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Arcam FMJ CD23: Advice needed

Discussion in 'Arcam Forum' started by sam500, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. sam500

    sam500 Member

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    I'm considering picking up a used Arcam FMJ CD23 on the second hand market in Tokyo: price 110,000yen (approx £450). I realise that it's an old model now but it had a great write up at the time. Is this a realistic price for a player of this age?

    One more thing: can anyone confirm that this unit has CD-R capability?

    Many thanks, Sam
  2. PenguinHiFi

    PenguinHiFi Member

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    Hi Sam500,

    The CD23 from Arcam has been upgraded twice since it came out : it was first replaced by the CD33 who has itself been replaced by the CD36, which is the current FMJ CD Player.
    The CD23 performed really well, even though to my ears it is easily outperformed by the later CD36. Read me well : the CD23 was (and still is) a maginficent CD Player. That is : if you like the Arcam sound. Arcam sound is natural, soft and with a lot of finesse : in other words it is really musical ! If you like ultra detailed players that cuts sound like a surgeon would do, then you'll hate the Arcam CD23. As long as I am concerned : I am a great Arcam fan (and Linn fan, but another price league :-( )

    As long as your question about the price goes : doing businees with Asian countries is still risky to my meanings. I really think that you can be able to find a CD23 for about the same price, even less, sold by someone in the UK or Europe. So I think it would be wise to look on this forum or on eBay, where the CD23 or CD33 are often spotted.

    Regards.

    PenguinHiFi
  3. sam500

    sam500 Member

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    PenguinHiFi - Thanks for your reply. I'm a big fan of the Arcam sound (my amp is an A85) so I guess it would be a step in the right direction.

    Unfortunately I'm living in Tokyo so I don't really have the option of buying in Europe. I will check my bank balance and consider my options!

    Sam
  4. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer Active Member

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    Very dodgy people, those Asian folks eh? :rolleyes:
  5. PenguinHiFi

    PenguinHiFi Member

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    Hi Sam,

    Well, if you live in Tokyo, then everything's fine. And if the guy offering you the CD23 for that price is a dealer, then the price is more than fair.


    Hi CrustyLoafer,

    That's not what I wanted to say.
    I won't trade with a guy claiming to live in London and who would refuse to allow me to pick up the item he's selling and to pay it on collection.
    Dodgy people those londonians, aren't they ? :)

    Regards.

    PenguinHiFi
  6. ajhavf

    ajhavf Member

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    If the player is in good condition, that is it has been treated well in it's life to date, then GBP 450 is an excellent price.

    Arcam made improvements to the CD23, one was the use of a newer Sony transport system which enabled CDText and improved CD-R compatiblity. This newer CD23 model was labeled the CD23T. I was informed by Arcam, the kind folks they are, that the CD23T has the current Sony transport system installed, if it fails you can order a new part from Arcam's parts service. This would be my primary concern with the CD23, however it should be noted that I have found the transport systems of these types is uncannily reliable and can go for years and years without any attention what so ever, even with daily use. If you find the CD23T at Arcam's web site, it informs the viewer of the improvements made to the player from CD23 to CD23T.

    I would choose the CD23 FMJ CD player over the newer models because I like the sound that the dCS Ring DAC implementation produces, it's quite an exciting player. It also has HDCD decoding and that in a machine of this league is a valuable asset. Note also that the HDCD chip changed from the CD23 to the CD23T, I think it was PMD-100 in CD23 to PMD-200 in the CD23T.

    Hope this helps you out a bit more.
  7. sam500

    sam500 Member

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    Okay, I'll bear that in mind thanks.

    95% of my collection consists of shop bought discs but I do have a few CD-R's as well. The guy in the shop was adamant that it didn't play CD-R's and basically refused to let me check (the unit was wrapped in polythene at the time and I don't think he wanted to unwrap it - Japanese customer service can be overrated!).

    Any one have any ideas on whether it's capable of playing mp3's etc?
  8. ajhavf

    ajhavf Member

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    The CD23 will not decode MP3 data. It does work with CD-R, but it may have problems with some types, I'm not sure on this.
  9. sam500

    sam500 Member

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    Thanks ajhavf. I guess you've answered my query. The player in the shop is definitely labelled as being the CD23 on the front panel - not the CD23T (unfortunately - based on CD-R compatability).

    Incidentally when I first went in, I did get to test it....but only with a FLAC disc which it seemed to have no problem with. Didn't get a chance to test with mp3 though.
  10. ajhavf

    ajhavf Member

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    If the disc worked, that is because the FLAC has been transcoded to PCM and a disc created, you can also do this with MP3 encoded data, but the CD23 will not do it for you. The CD23 will have no problems with PCM, naturally, only the disc it has been created on.
  11. sam500

    sam500 Member

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    ajhavf - thanks again!

    Sorry to be a bit dim about this - but just to clarify: if I created an mp3 disc the same way I created the FLAC disc, the CD23 should have no problem reading the data? (Based on the fact that the disc has been transcoded to PCM...)
  12. ajhavf

    ajhavf Member

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    That is correct sam500. As long as your data is encoded to PCM the CD23 will eat it up and spit out some interesting results.
  13. sam500

    sam500 Member

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    Update: Well I took the plunge, parted with my hard earned yen and got hold of the player yesterday. Sounds as fantastic as I'd hoped - so much more detailed than the old Marantz I had before.

