quality of pioneer PD-S703 as a transport


2002-11-30 10:12 pm
I once owned a PDS-701 which I wanted to use as a transport.

Pioneer made a big fuss about their "stable platter mechanism", but this idea was implemented so cheaply, it is at least as flimsy as all the other conventional off-the-shelve mechanisms out there.

It might look good from the outside, but take one apart and have a closer look. The drive electronics, clock, power supply and grounding schemes in these units are particularly bad, so my advice is to avoid them altogether.
I have to disagree on this as I have used a number of Pioneer cd players myself.

The tranport in your 703 is probably the same one in the Wadia 301 cd player.

I am using a Pioneer PD-S904 and my friend owns a Wadia 301. The transport is exactly the same - black plastic body with a Pioneer PEA1179 lens reading from the top of the mechanism.

I have the 701 right now and I must agree that the circultry is nothing to shout about. I suspect that the 703 would be based on similar circuitry.

My recommendation is that you look for players like the Pioneer PD-75, 77, 9700, 901, 707, 802 and 904.
I also have to disagree, I've had the pd-801, pd-901 and now the PD-77 which is the same as the PD95.
All these as transports are about as good as you can get for sound quality, my PD-77 is now over 10 years old and still direct comparisons against a Theta, Roksan, and CEC belt drive, it sounds better, for some reason it gives more body to the mids and lower mids, it sounds more human for want of a better word, the others sound more sterile and thin in these areas.

I belive that the the way it supports the disc over it's entire area is the key, there is virtualy no vertical movement if you look at the disc spinning through the little window. Whereas if you look at the spinning discs on normally supported transports the disc can quiver vertically what seems like 2to3 mm, this has to tax the focusing drive much more than the Pioneer Stable platter and maybe send the error correction into overload or something.

Anyway that's my two-bobs worth and I'm sticking to it.

Cheers George
The transport for the PD-77 and PD-75 is quite different from that of the PD-S801 and S901.

They are similar to the Pioneer PD-T09 shown in attached photo.



Btw, the Pioneer PD-9700 is the S901 without the Legato Link.


2002-11-30 10:12 pm
Ok. Maybe the question is whether these drives are actually "good" or merely "better" than the ridiculous crap they put in all the other mass production players.

All I can say is that in my PDS-701 platter and disc together make the very same vertical movements that the disc would do in a conventional transport. Also, looking at the picture above, would you expect that the platter is actually punched out from a thin aluminium sheet (cheapest quality)? The user is tricked to believe it is massive and comes from a lathe. I will post some pictures when I come home.

We are diy'ers, aren't we? What about a self-made CD turntable?
OliverD, I do'nt know about your PD701 but my PD77 patter is quality piece of gear, i put a straight edge across it and it's even slightly dished about half a mm so when the disc is clamped from above the edges are absoloutely flat .

Also the 4 springs that hold up each corner of the transport are the suspension, these 4 springs are coloured different colours and have different part numbers they all have different comperssion ratings and can only be put in that position. because the transport has a different weight in each corner.

And now for the disc motor, it's massive, it would do justice hanging ofhe side of a sewing machine, i've never seen such a solid motor in a cdplayer before.

I belive that Pioneer makes great transports their da and analog stage are hohum.
I can seen why a high end compaies Wadia and EAD use their transports because they work and they make mechanical sense in the way their designed.

Andrew (Ronardi) get one if you can find one second hand, their getting faily scarce and fetch good money i've noticed especially the upper end ones, and watch out not all have digital coax out, especially the lower end ones.

Cheers George
I do not know one Wadia model from another, but I do know that they used the -501 in one of them. Had nothing to do with it being high quality, just something that they could get cheap enough that had some allure of quality about it, e.g. the disc went in upside down.

IIRC, the 701 was fancier looking inside. They copper plated the chassis, put little metal enclosures around all the circuitry, stuff like that. But basically the same thing tarted up considerably.

As for digital output............the jumper that enables it is there on the cheap ones that don't have an output. But the circuit is awful. You could not pay me to use it.

I have one ( 501) laying around somewhere. It collects dust, as I have CD-80s. The 701s can't compete with it, either.



2004-07-09 7:06 pm
thanks all of your comments!

