Philips CD960
October 2007

This drop dead gorgeous photo is courtesy of  Staniu

philips CD960

Philips is a funny company. Whatever they do - chips, cell phones, stereo - they always have lowest value attached to their brand. They produced such ugly CD players, that despite being the best, not only Philips did not succeed to market them as any good at all, but they literally PROVOKED the small startups to grow on selling tweaked Philips in good looking cases.
Like Meridian, Micromega, Mission, Rega, Audiomeca, Arcam, Cambridge, Naim, and many many others. All these companies built on the Philips building blocks and poor design.

Even the Philips' own brand Marantz - made in Japan upmarket line of goodies - they managed to sell THE SAME product for over 2 x the price.

After comparing side by side the Marantz 94 and Philips CD960 - you can be sure of two things: a) they are the same, and B) Philips compared to gorgeous Marantz is fucking ugly as a sin. It is so ugly that it is on the verge of being cult, classy, desirable. It is so ugly it is pretty again.

I used it for a transport because I had a spare DAC960 and I needed the transport to match.
Inside, the DAC and the CD are THE SAME THING except that the DAC has additional digital inputs for a DAT and output for a DAT. And it has two cheap signal balancing transformers added. (yes, it is NOT trully balanced player. Marantz 94MK2 is)

In Marantz catalogue the combo of CD94 with separate DAC is called Marantz 95.

In my case - the ugly couple - (just like the Ozzbourns) was used with the DAC lampized and the transport had the analog section removed. The premium aftermatket op-amps and blackgates were saved because they are worth more than the actual player. But for transport I don't need them at all.

This combo was installed in a superb system consisting of a McIntosh amp and Goerlich speakers. VERY REVEALING system.

Now it is a difficult part: I must admit this was the best sound I ever heard.
I can hardly admit it because the amp was a transistor monster and the speakers were not OB.
But there it is - the naked truth. For November 2007 this is the best system I heard.
And the CD has a big contribution to this success. Even substitution of the transport with a cheaper CD player based on KSS 210 was apparently audibly inferior. The Philips combo RULES. And does it WITHOUT capacitor tweaking - neither decoupling nor electrolytic. All original 20 years old Elnas and Rodensteins were kept intact. The only necessary tweak is the NOS mod - that removes the oversampling porocess.

The only thing to worry about is to change 4 rubber belts in the fantastic CDM1 mechanism and it's gonna work another 20 years.

Link to Marantz 94

Link to Philips DAC 960

The ugly front ...

philips CD960

Even more ugly ass..

The totally drop dead gorgeous mechanism ...

Premium ELNA for HiFi and ROE  everywhere.

The bottom "lip" is there for no good reason at all.
Even less welcome is the mini console that jumps out from under the player. It is meant for index programming.
Gimmie a break ...

Overall - if you can find it - SNAP IT if you can!!! they don't make them anymore.
It's gonna have high resell value like real estate in Dubrovnik. Or a new old stock Volkswagen Beetle.