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CEC TL51 XR CD Player Upgrade


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Why do we upgrade equipment?

Almost any Hi-Fi component can be upgraded to higher performance using our techniques and components. The two things go together – the know-how and the right component. Over the last 30 years, we have developed our knowledge of where the biggest problems lie and how to overcome them to unleash better performance from a given piece of equipment.

CEC TL51 XR CD Player Upgrade

Way back in 1991, CEC launched the TL1 Transport - the first product to use a belt drive CD mechanism which was heralded as delivering much improved sound quality from CD. In a (very) brief nutshell, a belt drive mech reduces jitter (digital distortion) by using the belt to isolate vibration, resonance and electromagnetic noise from degrading the digital signal.

In 2006, CEC launched the TL51XR – a fully-fledged CD Player incorporating the previous belt-drive technology, 24bit/192kHz Burr-Brown DAC and innovative Cl (Current Injection) technology for shortening the signal path helping improve sound quality.

CEC isn't a name we're hugely familiar with, so when we got a request to put together an upgrade for this CD player, we were excited to hear its potential.

Irrespective of whether this type of drive system exclusively made this sound very good or the combination of the drive type together with everything else. But it was certainly a fine sounding CD player is (mostly) stock form. We say mostly because this particular TL51 had already received an upgrade to its Master Clock in the form of Trichord Clock 4 and associated NC power supply.

But we identified quite a few key areas for upgrade. The upgrade builds on the strengths of the player. Everything you love about the sound remains – it just gets so much better.

Component Upgrades

100 significant component upgrades/changes are made across the power supply, digital and analogue circuitry and output sockets. We also modded the dedicated power supply for the Trichord clock that had already been fitted. We use Russ's favoured audio grade Panasonic capacitors which give a smooth and detailed sound.

Before (left) and after (right)

The CEC 51 XR is completely disassembled to gain access to key areas of upgrade. Post upgrade, the unit is then soak tested for 24 hours.


Starting with the mains input, the internal wiring is upgraded to Kimber TCX pure copper wire which features our proprietary Super Burn-in process.

The power supply section is then upgraded with Panasonic Audiograde Caps.


Within the audio circuitry is where the majority of changes were made. Upgrades to the DAC and analogue output. Over 63 parts in total.

Master Clock power supply

A major source of improved sound quality is made by upgrading the original master clock. The CEC 51 XR clock had already been upgraded with a Trichord clock. So we turned our attention to its dedicated Never Connected power supply where number of components were changed to our capacitors.


The CEC 51 XR features five, internal fuses so these were swapped out for our SuperFuses.
Different Model?

If you don't have the exact model, but a similar variant, then we can also offer an upgrade for those players too! a very similar unit, then it's highly likely that the same or similar upgrades will apply. But we can't guarantee that until we have the unit here for inspection. Get in touch and let us know what you have.

How the service works

Equipment upgrades are proving hugely popular. During peak times there may be a wait of several weeks before we can carry out the upgrade. So before we get your equipment here, it must be booked in so we can ensure a speedy turnaround of the upgrade. Once you have placed your order, we will contact you to arrange a suitable week and getting the equipment here.

In Person
For those of you who are local enough or if you fancy a trip to the lakes, you can drop off your equipment personally and then collect it when it’s complete or we can ship it back to you.

By Courier
We can arrange a courier collection of your equipment for an additional cost. We currently use UPS.
To make things easier, we can offer several collection options.

1. We can arrange a specific day for the courier to call and collect your equipment. Someone will need to be available all day at the collection address as we’re unable to arrange a time slot for collections.

2. Dropping off at a UPS Access Point. UPS use a network of local shops to deliver and collect parcels from and to. We can either post you a collection label or email you the label (you will need to print the label at home/work). Securely box up your equipment, affix the collection label to the outside of the box and take it to your preferred Access Point where you will be issued a receipt. UPS Access Points can be found here (link opens in a new window), simply enter your postcode to find your nearest one.

Exclamation IconEquipment condition.
It’s important to note that this service is specifically aimed at upgrading equipment in good working condition rather than repairing or servicing. Why? Well, these are two very different processes. Our upgrades look at improving existing parts – like capacitors, for example – and we have an awful lot of knowledge and experience of doing this. As many of these parts do wear over time, replacing them can have the added benefit of actually making the equipment more reliable and longer-lasting, but that is an added bonus rather than the central aim, which is to improve performance.
When it comes to servicing and repair, however, the specific knowledge of individual pieces of equipment that is required, along with access to the original electronic schematics, makes it unwise for anyone other than the manufacturer or authorised service agent to carry out this type of work.
The upgrade comes with a 2 year warranty, including all parts that we've used. This excludes failure of components beyond the work we have carried out. We therefore ask that the equipment you send for upgrade is in good working order.

Please note this is an upgrade modification, it does not include a CEC TL51 XR CD Player.
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