Now the situation changes a little bit. I could find a nearly new pioneer PD-T07A(seem to be PD95 in us) in a local shop, but the price is not cheap, about US$550 and one teac vrds 10N in mint condition at US$530. Are their price good? and which cd mechcanism is better? the VRDS or SPM? I don't care much about quality of internal DAC as I had a nice DIY AD1865 DAC already, so what I care is the quality and durability of the transport. Could any of you give me some suggestion?
Hi everyone! I'm here for the first time. I'm living in Poland and my friends call me "Pioneer lover".
First of all I can tell you that I own PD 9700. Several years ago I had 604, 8700 (twice) and 9300 (twice too). PD 9300 in practice and in my system (Yamaha A 1000, Regis Audio Minas Anor - Morel MDT 29 and 2x Vifa M 18 WH floor-standing) is not better than 9700. 9700 and 75 have the same manual.
PDS 901 and PD 9700 are not the same (9700 without Legato Link) - there are several diffrences inside and in sound that they produce. 901 sounds quite sharply and 9700 simply like velvet:):):). Like your record player with all the records you love:):):):). PD 9300 is better bulit but don't produce the better sound (in my opinion). PWY 1006 in addition is more expensive than PEA 1030...


2007-11-10 12:36 pm
Repairing a PD-S703? Any hints?

Hello there,

apologies for resurrecting an old thread, but while I was googling I stumbled upon this forum.

I own a PD-S703 myself (bought it new, around 1994, if I am not mistaken).

It seems its laser unit has expired (doesn't recognize audio CDs anymore), so I sent it into the official repair shop here in Athens.

They contacted me with the following remarks:
- the laser unit needs replacement (surely it cannot be adjusted?)
- the shock absorbers are going to get replaced too (question: is it necessary?)
The quoted cost of materials 135 Euros, plus 50 Euros for the repair time, it goes up to a whopping 185 Euros(!).

Since I am in a tight financial situation these days, I thought about buying the laser unit and installing it myself (I have assembled many PCs and electronics in the past, so I know that my hands are good enough for doing delicate tasks). I have jeweler's screws, a digital multimeter and patience.
Can it be done in-house?
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220090517310 is from a seller of laser units.

In the meantime, I have borrowed my sister's DVD player...

Thanks for any help,


2007-11-10 12:36 pm
Hello again,

I must admit that I am a bit mystified by my PD-S703.

After I returned with it from the service, another forum user (hi James!) told me to try to troubleshoot it myself.

I removed the laser assembly (secured with three screws on top of the transport assembly), and I checked for a case of lens missing. Nothing strange here.

I left it for two days, being busy, then reassembled it (noticed theshock absorbers have a lot of play), and now it plays audio CDs again(!).

For the time, I left it on continuous play of a long compilation Audio CD (five hours by now), and I will re-check it tomorrow.


I bought one of these in a second hand shop for forty quid
and it was quite a performer. Then, literally the day the warrantee ran out it just froze with the row of zeroes showing. I tried switching it off and on and different discs to no avail. I carried it back to the shop who agreed I could swap it for something else off the shelf. But the sorry collection of other stereo equipment they had on offer meant I went back to to the counter where it was clear the Pioneer was working again. So I happily agreed to take it back home. Now, some months later I have reverted to using a Marantz CD 273 which is behaving itself at the moment (same shop - twenty quid last year) because the Pioneer sometimes makes what I can only describe as a chuffing noise with the music.
Any ideas?
I have no manual and no circuit diagrams.
Sorry to bump such an old thread. IIRC the Wadia was about 4x the price and used the same mechanism as the 703, but used half a blue spot squash ball as a rear support.

I'm absolutely sure about the blue stop squash ball, but needed to hear the wadia name again. I believe it was what hifi that opened it up. Back then, I didn't really have any other source for such stories.

I find the 703 to be a bit brash. Beside the 8se I replaced it with, it's hard to make comparisons. At first the arcam seems very flat in the hf area, and deep and muddy in the bass. The pioneer has so much more emphasis to the top end it's a wonder that two players could sound so different. It's not accurate either. It's simply not nice. Anyone that shys away from metal domes would likely screw their face up in disgust. It needs things like wharfedales and cheap missions to take the edge off. My guess is it's the legato link, who's job is to invent something that isn't there. How could my 1995 player listen to my tunes and invent tones that were missing. Perhaps with some musical types yes, but the electronic stuff I listen to would be incomprehensible. Even 20 years later.

I gave my 703 away, but as my friend has upgraded, it's become a problem again. It's time for a dac. Just to change it's character. So I'm here trying to see what that might cost. For instance, the dacmagic 100 with it's £100 used or £140 new price. Or Arcam rdac also about £100 used. Or could I go cheaper, like a beresford or older dacmagic. It has both optical and digital outs.