Vintage CD Players

Fran604g

Just Call Me Junior
Lately there's been a lot of chatter at the Haven recently about vintage digital, so I dug out my "old" Adcom GCD-700 from the attic a few weeks ago and paired it with the Topping TP60, KLH Sixes and AR4xs in the mad lab.

All I can say is, "it still works and sounds great." Worth every penny of the $629.00 I paid for it back in the day.
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Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
I got rid of my first CD player (a Kyocera DA-410cx) about a year ago as it was just sitting gathering dust. My next oldest CD player is actually a DVD player (a Sony DVP S7700) from about 20 years back, which is in the basement. One of these days, I'll get a nice little NOS DAC for it.
 
I used to collect CD players for some reason. I sold or gave away all but a couple I use. All listed sounded good to me except the Denon DCD-3300 which is the first picture. Second picture is a Yamaha CD-1 their first home CD player and sold for 1800.00. The third picture is a McIntosh MCD-205 which I use. Forth is a Denon DCD-1650AR which is the best Denon I've heard. Fifth is a Sony 707 ESD which I really like the looks and sound of. Sixth is a Yamaha CDX-1120 which I like also. Seventh is a Denon DCD-2560 which I also liked.
Oh agreed on the DCD-3300. What a dogpile and the spindle motors were off the shelf POS’s. I bought one 2 years after it’s debut, man I was disappointed at the dark and lifeless sound. It was a little used demo model from PAC in Millburn NJ. Not six weeks later the spindle motor died, I replaced it at $125, and the part was given to me. Junk. I sold it six months later.
Fast forward to now and I recently bought a Jeff Rowland modded Sony 707esD. It was good stock, but is magical with the mods. I recently did a transport service and it’s the bees knees. Sony pics. 7DE06EA6-8366-4D2E-8CE7-FEE7414B999B.jpegC7286205-74EC-4144-B415-FAFF7DD196A7.jpeg3F529656-D339-4325-B68D-3AD5EC9012EE.jpeg
 
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Mike Gibson

Junior Member
Oh agreed on the DCD-3300. What a dogpile and the spindle motors were off the shelf POS’s. I bought one 2 years after it’s debut, man I was disappointed at the dark and lifeless sound. It was a little used demo model from PAC in Millburn NJ. Not six weeks later the spindle motor died, I replaced it at $125, and the part was given to me. Junk. I sold it six months later.
Fast forward to now and I recently bought a Jeff Rowland modded Sony 707esD. It was good stock, but is magical with the mods. I recently did a transport service and it’s the bees knees. Sony pics. View attachment 32370View attachment 32371View attachment 32372
Nice looking player. The only picture I could find of my 707.

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MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I still have a 1989 vintage Denon DCD-820, my 2nd CD player (the first was a now long gone Technics whose model # I no longer remember).

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The DCD-820 turned out to be a durable performer, first as a CD player, and later as a transport using the coaxial digital output. It still works to this day despite having countless playtime hours on it. Original laser.

Dual Burr-Brown PCM56P-L 20-Bit DAC chips (one per channel), Yamaha SM5818AP 8x oversampling digital filter, Sony KSS-150A mechanism, and coaxial digital output.

It sounds OK-ish through the analog outputs, and surprisingly good as a transport using the digital output.

The European 220v version was silver, and it was made in W. Germany:

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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Y’all are bad news. Now I’m researching really nice vintage players as I don’t really love how my fancy SACD player does CD, and it’s no fun ripping new (cheap!) CDs to my server to play it over my DAC. FWIW I like how the Topping DAC handles CD better than my EMM Labs CDSA.

PM is an extra bad dude because he’s gotten me hooked on old DCC and MFSL gold CDs, because I’m boycotting new vinyl (too expensive for average pressings).
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Y’all are bad news. Now I’m researching really nice vintage players as I don’t really love how my fancy SACD player does CD, and it’s no fun ripping new (cheap!) CDs to my server to play it over my DAC. FWIW I like how the Topping DAC handles CD better than my EMM Labs CDSA.

PM is an extra bad dude because he’s gotten me hooked on old DCC and MFSL gold CDs, because I’m boycotting new vinyl (too expensive for average pressings).
I just took a look myself and although I'm not actually in the market, it's good to see a healthy lot of nice looking examples that don't break the bank.

