Cayin SP-CD300 review

The warm, harmonic sound of the Cayin SP-CD300 will hit the spot for some Tested at £1445

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Its refined sound means this is worth a listen, provided your tastes suit its talents


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    Impressive build and feel

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    smooth refined sound

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    fluid dynamics

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    full bodied presentation


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    Sounds too polite to convince with more aggressive music

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Cayin Audio is owned and manufactured by Chinese company, Zhuhai Spark Electronic. And, if this CD player is anything to go by, it’s a name to be reckoned with. The CD300 has the feel of pricier offerings.

There’s a choice of single-ended and balanced XLR analogue outputs along with coaxial and optical digital outs. In our system – Bryston BP26/4B SSST2 amplifier and ATC SCM 50 speakers – it sounds best through its balanced outputs, when its presentation gains precision and tautness.

And tautness is something this player could do with. If you’re after a punchy, attacking sound that puts the emphasis on rhythmic drive, this isn’t the player for you.

The Cayin is smooth and full-bodied, delivering dynamic changes with a rounded fluidity that’s easy to listen to and refined.

Needs more aggression
Such an approach to music replay works well with gentler music such as Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois set, where the player’s natural warmth and harmonic richness helps to make the most of this lovely disc.

The Cayin runs into trouble with more aggressive material, though.

The likes of The Chemical Brothers’ Push the Button or Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring reveal the presentation to be just a little too polite and easy-going to convince.
It starts to sound a little confused when things get busy, too.

If your musical tastes happen to coincide with the Cayin’s balance, you’re in for a treat. If not, and we count ourselves in this group, the likes of Roksan’s Caspian M2 CD player is a more compelling choice.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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