Manual

Download the V1.2 manual here to get an idea on the building process

TentLabs DIY CD player

Front-top-partly-R-angle-DS
" It may take a while before one realizes that CD playback is taken one step further "
(Rene van Es, hifi.nl)

"Despite its' relatively low price, it appears to be a megastar "
" Very much reccomended !! "
(Jo Mullers, Music Emotion May 2006). Available end of September


New building review online

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Triode expert Robe Hubertse put his experiences of building the kit online. Some of his conclusions:
" The kit is easy to build, also for non experienced builders "
" The stage is wide, deep, end staging is well focussed "
" The low ends are deaper, high frequency playback is clean and refined "
" Easily competes with CD players twice as expensive "


Smashing new test on-line

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Latest review in Puresound magazine (Belgium)
" Tentlabs CD player, can it be bettered ? "
" Soundwise, this player is world class "
" a lifetime investment "
" this machine shows us CD ain't dead yet "


What others say

" High resolution, authority en relaxed playback "
" Low frequency response was phenomenal and staging is unmatched "
(Jo Mullers, Music Emotion May 2006). See the full test:
Dutch
English (translated by Guido Tent & Bruno Putzeys)

they keep raving ...............

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" a gem made in our own country, worth 3 times the price "
" this is a very rare experience "
" the tentlabs shows authority, insight in the music, and is relaxed in playback "


New review online - they keep raving !

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" the complete absence of any stress, and the relaxed playback is unknown at this price-level "
" I would like to characterize the player as transparent, fast, accurate and precise, without loosing any of its' musicality "
read the whole test (Dutch only)

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And yet another rave review !

" from the first notes onwards, this CD player excites me like only very few CD players do "
" playing music for weeks without making any notes - even worse, I have no clue what to write as this player performs at a level without the tiniest errors "
" the Tentlabs belongs to this very small league of players that really touches me "
" this player refuses to act as a CD player, as it doesn't have a clear signature. It isn't a record player either, as it is more precise and free of distortion "


Read the total review at hifi.nl (Dutch only - translation will follow soon)

6moons

New smashing test online !

" this CDP is a bargain. It can and will blow many far more expensive CDP out of the musical waters without much effort "
"
We have to say that the Tentlabs CDP belongs to that handful of players able to pass on all these very fine data due to apparently its extreme low noise floor "

Read the total review in 6moons here

" It has the excellent resolution, coupled to authority and relaxed presentation. Low frequency rendition is phenomenal and the staging is unmatched "
Read more

Customer feedback

" We always wondered: what would you get if an engineer had ears? The Tentlabs CDP is the answer. Yum! "
" My first impressions are that it's a wounderful looking (eye-catcher comes to mind) and an extremely musical CD-player. Congratulations to you (excellent job done) "
" Just wanted to let you know, that I completely finished my Tentlabs player and everything works fine "
" Wow, the sound is impressive, taking into account that the player has been powered up only some hours by now "
" Congratulations to you. Manual is excellent and assembling job is easier than I have thought looking through the manual "
" It is a beautiful machine, catches everyones attention "
" The player immediately sounded direct, transparent and fast. The low end is smashing and the amount of detail is striking "
" Early days on the listening front but no doubt that this is the best CD system I have heard, WELL DONE ! "

Instruction manual (12Mb, 75 pages) now on line for download. Read and get a feel on how to build this wonderful sounding CD player.
plaatje manual

The DIY CD player was on demo at Hifi Antwerpen It was a great succes, many people visited our suite to specifically listen to the CD player. The demo consisted of a Hypex power amplifier and Ensemble PA1 loudspeakers. Cables came from Audiomagic

Some feedback from show visitors:
" Tentlabs and Aquablue offered very musical sound "
" Very nice to hear this wonderful classical music in your demo room, they play so loud music in the other setups "
" best sound at Tentlabs and Aquablue "


Show reports
" We directly encountered the phenomenal resolution. The soundstage was wide and extended far behind the speakers, offering a holographic playback. Detail and focus where on a level by far exceeding the pricetag of this system, very accurate without becoming annoying in terms of analytical playback " ((Roeland Vereecken reporting about the Antwerpen 2007 Hifishow)

What customers write about their tentlabs players
" This is an extremely good player, had it in the system tonight side by side with my c.e.c. usb dac and it was chalk and cheese . The player has lovely low level detail but without sounding in your face or artificially detailed. Midrange tone very natural. I was very impressed "

" Every thing works fine and I can play music. Wow, the sound is impressive taking into account that the player has been powered up only some hours by now. (Looks are wonderful too, with the side panels in wood!). Congratulations to you. Manual is excellent and assembling job is easier than I have thought looking through the manual "

DIY

The CD player is build up fully modular. All modules come pre assembled and tested. Required wiring is prepared and the cabinet comes as a set of parts. Total assembly does not require high levels of experience in electronics but does ask for some time and secure way of working. Building time is estimated between 6 and 12 hours, depending on the builders experience.

Building report from a happy customer



General Description

This DIY version fills the gap between much cheaper multi format playback devices and highly priced CD players. This machine plays back CD, CDr and CDrw discs, it does not handle higher resolution formats like SACD or DVD audio (but CD playback on this player sounds much better than SACD on currently popular multi format machines). It has both analog and digital outputs.
The player uses non-oversampling conversion, and has a tube based output stage. It has extensive power supplies and is housed in an elegant solid cabinet, made of metal, aluminium and wood. The dimensions are 473*370*95 (W*D*H), the weight is about 12 kg.

