Question Compact disc player advice

Bobrizz718

Novice Member
Hello everyone. My name is Bob and my question is regarding an audio device which seems to get very little love these days. It is a CD player - specifically a 5 disc changer. My Sony CDP-C87es changer has just crapped out - the platter belt disintegrated. I have come to learn that this is not a rare issue with certain models like the above which have an aluminum platter. I have had the unit a good number of years (purchased new in 1991 or so), so in any event, I shouldn’t be too disappointed. What I did find surprising however, as I began to seek out a replacement, was the paltry selection of carousel players on the market these days (by any brand)! With the downloading of digital music so pervasive these days, I can somewhat understand the decreased demand for dedicated players, but I still expected to find at least a few choices from major audio brands. Admittedly, there are plenty on the used market, via E-bay and others, but I’m not sure if I want to go that route, especially with a changer, as they are generally more prone to problems because of more moving parts. Of course, there’s plenty of decent single loaders out there (even new at retail) but I wanted the convenience of a 5 or 6 disc changer, as I have a fairly large CD collection, and often like to shuffle a variety of music to have on in the background. I do still have a discerning set of ears, and though I do agree that single disc players usually outperform most if not all multi disc ones, the Sony unit above (like many from their ES line) was a cut above. While still not achieving perfect sonic accuracy, this player was and still is lauded by many as a pleasant sounding unit.
In light of the current dearth of choices, other than buying used, as I mentioned above, what do you suggest as my best option to find a satisfactory replacement? I did look into getting my unit repaired, and after removing the top cover, have determined that a replacement belt is needed, at the very least. However I’ve come to learn that this part is no longer available from Sony or anyone else. I’ve read that someone is working on a solution to acquire a similar belt that would work, but I’m not sure I’d want to go through all the trouble. The only players I’ve found available at retail (assuming they’re still in stock) are the Onkyo DC-x 390 and Yamaha CDC-600. Can you tell me if either of them are decent players that would at least come close to matching the performance of the Sony? Or any others I might have missed? Feel free to let me know if I’ve been overhyping the Sony, as well. Also, would going the used route be a sensible option? I’ve actually seen my model on eBay listed for $300. Have also seen several other models at or just below that tier for $150-200. And of course, used models from other brands worth considering. Thanks for any input. Bob
 

mseve1

Active Member
Before looking for a replacement player I'd definitely think again about getting your current player fixed. If it's just the main drive belt that needs replacing there are plenty of 3rd party spares readily available which could be all that you require.

 

Bobrizz718

Novice Member
Before looking for a replacement player I'd definitely think again about getting your current player fixed. If it's just the main drive belt that needs replacing there are plenty of 3rd party spares readily available which could be all that you require.

Thanks for the quick reply, mseve1. Yes, I’m sure it’s possible to repair, but from what I’ve read this particular belt is a “cogged” tooth belt which encircles the platter assembly and that these belts (OEM) version anyway, were prone to coming apart over time. Maybe a 3rd party belt would fare better. At the very least, I could reasonably expect 20+ years out of it since this is the first time I’m dealing with this issue since original purchase in 1991! However, having seen inside the player just by removing the top cover, I can tell that a replacement belt, if found, would require me to remove the platter and the laser assembly to access it. I guess I can try to find a competent repair center to give me a repair estimate once he or I can locate a compatible belt. Or maybe it’s feasible or recommended to perform this repair by flipping the unit upside down and access the belt assembly that way. That way, I may be able to avoid disturbing the laser assembly. Having no experience in these areas makes me uneasy too. Thanks for the feedback, friend😊
 

Nico72

Active Member
There are CD players with a hard drive, called music servers.
The first time you play a CD, you store the music permanently in the memory of the player. After that, you can put the physical CD away and play any track from the server instead. You can store hundreds of CDs that way, depending on how much memory the server has.
Look for products like Olive O3HD, Novafidelity X12, Arcam MS250.
 

