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Old CD players vs Modern - value?


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7 hours ago, rantan said:

  Because they are far better than faffing around with buggy software programmes, hard drives that fail and need 8 back up drives,  some of which are not onsite, wi fi drop outs, running ethernet cable along the floor,out the door and into the room where the  router lives, just for starters.

 

With that said I am about 90% vinyl these days and I only play CDs when I cannot get the album on vinyl.

 

As for  scratched discs, I have a huge collection in pristine  condition and have only ever damaged perhaps two or three in my life so I don't see why it is even a tiny issue.

Also, as you say, one can buy a CD for  cheap these days.

I don't pay Roon and streaming services multiple hundreds every year and I own the copies of the music I have in my home.

 

At some point in time if my (absolutely excellent ) CD  player fails, I will re assess my situation, but by then. I will be 100% vinyl anyway.

I don't look at music as an all-you-can-eat binge ( I won't live long enough to need a 4TB hard drive) and I prefer a curated collection of physical media.

 

Ultimately everyone will make their own choices and I would never question or be critical of their choice so to everybody, I say rock on...... by what ever means you feel is right for  you.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

This exactly.

I am 60 and while I am very computer literate, who needs all the faffing about as the above poster so adequately describes it.  Two solid reasons: 1 - I own maybe 20,000 CD's - I have 68 versions of Wagners Rings Cycle alone and own just about everything Sviatoslav Richter, Horowitz and Rubenstein ever recorded, just those are more listening than I will live to hear right there - why on Earth would I want to sit around ripping these into FLAC files, which I can do by the way, I've experimented with it. This leads me to pint 2: My experimenting led me to try Tidal Hi-Fi - pas pour moi I'm afraid. I can see the appeal but all the stuff I would want in lossless format is just not there - no Pink Floyd??? The Stones first 2 albums (mostly writing as Nanker and Fledge the songs were so hesitant) and none of the great albums from the 70's and 80's, 'Beggars Banquet' anyone?? All the good lossless stuff on there is mainly American R&B, which makes sense given that JayZee owns it.

 

Thank you to everyone that has shared their experience and knowledge. I am thinking the upgrade will be from Woo Audio (thanks @Ian McP). So, one last question; is the considerable difference in dollars between the CDT2-MK2 and the CDT3-MK2 worth it? Yes, I know it is subjective as are most things connected with this hobby, but am wondering if any former / present owners can speak to any differences.

 

Thank you guys,

Rob

Edited by Rob McHugh
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I cannot understand why people find putting a CD into a player/transport and pressing the play button as inconvenient. For me, turning on the laptop, software/app on iPad or TV screen, going thro

Because they are far better than faffing around with buggy software programmes, hard drives that fail and need 8 back up drives,  some of which are not onsite, wi fi drop outs, running ethernet cable

Because some look at things other than convenience.

There are no absolutes with regard to any corner of this hobby...

Now that that’s our of the way, I much prefer and would strongly recommend older units. If you research and buy wisely you can have something as good, if not better, than a current production model at a significantly lesser cost. 
@dcathro @Lansche plasma guy and @muon* know their stuff here. All great recommendations. 
I have a host of transports, DAC’s and players now. I can’t seem to help myself. I’ll go looking for a new cartridge to try for my Kuzma TT and something great in digital pops up for much less and I can’t help myself 🤣

Philips CDM1 & CEC’s are what do it for me in regard to transports mechs. DAC chips I very much favour Philips TDA1541’s, the PCM 63’s & 1702’s & UltraAnalog 20400’s. Golden time in digital! 
 

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1 hour ago, Be Quiet...Listen said:

There are no absolutes with regard to any corner of this hobby...

Now that that’s our of the way, I much prefer and would strongly recommend older units. If you research and buy wisely you can have something as good, if not better, than a current production model at a significantly lesser cost. 
@dcathro @Lansche plasma guy and @muon* know their stuff here. All great recommendations. 
I have a host of transports, DAC’s and players now. I can’t seem to help myself. I’ll go looking for a new cartridge to try for my Kuzma TT and something great in digital pops up for much less and I can’t help myself 🤣

Philips CDM1 & CEC’s are what do it for me in regard to transports mechs. DAC chips I very much favour Philips TDA1541’s, the PCM 63’s & 1702’s & UltraAnalog 20400’s. Golden time in digital! 
 

........... and the pcm 1704 which I'm loving at the moment.

