Akai CD players - why so rare?

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by 6BQ5, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. 6BQ5

    6BQ5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I've been on the hunt for an 80's Akai CD player in a silver finish for a few years. They rarely come up anywhere: Craigslist, eBay, shopgoodwill.com, etc. Why are they so rare? Did Akai just make so few of them or are people holding on to them like holy relics?

    -=- Boris
     
  2. SoNic67

    SoNic67 Well-Known Member

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    Sadly Akai was mismanaged at the transition to the digital age, from one of the kings of audio they just fizzled. Sony/Philips combination and their own lack of interest (innovation) in digital killed them.
    My guess is that there are not too many CDP's made by them, see below a list (scroll down to Akai):
    http://vasiltech.narod.ru/CD-Player-DAC-Transport.htm

    There are sometimes CDP's on eBay, but rarely in silver color:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/AKAI-CD-52-Compact-Disc-Player-MFG-1988-TESTED-/122379387455
    However, technically, those are nothing special. Classic 80's, mostly multibit-DAC, players. Denon, Yamaha, Marantz... did better.

    PS: In US their products sold also under the "Roberts" name and in Swiss under "Tensai".
    Don't know why, but that was a popular practice in the 80's, like Phillips selling under Magnavox and Sylvania labels (in US).
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
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  3. 6BQ5

    6BQ5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  4. Markoneswift

    Markoneswift Quartz locked n ready to rock Subscriber

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    I seem to remember someone somewhere commenting that an Akai 5 CD changer was actually a very nice quality unit indeed. Think I read that here a while back.
     
  5. restorer-john

    restorer-john Super Member

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    Grab yourself a CD-A7 (their second cd player) and CD-A30 (nice little machine) or if you are very brave, find a CD-D1. All in silver.

    The CD-D1 is a nightmare to get going, but being a first generation implementation of the Kyocera unit, with arguably better aesthetics, it is a rare find. It used a twin DA converter array (2xTDA1540 in 4xOS using the complete 4 chip philips chipset) all in a vertical spinning unit.

    In fact, the CD-D1 under a different badge was advertised prior to even the CDP-101 from Sony. It was branded also Phase Linear, Tensai, Akai, Rotel, Kyocera, even Micro Seiki rebadged it.

    The CD-A7 came in silver and black and it is a great machine. I still have a mint one from 1984 and it works perfectly.
     
  6. SoNic67

    SoNic67 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, those 14 bit TDA 1540 are rare, Philips didn't think that the standard will end up at 16 bit so they manufactured a bunch of 14 bit DAC's. Audio quality is not anything special (compared to the 16 bit 1541), but they are the first generation of CDP's indeed.
     
  7. jdurbin1

    jdurbin1 Tandberg enthusiast Subscriber

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    restorer, did you ever chat with Tinman on those Akai pieces? I believe he still has the CD-A7 in black, and I know he's worked on the CD-D1 (or a differently branded variant) - your description left out the part about rubber belts being used to drive the optical sled :eek:

    John
     
  8. eltech

    eltech Member

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    I agree the CD-A7 is a nice souding unit. I used to own one. It uses the fantastic Burr Brown PCM53 parallel input DAC chip. Its got really big bass and big dynamics.
    however the last one I saw sell on ebay sold for something like $400. I think that is a ridiculous price for a very old CD player. Must be a collector that bought it. I paid about $70 for mine 12 or so years ago. I ended up selling it. so I guess I found something else I liked better. It did have a slightly "dark" sound from memory. Not "airy" if you know what I mean?

    Been there and done that whole vintage CD player "thing".
    Over it now!
     
  9. restorer-john

    restorer-john Super Member

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    I have a few CD-D1s. The laser assembly runs on a stainless/nylon cable and guides, run from a small motor decoupled with a small belt. Pretty standard stuff at the time for linear tracking TTs actually. The whole RF front end is totally discrete and even a perfectly aligned unit occasionally has micro dropouts in the audio, but it is a joy to listen to. There is something magical about the 1st generation TDA1540 ceramic substrate D/As, but then again, I love the good vintage CD players- they are so much nicer to use IMO.
     
  10. jdurbin1

    jdurbin1 Tandberg enthusiast Subscriber

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    It's certainly an entertaining machine visually :thumbsup:

    FWIW, I have owned a lot of the Tandberg dual TDA1540P machines (early 3015), but don't hear a ton of difference between those and the 16-bit TDA1541 version that followed it that I'm using now. Big differences between those machines and the early Sony stuff, though.

    John
     

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