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Old 12th April 2006, 05:39 PM   #1
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Default Best Early Philips CD Player

Which of the early(1980's) battleship-build CD Players( starting with the 100 and ending with the 304mk11) sound the best? Was there a pecking order when for example the 104,204 and 304 were available at the same time?
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Old 13th April 2006, 05:08 AM   #2
phimor is offline phimor  Australia
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Hi Les (?)

there should not be any sonic difference in the early machines as they all use the TDA1540 dual dacs and ne5532 opamps, except the 304 mkII, which is - I believe- a TDA1541 dac machine.

The very early CD200 and CD300 use a so called SOPHI board for the error correction, and I find them less resilient to disk errors (CDR's actually) than the SAA7020 machines. They don't like CDR recorded at higher than 8X

Otherwise I personally cannot tell the difference between them, there are more variations between examples of the same player - due to various state of wear/disrepair- than between models.

If you have choice, then go for the more exotic models that offer (some) creature comforts, like time readout (CD 104, CD202) or fancy loading mechanism (for visual effect mothing beats a CD300/3) or remotes.

The CD100 is a classic because it's the first, but the case is small and a pain to get into. Not fun for repairs or modding.

Speaking of the CD100, the best professional modding of this player is by Meridian.

For the peak of sonic excellence in this generation of players, the Meridian CDM would be (is) my choice.

Hope this helps


Philippe
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Old 13th April 2006, 06:37 AM   #3
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I own the mission DAD 7000. What is the actual difference to the philips 104?
Was this unit also modded by meridian, or is this just rebranding?
The mission was actually built in Belgium, as the label indicates.
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Old 13th April 2006, 06:51 AM   #4
jives11 is offline jives11  Europe
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Quote:
Originally posted by phimor


If you have choice, then go for the more exotic models that offer (some) creature comforts, like time readout (CD 104, CD202) or fancy loading mechanism (for visual effect mothing beats a CD300/3) or remotes.

or perhaps the B&O CDX ? Nice top loader with the identical internal circuit to the Philips CD104. If my 104 breaks I'll be looking for a CDX as it does that schwinng thing with it's lid. Completely agree re the Meridian MCD. A friend of mine had the MCD PRO which is a further refinement on the Philips CD101, with an extra box containing the decoder board and better analogue section. The Pro also had lights on the front to indicate the various errors from CD's. I remember a copy of "In the Digital Mood" (A modern recording of Glen Miller music) maintained a full phase error for it's entire duraction yet played fine !?
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Old 13th April 2006, 06:53 AM   #5
jives11 is offline jives11  Europe
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and of course the Grundig CD7550 appears to be a CD104 clone, though some claim it has some circuit changes (unspecified) that further improve the sound. It certainly has a nicer front display. Some of the later 104's had rather garish frnt logos and labelling, while the Grundig is rather discrete, though not as nice as the B&O CDX
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Old 13th April 2006, 07:08 AM   #6
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though not as nice as the B&O CDX
a matter of taste. I rather like the compact design of the mission.
Never liked the not so much "bang" for the buck danish looks...
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Old 13th April 2006, 08:18 AM   #7
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Which of these early Philips models were 16 bit? I know the 304Mk11 is 16 bit ,but was the 303 a 16 bit machine?
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Old 13th April 2006, 01:07 PM   #8
phimor is offline phimor  Australia
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Les,
the CD304 mkII, if its a tda1541, will be the 16 bit machine. All the others (and the Marantz clones we have'nt mentioned yet) are TDA1540 machines - so 14 bits.

Personally I don't find the 14 bit (4 x oversampled) lacking in any way. - call me cloth ears

Seriously, I have a Meridian 206 DS, and while more detailed, its not as much fun to listen to music as the MCD, which is 'more involving'. (I usually try and resist these 'audiophile' terms, but it makes sense in this case).

Call me strange, but I actually listen to music for fun

Hey Jives, I also have a CDX, so maybe I'll put the guts of the MCD in the CDX - now that would be awsome

Audio-kraut, I don't know the mission player, sorry. If it physically resembles the CD100 or MCD, then it's a Philips clone.

Apparently, there is also a Grundig clone of the CD100, and a Loewe clone of the CD202, but only seen pictures of the last one.

More Fans of the early machines, great!

Philippe
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Old 13th April 2006, 03:07 PM   #9
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More Fans of the early machines, great!
I put together a vintage "british" system, which the mission is just part of - quad 33/405/fm 3, transcriptor hydraulic reference and kef calinda speakers.
Yes, I listen to music for fun and don't like to "listen" to the equipment.
But this vintage system is fun to listen to, and I cannot say that I find tis old cd player lacking either. Never played "against" my pioneer avi 59 in direct comparison, but listening to some well known "test" cd's, I can clearly discern the colouration the speaker introduces as compared to my kef's 104/2, but the information that is on the cd still is transmitted and I find nothing missing.
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Old 13th April 2006, 06:56 PM   #10
jives11 is offline jives11  Europe
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Quote:
Originally posted by audio-kraut
I own the mission DAD 7000. What is the actual difference to the philips 104?
Was this unit also modded by meridian, or is this just rebranding?
The mission was actually built in Belgium, as the label indicates.
My recollection is that it was a modified CD104. I think MISSION changed the Output filtering arrangement. Don't think Meridian were involved in that one

I like the sound of your brit system. The Mission is exactly the right width for a Quad44 stack as in my avatar

Quote:
Originally posted by phimor


Personally I don't find the 14 bit (4 x oversampled) lacking in any way. - call me cloth ears

Seriously, I have a Meridian 206 DS, and while more detailed, its not as much fun to listen to music as the MCD, which is 'more involving'. (I usually try and resist these 'audiophile' terms, but it makes sense in this case).

Call me strange, but I actually listen to music for fun

Hey Jives, I also have a CDX, so maybe I'll put the guts of the MCD in the CDX - now that would be awsome

Audio-kraut, I don't know the mission player, sorry. If it physically resembles the CD100 or MCD, then it's a Philips clone.

Apparently, there is also a Grundig clone of the CD100, and a Loewe clone of the CD202, but only seen pictures of the last one.

More Fans of the early machines, great!

Philippe
I completely agree Philippe, the 14 bit Philips machines sound great. I've just got back my old 104 from 20+ years ago and have subsequently sold on Ebay my Transport/DAC combo because of it. While the top end is a little hard the bass is fantastic. I'm getting seriously tempted to try the NOS mods (remove the SAA7030) which are described in this forum. This mod actually puts the SAA7000 into 14 bit mode andd pumps this directly to the TDA1540's , hence what you have is a true 14 bit machine, not a pseudo 16bit machine (14 bits + 2 from clever oversampling. Maybe I'll rediscover mono too

I doubt you could put the boards from the Meridian in the CDX. The Meridian was based on the Philips CD101, while the CDX (despite being a top loader also) is actually a CD104 electronically. I think the Meridian looks good in that nextel/rubber finish. Trouble is it can flake in some examples
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