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15 minutes ago, Lansche plasma guy said:

PCM 63’s 

Very analog sounding....👍🙏🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼

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I used to own a Yamaha CD-5050 I sold on gumtree when I needed coin back in the day. Pity. 

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26 minutes ago, Mendes said:

Very analog sounding....👍🙏🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼

Often regret changing digital boards in my DAC, the venerable PCM 63 was very special...🎼🎼🎖🎖🎼🎖

F908151A-0C7A-4A7F-BD45-AA8842184391.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Mendes said:

Often regret changing digital boards in my DAC, the venerable PCM 63 was very special...🎼🎼🎖🎖🎼🎖

What did you change to?

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On 08/10/2020 at 1:34 PM, audiofeline said:

Yes, my original Marantz CD player was retired when I couldn't obtain an replacement laser. 

What Marantz was that and what mechanism?

On 08/10/2020 at 1:35 PM, gemini07 said:

Both the Primare and the Audia needed laser assembly replacements last year, at some cost. In the case of the AF One, more than the cost of most new CD and BD players.

Really? How much were you charged?

On 09/10/2020 at 7:33 AM, aechmea said:

The problem with old or even any CD player used as a transport is that it is based on a proprietary mechanism.  It is likely that there will be difficulty finding a replacement laser, drive, whatever, when it eventually breaks. 

Some difficulty yes but nothing major.

 

Guys, I fix CD players and lasers and mechanisms hardly ever break.

The high price for the "laser replacement" is just a"Service Managers" speak for a steep labour charge.

I replace laser/mechanism perhaps once every 3 or 4 months and most often than not, it is in a "new" player. By new I mean made this century. For basically no one makes any good mechanism today.

Most CD players that break just need a service. New belts, cleaning of limit switches, removal of old, hardened grease, cleaning the dirt from moving parts - that kind of things.

Lasers, even for old players are still available (not all but most) and some like the KSS-190A which are not, simply do not break and lasers are not an issue.

Some units like a TEAC VRDS T-10 (from memory) have a gear that breaks and you cannot get it from a local supplier. But there is a guy on eBay in Germany who makes them from brass and sells them for $70. It is a lot for the original one was $5, but it is not the end of the Earth.

On 10/10/2020 at 5:38 AM, dcathro said:

I have been using CD players based around the CDM4 and the TDA1541A for the past 15 years, and to my ears, nothing comes close for less than the price of a European car.  A CDM4 based transport will be hard to beat, and replacement mechanisms are easily found.

 

Another option that some people swear by are the Teac VRDS mechanisms. 

Some wise words here.

Best CD players were made in the end of 80s and to mid 90s for there were still great mechanisms made then.

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7 hours ago, Be Quiet...Listen said:

There are no absolutes with regard to any corner of this hobby...

Now that that’s our of the way, I much prefer and would strongly recommend older units. If you research and buy wisely you can have something as good, if not better, than a current production model at a significantly lesser cost. 

Philips CDM1 & CEC’s are what do it for me in regard to transports mechs. DAC chips I very much favour Philips TDA1541’s, the PCM 63’s & 1702’s & UltraAnalog 20400’s. Golden time in digital! 
 

Some wise words again here.

I would add to this list Burr-Brown PCM-1704 which just as the PCM-1702 you mentioned, has a laser trimmed resistor ladder. These were the last two good DAC chips ever made before cheap  Sigma-Delta took over.

I would also add the Cirrus Logic CS4397 and maybe 4398.

Basically, go and have a look at the list of mechanisms and DAC chips that your favourite manufacturer is using. The best ones of them seem to favour the same DAC chips over others.

http://vasiltech.narod.ru/CD-Player-DAC-Transport.htm#C

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4 hours ago, rockeater said:

What Marantz was that and what mechanism?...

It was the CD-94 MkII, I don't know the mechanism.  I always felt it was a very nice player, I was sorry to let go of it.  I believe that it was identical to a Philips machine.  I've read that there are a lot of mods which can be done to take it to the next level.

 

I will add that I'm also very happy with the Oppo I replaced it with. 

 

Edited by audiofeline
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17 minutes ago, audiofeline said:

It was the CD-94 MkII, I don't know the mechanism.  I always felt it was a very nice player, I was sorry to let go of it.  I believe that it was identical to a Philips machine.  I've read that there are a lot of mods which can be done to take it to the next level.

 

I will add that I'm also very happy with the Oppo I replaced it with. 

