Kenwood DP-x9010 CD transport

(also read the Transport article)

This has got to be the best bargain on the used gear market - a top level machine comparable only to maybe few top bolids, yet so underrated it hasn't got the high price of the others. I bought mine for 250 Euro. It easily beats the WADIA 3200 with one hand tied behind the back and at 1/10 th of the asking price.
I would say without hesitation - BUY it as your last transport.
It is so labour intensive made, so well made, so elegant. It is not flashing the granite and copper like many others. It is a simple black box.
But open it - and I can talk about "the guts" all day. It is on similar level with Kenwood D1000 and slightly better than theKenwood DP-8010 with which it shares almost the same mechanism.

I paired the Kenwood DP-X9010 wth the lampized Philips 960DAC converter and the resulting combo is breathtaking.

I am sorry - the pictures look dusty but the player was clean. I think it is the flash which emphasizes smallest particles of dust.

kenwood DP-X9010

Kenwood DP-X9010 is much more heavy than it looks. One can hardly lift it.

Simple yet very ergonomic buttons, not one too many, not one button too little.

Buttons are backlit !

Despite it being a "transport only"
the Kenwood DP-X9010 is full of goodies.

There is a comparable machine which has a DAC so in other words it is a full CD player - kenwood DP1000 but id does not sound good in my opinion.
The kenwood DP 8010 has almost identical transport plus a good DAC Burr Brown PCM58  inside. Very recommended player.

The top of the top mechanisms, my favourite. It is almost the same as Sony KSS190A (in my Sony 337 ESD) but even slightly smoother.
EVERYTHING is made of metal - steel, aluminium and iron. Sony has a better motor - brushless. OTOH - Ken motor can be replaced for 5 Euro with a simple mabuchi unit.

Please note the soft suspension (nylon legs) of the pcb's of this player

Note the potted encapsulated transformer, and the 6 round buttons on the power supply PCB are ferrite rings - one per every wire !!!

The servo board of
the Kenwood DP-X9010

That drawer mechanism is to die for. Not only the mechanism but also the whole drawer is metal. The "culture" of drawer opening is comparable to Accuphase only.
By the way, Accuphase company was started by Kenwood employees, and all Accuphase top players have Sony KSS190A mechanism. So they are siblings so to speak. Only we know it and most people don't, so we can still buy the Ken for 1/10 th of the Accu price.

If you want to marry the Ken with a proper Barbie, buy the Behringer dac.


As good as the Kenwood is - it can be further improved.
It is not easy to upgrade transports - they are not analog.
This player has such good power, that I woulnt mess with it.
Someone else has changed the clock and reported the big improvement. (16 meg)
There are two output shaping chips which can be bypassed - and thats another very audible  improvement in clarity.

On the above diagram we see output stage of the Ken.
The big chip IC10
looks just like the good old Sony CXD1125 and it also has digital S/PDIF output on pin 27th DOTX.
We can wire it straight to new RCA socket. I suggest the signal divider L-pad : 200 Ohm series and 75 Ohm parallel resistors at the RCA.
The clock is in the green circle.
The three crossed comppnents (cursed) are: output chip, output transformer and toslink chip transmitter.

the clock must be from "sony" frequency range - 16,9 Megahetrz, not the Philips typical 11 Megahertz.

1. Desolder and remove the old quartz
2. Remove two adjacent small caps - C54 and C55
3. Remove the chip IC11 or at least cut the incoming power supply: from IC12 leg3.
4. Remove IC12
5. Solder AC power wires to the new clock PSU to AC stealing point - after AC input and AFTER the AC switch
6. Connect clock GND to any GND point on the same PCB, preferreably close to IC10 chip. A good point is middle leg of the regulator (now removed ) IC12
7. Connect clock output wire to R129, the resistor end closer to the chip IC10 pin 53 and away from old removed IC11 pin 5.
8. Remove resistor R130
Thats all.