Philips CD-880  

Visually - aesthetic nightmare from hell with superb analogue sound from heaven.

History of Philips CD880 player with TDA1541A chip

Made circa 1989 in Belgium, the LAST product from Philips that was heavy, solid, well made and with high end pretensions.
From 880 on - it was steep downhill for the giant from Eindhoven.
The whole splendour since then was 100% reserved for their daughter company Marantz.
What a shame, that Philips did not keep their R&D and manufacturing ability. After CDM1 mechanism and TDA1541A chip, their last components of highest standard were TDA1549 DAC and CDM9.  Amen.

The CD880 PCB

Looking at the PCB - it is very bizzare. I saw 100 PCB's from Philips from before the CD 880 and they all looked alike, more or less. You could detect similarities in Autocad, laminate color, part selection and power supply and grounding solutions. I also saw 100 PCB's from AFTER te 880 and they looked similar to each other. But the 880 is ODD. It is unlike any other PCB. Unlike the Marantz as well.
If anything, it resembles the SONY 227 ESD. Anyway - a nice PCB, better than older Philipses but nothing comparable to Naim.

This must be one of the rarest Philips on Earth. Almost impossible to get. Although not nearly as impossible as the LHH Philips  line, especially the LHH2000.
When I got it - I could not believe my eyes!
This is THE ULTIMATE Philips  or what !!!
Is it the best of them all ???
With cast chassis frame, copper floor with three layers, heavy duty parts all over, Philips CDM1-Mk2 mechanism, and TDA1541A-QS1 chip - WHAT A GEM.

Lampization was a pleasure, no nasty surprises, and at the end - SUPERB SOUND.

 I did 4 of these, each one differently. My final preference is the NOS, the decoupling caps increased, and lampizator with SRPP of 6N2P tube . This is really the best - in July 2008.

This is the giant killer if you can find one.

The display is the only minus.
It looks truly HORRIBLE.
Aftel looking at this display, two people sold their units, and two others kept them but after sealing the display with black paper leaving only a small window for the track number.
After this horror I appreciate more the super spartan displays from Meridian, Naim, or even their own Philips CD104.

I use the 86 Ohm resistor for I/U, 6H1P tubes, (later changed for Siemens ECC801S and later to even better Russian 6N2P)  not much  tweaking of PCB because all parts are high-end already.6N2P is the best tube for this application and in this case the resistors in SRPP is 200 Ohms.
In terms of PCB engineering, this player beats the Marantz 80, 94, 94MK2, Philips 960 and Grundig 9000.
The only rivals I know of are Arcam Alpha 70,2, Sony 227,337 and of course 557 from ESD series. And I almost forgot - Naim CDS1 and CD3.
It looses a hair to Grundig 9009 as you well guessed already.

I did four of them and every time I loved the result.

If you wanna go full monty, try to:
Add a superclock from a good source and powered by it's own supply.
Use Jensen Copper foil caps at output (0,47uF)
Cut the power supply tracks (legs 15, and 27-28) and add in series before the near capacitor a small toroidal coil (inductor) to filter residual noises.
Replace these 3 electrolytic caps with Blackgates.
float the 14th leg of SAA7220p/B chip to remove the SPDIF output and avoid associated noise.

After a year I decided to do the Non Over Sampling mod - to bypass the SAA7220p/B digital filter. You can read about it here.
It is a VERY RECOMMENDED mod - it brings this player to the absolute top league. Unless you do it - you have no idea what Philips DAC TDA1541A is capable of.
If you do the NOS in this player, remember to isolate pin 11 of the SAA7110 chip from everything else and wire the pin 11 to the pin 23 of SAA7220P/B to achieve good MUTE function between tracks of your CD . Otherwise the mute will not work.

In this player the decoupling caps are 100nF, (14 yellow cubes) in another - some MUCH BETTER SOUNDING 180 nF Vishay caps (orange drops). The caps are mounted TOO FAR from the DAC legs.  If you tweak the player - add on top of the oryginals - the new caps underneath, directly on DAC pins.
220 nF is a good value too. In upgrade process I suggest to KEEP the original caps and add on the bottom some extra ones. a 100 nF ceramics would be great as the ceramics are best for HF noises.

Two tubes mounted so they stick their heads outside.

A very messy assembling process.

There is so little extra space that the lampizator had to be literraly squeezed.

After the whole operation - the FRANKENSTEIN LIVES ! It plays sweet music !
I promised him to shut up about the display and he promised me to sing the beautiful songs forever.

see the best 6N2P schematics here