teac esoteric VRDS P2 transport
AT LAST something decent to write about !!!
As I alaready explained, VRDS is a buzzword with more marketing meaning
Also see my articles about Teac VRDS
25 , Teac X25 and VRDS
But - to be clear - not all VRDS mechanisms are created equal. The top
of the top models was put by TEAC into their top dedicated transport
That mechanism is called CMK3 and nothing, absolutely nothing here is
made of plastic or pretending to be, rather than being really high-end.
What TEAC did - they took a good well proven laser system from Sony,
with Sony chipset and servo and demodulator. They added a motor - from
Sony top BU1 laser system, this is a brushless heavy torque haal motor.
The tracking is provided by Sony magnetic sledge rails and of course
there is the flywheel - clamp from Teac - hence the VRDS. We
could call this a project how to make sony standard system converted to
special high-end category.
Now that I am after encounter with
the CEC TL1 - I know already that the mechanism sounds good NOT
because the clamp prevents vibrations or supports the CD, but because
the flywheel is heavy and regulates the rotation speed of the CD. In
the same way the CEC system is good not because of the belt, but
because of the puck, and the belt is only a necessity to move the ultra
Anyhow - clamp, flywheel or puck - it does something VERY GOOD to the
music. Esoteric P2 is no different.
Esoteric is mainly Japan and US oriented product, the kind of a Teac
Lexus for the rich. I also had their equally well made one box player
X1S and I loved it.
So how do I get my hands on a 5000 USD toy like that ? Well, a good
friend of mine Piotr R snapped it on ebay.usa as defective, broken,
kaputt. Truposz it was ladies and gentlemen.
This friend (who happened to be good with the Leica camera as you can
see) was blindly trusting my skills, that I can bring a dead
Esoteric back to life. Yeah, Santo Subito.
Upon arrival, the player was miserable. All gold ornaments were dull
and grey, with filth everywhere, and yes - the owner was right - it was
freaking DEAD for sure.
But man, did it look like a gorgeous toy, all the goodies one can drool
about. I HAD TO FIX IT.
Some rubbing - and the gold glitters again. Above - prior to rubbing.
A close inspection revealed that: nobody messed inside, nothing was
obviously wrong, no loose cables or burned regulators, all looked super
After few minutes with magnifying glass I found a loose washer which
came from under the mechanism soft suspension spring, and that washer
got caught by the strong magnetic field of the rails and it got stuck
the rail in an invisible way.
The laser could not move freely and hence the micro decided to shut
down the launch process and display the GETRIEBE PROGRAM message
(joking, this was my BMW message that drove me mad)
After removing the washer, player came to life. I changed 3 loose belts
and voila - Esoteric was ready to sing.
Meanwhile Piotr cleaned the cabinet and we saw the P2 in full glory
and in working order. That feeling - like a father has when seeing his
daughter for the first time in a wedding dress. You know what I mean.
The space is very tight, despite being a transport only - this player
is full of parts. Mainly - power supply with 8 separate regulators. No
need to add sixpack here.
On top of that the gigantic, fully potted and encapsulated transformer
is mounted outside in a backpack fashion, a'la Sony 555.
The power supply is first class - nothing even to touch here, just sit
back and admire !
Good old friend Sony KSS151A. It did not read CDR's at first, but after
cleaning UNDER the laser - it does read everything now.
Aaaaahhhhhhh that flywheel clamp , mmmm. I can caress the
mechanism without it
complaining about my lack of shave and my beer breath. (if it only did
not ring like
a goddamned bell)
Above - the Sony BU1 spindle motor was attached to the alloy bridge
(stator) and the rotor is fixed to the clamp. Very clever and precise
That cyllinder in the middle of the bridge is NOT a smallish motor, it
is a gigantic bearing supporting the whole clamp.
In the glass you can see the three screws in a white teflon ring -
these ones adjust the height of the VRDS clamp against the mechanical
brake which is for stopping it.
This 50 cent belt was loose and caused us 3 evenings worth of headache,
were dying over the mechanical problems that seemed impossible to track
Above - the C shaped metal element is a brake, with a proper brake pad
like in a car. It helps to stop the spinning clamp. The clamp is very
without the brake- it rotates for 3 minutes when power is removed. Such
is the rotation momentum.
This PCB is the s/pdif output shaping final stage - mounted near the
output sockets (3 outputs: toslink, RCA and BNC).
I removed that PCB and threw it away, it is not needed. I mounted a
proper Gucci rhodium Prolink RCA and I wired it directly to the S/PDIF
generator chip, bypassing 4 chips which reshape the output. To me -
there is nothing better than the pure SPDIF from the Sony CXD1125
demodulator. (pin 27th)
I wired the pin 27 to RCA via 200 ohm series, 75 Ohms parallel, and 100
nF MKP capacitor. It is perfect solution.
In the end - we added Trichord 4 clock and power supply and thats
maximum you can squeeze inside, space-wise.
Esoteric P2 is a great transport.
First the biggest impression - the BASS. It is phenomenal. Deep,
powerful, fast, tuneful, energetic, controlled - everything we can
dream of. Center image is solid as a rock, with bass instruments
positioned clearly in well defined spot, in fact - this player makes
other transports - concerning bass - sound like broken. No joking, this
is the king of bass.
Next impression is the wealth of information - EVERYTHING is clear and
put in front of us very legibly.
Sometimes, I felt that the sound is a little bit aggressive or
metallic, it was in a way - merciless. Sometimes ears bled. I felt that
this is the truth, that perhaps the digital recording is perhaps just
like that - ear bleeding direct. Maybe this is the reality, not the
transport's character. Sort of like a fluorescetn lamp image of our
face in the mirror - we think Gee, this is not real me, this is
fluorescent - when I am out of this hotel bathroom - I will look nice
and young again.
P2 is not to be taken lightly. It is a hell of a player, capable of
what other transports can only dream of. Total information truth, no
censorship, no sugarcoating, no interpretation. The sound is as
detailed, dynamic and close as it gets, maybe CEC TL1X is more liquid,
analog like and fluid - but Esoteric is a new way of looking at things.
Try it and you will be likely unwilling to listen to anything
else. Very recommended. Only for tubed DACs, not for op-amp based
HEY SANTA, ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION ?!?!?!
Enough of the wallets, gloves and scarfs!