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Bullet Proof JVC CD Players circa 1989/90

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by TAGO MAGO, May 5, 2010.

  1. TAGO MAGO

    TAGO MAGO Super Member

    Messages:
    2,270
    Location:
    Waynesboro, VA
    I know some here scoff at the idea of an older cd player, although depending of the brand, I will often pick up a used one if the price is right. I have noticed out of all of the cd players I have found used, the JVC units around 1988-91 have always worked perfectly and continue to do so, not to mention that they are always dirt cheap. I have a XL-V 231, XL-V311 as well as a XL-Z 331, all of which work great and pretty much look alike to the untrained eye (although really from the front the only real aesthetic difference is the XL-V311 being from 1989 is black on black while the others from 1990 use the exact layout, but it is gray on black).

    I have had old Technics, Pioneer and Sony machines and they have all been quite trouble prone when they get up there in age. I would say that the only other units I have used that have equaled the JVC's reliability is my ancient Luxman D-404 and my three Belgian made Magnavox (Philips) units (this is not including my Belgian made Philips CD recorder which is at times temperamental).

    Anybody else have JVC units from the same era and noticed that not only will they not die, they will never get sick. This is certainly something they did not stick with on their later generations (starting with the all gray, tray in the center units which were junky in comparison).
     
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  2. PhunkyPhill

    PhunkyPhill Active Member

    Messages:
    397
    Location:
    Western NC
    I've had a JVC XL-F108 5 disc-changer since new for around 15 years, if I had to guess how old it is. I have never, ever had any problem whatsoever with it and to me it sounds decent. Don't have much to compare it CD-wise, though.

    So yeah, I'd say bullet-proof is an appropriate description
     
  3. PacificStereo

    PacificStereo Super Member

    Messages:
    1,725
    JVC players from that era (dunno about now) used optics unique to JVC- this may be one of the reasons you've had the reliability you have.
     
    ElCovina likes this.
  4. Ashfan

    Ashfan Super Member

    Messages:
    1,512
    I will add a plus to this thread. The XL series are all fairly bulletproof. I will add that I think the sound is better than the equivalent Sony's and Pioneer's from that era that I have tried. CD players don't exactly fly off the shelves here at the thrifts, and so when one of the XL series shows up at the local GW I wait until the color of its price tag gets around to 75% off, and pick up another for backup at $6.25.
     
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  5. YogaJedi

    YogaJedi Hero Of The Weirdos

    Messages:
    124
    Location:
    Stone Mountain, Georgia.
    I have an XL Z-555 (Super Digifine) and an XL Z-411. Both units have played every disc I've fed them, cd-r or scratched, with nary a problem. IMO, the Z-555 sounds wonderful, with nice clean bass and smoothness across the upperend.
     
  6. TAGO MAGO

    TAGO MAGO Super Member

    Messages:
    2,270
    Location:
    Waynesboro, VA
    Yeah, I think the highest end of the three, I paid the least for which was $5.00 at a yard sale.
     

     

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  7. Vistance

    Vistance Super Member

    Messages:
    1,632
    Hate to post in an old(er) thread, but I have a Technics SL-P770 CD player from 1988 and it works beautifully. I've never had to do a thing to it and it works great - it's my main CD player. Here's a pic of what it looks like:
    [​IMG]

    I generally protest to using a CD player without a jog wheel! It's so handy that despite my efforts to have all matching Denon in my main setup I am not looking to replace the Technics - unless there's a Denon with a jog wheel...
    I also like the window prism that Technics uses so you can actually see the disc spinning - more cool than anything though.

    I found this thread (In part due to Google) because low and behold I did find a JVC XL-Z331 at a thrift store and upon testing found a DVD inserted in the tray. Somehow I feel the fool who put it up for sale thought it didn't work because the disc didn't play - I lol'd but for $10 it seemed to work fine and lit up, brought it home and aside from some scratches it too works fine. Oddly though the Manufacture Date and Serial Number have both totally worn off - it's really strange. I'm using it in my bedroom system and am quite pleased (the orange screen also matches my Pioneer conveniently).

    I frequently find old Technics stuff and rarely have I ever seen anything broken that's Technics. Perhaps they don't make esoteric equipment but I like their equipment and find it all well built and great performing (And I like the quirky looks of my SL-P770). I picked up a cheap Technics cassette deck at a Goodwill once hoping it worked ok (had no power cable but looked clean) - ended up being perfect, not even any play issues or nothin'! Even a "Made in Japan" model and it was definitely an early 90's Technics (Black plastic face) - not top of the line at all but a nice dual cassette.

    Sorry, I just hold a special place for Technics - had to speak up! I generally strongly lean toward Denon for all things if given free choice, but my first receiver was a basic but perfect working old Technics. I guess everyone here has a brand they favor as being their "first" as well though, no?

