1. Time for some upgrades in server hardware and software to enhance security and take AK to the next level. Please contribute what you can to sales@audiokarma.org at PayPal.com - Thanks from the AK Team
    Dismiss Notice

My experience with older cd/dvd players as audio players

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by Edi M, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. Edi M

    Edi M New Member

    Messages:
    11
    I have read most of the online topics concerning choosing an old cd player versus a new(or old) dvd player as a cheap source for playing audio cds and i have to say there is a lot of bad information out there. I have been looking for a decent quality player for home made/commercial cds for a few years now and most of my experiences were rather negative. Although this is 2018, i think lots of people still use older cd/dvd players so i believe this debate still make sense. My findings are, as follows:

    1. There is no general rule concerning the sound coming from an older cdp/dvd player. Despite what some people claim, they all sound slightly different. That being said, most cheap players that i`ve tried in the last 5 years, all of them in the 10-20 dollar/euro range(technics sl-pg490, sony xe-220, sony cdp-791, pioneer dv-420 dvd, LG/philips dvd players from around 2010 etc) all sounded kinda bad. It would be a uninspired decision to use one of those as a source for a HIFI setup. Most of these players have thin, lifeless sound and obviously many of them will show age-related issues(skipping, tray not opening, etc).

    2. There are exceptions. As to this date, i have only kept 3 machines: a philips cdm630(or similar, can`t remember exactly right now) made in the late `80s, a denon dvd1000 and a sony xe320. The oldest and the best i`ve had by far is the philips(made in belgium, cdm4/19 mechanism, tda 1541). It`s built well, has big buttons and bright display and it reads any cd in 2 seconds flat. Best of all, it has a good, solid sound to it. Some may say it`s unrefined and all that, but i love it. Sounds a bit "analog", bass and voice reproduction is good and apart from a slow and noisy tray, i really don`t think you can do any better in this price range. It is the best 12 euros i`ve spend on a disc-based player so far. Definitely a keeper.

    The denon dvd1000 is an old(expensive) dvd player. Quite heavy and well built for a dvd player, it doesn`t sound as good as the philips and it has a distinct sound signature with emphasis on voice. The bass response is ok. While the sound doesn`t blow me away, it is definitely much better than all the other dvd players i`ve listened to, so i`m keeping it.

    Last but not least, the sony xe-320. The players from this series are very common and can be found at any flea market or online site, so it`s worth discussing them. The xe-320 does not excel at any category(build, sound), but it`s "good enough" for someone looking for a cheap cd player. The sound is a bit on the thin side, but musical nonetheless and i would say that in a low-end setup, this player would probably have the least influence on the sound. The transport is ok, the laser seems to be reliable.

    As a conclusion to my rather lenghty post, i would reiterate the fact that when choosing a disc-based player you can`t rely on any general rule of thumb, you have to listen and make your own decision regarding sound quality. I keep reading these dumb opinions like "any cheap modern dvd player will beat an older cdp because it has improved dac`s" or "vintage cdp are the best" bla bla which really have little to do with reality. Every player that i`ve tried sounds a bit different than the others and this makes sense, they were not identical in any way. Furthermore, any player is only a small part of a system and obviously things like the speakers you have will have a big influence on the overall sound you get.

    Don`t believe all the general advice you get on these forums, because not all red cars are as fast and not all players from a certain era or price point sound the same.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
    RDecartridge and Condorsat like this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. Grenadeslio

    Grenadeslio Super Member

    Messages:
    2,185
    Blue cars are the fastest anyway.
     
    unfairlane likes this.
  3. Grenadeslio

    Grenadeslio Super Member

    Messages:
    2,185
    These, all under $80, all MSRP $1000 or more originally.

    sony900v.gif x158dvp999s-f_LD.jpeg x158DVPX777-f.jpeg

    Decided to get off the cheap DVD/ CD player merry go round and yes there definitely IS a huge difference between players.
     
  4. Lazarus Long

    Lazarus Long Super Member

    Messages:
    1,691
    Location:
    Michigan
    IndyDucati, ben_, Ross6860 and 3 others like this.
  5. canuckaudiog

    canuckaudiog On a quest for high fidelity

    Messages:
    7,799
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    I bought a Denon DVD-3910 last year and it is an awesome CD player! Quite expensive in its day at around $2k MSRP and it has the capability to play SACDs. I didn't pay an arm and a leg for it either. They're out there, for sure.
     
  6. centsless

    centsless Super Member

    Messages:
    1,078
    Location:
    ohio
    My Sony X779ES is 42lbs of copper goodness. I've had it for over four years and dread the day it goes to audio heaven.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. Grenadeslio

    Grenadeslio Super Member

    Messages:
    2,185
    Ebay, the carousel was actually $63, a little patience is required. I've only found the DVP-NS900V in black at this price and currently have three, but the other two I have in silver to match my vintage Kenwood gear. The DVP NS999ES and the carousel were both purchased within the past 6 months, the DVP-NS900V's within the past 18 months so all fairly current pricing.

    Of course you have to be willing to use eBay, I know many won't.

    The carousel was actually purchased within the past 3 months, to be fair I did install two new belts at $12 bringing it up to $75 lol.
     
  8. 8xlaxx

    8xlaxx Where the hell’s the records room? Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,578
    Location:
    hjames' back-forty
    I purchased this last week (<$40) & the sound quality is pretty amazing to my ears.

    I too, have often wondered about the ceramics built into these units for increased stability w/ better tracking, resulting in a better listening experience (?).

