C.E.C. – I'm still not sure whether or not to include the full stops – has been around since 1954. It operated initially as the first turntable manufacturer in Japan, and undertook OEM manufacture for a number of important and well established other brands. It moved into CD players in 1983, soon after these started to take over from turntables, and currently makes an extensive range of players and drives. However, the real game-breaker, and the opportunity to put its name forward as a significant player in its own right, came when it introduced the world's first belt-drive CD mechanism, in 1991. We reviewed an example of a C.E.C., codenamed TL3N, alongside a separate DA3N DAC, back at the beginning of 2013 HIFICRITIC Vol7 No1). It's a combination that performed very well indeed, but totalled a substantial £5,600, whereas this toploading CD5 provides something rather similar in terms of features, but in a one-box format that costs less than half the price, at £2,600.

There are of course numerous differences between the earlier combo and this one-boxer. One key feature of the new belt-drive mechanism used in the CD5 is that the belt itself is now user-replaceable (which apparently wasn't the case before). Another is a significantly heavier stabiliser weight to smooth the disc rotation. Sadly I don't have the original TL3N/ DA3N combo to hand, but can bring out a one-box Rega Valve Isis and a two-box Naim CDS3/555PSDR for comparison purposes.