This reference list is constantly growing. From early childhood I
always had this itch to open my mechanical toys and find out how they
work. When opening the CD player - the more expensive it is - the more
critical I am.
I am pushing towards 100 players that I opened up , examined and
I do not waste time to document the bad ones. I only document these
ones worth to be lampized.
The CD accumulate in my house - on the table, under the sofa, on the
window-sill, everywhere. Sometimes good friends help me get rid of the
better ones. I am grateful for that.
from my early experiments I found out, that for some reason the tube
CDP (real ones that is) available commercially are superior to these
of the price.
My own Balanced Audio Technology BAT VK-D5SE turned out to be one of
the best. It was beaten only by the magical Tube Technology Fulcrum
DAC-transport combo. And I read many positive reviews of the Jo-Lida
and Tjoeb! hybrid CDP's. I also love the Audio-Note dac line,
upwards. But from commercially available ready players - that's about
So far i haven't found a
stock form player which is built properly and plays good sound. Not a
single one. And this
has nothing to do with price, not even a loose correlation.I swear that
100 Euro is maximum that I would pay for a CD player and then it is
time to mod it to civillize it. The only exception is Audio-Note,
company which since the eighties promotes op-amp less CD DAC products.
Their DACS are so good that they should be the reference at every price
level. Speaking of price - thats the problem with Audionote - sometimes
prices resemble serial numbers or bank account numbers. At least they
are honest about it - they give an option to buy kits and they tell you
ecactly what is the difference between DAC3 and 4. Most other companies
bullshit customers to no end.
My simple reasoning was that there must be something about op-amp
less designs, it is where the Lampizator enters the scene. It changes
simple players into giant killers.
no better way of finding out the truth than trying.
CD player is suitable for
Well, every one. So far I haven't seen a CDP which is un-suitable,
except the Kenwood D1000. Generally, if
has a DAC chip- and everyone has - it can be modified so we get rid of
the output stage and instead we send the signal from DAC to the
Very broadly we can generalize and divide the CD chips - DACs- into two
main categories: with current type output and with voltage output.
The current type output DACs are promising better quality but require
very careful approach to lampization, they require only very sensitive
tubes and the reward is very good.
The Voltage Out players offer us easy job, require low amplification
tubes and also we have an option of SNIPIT BYPASS - the puristic
connection of the DAC output directly to the outputs. It is described
in dedicated SNIPIT section. The sound quality of Voltage output DACS
usually but not allways is inferior to properly lampized Current Output
Another subjective division is to say that all the world's players can
be divided into two categories: the TDA1541 DAC players and all other.
That suggests (not without a reason) that the TDA is a special chip, by
far the most important DAC in the history of mankind. 25 years after
it's creation - it is still in my opinion unbeaten champion of good
sound but ALWAYS requires heavy tuning. There is a separate section
with squeezing from the TDA chip 10 times more quality than its makers
at Philips ever thought possible.
You can browse through the loosely documented, chaotic story of my 4
years of free evenings which god knows why I decided to spend with the
soldering iron and magnifying glass. I gotta get out more !!!!
RANKING OF PLAYERS
CD DAC giant shoot-out contest - the battle of champions
GOOD CD PLAYER LIST - great sound without any modifications -
just buy and enjoy
The Transport article with explanation how CD mechanisms "sound"
This is a small and yet in-complete datamining page of mine containing
PDF papers of the chips: DAC
My list of lampization reference list is constantly growing and at the
time of writing consists of:
(actually that was the test unit tubed by design but nevertheless my
reference and inspiration.)
Kenwood CD4090 - the 5090's
poor cousin - but a good 'un
First lampization: Kenwood
CD5090 (4 units)
DVD Panasonic S47
DVD Panasonic S75
B226-S (2 pieces), Revox B126, B226,
CDS-1 and it's baby - CDI
Fine Arts CD-9009 (my reference) - NEW: THIRD INCARNATION
NEW: Update with Sowter TRANSFORMERS
7090 (8 x
BB1702 !!!) NEW: Update with Sowter TRANSFORMERS or without
Audio Labs DX-1
4 x Grundig
Fine Arts CD-9000
EXCEPTION E-426 (january 07)
07)Cambridge Audio Dacmagic 2 gold
2 x Philips CD 630
K2 XL-Z1050 - almost new candidate for the KING
CD9000. Loewe my love !
CD304mkII 2 x
2 x Philips CD-880 (!!!)
2 x Marantz CD 40
Mission Cyrus DAD-1
Cambridge Audio CD3 player (4 x TDA1541A !!!)
4 x SONY CD-227ESD
2 x AKAI CD-50 (based on DAC AD-1856)
NAIM CDS-1 revisited
Zhalou DAC 2.5 from Hong Kong
Fine Arts CD-1
2 x Marantz CD94
2 x Sony CDP-337ESD - superb CD
a candidate to the throne of CD kingdom
DAC based Cambridge
Azur 640 CD player - MK1 and Mk2
Cirrus Logic CS4397
DAC - OH MY GOD !
Vincent - CD-S6 player with PCM 1732 DAC and LOTS OF SURPRIZES
Sony CDP-555ESD monster
WADIA transport preparing to
marry a Lampucera chipset
NAD C 521i player with minimum
with 4 x
DACs and Sony KS151A mechanism
nakamichi CD Player4 with
AD-1864N DAC chip
meets his destiny: The intergrated one box DAC is born - meet LAMPUCERA
Cambridge DVD89 -
a surprisingly great player that does movies too.
MHZS CD88 the most innovative
CD player of the decade !
LAmpucerized (what is HDAM,
anybody ?????? )
Lampucera 2.0 - new
version of PCB
Philips CD-751 almost
the new king of CD kingdom !
Marantz CD50 with maximum
SATCH DAC from China with TDA1541A
Arcam Diva CD73
AMC CD9 player (not lampized yet).
Grundig 9009 as a transport
Audio-Note DAC4 anybody ?
Sony 333ESD lampized proper
Pioneer PD-S06 with PCM1702 DACS
Sabre ESS buffalo DAC
Theta Data Universal Transport
TEAC T1 transport
Pioneer DVD aka Goldmund
VAC DAC MkII
VRDS-25 with 4 x
DACs and Sony KS151A mechanism
GreenDac TDA1541 ULTIMATE
Philips CD940 and
cd930 used as Transport and as player too
Kenwood DP8010 with PCM58 DAC
Wolfson DAC WM8742 with
CEC DAC DX 71 MK2
Wolfson DAC WM8742
Fischer AD-ZI CD player /
Meridian 207 nightmare
Arcam Diva CD73
Mephisto 1 player /
CEC TL-1X Deconstructed
Arcam Delta 170 CD
Audio Note AN-CD1 player
Bloodac - DAC 4,0 NOS
with 4 times TDA1541A -
Sony CDP X-55ES
Teac VRDS D10
Analog Devices DAC kit AD1865 NOS.
TEAC VRDS transport
AMC CD8B / CD60 (with PCM1716
Tube Technology Fulcrum DAC
Behringer DAC / Processor / computer
Audio Alchemy ACD-PRO
Sugden CD-21 player
CEC TL51X Transport
Arcam player with a RingDac
Marantz 40 Revisited
Marantz CD73 and 74
2 Technics MASH
player - 470
Mephisto 2 transport improved