[ Home | Staff & Contacts | HiFi Playground | Listening tests | DIY & Tweakings | Music & Books ]

Teac CD-P 1120 CD Player

The first step !

[Teac CD-P 1120]

[Italian version]

Product: Teac CD-P 1120 - CD player
Manufacturer: Teac - Japan
Approx. price: 150 Euro/US $
Reviewer: Stefano Monteferri

During the last years the sound quality of the entry-level CD players has always been pretty low: the sound was harsh, dull and with no soundstage at all. This was due to serious limitations in the quality of the parts, namely passive components, transports, DACs etc and even hardcore tweaking didn't give acceptable results.

Nowadays the situation is a bit :-) different and even the entry-level players have started to produce some acceptable Music.
You may have already read the listening test, here on TNT-Audio, of the previous entry-level by Teac, the CD-P 1100. That review showed a player which was quite acceptable and that could be easily improved with inexpensive and fool-proof tweaks.

The aim of this test is to decide whether the new entry-level from Teac, the CD-P 1120, is able to perform as the previous one or not.

Looks, tech specs & finish

Despite the extremely low price, the Teac CD-P1120 looks quite nice, with a centrally placed CD drawer, on-off switch and display on the left, buttons, switches and headphone output on the right.

The transport makes use of a triple beam laser, 1-bit DACs and 4X oversampling with 16 bit output filters.
Everything is plastic except the bottom and the top cover of the cabinet, the latter being of the oddly U-shaped kind, prone to sound like a gong each time you touch it. Total weight is 3.5 kgs approx.

Having a look at the inside of the player, you find the power supply section at your left, the transport and the digital board in the center and the analog output stage at your right, exactly like in the previous CD-P 1100. The quality of the craftsmanship is quite good, given the price.


Everything you ever dreamed of and even something else!
I'm starting to think it is more expen$ive to build a player with just the "essentials" than to put everything into it!
So here you have a complete remote control which doubles (and adds on) the features you find on the front panel.

The display makes use of small LCD digits, hard to see and not particularly bright, especially during daylight hours. Then add an headphone output with a separate volume control. This output was able to drive my AKG K-500 headphones quite well.

The transport is able to read everything, even the worst CD's and CDR's, something we'd love to see in expen$ive players... ;-)

Listening test

Please bear in mind we're talking of a 150 $ CD player (maybe less!!!) so always refer to this FACT when reading the comments about its sound.
At a first "glance" the sound is rather convincing, smooth and "fluid", rather sweet and relaxed with a level of "detail" I wasn't seriously expecting from such an inexpen$ive CD player.

The frequency response appears reasonable, the bass range is just there, even rather deep, though lacking some self-control. The sound is always warm and this means there's some roll-off in the upper-highs while the mid-high range appears a bit "behind" the rest.
So far, so good. So I decide to test this baby more carefully, trying to evaluate its ability to create a reasonable soundstage and virtual scene. And there you have it: a stage which has a good "height" while it isn't able to expand horizontally, remaining collapsed between the two loudspeakers.
The thing which surprises most is the depth of the stage, impressive given the price tag, though the instruments appear all glued together at the bottom of the scene, so you can't really detect any virtual "plane".

The worst thing with respect to the imaging capability is the absence of air among the instruments and the players and though you can get a decent spaciousness with very good recordings, with standard CD's there's nothing you can do about it.
Anyway, it is already a little miracle that I'm here talking about the 3D stage of a player this inexpen$ive. Imaging is something normally left to "bigger brothers".
OK, let's admit I'm listening to this player with a system which costs N times more (with N greater than 60).
So let's hook up the highly modified Marantz CD 17, just to put things into the right perspective.
Compared to this fine player, the smallish Teac CD-P 1120 shows less detail, a reduced realism, and, in few words, it produces a "sound" which is smaller and more compressed. Yes, the dynamic performance is one of its main drawbacks.
This fact, matched to a lifeless behaviour on attacks and decays, makes the Teac CD-P 1120 a smooth and relaxed performer, so smooth you can listen to it for hours.
When connected to less revealing systems the Teac CD-P 1120 sounds more adequate and helps taming those inexpensive bookshelf loudspeakers which sound spitty and shouty most of the times.

As previously noted w.r.t. the CD-P 1100, even the new 1120 benefits from easy tweaks (blue-tack, cork, soft feet etc.). In particular I've noticed a great improvement using the Monster Cable Discus+ CD stabilizer: a more focused scene and a sharper sound.


I've tested the Teac CD-P 1120 with an extremely revealing system so to be sure the natural limits of the player would have popped out easily. This may sound cruel but, in my opinion, it is the best way to understand the real sound of this component. And the 1120 survived quite well, indeed. It never shouted like some similarly priced competitors do, when trying to show an overbright sound which may look appealing at a first "glance" and boring/tiring on the long run.
No, the Teac 1120 is a warm and sweet player, it costs almost nothing for the features it offers and the sound it produces...please have this in mind when carefully evaluating it. It can work well as a "base" for tweakings and other experiments or it can play Music into an entry-level system with audiophile-oriented components.

© Copyright 2000 Stefano Monteferri - http://www.tnt-audio.com

How to print this article

[ Home | Staff & Contacts | HiFi Playground | Listening tests | DIY & Tweakings | Music & Books ]