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Any experience with Kenwood?

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My Sony MDS-JE510 is starting to show some signs that is in need of repair regarding its loading/unloading mechanism. I plan on maybe trying to do some repairs, but I also purchased a supposedly refurbished Kenwood DM-5090 on ebay. It supposedly has new laser, belt and caps. I have not received it yet but really curious to see how it performs. One selling point is that it is equipped with ATRAC 4.5, while my Sony is ATRAC 4 (although I have no complaints about the Sony's sound quality). In doing some research, I've discovered that the Kenwood DM-5090 is actually equipped with a CXD2652AR (ATRAC 4) chip by looking at its service manual. I found a couple of old blog posts stating that for whatever reason, Kenwood lied about the ATRAC version in its marketing materials. I'm not too worried about that as this is just a hobby for me and obviously better lossless quality is easy to find these days but just curious if anyone has dealt with old Kenwood MD decks? If the deck I ordered is a solid ATRAC 4 performer and truly refurbished, I'm hoping it can be a light workhorse for me for years to come and I can tinker with my Sony at some point (maybe during the next pandemic). If anyone has any Kenwood experience or thoughts, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

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Whilst the ATRAC1 v4.5 and Type R are revered, I think in practice ATRAC1 v3.5 and up are likely to be more than adequate for us common souls. It seems ATRAC1 v3.5 was considered "near CD quality", so anything beyond is bonus. I can understand you are more than happy with your ATRAC1 v4 Sony and as the Kenwood uses the same DSP, on the digital side you're bang-for-bang. So it will come down to how well Kenwood implemented their power supply, analogue circuitry - and for practical purposes how well their user interface is designed and how their machine looks.

Unless the seller has a known track record I'd take the refurbishing claims with a pinch of salt. Personally I'd avoid any machine that claims to have had a new laser fitted because you have no clue if the seller knew truly what they were doing and if the machine is now calibrated correctly to get sensible performance and usage before the laser goes pop - or wipes your treasured MO recordings.

Good luck and let us know how you get on and how you feel yourself about the Kenwood!

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"If anyone has any Kenwood experience or thoughts..."

I had a Kenwood MD-2070 deck. I have no reason to think it wasn't 4.5. I thought it a very good unit for playback, maybe even outstanding, but I was never convinced that recordings I made on it matched those made on my Sony Type R decks. (I used it mainly for playback, in any case.) Further, while it was nice to look at, I felt that the UX was less smooth than any of the various Sony units I have owned...including, way back when, the JE510.

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Thanks bluecrab, good to know. The nice thing about the Kenwoods is that they have both optical and coaxial inputs/outputs and my JE510 doesn't. One source in my stack I would like to do some recordings from only has a coaxial output so I thought the Kenwood might be a nice option to open up more opportunities for digital recordings. I recently grabbed a Sony Walkman Type-R NetMD recorder to record FLAC files from my home server and I have been very impressed with the sound quality.

RE: the Kenwood ATRAC versions, if you Google the service manuals for the 2070, 3020, 5090, 9090, etc. they all list CXD2652AR as the ATRAC chip, which is only ATRAC 4. I have been unable to figure out if Kenwood just flat out lied about its ATRAC version in marketing materials, or if there is another explanation?

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2 hours ago, Trumie35 said:

Thanks bluecrab, good to know. The nice thing about the Kenwoods is that they have both optical and coaxial inputs/outputs and my JE510 doesn't. One source in my stack I would like to do some recordings from only has a coaxial output so I thought the Kenwood might be a nice option to open up more opportunities for digital recordings. I recently grabbed a Sony Walkman Type-R NetMD recorder to record FLAC files from my home server and I have been very impressed with the sound quality.

RE: the Kenwood ATRAC versions, if you Google the service manuals for the 2070, 3020, 5090, 9090, etc. they all list CXD2652AR as the ATRAC chip, which is only ATRAC 4. I have been unable to figure out if Kenwood just flat out lied about its ATRAC version in marketing materials, or if there is another explanation?

Oh right, forgot about the coax. Good feature. Sony, at least once, got the ATRAC chip wrong in the SM. I believe that was for the JA20ES. Someone here opened up their 20ES, took a pic, and lo & behold...Type R after all. As I did not peek into the 2070 and no longer have it, can't verify.

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Interesting, I

3 hours ago, bluecrab said:

Oh right, forgot about the coax. Good feature. Sony, at least once, got the ATRAC chip wrong in the SM. I believe that was for the JA20ES. Someone here opened up their 20ES, took a pic, and lo & behold...Type R after all. As I did not peek into the 2070 and no longer have it, can't verify.

Interesting, I may have to peek into the unit when I get it

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