USB & SPDIF input

An optional module accepts SPDIF and USB audio as inputs, which converts the player to a universal playback device for either discs or PC based audio files. The development of this module is ongoing, as we strive for the lowest obtainable jitter values, it will become available in Q2/8. This module can be retrofitted in the tentlabs CDP.

Technical description

Drive
TentLabsCD-drive-web
The player uses the well appreciated Philips CDproM LF drive, ensuring secure playback of discs. It is clocked by a separate low jitter Tentlabs clock and puts out its' data using the I2S digital interface format, which intrinsically is independant to jitter.

DAC
TentLabsCD-DAC-web
The DAC takes in the I2S data, reclocks it and processes the 16 bits data to be accepted by the 20 bit DA converters. These run in non oversampling mode, main advantage is that less jitter enters the DACs due to the absence of a digital filter and the DACs run at a lower bitclock rate which makes their life much easier. Prior to entering the PCM1704 DACs, all data is reclocked again. This takes place by the onboard Tentlabs master clock. This clock is powered by a fast, low noise shunt regulator, of which in total 6 are present. 4 others feed the analog supplies of the 1704's and the last one the reclocking circuits. Another 6 regulators take care of the supply of other, less critical, circuitry. The DAC runs at 48fs, hence does not support I2S output
from other Philips drives that run at 64fs.

IV converter and output stage
TentLabsCD-IV-web
The IV converter uses an E88CC valve as transimpedance amplifier. It fully operates in the current domain, and is a new and novel design. The advantage over existing tube based output stage is the low input impedance (typically well below 1 ohm) which reduces the distortion generated in the DAC chips compared to the situation when these are loaded with say 100 ohm, which seems common practice these days. After the E88CC stage, a passive filter follows. The actual IV conversion takes place using an Audio Note tantalum resistor, signal coupling is achieved using Audio Note copper foil paper-in-oil capacitors. 2 pairs of outputs are available, a straight output with a moderate 2.5 k-ohm output impedance, and a buffered one with output impedance well below 200 ohms. The IV stage is fed by a custom made toroidal transformer, the well regarded 6X4 takes care of high voltage rectification.

Power supplies
TentLabsCD-POWER-web
The IV converter, DAC and drive all have their own toroidal power transformer. The drive is fed by 2 external Tentlabs power supplies, a third one supplies the Display. The power supplies incorporate Schottky Barier diodes, low ESR capacitors and a low drop discrete design regulator. The 9V regulator inhibits a fast switch-off option to ensure proper shutdown of the CDpro drive.

The player is available in 115V as well as 230V mains voltage version.

Cabinet
We do not supply the cabinet separately, only in conjunction with the kit

Keep me informed

Send an e-mail to Tentlabs to keep me updated about this DIY CD player.

Prices and availability

The kit includes everything to build a complete player.
• Philips CDproM drive (Tentlabs modified to accept external clock)
• Tentlabs I2S DAC
• Tentlabs IV converter
• 3 Tentlabs power regulators
• 3 toroidal transformers
• Complete set of wiring & connectors
• Remote handset
• Cabinet & all mechanical hardware needed
• Construction manual

All modules (except for the CDpro drive, the display unit and the cabling) will be made available separately as well, prices will be announced later.
The cabinet will not be sold separately as to avoid non-Tentlabs electronics appearing in Tentlabs cabinets.

The kit version is priced at 2436.98 euro ex VAT ex shipping (2900 euro including VAT ex shipping). The new versions will include silver signal wiring.

Built version

Upon request, a fully built, tested and warranted player can be supplied as well. The price, is 3025.21 euro ex VAT ex shipping (3600 euro incl. VAT ex shipping).

Acrylic

The acrylic as shown in the Dutch test initially was only meant as demonstrator as it clearly (!) shows what is in the package. Many people showed their interest, and there is no problem to make them available. There are 2 objections on the use:
• Electrical safety
• Dust in the optical system

Therefor the acrylic will not be supplied

Drive only

The drive only version will become available as well. It will be similar to the player, but without the I2S DAC board and tubed IV converter. Instead, there will be a Tentlabs XO3 clock board powered by XO supply. This kit contains:
• Philips CDproM drive (Tentlabs modified to accept external clock)
• Tentlabs XO3.2 clock, 16.9344 MHz (clock /2 drives CDpro)
• Tentlabs XO supply
• 3 Tentlabs power regulators
• 1 toroidal transformer
• Complete set of wiring & connectors
• Remote handset
• Cabinet & all mechanical hardware needed
• Construction manual

The drive only kit version is priced at 1743.70 euro ex VAT ex shipping (2075 euro including VAT ex shipping). A built CD transport is priced at 2205,88 euro ex VAT ex shipping (2625 euro including VAT ex shipping). A drive only wersion can be upgraded to a full kit afterwards.

Warrantee


The following applies
• CDpro2M LF Philips' warrantee is very limited, Tentlabs will not extend that, but has good experience on the performance of this drive
• Remote, Display 3 months
• Cabinet Warrantee on fit and finish. All parts are carefully inspected prior to packaging
• Wiring Warrantee on correct function
• Electronic modules Warrantee on DAC, IV-converter, power regulators: 5 years
• Power transformers


Prototype

Tentlabs-CDP-proto
This was build in March 2005, and shows how things evolve......

Orders and information

Go to the shop