 

2x TDA1541A Single Crown and CDM1 mechanism.

 

Yes, lots can be done to improve them.

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4 hours ago, audiofeline said:
9 hours ago, rockeater said:

What Marantz was that and what mechanism?...

It was the CD-94 MkII, I don't know the mechanism.  I always felt it was a very nice player, I was sorry to let go of it.  I believe that it was identical to a Philips machine.  I've read that there are a lot of mods which can be done to take it to the next level.

As Moun said above it has CDM-1 mech which indeed is unobtainable as a new, replacement unit.

I myself would have bought some other old 14 bit Marantz in good working order, and get the CDM-1 from there, and then transplant it to the CD-94 Mk2.

For this is a fine player and wouldn't want to see it being written off. In good condition it is still worth money even as a dead unit.

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On 08/10/2020 at 10:31 PM, Rob McHugh said:

I should also have explained the rest of my chain, which is a Schiit Yggdrasil DAC and an SPL Phonitor XE Headphone amp. I have hand made interconnects and Nordost power cables. My cans are HD800 modded, 650, 600, 575, Focal Utopias, Audeze LCD-3’s with Danacable Lazuli Reference cables. 
The CD6006 goes to the DAC with a Nordost Blue Heaven Coax.

I guess I was looking to upgrade the transport to match the rest of the kit but perhaps the DAC is doing the heavy lifting?  Hi Rob Just my general view modern CD Players have gone backwards in most areas the decades of improve ments dont exist out side Top End units.  Marantz , Naim, Audio Research all make some pretty ordinary units in the affordable range.  I have Esoteric Transport love it - but Trans are CD weak link for reliability you will not be able to get OEM drive belts or Lasers the lubrication will have dried out it is difficult to find ex factory personal with manuals etc to service them and the Maker will not want to know about.  Second hand top line stuff under 5yrs old is another choice

 

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2 hours ago, rockeater said:

As Moun said above it has CDM-1 mech which indeed is unobtainable as a new, replacement unit.

I myself would have bought some other old 14 bit Marantz in good working order, and get the CDM-1 from there, and then transplant it to the CD-94 Mk2.

For this is a fine player and wouldn't want to see it being written off. In good condition it is still worth money even as a dead unit.

Unfortunately I wrote this off (and my preamp) before I became aware of SNA and the valuable knowledge that is shared here.  I have often reflected that those two units might be still having some use today had I found SNA in time.  Nevertheless, I'm enjoying their replacements.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd rather buy the best DAC I can afford and pair it with any decent CD player as a transport. Cheaper and with better results  ;)

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6 minutes ago, MattyW said:

I'd rather buy the best DAC I can afford and pair it with any decent CD player as a transport. Cheaper and with better results  ;)

Hi Matty, that’s what I’ve done (with the Schiit Yggdrasil) but was wondering how much of a role the transport; Marantz CD6006 still plays, if any. I have asked this question in a few forums but just get ‘Time Warp’ answers - a jump to the left and a step to the right’ ha ha. For instance, I have the Marantz, Yggdrasil and Phonitor XE - would adding a Jay’s CDT3-MK2 as the transport for instance make any discernible difference in SQ? (I also have nice cables and inters from Robbo and Bill).

Cheers, Rob

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2 minutes ago, Rob McHugh said:

Hi Matty, that’s what I’ve done (with the Schiit Yggdrasil) but was wondering how much of a role the transport; Marantz CD6006 still plays, if any. I have asked this question in a few forums but just get ‘Time Warp’ answers - a jump to the left and a step to the right’ ha ha. For instance, I have the Marantz, Yggdrasil and Phonitor XE - would adding a Jay’s CDT3-MK2 as the transport for instance make any discernible difference in SQ? (I also have nice cables and inters from Robbo and Bill).

Cheers, Rob

I believe the old Phillips transports were the best of the lot, though really I don't think it matters. You get better results ripping the CD's and playing back with JRiver or the like..... I still like to spin CD's every now and again though and use my Denon Blueray player for that.

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On 22/10/2020 at 10:12 AM, MattyW said:

You get better results ripping the CD's and playing back with JRiver or the like

JRiver is some kind of portable toy I believe? 😉 My B.I.L. used to have a red one.

There sure are better ways of ripping CDs.. Like using a proper CD drive from Plextor and E.A.C. as software. You get guaranteed, perfect FLAC copies that can be expanded then back and burned as CD-R if one wanted (for some people like to use CD-Text feature of their CD player).

