the Shanling CD-T300

Shanling Audio was founded in 1988 and the company’s history with CD players began in 1994 with the release of the Shanling SCD-939, followed by a decade of significant advances in the national and international hi-fi market, as described by Shanling itself, with the launch of the Shanling CD-T300 in 2004 being regarded as a major highlight.

The special feature of the aforementioned Shanling CD-T300 was that it was a reference-class drive with a state-of-the-art D/A converter and tube-based output stage, which already stood out due to its unusual design concept. It was referred to as a so-called tripod design and the drive was to be offered in a limited edition of just 300 units worldwide.

Shanling CD-T35 – The ultimate high-end CD player for state-of-the-art hi-fi systems
The new Shanling CD-T35 takes up exactly this special design and also presents itself in the aforementioned three-legged design, although it should be noted that this has a clear futuristic touch.

Aluminium and stainless steel combined with satin-finished plastic – this is how the new Shanling CD-T35 presents itself, with a large display on the front, the tubes of the output stage prominently visible on the sides and the drive unit behind a cover on the top.

This makes it clear that, as with the “original” from the 1990s, the new Shanling CD-T35 is also a so-called top-loader, with a gold-coloured 35 adorning the cover of the drive.

Philips CD-Pro 2 as the basis

The drive is based on a Philips CD-Pro 2, a model that has been regarded as one of the best of its kind for many years – Shanling itself even calls it the best drive of all time. Equipped with an oversized die-cast metal housing and the best possible optimised servo drive as well as an extremely precise scanning unit, this drive is said to guarantee error-free reading of the CDs at all times.

AKM AK4499EQ DAC and output stage with 12AU7 tubes

Signal processing is carried out first and foremost by a pair of AKM AK4499EQ DACs, whereby Shanling still refers to the flagship components of the Japanese specialist Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation in this context, even if the Japanese have long been offering other solutions.

A similar approach was taken with other parts of the audio circuitry, with the engineers drawing on their last remaining stocks of the best capacitors, internal wiring and even soldering material to ensure the high-end performance of the Shanling CD-T35, as the company explicitly states for the record.

However, these components, some of which have been tried and tested over decades, have been combined with the latest technologies developed by Shanling itself, such as the Constant Phase in all Frequencies Low Pass System and the Custom I/V Conversion Circuit.

The concept is rounded off by traditional technology in the form of four hand-selected 12AU7 tubes, which, according to Shanling, are intended to provide the optional additional warmth and softness of the sound.

Qualcomm Snapdragon platform – streaming included

As already mentioned, Shanling’s new Shanling CD-T35 is not just about playing audio CDs, but also equips this solution with state-of-the-art streaming functionality based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon platform. Based on an octa-core processor from Qualcomm Inc., it should offer sufficient performance to access a wide range of content based on the Google Android operating system, either as a dlna-certified UPnP streaming client or via Apple AirPlay 2, the TIDAL, Qobuz, Apple Music and Spotify services.

Convenient control is ensured via the aforementioned large display on the front of the new Shanling CD-T35, but especially via the Shanling Companion app for Apple iOS and Google Android.

Incidentally, it can be connected to the network either via an RJ45 Ethernet interface or the integrated WiFi module.

The Shanling CD-T35 can also be connected directly to a PC or Mac via a USB port, and storage media can also be integrated via additional USB ports.

For analogue signals, the new Shanling CD-T35 offers outputs in the form of unbalanced RCA sockets and balanced XLR sockets. A coaxial S/PDIF interface is also available as an output for digital signals.

It should also be mentioned that the Shanling CD-T35 naturally uses separate power supplies for the digital and analogue circuits.

Optional headphone amplifier module

On request, this drive can also be expanded with a high-end amplifier module, as described by the manufacturer itself, which acts as a headphone amplifier. With this headphone amplifier module, an output of an impressive 7.6 W at 32 ohms is achieved, so that almost any headphone model can be operated without any problems.

In addition to a balanced 4-pin XLR, a balanced 4.4 mm Pentaconn and an unbalanced 6.3 mm jack are available directly on the front as connections for headphones.

Prices and availability

The new Shanling CD-T35 will be launched on the market in January 2024, as Shanling promises. However, you should definitely have some small change ready, as the recommended retail price is listed at US$ 16.999,-. If you also want the optional headphone amplifier, you’ll have to pay US$ 18.999,- for the drive.

Getting to the point

According to Shanling, they want to make a statement with the new Shanling CD-T35, relying on the concept of a drive from the Chinese company’s history, the Shanling CD-T300, which came onto the market 20 years ago. Not only the striking design, but also the concept of combining an impeccable top-loader drive with an outstanding D/A converter and a tube-based output stage was adopted from this model. What is new is that the Shanling CD-T35 now also offers streaming, relying on the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform. All this comes at a price, especially if you also opt for the optional headphone amplifier module.

PriceShanling CD-T35 US$ 16.999,-
Shanling CD-T35 with Headphone Amplifier Module US$ 18.999,-
DistributionNT Global Distribution GmbH
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Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.at, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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