JVC XRCD 1050 K2 CD Player
This is one of the most interesting players of all
times. What is intriguing, that it
has one of the BEST pre-lampization sound of all players I tried in
2006. And it has a very
nasty and dirty output stage. So after some clean-up it may really
My guess is that it may even take the throne from the Grundig 9009.
Time will tell.
My small investigation revealed that this gem is in big demand, small
supply, it has a patented K2 reclocking circuitry before the DAC chip
(of unknown origin, signed by JVC-JCER4501 (18 bit !?) , my guess is :
Sony). The DAC chip has 8 analogue voltage outputs, (sic!)
followed by analog domain filters of HF, followed by summation into
four (a perfect place to take XLR output) and followed by op-amps
summing into stereo pair, followed by 3 more opamps and muting
After listening in balanced mode DAC-direct, with bypass of ALL
OP-AMPS, the sound is phenomenally liquid and shiny, beautifully
analog, deep, smooth, you name it. There is almost no need for tubes.
just perfect already! I have no doubt this player is a giant killer, I
could put it against Wadia 861x anytime. Or Krell 25.
Inside the jvc xl-Z1050 CD K2
jvc xl-Z1050 CD K2 DAC
K2 thing that is so famous is not actually a
itself, it is a digital filter with some (I guess) additional fifo
buffer for reclocking (anti-jitter measures). The chip itself - The DAC
- is not documented anywhere on the NET. Don't bother looking. It must
be a genuine JVC chip or a Sony or Sanyo or NPC or something like that.
This crazy chip has 8 analog outputs - 2 left neg. 2
and 2 pos left and 2 pos right. Go figure what it is for. Anyway - it
is truly digitally balanced which is nice. XLR conversion is possible
at no extra cost.
xl-Z1050 CD K2 mechanism
It is hard to show it on the picture but this mechanism
solid, very good looking and in general it ranks on the top with the
best there are. Nothing to compare with say Philips CDM12 or
VAL1250. Everything is made of metal and the finish is impeccable.
THE FINAL BATTLE OF GIANTS: GODZILLA (Japan) contra HEDORRA (Germany)
Sound of the JVC XRCD 1050 K2
was inevitable. 30 players have passed
through my hands and the choice of the ultimate boils down to 5
machines. My subjective preference is between the two of the above.
Pay attention that Burr-Brown didn't make it to the finals. But it was
very very close. - the three other semi-finalists were all burrbrowners
- Kenwood CDP-7090, Shanling T200 and Copland 289.
I built the Grundig 9009 and JVC 1050 in such way, that they were both
hard wired from DAC to XLR and then feeding external balanced
lampizator and then from XLR to my mono amps. I could switch
inputs and listen to same music via same set-up except the naked
player's drive plus DAC-chip combo. We could finally compare apples to
The verdict is ... drums rolling .... Grundig. My subjective
goes to Grundig but only by a hair.
In both cases the sound is phenomenally good. Even for me it is still a
The general differences are:
- Grundig requires expensive Sowter balancing transformers, JVC does
not (voltage dac)
- Grundig has extra large display, JVC extra small
- Grundig mechanic and electronic parts for spares can be easily had
for nothing. JVC is a "white raven".
Grundig has the warmth which is addictive, JVC is more neutral and
colder. On natural analog recordings, like un-manipulated live album of
Nina Simone from 1971, on the Grundig it is a hallucination, and
emotionally involving experience. On JVC it is only a hifi playback.
For me - that does it.
- Total end price (base player, lampization) is about 1000 Euro in case
of Grundig, and 500 for JVC. That is a big difference. For this
difference you could get a SET amp from Hong Kong.
In the case of both players with Lampizator the absolute level of
quality will - with
100% certainty - not likely be beaten by any newcomer red book CD
available from a shop.