Buying a cd player

When the cd player was introduced in the early eighties, it was said that there was no difference between cd players. It was all about 0 and 1 that was been read by the redbook of the cd player.

Of course and happily, we know better now. No disc-spinner sounds the same. And through the years I have found out, that a lot of so called exotic high-end cd players with a sky high price tag are nothing but fraud. Yes, indeed fraud!

Only a few a word the money. For the rest, most of them copies of cheap ( mostly Philips or Sony ) cd players with some modifications added to it. Of course, most of them didn't sound bad at all. But, why spend 10.000K for that?


The best advice is, what more and more audiophiles have found out through the years is to buy a 'tubed' cd player. Yes, indeed with 'tubes' or as the English say 'valves' in the output stage. They can let the cheapest cd player sing like you never would dreamed of. I had the luck to own a Rotel RCD 955BX cd player, which was sold with a tube output stage. This was done by Soundgallery, a hifi-shop in The Netherlands. I bought it second hand for 100 euro's. It sounded already really great!

But once you are an audiophile, you are always trying to see if there can be done any modifications. And yes, I got a friend, who is a audiophile and technician, modify my Rotel. He bypassed the oversampling chip. It is amazing what that does! If it is like, the musicians and instruments where playing music behind a curtain before the non-oversampling!

Single crown

He also bypassed some op-amps ( which weren't functional ) and migrated some Black gate condensators from the old output board around the chip, which is a Philips TDA1541S1. If you can get your hand on one of these, buy them! They are getting rare and it is still one of the best sounding chips in the world! I also bought a DIY superclock on the second hand market for 30 Euro's. It made a big difference as well! More and better rhytmn and pace and deeper bass. In overall, my cd player was a bargain and makes a lot of 'high-enders' put to a shame !

Of course I was lucky, but you can push your luck , by searching the net and audioforums. And it is always nice to know people, who are able and confident enough, to modify your cd player.

Before you even want to buy a new cd player, it is wise to see if your old cd player cannot be modified and transformed into a real high end killer machine! You would be surpised, what can be done with your old Philips for example. It is not about the amount of khz or bits. It is just a strategy of manufactures to let us think 'the more the better'. The old chips are good enough, the weakest link is the output! So, start with tubes!

My first cd player with a tube output was a Chinese MHZS CD33, which was one of the biggest mistakes I made. It sounded horrible. Harsh and cold. Far from what you would expected from the smooth and musical presentation tubes could give you. But it turned out the Chinese was a fraud. Using poor materials and a bad design, can even make tubes sound bad.

Click here if you want to know more about tubes and cd players.