    P.S. I don't scoff at the idea of an older player - heh the JVC is the newest CD player I own! Meh, CDs are CDs and I haven't seen cause to need to run out and buy a newer player to play the same stuff (I'd like a dedicated SACD player but too rich for my blood). I don't play CDs in anything else, although my PS3 is an SACD player (Only recently realized it - I need to buy some SACDs!).
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
  8. Bikerduck

    Bikerduck Member

    Messages:
    99
    Location:
    Arizona
    I have a JVC XL-Z444 that sounds real nice but I think the laser is going.
    My Main CD Players are the Yamaha's CDX, which I own a bunch. I realy love the CDX's and use the 930 and 1100 every day with no problems what so ever.
    The yamaha's are my favorites and the Technics SLP770.
    Here are some of the CD players I use

    Yamaha CDX-450
    Yamaha CDX-500U
    Yamaha CDX-710
    Yamaha CDX-930 x2
    Yamaha CDX-1060
    Yamaha CDX-1100 x2
    JVC XL-Z444BK
    Teac PD-H503 Reference
    Technics SL-P770
    Cambridge Azur 540C V2
    I also have 4 Kenwood players from the early 80's but they don't sound that great.
     
    KentTeffeteller likes this.
  9. packrat

    packrat Super Member

    Messages:
    2,039
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada

    I agree! For fun today I picked up a JVC XL-M301BK 6-disk changer for $12. Maybe from 91 or 92 if I'm guessing right. Works perfectly! Usually they need some lube of cleaning but this thing just works. The changing mechanism and transport is all metal stampings which is different from the plastic used in most (or all?) of the carousel types. This is the first time I get to try out a magazine type CD changer and I think I like it. They don't need the shelf depth that a carousel player needs so it can sit on a 14" deep shelf - I think I now have a player for the garage :)

    I even came across this place!

    http://www.jeff-young-design.com/JVC

    http://www.jeff-young-design.com/JVC/CD-Players/XL-M301.jpg
     
  10. icenine

    icenine Super Member

    Messages:
    3,891
    Location:
    3rd Fleet HQ, San Dog
    I have an JVC XL-Z 444 at work....plays everything with out a hitch.
     
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  11. Robisme

    Robisme Sansui Enthusiast Subscriber

    Messages:
    11,723
    Location:
    Martinez California
    I have three. A single, a magazine type, and a carousel.

    All have been great.

    I also have a Yamaha, Denon, and Pioneer. They have been great as well.

    Rob
     

     

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  12. Balifly

    Balifly Listening Subscriber

    Messages:
    19,754
    Location:
    Vancouver, B.C., Canada
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  13. voltcontrol

    voltcontrol Fizheuer Zieheuer

    Messages:
    5,962
    Location:
    Waalwijk, The Netherlands
    Plenty of joghwheel choice from Denon! :D
    (Probably not what you're looking for though)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Ps; I love sound, durability and look of the Philips cd player my uncle has for+15 years now (all metal, also the disc tray), don't know which model it is unafortunately.
    I don't know the Wadia/Nagra high end stuff, but a lot of the older cd players still have kick ass sound quality performance imo.

    Pps; I personally don't see the need of keeping a collection of separate discs for digital content in this day and age. A HDD/SSD is enough imho. ;)
     
  14. Artie

    Artie AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,821
    Location:
    Jax, Fl
    I have an XL-V151, (all gray, tray in the center unit), but it certainly isn't "junky". (1992/1993 era.) It still works great, sounds good. Although, I do treat it with TLC. :thmbsp:
     
  15. Jerry Garcia

    Jerry Garcia New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Yes, I have a JVC CD-changer from 1991 or 1992, and I have used it just about every day for the last 18 or 19 years. I have never ever had a problem. Laser works fine, mechanics works fine, sound is good too. No problems at all! The CD tray once refused to open, but that was because I had accidently fed it a CD that didn't fit. I opened the CD player. I used a screwdriver to bend the thing into place and get the CD out. Needless to say, I didn't expect this CD player to ever work again after that treatment. But guess what, it didn't hurt it one bit. It just soldiered on...

    So yes, I would say the build quality and reliability on these things are pretty fantastic. I have recently bought a new, pretty high-end CD player but simply can't bring myself to ditch the ol' JVC player. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if my new CD player dies before the JVC.
     
  16. Fletch

    Fletch Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    834
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    I picked up a XL-V311 for $6.99 to flip on Ebay. I took a listen but was not impressed although at the time I didn't need another player. Build quality was decent and worked without any issues.

    As far as build quality I have a Sony CDP-70 that is the heaviest CD player I have ever held and it is a smaller size then every other player I have seen. Picked it up for $10.
     

     

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  17. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

    Messages:
    25,852
    Location:
    Athens, TN
    For their price new, JVC made nice players. They sounded fine and were reliable even in heavy use. If you really want to see build quality in a CD player, look at one of the ReVox players or early top load Philips. Those are tanks. I still have an XL-Z 444 JVC player and it's been superb. The early Denon players are still superb when in excellent condition. I love the early DCD series.
     
  18. Tinman

    Tinman AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,087
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California.
    I don't think ANYTHING can beat the philips based players in sheer reliability, but there were a few that come close.
     
  19. voltcontrol

    voltcontrol Fizheuer Zieheuer

    Messages:
    5,962
    Location:
    Waalwijk, The Netherlands
    Do you guys have a couple of Philips type no.s to look out for? Here in NL there should be plenty on offer. :)
     
  20. YogaJedi

    YogaJedi Hero Of The Weirdos

    Messages:
    124
    Location:
    Stone Mountain, Georgia.
    I see a lot of xl z444 users here, but does anyone else use the xl z555?
     

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