Bobrizz718

Novice Member
A great suggestion for sure, Nico72, but I wasn’t planning to spend that much. I looked up the prices of the items you suggested and was surprised at how much they cost. Thanks for the input though. Maybe a future purchase 😊
 

Nico72

Active Member
A great suggestion for sure, Nico72, but I wasn’t planning to spend that much. I looked up the prices of the items you suggested and was surprised at how much they cost. Thanks for the input though. Maybe a future purchase 😊

Not cheap indeed.
If you happen to already own a laptop or PC with a CD drive, you could achieve the same, by simply installing free software. Making digital copies of all your CDs on your PC will take time though.
Good luck with repairing the Sony. It sounds like the easiest option.
 

password1

Well-known Member
Another option is to buy a cd changer within your budget as new as possible and use a better external DAC if the player has digital out which may be an improvement over the built in DAC.
 

English Invader

Active Member
Not cheap indeed.
If you happen to already own a laptop or PC with a CD drive, you could achieve the same, by simply installing free software. Making digital copies of all your CDs on your PC will take time though.
Good luck with repairing the Sony. It sounds like the easiest option.

I did that for a while a few years ago. I was using a Linux desktop with the Banshee media player. There are plenty of options to tweak the sound that you won't find on a CD player.

I would avoid using iTunes because I've heard a couple of stories about it automatically replacing lesser known variants of songs with the more famous versions and people have had their digital archives ruined over this.

I remember growing up with a few carousel CD players. They didn't tend to last very long so I'm not surprised that the buying public ditched them for more reliable single drive transports and digital files/streaming.
 

oscroft

Member
I would avoid using iTunes because I've heard a couple of stories about it automatically replacing lesser known variants of songs with the more famous versions and people have had their digital archives ruined over this.
I would strongly recommend that nobody should ever rely on a third party to maintain their collections of digital music (or photos or whatever). I might use them for convenience, but I would always keep my own copy of everything on my own offline storage (multiple copies, in fact, as I'm near paranoid about backup security).
 

Bobrizz718

Novice Member
I would strongly recommend that nobody should ever rely on a third party to maintain their collections of digital music (or photos or whatever). I might use them for convenience, but I would always keep my own copy of everything on my own offline storage (multiple copies, in fact, as I'm near paranoid about backup security).
Thanks for all the feedback everyone. I am going to get it repaired as soon as I can find a suitable belt. Since it’s a somewhat unique “cogged” belt, I have to find a 3rd party replacement that would work. I think I’ve read that they’re out there somewhere, since I’ve seen people who have the exact same model or a subsequent or earlier model which used the same belt. I’ll keep searching but if anyone of you come across one that is proven or known to work, please send me the link to the vendor. And thanks to Costello for the link to the video, but it looks a little daunting to me ; though I may decide to give it a go, nonetheless.
If I end up obtaining the part and decide I’d rather not take on the job myself, I’ll likely seek out a decent, experienced repair center. I live in Southern California, roughly midway between Los Angeles and San Diego, so if any of you know of a shop you’d recommend, please let me know. Again, thanks to all of you for your input/suggestions! Stay well😊
 

Bobrizz718

Novice Member
Thanks for all the feedback everyone. I am going to get it repaired as soon as I can find a suitable belt. Since it’s a somewhat unique “cogged” belt, I have to find a 3rd party replacement that would work. I think I’ve read that they’re out there somewhere, since I’ve seen people who have the exact same model or a subsequent or earlier model which used the same belt. I’ll keep searching but if anyone of you come across one that is proven or known to work, please send me the link to the vendor. And thanks to Costello for the link to the video, but it looks a little daunting to me ; though I may decide to give it a go, nonetheless.
If I end up obtaining the part and decide I’d rather not take on the job myself, I’ll likely seek out a decent, experienced repair center. I live in Southern California, roughly midway between Los Angeles and San Diego, so if any of you know of a shop you’d recommend, please let me know. Again, thanks to all of you for your input/suggestions! Stay well😊
Lastly if all else fails, I’d spend $300-400 (max) for one of the few changers currently available. I’ve only seen two, that I would even consider, assuming they’re still available - Onkyo DX-c390 or Yamaha CDC-600. I’ve heard there have been some quality control issues on both units, especially the Onkyo. I’d be interested to hear any opinions on either player , be it from hearsay or personal experience. My personal gut feeling has me leaning towards the Yamaha, but I’d like to hear what other people think. I realize neither machine is in the same league as say a $500+ single play Marantz, Denon or Pioneer Elite. But would it sound at least comparable when fed to my Marantz receiver via digital cable connection, without being too shrill or tinny?
 

