Grundig Fine Arts CD-9009
(made circa 1990 ?)
Also see the poorer cousin of this player - CD
At the time of writing (march 2007) it is for me the best CDP
in the world. (Of course excluding the really exotic ones like CEC
TL-Zero connected to Jadis DAC).
of the Grundig CD9009 Fine Arts
It is the
show-off of Grundig company, player made
without any cost restrictions, just as a statement. Their flagship. The
icon of the
long gone era pre-globalization, pre-cost cutting, pre-bean counters
domination in corporations. All copper-plated steel chassis and
body, all components
- premium type (all Made In
best transport at that time - CDM1-MKII and TDA1541A DAC from tight
tolerance selection S1 (single crown),
in double paralleled mode. Two power transformers, copper inter-stage
shielding, jewellery connectors and sockets, etc. A true
overkill. Someone said that it was designed and built for Grundig
a high-end company RESTEK from Germany. Maybe it's true - I dunno. It
also might be a collaboration between Grundig and Sony - I see some
similarities between Grundig CD9009 and Sony top players - CDP337ESD
also has one of the the best displays of all players I have seen (save
for the Levinson) (legible from my
seat 3 m away), discrete understatement look, good ergonomy etc.
Inside - it compares only to the Accuphases and so on, and the famous
Revox looks like a much cheaper "cousin".
The schematics is very impressive (not for me, god forbid, but for most
I am sure). It has so many op amps in the audio path that I lost the
wonder the stock unit sounds like 12 op-amps in series. With false
feeling of macrodynamics, glassy, harsh, falsely detailed, totally
Test drive with lampizator revealed another character. Earthshaking
bass, pure liquidity, tonal warmth, richness, and most of all - the
sense of body. Instruments sound like living vibrating creatures,
not skeletons, silhouettes or cardboard imitations.
The TDA1541A /S1 chip is "just
only" 16 bit
and single ended only. But
so is the Sony/Philips red book format - 16 bit. And since Philips
CD, so shouldn't their best chip ever - make the best music?
Compared to Revox B226S - our Grundig CD9009 Fine Arts is very similar
in nature, I could
be able to tell them apart immediately. But the ergonomy of the
Grundig CD9009 Fine Arts makes
big positive difference. Both machines are very "Teutonic" in
design, but Grundig more than Revox. Grundig CD9009 Fine Arts is
an Audi A8 Quattro W10
so to speak.
Lampizator implementation to Grundig
I am planning to use internal visible lampization and balancing
symmetrical signal transformers a'la Copland.
This will be my attempt on THE BEST CD IN THE WORLD.
The front is made of aluminium, not metallized plastic, and the side
view reveals all copper body.
VERY heavy. Actually it is only copper-plated, but the shiny golden
sheets are STEEL. Not all that glitters is gold.
Very unusual feature taken from VCR's - jog dial for fast forward with
variable speed (outer ring) plus the inner wheel for pitch (speed )
control (I have no idea what for).
The dot matrix display. I love it. And it can be dimmed as well as
switched off completely from remote and from front panel. Lovely set of
Grundig CD9009 Fine Arts Output stage - see 8 double op-amps in a row
plus 4 more are invisible.
together 24 single op-amps in signal path - 12 per channel. HORROR.
This all has been REMOVED and thrown in a dustbin.
Very nice feature - two transformers. But aren't we going to kill the
entire analogue section anyway? ;-)
output stage of Grundig CD9009 Fine Arts
If someone needs these 5532 op-amps as spares - please mail me. I will
send them for free.
S1 single crown
The crown is the right symbol - this is the DAC king himself. 16 bit
Worth noting are 100nF premium MKT caps around each DAC (the white
The most significant bit pins (MSB) PIN - 13th and 18th have a 1 uF
And look how close is the voltage regulator with copper radiator - it
touches the DAC, as it should be. In all marantzes - the regulators are
half mile away from DACs.
cast metal and very heavy.
inside the Grundig
Very funny - Grundig made a mistake and mounted the AMPLIFIER XLR
socket (female input type) instead of a male set of OUT-PUT ones.
Now lets consider some serious tweaking ladies and gentlemen.
First I removed the entire back plate vertical PCB and disposed
of it. It was making the signal artificially ballanced. Buuuu. No good.
I drilled holes (10 mm) for Sowter signal transformers in the
The sowters fit nicely inside the player and the original leads are
sufficiently long to connect everything. (after replacing the XLR for
Sowter Transformer for the I/U conversion
All connections are in place. The sowters play triple role:
Remove DC from TDA outputs, convert output current to voltage, and
amplify the signal. The fourth role is that they can balance the output
signal thanks to double secondaries.
Note that at first I run this player first with just the
tube stage. In this mode the player already shines. In balanced mode
it is very liquid, pure and free from any nasty atrifacts. The sound
is not from this world so to speak. Many purist audiophile fellows
would stop here and use it as it is, without output stage. Just
transformerized from DAC
chip to output sockets. Arguably that is the finest CD playback
achievable at any cost. But I was missing the drive and power that tube
Squeezing 4 tubes inside this player, two sowters, power transformer
and 2 power supplies is NOT EASY TASK !!!
I opted for the tubes sticking halfway out from the back plate.
The power transformer did not fit inside, at least not where the
magnetic field does not do any buzzing.
So the poor guy must live outside as parasite.
All is already connected and ready for a test drive.
Of course in the end I fired up the tubed output stage, I sat back, and
blah blah blah tears rolled down my cheeks and I was taken to heaven
alive, blah blah blah....
see other Sowter applications:
And the battle
July 20 2007
The last thoughts about the Grundig.
Just before the arrival of the EMPEROR (Cambridge CD3), the still
reigning King (Grundig 9009) got it's best so far working mode.
August 8 2007
The best system in short:
I/U conversion - by resistor 56 Ohm.
Then, without any cap and without transformer - straight to lampizator
The tubes: ECC801S from Siemens - mini noval tube or 6N2P from Russia.
Lampizator with 150 and 150 Ohms resistors in both grids respectively.
Output via PIO 4 uF caps.
KING OF ALL
CD PLAYERS CD9009 in LAST VERSION
The BEST SO FAR
This system is GREAT. It plays absolutely HEAVENLY music. Try it.
sowters, no nothing special. Just straight DAC to tube.
September 5th 2008
Finally I managed to do the
Non Over Sampling modification (NOS mod).
This is easy , only seems difficult
Just follow these steps:
1. Locate the SAA7220 chip, and SAA7310 chip, mark their legs number
2. Float the 14th pin of the SAA7220 chip (to reduce noises - this has
nothing to do with the NOS)
3. go to TDA1541A chips and float the pins 1, 2 and 3 in both chips but
REMEMBER to keep the small link between pin 2 and 4.
4. Connect the pin 1 of SAA7220 to pin 1 of TDA1541A (and then take it
to the other 1541A)
5. Connect the pin 2 of SAA7220
to pin 2 of TDA1541A (and then take it to the other 1541A)
6. Connect the pin 3 of SAA7220
to pin 3 of TDA1541A (and then take it to the other 1541A)
In this mod the system plays
even better. It is hard to believe - but this mod bypasses 9 chips and
this improves every aspect of reproduction.