    Unfortunately I am having problems with cd-r's. It is crashing mid-disc rather a lot. I did talk with a guy at Arcam today and he was able to confirm with me that the CD23 did have cd-r capability (on top of what ajhavf had kindly told me).

    He suggested that the laser might be on the way out and that lower reflective cd-r's are the first thing to be affected in this case. Could anyone second this?

    I am very happy with it otherwise especially as the majority of my listening is using normal cd's. It's just disappointing not to be able to hear all my collection on one player.
  14. Wonka

    Wonka Member

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    try burning your CD's at a lower speed ;)
  15. sam500

    sam500 Member

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    I burn my cd's at x8. Unfortunately the program I use crashes if I burn at x4.

    Basically I shoudn't be using cd-r's at all if I want to maximise the potential of my gear. But I find a really helpful way of road testing new music is to download & burn and then buy if I really like it :cool:
  16. ajhavf

    ajhavf Member

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    Another something to try is different types of CD-R media, that is the different types of dye used in the recording layer, if different types are still available.

    I'm glad you like the sound of the CD23, I think it's special, I suspect the dCS Ring DAC gave these players something special, different. Enjoy it while you can :thumbsup:
  17. will1066

    will1066 Member

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    Congrats, sam. I have one myself. Will have to be pried from my cold, dead hands.
  18. ajhavf

    ajhavf Member

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    Another means to improve CD-R playback may be to get yourself a burner that has Yamaha Audio Master quality technology which is supposed to improve CD-R's playback and lifespan.
  19. sam500

    sam500 Member

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    New Update

    I've been using my second-hand FMJ CD23 for a couple of months now and am thoroughly enjoying it. I've never used a high end player before and not sure I could go back to my cheapo Marantz!

    However, in addition to the fact that it absolutely hates cdr's (actually not really a problem) it's taken a dislike to a couple of new cd's of mine (a problem). On both discs (always the same track) the music stops and I just get a clicking sound. Weirdly, the time on the display keeps ticking along as normal.

    Is this kind of problem symptomatic of an old laser that needs replacing? Luckily it came with a 6 month warranty but wasn't sure if I could use it just because the machine is having trouble with a couple of cd's. Any thoughts welcome, thanks. ;)
  20. andym

    andym Member

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    Providing the CDs are fine in other players, then I'm afraid it does sound like a drive problem. I've had two players fail with precisely the same symptoms (but in my case with CDs which used to play perfectly which made the diagnosis easy). And, yes, an inability to play even a single CD that works in another machine is a good enough reason to replace the drive: it isn't going to get better as time passes. Take the player *and* the CDs to the dealer and demonstrate the problem. In my case the drives (in fact in one case the whole machine) were replaced without question.

    Good luck!

    Andy
  21. sam500

    sam500 Member

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    Andym - thanks for the info:smashin: I haven't got around to trying the cd's in another player yet but I suspect they will work fine. Looks like I'll be popping back to that shop again. I will post another update when the problem has hopefully been resolved.
    Sam
  22. sam500

    sam500 Member

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    Just a quick update as promised. I took my player back to the shop and they agreed to repair no probs. However, while I was there I saw a CD23T for sale. They agreed to do a swap (+ an extra £50) so it's all worked out fine. I can now read text and it seems to like my cdr's which is a bonus!

    Just one more thing...all the CD players I have owned in Japan (1 Marantz & 2 Arcam's) all seem to get quite hot. How warm should a cd player get (specifically the CD23)? It heats up to well over room temperature during use.

    Sam
  23. ajhavf

    ajhavf Member

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    Don't worry about the heat, it's fine, however ensure excellent ventilation where the unit operates. It gets warm where the large heatsink connected to a regulator is. That is excellent to swap for a CD23T, the Sony laser pickup for that model is currently in use by Arcam, easily available and is a fine pickup.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  24. sam500

    sam500 Member

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    Just a recent update regarding the CD23T I bought secondhand a couple of years ago now. I've really enjoyed using this player and I've had no desire to go looking elsewhere.

    Unfortunately, over the past year, the unit has developed a whirring sound when I skip between tracks and it really doesn't enjoy playing CDR's much anymore. It got so bad that I finally decided to send it over to Denon (who service Arcam machines in Japan) and they informed me today that it needs a new laser pickup (approx £100).

    I've been using a cheapo Denon player for the last few weeks and boy, am I missing the refined sounds of the CD23. So... looking forward to having it back again soon :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2009
  25. PenguinHiFi

    PenguinHiFi Member

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    Sam500,

    Whoah ! A new laser for 100£ ? I guess here in Europe, and especially in France, I won't even be able to get a new laser, not to mention the price in case I could find someone who can service it ;-)

    Regards.

    PenguinHiFi
  26. sam500

    sam500 Member

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    PenguinHiFi , Thanks for the feedback. Are parts for old old Arcam components that hard to come by? I guess living in Japan has its advantages!
  27. sam500

    sam500 Member

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    So the saga continues... I recently got it back from the Denon guys in Tokyo.

    The laser pick-up was replaced - apparently - and the whirring has stopped. However, it's new thing is to randomly skip forward or back a few tracks at occasional interviews e.g. once or twice during the course of a cd.

    Anyone have any idea why it would be doing this after the installation of a new laser?

    Sorry to bother everyone with this never ending story :suicide:
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2009

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