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Old 17th July 2007, 03:25 AM   #1
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Default Need advice on buying new "old" cd player

Ok, my eyes are starting to bleed from all the reading so I will just pose the question. What represents a good value in a used(late 80's to present) CD player? I see some of the Philips and Marantz units are very good performers (great transport & DAC)that also respond well to some tweeking but I have a weekness for the industrial design of Proton, NAD, a/d/s and Carver . Unfortunately I have not been able to find much info on these makes, though I have read some of the Protons use respectable DAC's. There also seems to be a following for the older Yamaha's like the CDX 1100.... just looking for some input as most of my experience is with loudspeakers. I have considered running an outboard DAC but would be happy with a decent stand alone setup, thanks in advance.
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Old 17th July 2007, 03:34 AM   #2
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I found the denon 1520 very reliable units.

I found very little difference between players - compared the denon, a mission dad 7000, a philips dvd 963, a micromega stage 2, a pioneer 59 avi and my favourite - the diy unit based on a cd rom drive with a controller by diy club.
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Old 18th July 2007, 05:38 AM   #3
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Default This might just be what you are looking for...

http://www.lampizator.eu/
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Old 18th July 2007, 10:50 AM   #4
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Wow, this guy is realy.....eh, enthusiastic about his findings, very interesting read, thanks for the excellent link. Looks like I may go for the AMC CD8b as my daily driver, cool minimalist looks and reasonable quality but I'm still looking for a decent unassuming (ehhem cheap) foundation for tweaking, experimanting.
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Old 18th July 2007, 02:49 PM   #5
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Hi S.Spielbergo,

MY favorite is Rotel. Some of the experienced guys (I am not one of these guys, experienced that is) here are very impressed with Rotel after they open them up for the first time for build quality.

Look at their late 80s to mid to late 90s flagship line, the RCD 865BX and RCD 965BX and if you can find one, the RCD 965BX "Limited Edition," the nicest sounding of them all. These are wonderful performers to start with and get much better with intermediate mods. Plus they are reasonable used. I just got a Limited Edition from eBay for $90. the only thing wrong with it was a plastic button ($15.00 fix). Other than that, perfect. (This was a steal)

Then the model just below at that time was the RCD 855 and then the RCD 955. These use the TDA1541 DAC as in that article. These are even more reasonable used (these were $100 less then the 865/965s new). There are about a million posts on how to work with and/or improve the TDA1541s so if you have decided that's what you want to work with, this is a great place to start. There are several on eBay now for under $80.

Comparing the two stock (no mods), I felt the 865/965 was significantly better sounding than the 855/955s. BTW the difference between the 8xx line and the 9xx line was minimal and maybe nothing more than cosmetics (confirmed from Rotel). I don't know which has more potential without going crazy the 865/965 or the 855/955, but I prefer the 965.

The best part is Rotel still supports all four of these models and has 99% of the parts available and will do repairs on these at a reasonable rate and are located just outside Boston. They have been nothing short of woderful with me!

I hope this helps! Good luck and let us know what you decide to do!

Regards//Keith
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Old 24th July 2007, 03:53 AM   #6
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Well the AMC Cd8b, arrived in great condition (excellent really considering its been around for 7 years). No...it's not the end all be all of cd players but a considerable improvement over the poor Denon DVD 2200, I have been using. LOTS of details have been exposed like congos, bongos, synths and the like. The Sony transport is lightning fast as well,not bad at all for $80. I'm still on the lookout for a vintage unit, the Rotels are quite reasonable at times but I would hate to cut my teeth on something too decent, been looking into some Philips manufactured Magnavox's, I recently saw a Philips CD 880(?) go for ~$300 on Ebay, yikes!!
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Old 24th July 2007, 04:17 AM   #7
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Hey S.Spielbergo,

I saw a Rotel RCD 965BX go for $200 on eBay today. That's high. Wait until there are several on at the same time. They have a tendency for going for less when people have a 2nd and 3rd chance to pick one up. The last one or the only one usually gets the higher bids!

If you pick one up for let's say $100, who cares if it is too good to cut your teeth on. Worst case, you throw it away and buy another. At least you have something substantial and reasonable to start with (and it sounds great in stock condition too) and only gets better with each mod. I'd bet for $300 you can significantly mod it to compete with some $1500 to $2000 players and maybe even more for a total of $400.

Please reconsider the Magnavox, it is low, low end consumer stuff and you can't improve things with a poor design. Better off with a solid design with medium components, then carefully choose the higher quality components that give great bang for the buck and significant sonic differences.

That's just my opinion and exactly what I would do! Actually, it's exactly what I AM doing. I have two RCD 965BXs to mod and one is the LE. I also have a Philips CD950 and maybe I will mod it someday but the Rotels are in another class altogether (to me a better class)!!

Give it some consideration!

Regards//Keith
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Old 24th July 2007, 05:20 AM   #8
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Hi Keith

Have you had a look inside that RCD 965BX "Limited Edition" yet?

Any idea how it differs from the standard 965BX?

I have also heard of a RCD 965BX "Limited Edition - Discrete". I wonder if it is the same thing.
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Old 24th July 2007, 02:00 PM   #9
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Hi Fin

I always think of you and some of the other Rotel proponents that I have come across on these threads when researching on this unit. You are always doing your own investigation AND you have experience and that is a great combination.

The difference between the RCD 965BX and the BX Limited Edition is 4 PS capacitors with the same values. They look like OEM for Rotel with no markings from the manufacturer (black with gold markings). Probably Blackgates NX Caps. Rotel has none, they are discontinued. Yes you can hear a difference and it is somewhat noticeable. This gives endorsement to those who believe that same value but different quality components affect the sound. Also, the more we clean up those Dirty Little Power Supplies, the better it sounds.

Rotel USA claims no knowledge of a "Discrete" model and said it would have a schematic if there was one. They also admit for the European market, they have at times put a little badge like "Audiophile Edition" and "Discrete" to make the Europeans feel they are getting something better than the rest of the world. I guess this works. But don't let that be the final word, I am going to email Rotel UK and get to the bottom of this.

I am about to assemble the Class A biasing JFET Cascodes and install them onto the new OPA627APs and give it a listen over the next week or so. Maybe you have some recommendations on what other Caps I should replace while the PCB is out. The muting transistors are gone and that was also very worthwhile.

Regards//Keith
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Old 25th July 2007, 02:28 AM   #10
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Thanks Keith

That all makes sense and I can't imagine that they made a completely new pcb with something like a "Discrete" I/V or output stage.
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