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Digital Source Digital Players and Recorders: CD , SACD , Tape, Memory Card, etc.

Upgrade CD nad enjoy music.
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Old 23rd April 2009, 02:48 PM   #1
atcgreg is offline atcgreg  Luxembourg
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Default Upgrade CD nad enjoy music.

Hi to everybody interested on upgrading your audio system, mainly the CD player as the main source of digital stuff transformed into analogue music. Many of you as well as me thought that digital should sound the same every time you play it on any cd player. That the data stream should be always the same when decoded but it seems it is not the same due to many reasons not only limited to technical ones, but also to company policies to dominate in the business and get profit out of it. How by degrading the systems cutting costs to get more profit out of “less expensive” production. This is where the DIY society comes in strong to overcome that problem of cheating producers of HiFi gear. Sure there are brands that will costs thousands of bucks and give you the high quality sound you paid for but is that true-blue?
Many HIFI brands at the beginning manufactured great stuff with a high price tag a long with it. Fine with me it was new, great sound, but soon they also realized that their aiming at the wrong (budget wise consumer) so the next generation of cd player although still clamming to be HiFi were cutting corners to get more profit using less.
That’s why you do not get the same quality than a few years back. No more cast iron systems but cheap plastic stuff. No more brushless motored in CD’s but cheap (chine made) stuff. Great you say pay more get more that is not all correct at all times. If that was the case then DIY would be “out of business” If you closely look at any brand you will find out that there is always room for improvement even the “big names” use cheap substitutes like clock crystal (xo) regulators etc. In short if you want to modify a cd player by an old one that has a good a “|background “ like SONY / MARANTZ as just an example for few bucks or make one totally from scratch. It can be done relatively cheap I’d say up to 1500 euros!. The end result is that it will sound better than a machine costing 10000 bucks. It all depends on what knowledge you have and how to use it.
Luckily on DIY forums you can get a lot of help and ideas. It’s whole huge knowledge based on millions of people that make it possible. OK enough waffling you say where I start with modifying my gear well there are lots of ways it is just the case of what to achieve and what is the starting point. EG I have a SONY CDP 101 I like the design and it is nice to have a piece of history on the rack. When I looked at the schematics it revealed that SONY designers were very serious with HIFI quality those days like discrete voltage regulators not generic 78XX stuff available at the time. Isolated transformer often two transformers one for digital stage other for analogue stage. Where do you find that nowadays ?, of course you have to upgrade some parts that lost the specification due to years of working but that is only for the better. You can replace opamps that are now produced specially for HIFI use etc etc. You so why pick on something that is 25 years old well because the hardware is still best and sometimes superior comparing it to today’s machines. And as long as the life of the laser unit is strong you do not need anything better.
If there is anyone interested in rebuild his CD player or start from zero than let me know I will guide you as much as I can. I have done a few machines and made one from scratch using a CD ROM drive as the transport with very good results compared to WADIA 301 CD player. Yes I know that’s not the best of WADIA but if one can get close to or beyond in the sound of a player that costs over 4000 bucks than I call that a success. I say if you have the money than just go out and buy yourself one good CD player but remember are you getting what you are asking for. Reviews are subjective sometimes misleading until you hear what you want to hear. Till next time.
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Old 23rd April 2009, 09:30 PM   #2
atcgreg is offline atcgreg  Luxembourg
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Default CDP101 Mods

I would like to share my simple but effective mods in my SONY CDP101.
Like any "old"piece of gear it needed cleaning in the inside and outside to bring it back to life. Inside it is good to replace the old silicone paste used between the power transistors that are used as voltage regulators and the heat sink. In this particular model Sony added a huge heat sink to lower the temperature. It does get warm. The next thing i did was to change the output buffer opamps original NE5532 to hi-end quality LME49720. Believe me the sound gets so clean detailed and these new opamps need at least 100 hours of break in to sound best.The (schematics) circuit have a good thing that when you change the opamps you have a trim pot to set the DC offset voltage to zero. Find this solution in today's CD's player. Just like the dc offset voltage in amplifiers has to be close to zero if possible to get the best performance. I could have tried the BURSON opamp but unfortunetly this sony is packed and not enough room to fit it in. It could be done but i did not what to get into that hassle. Next was the clock i used ELSO KWAK clock because you can use the original xo from the PCB. This unit uses a rare freq exactly 8.600 so Kwakclock was used for that with the original xo.
With the clock in place it further enhanced the sound and overall performance. I have an oscilloscope so i performed the laser check and gain / focus according to the service manual and guess what after 25 years it was minimal adjusted. Practically i have just redone the focus part but very little had to be corrected. It reads all cd's that i put in. I play only genuine disc's so i do not know if it would play CDR /CDRW.
The mechanical draw and and other moving parts were lubricated for smooth operation. Some drwas get stuck because of dirt nad old grease.
The one i got of eBay was of that nature and sold as a defective CD.
To my surprise all it needed is a good cleaning and simple mods.
the historic machine is reborn and mapping floors with CD player that cost ten times more.

If you want the service manual i can supply it for free just email me

enjoy the music.

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