I guess CD players are no longer in big demand, and used prices are reflecting that, everyone is now cloud streaming or ripping/storing on local server hard drive, the disc spinners have fallen somewhat out of favor.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I just took a look myself and although I'm not actually in the market, it's good to see a healthy lot of nice looking examples that don't break the bank.

I guess CD players are no longer in big demand, and used prices are reflecting that, everyone is now cloud streaming or ripping/storing on local server hard drive, the disc spinners have fallen somewhat out of favor.
I got into vinyl in 1991 as a high school student with no money. It really had nothing to do with sound quality... I couldn’t afford CDs, which at the time I thought sounded much better, and so I just bought all of the $1, $2 records I could find.

And while I can stream anything and I have about 2000 discs on my server (and stored without cases in boxes) I’m finding that I miss physical media. This whole chase of finding the best mastering on disc has gotten me back into some of that feeling I used to get when hunting records, when records weren’t cool.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I got into vinyl in 1991 as a high school student with no money. It really had nothing to do with sound quality... I couldn’t afford CDs, which at the time I thought sounded much better, and so I just bought all of the $1, $2 records I could find.

And while I can stream anything and I have about 2000 discs on my server (and stored without cases in boxes) I’m finding that I miss physical media. This whole chase of finding the best mastering on disc has gotten me back into some of that feeling I used to get when hunting records, when records weren’t cool.
Now it comes full circle, used CD players and used CDs (other than the rare DCCs and MoFis) are becoming cheap just like used vinyl was at the beginning of the CD format's run at the top.
 

S0und Dragon

Moderator and Circus Hand.
Staff member
My two CD players are both vintage but refreshed. Love them both for completely different reasons. But they are my favorites by far for both personal and sonic reasons. Though in the case of the Onkyo DX-G10, it was modded by Partsconnexion as well as added Sparkos Op amps. The Sony X777es is just an absolute gem and joy to hear, and look at.

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fiddlefye

Senior Member
I used to collect CD players for some reason. I sold or gave away all but a couple I use. All listed sounded good to me except the Denon DCD-3300 which is the first picture. Second picture is a Yamaha CD-1 their first home CD player and sold for 1800.00. The third picture is a McIntosh MCD-205 which I use. Forth is a Denon DCD-1650AR which is the best Denon I've heard. Fifth is a Sony 707 ESD which I really like the looks and sound of. Sixth is a Yamaha CDX-1120 which I like also. Seventh is a Denon DCD-2560 which I also liked.
Interesting that you didn't like the Denon DCD-3300. With a few simple mods (some Blackgates in the output stage for example) it became easily the best-sounding vintage player I own or have for that matter heard. Very "analogue" sounding, yet highly detailed - just really musical. I've heard that stock they weren't wonderful, but mine sounds just lovely and is super to work with as well.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Here are my three decent vintage players. What they have in common is that they all use the same linear-motor transport which I like every much. I picked up back-up laser assemblies for all of them, though to date see no sign of them being needed. All fo the transports have worked perfectly and continue to do so. For what it is worth, my tech really likes the design and reliability of the transport.

Yes, I need to get about some dusting - apologies.

I use the Denon DCD-1520 as a transport in the main system with a CI outboard DAC connected by coax. It reads very quickly, runs quietly and the combination sounds very good. It came to me "not working" having been stuck away in a closet shortly after purchase due to something being out of adjustment. A few minutes with my tech and it has worked perfectly ever since.
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Next up is the Denon DCD-3300 that I run in the loft system. I'm honestly completely baffled by all of the dislike for the unit being expressed in this thread. When it came out it was absolutely the top of the Denon totem pole, is heavily overbuilt and internally shielded. I do understand that the sound of the stock unit tended to be dark and veiled, but with some relatively minor mods in the audio output area mine sounds simply wonderful. In all honesty to my ears running the inboard DAC it sounds more musically rewarding than even the 1520 with the fairly highly rated DAC involved. It gets far more hours running time than the rest of the players in the house combined and does so without complaint.
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Last is the first "good" CD player I bought, a Sony 608 ESD. Another very nice and overbuilt player with the same transport. In terms of sound quality I'd place it between the 1520 using its inboard DAC and the 3300. Very smooth interface.
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Sony CDP-X7ESD

I have owned my X7ESD for about 13 years. I bought it at the mini flea market in the town, where I live. I bought it for $50 and it was one of many components that were dropped off at the flea market when the local bar/club/hotel upgraded their stereo equipment.

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Nando.
 
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