On 12/10/2020 at 12:00 PM, Richard Tremain said:

Second hand top line stuff under 5yrs old is another choice

It is indeed another choice but not a very good one. There simply aren't any good CD mechanisms made in more than a decade, with Sanyo still making some available of their old designs. But that is about it. Most of the "top line" players use $5 DVD lasers and all SACD players have to use them for SACD is really a DVD player.

 

On 22/10/2020 at 10:12 AM, MattyW said:

I believe the old Phillips transports were the best of the lot

Philips indeed made some good mechanisms in the days gone by, but, for instance in their Marantz brand, the SPDIF output is... sub-optimal. Not as (purposely) mangled as C.E.C. makes them, but still not really good.

 

Rather than go by some brand or mechanism or review, what you really want is a good CD reader that can track well, read T.O.C. fast, jump to tracks instantaneously and read any CD or CD-R. But also have good SPDIF output.

Below some pics.

First Wadia 16 (CD Player), Sony CDP-338ESD (CD player and the best CD reader I have ever seen) both with Sony KSS-151A laser mechanism. Very, very good.

Slight overshoot but this is taken with my new 100MHz digital scope. The curves look much better on my uTube videos where these artefacts are not captured.

Next Accuphase Dp-80L (Transport) - pretty good. What really counts is vertical transition from one state to another and then a stable value, which is good here but not as good as in preceding ones.

Next Marantz CD-94 Mk2 - great CD player that sounds good but useless as transport. That SPDIF output is a joke.

C.E.C. TL51XR - similar to Marantz, great CD player but even more useless as transport. Its output is not as bad as the TL0 and TL1 but still horrible (you can see their output curves if you are so inclined on Lampizator web pages. He removes the C.E.C. mangling of the signal and makes them proper - which is not that difficult).

C.E.C. TL5100 - only very average as player with slightly better SPDIF, but also does not read CD-Rs, poorly reading CDs and struggling with fast seek and track jumps. 

 

And in these pictures plus the performance of the Sony CDP-338ESD as a reader of CDs lays the answer to why this player had been my transport for 2 or 3 years and why I want so much money for it (have been asked this on eBay many times). Also, for relatively modest financial outlay, you get a transport vastly superior to anything made today and to most proper "Transports" ever made.

The only downside is that you do not get the bragging rights for having a Sony in your system 😉

 

WADIA 16

946857159_Wadia16SPDIFSmall.jpg.e7e5b144d8b8ecfe9796ac48fed0c3de.jpg 

 

Sony CDP-338ESD

699658486_SonyCDP-338ESDSPDIFSmall.jpg.28102b6956757fae52721ec8cec29d7a.jpg

 

Accuphase Dp-80L

829228109_AccophaseDp-80LSmall.jpg.8e21f9d76086364431fa7eff204fd895.jpg

 

Marantz DC-94 Mk2

321048428_MarantzCD-94Mk2SPDIFSmall.jpg.5c463a867300fd34cf78dfae53acf0b9.jpg

 

C.E.C. TL-51XR

1556516440_CECTL51XRSPDIFSmall.jpg.189b7e00bf63f67e827a9cc03284d47c.jpg

 

C.E.C. TL-5100

774682074_CECTL-5100SPDIFSmall.jpg.8bb3bd77e95c73f4d1ab32a555e5cb9c.jpg

Edited by rockeater
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Rob, I agree that streaming can be way more inconvenient than playing a CD.

You might be interested to know that Tidal now has what looks to me like all the Stones albums, including four versions of Beggars Banquet. And there's heaps and heaps of Pink Floyd too.

One of the odd things of Tidal is that you can different results from different apps. I can play Tidal via my Tidal phone app, Tidal laptop, and Tidal tablet app. But I can also play Tidal via the embedded app in my Oppo, or the embedded app in my the Lightning software that serves my Auralic streamer. They all seem to give different results when searching! The Lightning app seems to give the most comprehensive results, which is stranger still. (Settings can play a part in this too, I should imagine, and don't you hate it when an automatic update changes a setting deep in the layout...)

That, of course, reinforces your point that anything to do with streaming has the capacity to be a pain. On the other hand, when it works, I can just sit back and listen to the 50th anniversary Beggars Banquet, in mqa or flac, and enjoy the music. Cheers.

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24 minutes ago, Mickstuh said:

Rob, I agree that streaming can be way more inconvenient than playing a CD.

