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Old 21st January 2003, 07:43 PM   #1
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Default good sounding personal CD player

I know I may risk a barrage of abuse form more knowlegable members of the forum, saying "it's impossible" but is there such a thing as a good sounding personal CD player that is up there with some of the stand-alone models?

(You know, the little portable things)
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Old 22nd January 2003, 04:28 PM   #2
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Default Sony D-555

The Sony D-555 is considered one of (if not) the best portable CD player(s) ever made in terms of sound quality. It is also very solidly built. I have one and it does indeed sound very good. I don't really know how it compares with the best of the stationary models, but if isn't "up there" with the best of the them, then nothing is. Just don't expect to go jogging with it as it is quite heavy and lacks skip protection of any kind.

They can usually be had on eBay for between $150 and $300.

Stu
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Old 1st February 2003, 03:02 AM   #3
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I have to throw this in -

I haven't heard the specific Sony that mike speaks of, but I have never heard a "good" sounding Sony discman. When I bought my discman (... wow... ? ...1995!!) I had been listening to a miriad of portable players, and my Panasonic blew all of them away. It was $350 back in the day. The only thing that has come close to it is my cousin's Denon discman - from about 1991, I think. Its ancient and HUGE, but it's pretty impressive - I wouldn't expect anything less from Denon though (yes, I realize its not phenomenal equipment, but they do usually offer very good sound quality for the money on all their equipment - IMO).

Anyhow, I have always been extremely pleased with Panasonic discmans, and hundreds of people agree with me on this. My references here come from www.headwize.com (a headphone forum) and HeadRoom . The last several years (5 or 6) HeadRoom has always listed Panasonic discmans as their recommended equipment. That's gotta say something...

Keep in mind, these recommendations are typically with an external headphone amplifier using the preout on the discman, rather than the built in headphone amp. But, providing you have somewhat efficient and decent sounding headphones, the little amps in the Panasonics are still some of the best sounding in the market. I use my Panasonic with a variety of phones (Koss SportaPro, Koss PortaPro, Sennheiser HD580, Koss TD-75, Koss ESP-950 Electrostatic, Sony MD-7506, Koss Pro4AA, Koss A-250). Yes, I'm a Koss fan. I formerly had an engineering internship where I tested literally thousands of headphones on Audio Precision equipment and performed listening tests on them as well using an Adcom GFP-555 preamp and a NAD 2400 amp with a specialized headphone level converter (basically a potentiometer).

I'm not sure if you're planning on using this for a transport or for actual portable/headphone listening. If for portable listening, I'd definetly go with a Panasonic. If you're feeling ambitious, I'd just splurge right away and buy a pair of the Koss ESP-950 electrostatic phones and run them off the line out of the Pany. Otherwise, if you're feeling in the DIY mood, I'd recommend building a little headphone amp with some nice opamps (Burr-Brown 2134's are great for this) with a little volume pot and power it with say a 9V battery - again running this external amp off the line out. Or if you just wanna run headphones directly off the discman, I'd recommend any of the above mentioned phones - it all depends on your pricepoint there too.

Well, I'm gonna stop rambling now...
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Old 1st February 2003, 03:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tieftoener
When I bought my discman (... wow... ? ...1995!!) I had been listening to a miriad of portable players, and my Panasonic blew all of them away. It was $350 back in the day.
Hi,

I agree with the panasonic portable players. I'm not sure what they use for DACs, but they sure sound nice. I actually have a Quasar, but it's the same as panasonic (Literally same schematics, and parts, only difference is the name). Both panasonic and quasar are made by Matsushita (I believe Teac is also owned by Matsushita).

My player is an oldy, but is still one of the better players I've heard. (The unit is stamped July 1991, Model CD8959). I don't know how the newer units are, but I suspect anything panasonic/quasar is going to be good.

