Pioneer PD-D9

nov. the 15th

Pioneer PD-D9

I have been so busy analyzing the old players that I completely lost sight of the modern day, contemporary production from non-DIY scene.
I was actually shocked to learn that someone still makes players, not DVD, not MP3, not portable, mbut an actual high end player.

Whats more - this player is not a 3kg flimsy can - it is a real machine.

Even more that that - it does not pretend to be high end and does not contain any sose of marble, brass, gold or chrome. No exotic wood either. This is a mean looking wannabe Wadia. Made of alu plates, hex screws, no steel stamp in sight.  It is heavy, solid,  distinctively styled.

There is more !!

This player has two monophonic Wolfson DACs from the so far best line - WM8741. Not the usual Pioneer own DAC from Pulseflow series.

Shortly speaking = I HAD TO HAVE IT. Its beyond my control..

half of the budget went to buid that curve, but hey - it was successful. Everybody that I spoke to - replied - "Pioneer ?  ... aaaah - THAT Pioneer with the curved front !"
So instead of sinking in the sea of million grey boxes, this one stands out. verty clever.
Of course there are amps and tuners with same style of fascia.

D9 indicates it is their top model, their DB9 so to speak.

Wow - thats my first SACD player ever. I dont have any disks like that, but I take their word that the SACD would play 2 to the  eight power better.  Thats 256 times better.. (that joke just on the left - concerns the perceived superiority of sound versus the mathematical representation of the SACD difference versus the expectations of the listener - 24 bit V.S. 16 bit)

I must make a comment here - the tray - is so flimsy thats scary! That kind of tray belongs in chinese sub 90 Eu players. Do not lean on that tray !!!

There is a very interesting lamp - described PURE AUDIO. I was wondering what is the opposite of pure Audio? Audio with some small small elements of video ? Audio with colorants and preservatives and E324 ?

Unlike in most  other players, here I did not remove the RCA's because the original ones were good enough

Around the two Wolfson DACs - we can admire the array of premium brand caps (Rubycon and Nippon) . In my opinion - not worth to change these.
The four resistors side by side near each dac are signal outputs. - R1101, 02, 04 and or are for L channel, and 1201, 02, 03 and 04 are right channel. You can tap to the same resistor for each channel - for example - 1102 and 1204.

Wow! Just look - real oscons inside ! Nothing to change !

The oscons were already there - I swear Mr. Officer. !

There is only one double opamp per channel, I mean it is one too many but still - at least NOT SIX. Thats why the player works okay out of the box. Simple analog stage !

The Wolfson in full glory ! It is configured in mono so it has 4 identical outputs !

The power supply is really impressive. Instead of a switching crap - we get two real hifi transformers and another board with some filters and another third transformer. Plus ALampizator transformer of course. There is AC conditioning also built in. Bravo Pioneer.

The Gucci capacitors of monstrous sizes.

I must admit that this SACD mechanism looks solid - I mean in todays standards of laptop DVD drives - this is one hell of a laser system.

All that laser pickup head is 100% made of cast alloy.

The display is funny - white, like in CAmbridge players. It goes off if dimmed by the remote. Thats nice. What this spartan front is missing is the SKIP button.

The alu sheet fit is not in the airtight class of Wadia, not IP67, but nevertheless it looks and feels quite good.  A big point for Pioneer for not using 0,4 mm stamped steel.

Lampizator transformer went on top of their main transformer (I removed the sub-chassis cover to do that. I simply glued the additional doughnut.

The laser mechanism has an additional masking cover - good protection from dust settlement on the optics.

KITAMURA KIDEN !!! Wow, arent you impressed ?  No Kidding.

Detail of the curved fascia.


this is such special player that I wanted to make good Lampization. Not the kind of fuck-off Lampization.

With the help of Valdemar we removed all analog stage components. EVERYTHING right of the DAC chips was desoldered - opamps, their caps, filters, relays - everything.

We installed two tubes in SRPP b ut this tome - ecc88 not the russki stuff. Because ecc have 1/3 rd of the heater current. So in total I needed 300 mA of heater current. I just freed up the 12 V and -12 V regulators from feeding the opamps. So I decided to use minus12 V DC to supply heaters.
This way I have a regulated heater supply. All Pioneer made, readily available.

Why minus 12 ??? Because why not. The plus 12 maybe was feeding also something else, the minus was surely ONLY for the opamps. So now I know I use the minus12 exclusively for tube heating.

ECC88 is a great tube, pin compatible with the 6H6P, 6H1P, 6H2P and with 6922 and 6dj8. I made the SRPP with 330 Ohms in cathodes. The signal was taken from dac outputs (Voltage) via series cap to filter out the DC component. Then it goes to resistive Lpad to bring down the signal level. I used the well tested 47K series and 10 K to ground and then - to grids.
High voltage supply was 190 V DC and the current is around 3 mA.

The sound is typical Wolfson. Not better than from Arcam CD73 or Cambridge 640C. It is just about equal. Which is a good news because these two players are benchmark for dynamic sound, spacious soundstage, natural timbre and wealth of details. Pioneer is not worse, and it looks better, feels better, it is internally more advanced, it uses the newer chip - the WM8741 not the 40, and it has SACD. What more can you ask ?
The MK2 goes for 500 Eu, the Mk1 (under lampization here) sells at discounted 300 Eu.
If you want to lampize it the way I did - I recommend this player.
On its own - from the box - its sound is uninvolving, it has shy trebles, dirty top end, and it is not worth the money. I don't recommend it in stock form.
Maybe wiith some tweaking like removal of analog stage HF filtering - it could shine, I don't know. It probably would.