You might be interested to know that Tidal now has what looks to me like all the Stones albums, including four versions of Beggars Banquet. And there's heaps and heaps of Pink Floyd too.

One of the odd things of Tidal is that you can different results from different apps. I can play Tidal via my Tidal phone app, Tidal laptop, and Tidal tablet app. But I can also play Tidal via the embedded app in my Oppo, or the embedded app in my the Lightning software that serves my Auralic streamer. They all seem to give different results when searching! The Lightning app seems to give the most comprehensive results, which is stranger still. (Settings can play a part in this too, I should imagine, and don't you hate it when an automatic update changes a setting deep in the layout...)

That, of course, reinforces your point that anything to do with streaming has the capacity to be a pain. On the other hand, when it works, I can just sit back and listen to the 50th anniversary Beggars Banquet, in mqa or flac, and enjoy the music. Cheers.

Cheers Mick, I’ll check it again but my complaint was not that they did not have the Stones, Floyd etc but rather that they didn’t have them in the Hi-Fi subscription lossless format. How can you have Mariah Carey in lossless file and not Dark Side of the Moon?? 🤪

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Hi Rob. Just fyi, I checked via LightningDS and Tidal has five versions of Sticky Fingers, three of which are 16/44 flac, the other two being 24/44 mqa. Hope that helps. 

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2 minutes ago, Mickstuh said:

Hi Rob. Just fyi, I checked via LightningDS and Tidal has five versions of Sticky Fingers, three of which are 16/44 flac, the other two being 24/44 mqa. Hope that helps. 

Cool. Thanks mate, they’ve raised their game since I used it. 👍👍

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On 22/10/2020 at 4:11 PM, rockeater said:

Next Marantz CD-94 Mk2 - great CD player that sounds good but useless as transport. That SPDIF output is a joke.

A lot of folk mod the high end Marantz players that have the CDM1 and CDM1 mKll and output i2s to DAC.

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On 22/10/2020 at 5:11 PM, rockeater said:

And in these pictures plus the performance of the Sony CDP-338ESD as a reader of CDs lays the answer to why this player had been my transport for 2 or 3 years and why I want so much money for it (have been asked this on eBay many times)


This must be yours then...

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Sony-CDP-338ESD-CD-player-featuring-KSS-151A-mechansim-Burr-Brown-PCM-58P-DAC/114419096078?hash=item1aa3e8da0e:g:Qf4AAOSwLChfAhbA

Edited by Esoterica
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4 hours ago, muon* said:

A lot of folk mod the high end Marantz players that have the CDM1 and CDM1 mKll and output i2s to DAC.

Indeed they they do.

There is a good reason to go that path.

These mechanisms had real glass lenses made by Carl Zeiss and are mechanically very good, with the swing are being magnetically driven in a friction-less manner.

If they however leave the output the way it is, it means they are D.I.Y hobbyists without access to an oscilloscope.

Anyone even half professional can easily modify the SPDiF output of a CD player and there are plenty of ready made recipes on Lampizator's website.

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On 09/10/2020 at 1:20 AM, muon* said:

Maybe look for a used CEC TL5 CD transport if it is just for redbook CD's.

CEC transports need some improvement to sound at their best, but then can sound pretty damn good. Transport mechanisms are still available. It's a good CD option when combined with a quality DAC

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48 minutes ago, proftournesol said:

CEC transports need some improvement to sound at their best, but then can sound pretty damn good. Transport mechanisms are still available. It's a good CD option when combined with a quality DAC

Yes, I think someone sold a very nice upgraded one in the classifieds recently here, and at a crazy good price too.

 

Edit: it was actually the comments on that modded one that made me suggest them.

Edited by muon*
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On 12/10/2020 at 4:01 AM, audiofeline said:

It was the CD-94 MkII, I don't know the mechanism.  I always felt it was a very nice player, I was sorry to let go of it.  I believe that it was identical to a Philips machine.  I've read that there are a lot of mods which can be done to take it to the next level.

 

I will add that I'm also very happy with the Oppo I replaced it with. 

 

I’ve had a CD94 MK 1 from new. Only replaced belts twice in 31 years, same laser. For SACD’s I use a Marantz SA11, had one laser replacement in 12 years but not sure if that was the real fault at the time. Also use a CD5005 for study system... works flawlessly. Three very different generations of Marantz players and chipsets, but similar sound signatures ( a sweeping statement of course).

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