Nico72

Active Member
If you connect the cd player to the receiver via digital connection, you bypass the DAC in the player. Whichever model you go for, it should sound exactly as your old Sony.
 

Bobrizz718

Novice Member
If you connect the cd player to the receiver via digital connection, you bypass the DAC in the player. Whichever model you go for, it should sound exactly as your old Sony.
Yes, that’s usually how I connect. I just thought even with a digital connection and using the DAC in the receiver, that a different player may impart a different sonic characteristic.
 

Bobrizz718

Novice Member
it’s funny how that is. Because I also have a Pioneer Elite 100 disc changer - also connected via coaxial digital, and I could swear I hear a slight change in the sound - not quite as “bright”? as the Sony
 

Bobrizz718

Novice Member
If you connect the cd player to the receiver via digital connection, you bypass the DAC in the player. Whichever model you go for, it should sound exactly as your old Sony.
It’s funny how that is. Because I also have a Pioneer elite 100 disc changer, also connected via digital, and when I use it, I could swear I notice a slight difference. Or can that be attributed to using coax digital vs optical?
 

oscroft

Member
I don't agree with the claim that all CD transports sound the same. There is a genuine timing-related problem in CD reproduction called jitter - and if bits are mis-timed or lost, they are not recovered as the protocol does not do error correcting (as computer communications protocols do). So data can be damaged in the digital domain, and the best a player can do is fill in with its best guess.
 

Dave Weystoner

Active Member
Lastly if all else fails, I’d spend $300-400 (max) for one of the few changers currently available. I’ve only seen two, that I would even consider, assuming they’re still available - Onkyo DX-c390 or Yamaha CDC-600. I’ve heard there have been some quality control issues on both units, especially the Onkyo. I’d be interested to hear any opinions on either player , be it from hearsay or personal experience. My personal gut feeling has me leaning towards the Yamaha, but I’d like to hear what other people think. I realize neither machine is in the same league as say a $500+ single play Marantz, Denon or Pioneer Elite. But would it sound at least comparable when fed to my Marantz receiver via digital cable connection, without being too shrill or tinny?
Is the Audiolab 6000CDT available in your part of the world? It costs £379 in the UK, which I guess puts it slightly over your budget in the US, but from my own experience I would say it's worth an audition. Comparing the same tracks streamed from Qobuz, from FLAC files on my storage, and via the Audiolab, to my ears the changer has the edge on clarity and dynamics. I don't know the Onkyo or the Yammie, so can't comment on them.
 

Bobrizz718

Novice Member
Is the Audiolab 6000CDT available in your part of the world? It costs £379 in the UK, which I guess puts it slightly over your budget in the US, but from my own experience I would say it's worth an audition. Comparing the same tracks streamed from Qobuz, from FLAC files on my storage, and via the Audiolab, to my ears the changer has the edge on clarity and dynamics. I don't know the Onkyo or the Yammie, so can't comment on them.
Thanks, friend. Don’t believe I’ve come across that model in the U.S. but I’ll look it up
 

English Invader

Active Member
It's been getting a lot of hype lately along with the 6000A amplifier that contains the DAC it was designed to work with. You'll find it all over YouTube.
 

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