Shanling’s first CD player in 20 years costs $17,000

Shanling CD-T35 CD player
(Image credit: Shanling)

It has been 20 years since Shanling last launched a CD player – a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it small run of 300 units for the CD-T300 back in 2004. Now, the all-new CD-T35 is here to pick up where that left off but this time round, it will be limited even further, to just 99 units. 

That’s all down to the availability of components that the company says are “crucial” to the history of Shanling and “critical” to its house sound.

This includes AKM’s AK4499EQ DAC, also used in Shanling’s M8 and M9 high-res music players. This flagship chipset was discontinued following a fire at the Japanese manufacturer’s factory in 2020, and Shanling has gotten its hands on the remaining units. 

The CD-T35 also includes the Philips CD-Pro 2 – a popular CD player that utilises linear tracking, runs an advanced decoding system for error-free disc reading and is housed in an overbuilt die-cast metal body.                                                     

Shanling says its audio engineers have also had to reach into their last remaining stock of its favoured capacitors, wiring and solder material, meaning this player truly is a shrine to the Shanling sound. 

Just like its predecessor, the CD-T35 has a three-legged design and a tubed output stage, made up of four hand-matched 12AU7 tubes that should add warmth and smoothness to the sound. 

Shanling CD-T35 outputs

(Image credit: Shanling)

There is also a custom I/V stage, with a dual split power supply divided between the digital and analogue sections of the player. Outputs comprise RCA, balanced XLR and digital coaxial, as well as a USB-B input for using the CD-T35 as a standalone D/A converter. 

However, the CD-T35 also has a trick up its sleeve – it is built on an Android-based operating system and powered by an octa-core Snapdragon CPU. This means the player can offer AirPlay and DLNA playback over wi-fi, plus access to streaming services like Tidal, Qobuz and Spotify.

Control is managed through the HD touchscreen on the CD-T35 itself, or via the Shanling companion app.

Want to listen through headphones? The CD-T35 has an optional headphone amplifier module, which offers a trio of headphone outs. This includes a single-ended 6.4mm, balanced 4.4mm and balanced XLR outs, with a choice of four gain stages that should be able to drive even the most demanding headphones.

This will set you back extra though, and the CD-T35 isn’t exactly cheap in the first place. The standard version will cost $17,000 (around £13,340), rising to $19,000 (around £14,910) when paired with the headphone amp section.

If that hasn’t scared you off, it’s available now.


These are the best CD players we've reviewed

Like vinyl too? These are the best record players we've reviewed

Check out the best hi-fi systems we've tested

Verity Burns

Verity is a freelance technology journalist and former Multimedia Editor at What Hi-Fi?. 

Having chalked up more than 15 years in the industry, she has covered the highs and lows across the breadth of consumer tech, sometimes travelling to the other side of the world to do so. With a specialism in audio and TV, however, it means she's managed to spend a lot of time watching films and listening to music in the name of "work".

You'll occasionally catch her on BBC Radio commenting on the latest tech news stories, and always find her in the living room, tweaking terrible TV settings at parties.

  • podknocker
    Another limited edition, overengineered and elitist product, like many turntables released recently. This small run, grab it while you can mentality is pointless. The specs might be OK and it might sound decent, but if they think it's a good product, then why not tell the world to buy one and enjoy the latest example of a 40 year old format? It's also a streamer and more use than a basic CD player, but why the exclusivity? It's a silly shape and design, it will be sat there in 99 living rooms as a status symbol and something to brag about to your limited edition friends. It's nonsense and I hate it.