    She's a looker though! :D

    FC1A1104.JPG
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
    SkyRanger likes this.
  9. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

    Messages:
    3,062
    Some weeks ago I got an Onkyo DX-1800 for around $20 or so. It sounds far better than any other CD player I have had, including better than the previous player that had seemed like a big step up from the previous one.
     
  10. tcdriver

    tcdriver AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,333
    Location:
    Valley of Heart's Delight
    Good post. :thumbsup: Welcome to AudioKarma.
     
  11. SoCal Sam

    SoCal Sam Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    18,439
    Everyone hears differently and everyone prefers different sound so I present the following as a loose correlation based on my experience. Older CDP's with dual transformers and multilple D/A chips offer better channel separation and better resolution. I've found this makes more of a difference than the brand of D/A chip whether it be Burr Brown, Philips, Sony, et al. For example, my Yamaha CDX-1120 is dual transformer and has four D/A chips. DVD player as CDP can be rewarding but only the TOTL. As mentioned previously, some are hit and miss. My Denon DVD-3910 gave a gorgeous picture but was average as a CDP. Toshiba SD-9200 sounds great and even plays CD-R. It had MSRP of 2,000 although early production problems tarnished its image and they were deeply discounted. The most interesting DVD player in the house is the recently acquired Panasonic DVD-H1000 which weights 38 pounds! It retailed for 3,000 in 2001. Sounds great but it will not play CD-R. In fact, the owners manual states the laser will damage CD-R.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  12. pauldrewry

    pauldrewry Super Member

    Messages:
    1,890
    Location:
    Ithaca NY
    MY Panisonic DVD-RP91 was only $20, plays DVD audio discs, plus has digital out- so I can use any DAC I want.
     
  13. electronjohn

    electronjohn Plug it in & see!! Subscriber

    Messages:
    19,900
    Location:
    minnesota
    I have a $3 garage sale "Oritron" DVD player that spins CDs just fine. Works for me!
     
    rkgren1 likes this.
  14. GSS61

    GSS61 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,624
    Location:
    Tallahassee
    It's great that pre-owned high end CD and DVD players are now selling for a small fraction of their original cost, and it's definitely true that some sound better than others depending on how their Digital to Analog conversion and output circuits were designed and implemented.

    However, the physical reading of spinning optical disc media is almost never error free. Technically speaking, the best way to play CDs is to use a highly accurate ripping program like EAC to copy and save them as WAV or FLAC files and then play them back with a computer or digital media player.

    That way, there are no optical disc reading errors to deal with during playback. The raw digital bitstream can be fed directly to your receiver via Toslink, Coax or HDMI and processed there. Or you can choose from the large selection of high quality standalone DACs that are available today and do your digital to analog conversion that way.

    Just my 2 cents on the subject. Love the audiophile quality players, though... they're awesome machines.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
    travellersol, BobbyBluz and ben_ like this.
  15. malvo

    malvo AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    301
    Location:
    Metro DC
    I think one of the things that has changed this particular sport most of late is the way that so many people now have a stand-alone DAC as part of their standard hifi setup. As long as your cheap DVD or whatever spinner lets you route digital out and to your DAC, you're good to go. Sure, there are (I suppose) some differences between a cheap transport and a sweet one, but in my experience the sound differences between disc spinners mostly disappear when you're using the same (hopefully nice) DAC to handle their output.
     
    GSS61 likes this.
  16. absolon

    absolon Super Member

    Messages:
    2,201
    Location:
    Lotusland
    After trying many others over the years, the one I've kept is an old Philips unit from the 70's, the CD160. It has the TDA1541 DAC, the SA7210 decoder and the CDM2/10 transport. I replaced all the electrolytic capacitors, upgraded the output electrolytic capacitors to polypropylenes and replaced the low grade LM833 opamps with OPA627 opamps and ended up with a reliable, fully functioning machine that sounds precisely as I like.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  17. SoCal Sam

    SoCal Sam Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    18,439
    CDP from the 70's? Is there such an animal?? Anyways, the CDM2 is a favorite. I've owned a bunch of CDM650's over the years and am always amazed how well the CDM2 performs. It reads just about anything including badly scratched disks. And it is virtually skip proof. I used to pound on the top of my 650's to see if they skipped and they didn't. This was proof that a big heavy chassis was not needed to ensure good tracking.
     
  18. absolon

    absolon Super Member

    Messages:
    2,201
    Location:
    Lotusland
    You're right, it was a mid-eighties player. The CDM-1 was an even better transport. I had a variety of players with that one and found I could pick it up and dance around without it missing a beat. I still have an old B&O CDX I'm planning on restoring one of these days. Twin TDA1540 14 bit DACs and the CDM-1 in a really well executed piece of industrial design.
     
  19. Tim64

    Tim64 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,154
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    I currently am using a Denon dvd-2930CI that was in like new condition and in the box at a estate sale. It plays HDCD and SACD and sounds great. I have had a couple mid 2000's middle of the road Sony's and they both did not sound so hot so I used a external DAC on them. Also have a couple Toshiba DVD players and they sound really good using there analog outputs. I have purchased a spare laser for the Denon just in case which means I will never need it. (fingers crossed).
     
  20. Andrei

    Andrei Active Member

    Messages:
    248
    I had this one, it is really an awesome player. The Sonys are known for sounding quite bright, but this one has a somewhat dark, but natural and analog sound. It also has some luxury components inside. True audiophile.
     
    Grenadeslio likes this.

Share This Page