-Dan
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Old 1st February 2003, 05:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tieftoener
I have to throw this in -

I haven't heard the specific Sony that mike speaks of, but I have never heard a "good" sounding Sony discman. When I bought my discman (... wow... ? ...1995!!) I had been listening to a miriad of portable players, and my Panasonic blew all of them away. It was $350 back in the day. The only thing that has come close to it is my cousin's Denon discman - from about 1991, I think. Its ancient and HUGE, but it's pretty impressive - I wouldn't expect anything less from Denon though (yes, I realize its not phenomenal equipment, but they do usually offer very good sound quality for the money on all their equipment - IMO).

Anyhow, I have always been extremely pleased with Panasonic discmans, and hundreds of people agree with me on this. My references here come from www.headwize.com (a headphone forum) and HeadRoom . The last several years (5 or 6) HeadRoom has always listed Panasonic discmans as their recommended equipment. That's gotta say something...

Well, I'm gonna stop rambling now...
What model Sony did Mike speak of? I think you were referring to me.

Anyway, the problem with your above statements is that you are limiting your frame of reference to portable cd players made in the past 6 years. While it may be true that modern Panasonic players are better than the Sonys, they still do not generally compare with earlier Sony units made until 1990. All modern portables have succomb to evil market forces driving down weight and increasing battery life and skip protection at the expense of sonic performance. Not even Panasonics players are immune to that. AFAIK, no modern Panasonics have a digital out feature, which at least some Sonys do.

As much as I hate Sony products, both Headwize and Head-fi seem to be in agreement that most of the top portable CD players of all time bear the Sony name. The D-555 is one of them. It has dual multibit Burr-Brown PCM-66p DACs and 8x oversampling and even a strong enough headphone amp to drive my Senn HD-600s.

Stu
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Old 1st February 2003, 06:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: good sounding personal CD player

Quote:
Originally posted by mike
I know I may risk a barrage of abuse form more knowlegable members of the forum, saying "it's impossible" but is there such a thing as a good sounding personal CD player that is up there with some of the stand-alone models?

(You know, the little portable things)


Sony. SONY SONY. i love my sony net md player. sounds awsome. 1 battery 2000mah lasts me 3 weeks some times more. and i use it every day for 2 hours. Beat that.
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Old 1st February 2003, 07:05 PM   #7
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A friend of mine bought a recent Sony model with digital output (I think it's second from the top model) and we compared it (as a tansport) to my $8,000 (although quite old) Technics CD transport. I was surprised how close Sony came sonically. It was only slightly less warm and not as detailed, but otherwise very good sounding. The anaog section was more behind however, when comparing to a good DAC.

What we didn't like about this model, was that all controls were on a wired remote, and not on the unit as such.
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Old 4th February 2003, 04:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
What model Sony did Mike speak of? I think you were referring to me.
maczrool - yes, sorry! I was referring to you!

Quote:
Anyway, the problem with your above statements is that you are limiting your frame of reference to portable cd players made in the past 6 years.
This may be - my comments are undoubtedly weighted to players in the last 5-6 years, but I did mention my cousins older Denon from (I think) 1991 or so (I'll try to remember to check tonight on the exact model number). This is indeed an unbeleivable player, which actually takes four (4) AA batteries, as opposed to the newer generations that rely on two (2). This is the only player I have heard that comes close to my Panasonic (again, I'll try to get the model of my Pany when I get home tonight). As I mentioned before in my first post, I haven't heard maczrool's Sony D-555. This may indeed sound better!

Just wanted to clarify and let you all know that I'm open to better possibilities
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Old 4th February 2003, 08:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
I did mention my cousins older Denon from (I think) 1991 or so (I'll try to remember to check tonight on the exact model number).
Okay, I'll give you that. I believe the model to which you are referring is the Denon DCP-150, which is also very highly reverred. It features at least one 18-bit AD1868 and 8x oversampling. Not sure about the quality of the headphone amp, but the line out is top-notch, from what I've read.

Stu
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Old 6th February 2003, 05:18 AM   #10
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Default a little behind

OK - sorry, went to movie tonight instead of spending all night surfing (hey, gotta get out once in a while )

My Pany is a SL-551C. My cousin is in bed now, so it'll be at least 'til tomorrow 'til I get the model of his Denon player.

Maybe I'll take some pics on my poopy digi-cam too

l8erg8er,
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