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NEC CD-510 vintage CD goodness

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by sparklow, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. sparklow

    sparklow Member

    I recently bought a NEC CD-510, built in 1987. It was very clean and came with the remote and the original owners manual. The very honest seller told me the "CD door was sticking". As is my habit when I buy a vintage piece of equipment I took the cover off as soon as I got it home to blow out the dust from the inside. It was clean. So clean that I didn't need to blow out the non existent dust. So I plugged it and and attempted to open the CD door and sure enough it was stuck with the tell tale whirring of the drive belt in motion but slipping on its capstan. I removed the belt and cleaned it with Ru-Glyde rubber cleaner and reinstalled it and the CD door now opens and shuts. On to a hookup with my system and a test run with a good quality CD. This old player has a Burr-Brown DAC chip and it sounds really good. I own three CD players, of which this one is the earliest build date, and the NEC is the best sounding to my ears, less strident in the highs and warmer overall. Anybody out there have any NEC experience which agrees with mine or am I just hearing what I want to hear?
    slow_jazz likes this.


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  2. Hifirob2

    Hifirob2 NEC and Klipsch rock!

    So Cal
    I have many NEC CD players, but have never owned a CD-510. I do have a CD-610 and CD-810 from that series, and can say very nice things about them - up to a point. The 810 sounded the best, and was seriously over built. For the NEC models that had the Burr Brown DACs, I prefer the CD-650 the most. It was from the generation right before the x10 series players. It is nearly identical to the CD-810, circuit-wise - and the two models sound identical to my ears. Very plain looking, but very reliable - and had a motorized volume control, so you could adjust the volume from the remote.

    For an even better NEC CD player, look for the ones that had the Philips TDA1541 DAC chip. Those showed up in the generations for 1988 & 1989 - the x20 and x30 series (the top models at least). I have the CD-620, CD-720, CD-630, and CD-730. The 730 is the best sounding player I have. I had the CD-530, but it lacked the Philips DAC, and I could not get used to the sound.

    These were the common models. NEC had their share of very high end models, too. Like the CD-903 and CD-830. Those are just so rare - and I don't ever expect to come across one that I could afford. Their second generation model - the CD-705 - is insanely overbuilt, and can get real picky about which discs it decides to play, but it sounds VERY nice. The third generation models were the CD-509 & CD-607. Great sounding Burr Brown DACs, but suffered from a weak loading mechanism. Finding a working one is tough, but the fix is simply a belt replacement, I think. The next generation had the CD-500 & CD-650. I love the CD-650 a lot, but these are tough to ship safely if they don't have the correct transport locking screws.

    NEC made a handful of CD players for MCS, too. Look for models MCS 6803, 6805, 6806, and 6807. Those all had the Burr Brown DAC - and sound way better than they should, but lack some of the features of their corresponding NEC models. Tough to find, but worth the hunt.

    Did your CD-510 come from craigslist in Hartford? If so, you got a very good deal. Enjoy it!
    sparklow likes this.
  3. sparklow

    sparklow Member

    Thank you for your very detailed reply. It gives me just the sort of info I was hoping to get. I will be keeping it for future reference! I did indeed buy this NEC CD-510 from Craig's list in Hartford, CT. It was an exceptionally good deal. I like to take a chance on a potential bargain now and then and this was a nice buy, it sounds sweet.

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