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Stand alone CD player: quiet unit, reliability and ease of use, any suggestions.

Rob_deas

New member
CD player weakness - laser assembly

CD player weakness - laser assembly

All CD players have one main issue, the limited life of the laser assembly. These are not generally made by the company whose name is on the CD player, they are mass produced by far eastern OEM manufacturers and in general have a working life of a few years at most. To give an example, the highly regarded and originally quite expensive top of the range Denon machines used a Hitachi laser assembly (the HOP-1200) which has become notorious for its high failure rate and short life.

If you are buying a CD player I recommend you find one for which there is still available a supply of the laser assembly, and buy a few of them as well (they are easily found online, cost only a few pounds and are quite easy to fit if you can use a screwdriver and a soldering iron and use anti-static precautions).
 

hifi_dave

Well-known member
To cheap to worry about

To cheap to worry about

The Panasonic DVD player I purchased was over £300 and is now broken but that doesn't mean that all Panasonic DVD players are unreliable.

They may be but I have insufficient experience to comment. I have replaced it with a £49 Sony.
 

Kumar Kane

New member
The post-CD era now?

The post-CD era now?

I would even ask the question - why a CD player? I now have all my CDs ripped to a hard disc drive and haven't used a CDP the last three years. I am a Sonos fan, but there are plenty of other good music server based solutions as well that offer all that a CDP can do in terms of source quality and much more in terms of music playing convenience.

When I do buy new music these days, it is as downloaded files. Most CD stores here have closed down - no one buys them anymore. For one, it takes to long to get one, and second, one ends up buying all the filler tracks as well.
 

ssfas

Well-known member
Transport plus ext. DAC?

Transport plus ext. DAC?

So following on from Hifidave, perhaps the answer is to look for a decent DAC that will last you a good number of years and provide a range of other services, and a cheap as chips CD with a digital out to use as a transport. It may cost a bit more up front, but you won't be replacing electronics due to mechanical failure.
 

Jeff_C

Member
My timeline experiences with CD and blu-ray players

My timeline experiences with CD and blu-ray players

Here is my personal experiences with various CDP and blu-ray players. As a general note I think that the players (particularly at the budget end of the market) seem much flimsier than budget players decades ago, but then again a budget player decades ago cost much much more (in terms of a chunk of your pay packet) than budget players today. It may make more sense to buy a 'cheap as chips' player, and discard and replace if it does breakdown, provided that the audio/visual performance, mechanical noise, and features are satisfactory.

My inventory of CD/DVD players:

1984 or 1985 Philips CD104B CDP cost 230 GBP lasted until 1997
1997 Marantz CD63SE CDP cost 250 GBP lasted until 2012
1998 Toshiba SD2109 DVD player cost 120 GBP - still working at my mothers house
circa 2001 Sony DVP-NS700V DVD SACD player cost GBP 150 lasted until 2010
2007 Toshiba HD-EP30 HD DVD cost 189 GBP - still working
2010 Toshiba HD-EP30 HD DVD cost 60 GBP - still working
circa 2006 CyberHome CH-DVD 400 portable DVD player cost 20 GBP - still working
2008 Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray player cost 155 GBP - still working at my mother's house
2010 Sony BDP-S370 Blu-ray player cost 100 GBP - still working
2013 Sony BDP-S490 Blu-ray player cost 80- GBP - still working

It may seem strange that there is such a quantity of players which all still work so why buy another. Most of the time it was for features which an earlier player did not have.

Some will note I backed the wrong HD pony in HD DVD. When the battle with blu-ray was over I filled my boots with HD DVD films at 2 GBP each so I bought the second player as a backup.

I hope the list shows that even cheapish offerings can last very well. It's just the luck of the draw really. I would concede that they seem flimsier but handled with reasonable care that does not have to mean a short life.

When I look back, one of the things that can happen if you buy expensive gear is that you can be left with something that is reliable and well built but lacks features of something much much cheaper only a year or so down the line. Such is the rapid advancement of this type of technology. How many remember when the ability to play CD-R discs and then mp3 and endless other formats came on stream.

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{MODERATOR'S COMMENT: This thread has been forked. Please continue discussion of DACs here and the electro/mechanics of CD players remains in this thread.}
 
Dedicated CD player

Dedicated CD player

Some of the cheaper units may not pass on a distortion free signal to your amp. Try taking a look on Miller Audio Technology and sign into their free database of objective tests for audio equipment. It was interesting to note that for the large part, there are many viable reputable manufacturers who do make a solid unit to your requirements.

Otherwise, my reading suggests that buying a commercial disc spinner form the likes of TEAC or some such will do the job too. In Australia, these units cost around 400-600 dollars which is about right, I'd think for something that doesn't degrade the sound on the way out.

Interestingly, the cheaper units from panasonic, or other Audio-visual companies doing DVD/Blu-ray players did not measure well for distortion. A dedicated CD player in the mid- to entry range seems to be your best bet, with no reliable increasing return in investment for stepping beyond the mid-price bracket.
 

acroyear

Active member
Best value

Best value

Some of the cheaper units may not pass on a distortion free signal to your amp. Try taking a look on Miller Audio Technology and sign into their free database of objective tests for audio equipment. It was interesting to note that for the large part, there are many viable reputable manufacturers who do make a solid unit to your requirements.

Otherwise, my reading suggests that buying a commercial disc spinner form the likes of TEAC or some such will do the job too. In Australia, these units cost around 400-600 dollars which is about right, I'd think for something that doesn't degrade the sound on the way out.

Interestingly, the cheaper units from Panasonic, or other Audio-visual companies doing DVD/Blu-ray players did not measure well for distortion. A dedicated CD player in the mid- to entry range seems to be your best bet, with no reliable increasing return in investment for stepping beyond the mid-price bracket.
I'll take a look at those measurements for sure. I'm moving towards pretty much what you are suggesting, something like the Tascam pro player, or an easy to used stand alone $300ish player from the usual suspects, as I've said prior dvd/bluray players tend not to be optimized for simple CD playback assuming that a screen is there, even if that is not the case it is easy to get mixed up in menus that might set audio (stereo vs multichannel, speaker size etc), a dedicated CD player at least tends to have just 1 setting!

$250-300 seems a fair price that at least suggest that the unit might not have been designed with first priority to be as cheap as possible like a $30 supermarket machine.
 
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