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Sony MDS-E12 (MD) with CDP-D12 (CD)

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I've a new recruit. OK not an MD this time (sorry), but "one of the family" to partner my third :-) MDS-E12. It's a Sony CDP-D12 CD player.

I've been looking for a 1U rack-mount CD player for a while. When I need MD and CD I've been lugging around a 4U flight case with a Tascam MD-350 and Tascam CD-450 in it. Both nice decks, but a fairly big outfit.

So now I've a 2U rack with an MDS-E12 and a CDP-D12 in it :-)

mdse12_cdpd12_front1.JPG

mdse12_cdpd12_rear2.jpg

(I'll do some better photos at another time - it's raining heavily so I had to take these indoors with the problem of poor interior lighting and shadows.)

More commentary later (the wife has just shouted up for me to clear the table of my soldering gear for dinner!)

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On 5/8/2021 at 8:51 PM, BearBoy said:

Can you do anything clever with the myriad of connections on the back of the pair of them? e.g. Remote/Control-S etc?

Well as you know I like my I/O on a machine 😄

In terms of interconnecting the two it's a little disappointing. The CDP-D12 from what I can find, is about Sony's last "pro" CD player and as you can see is pretty much of the style of the MDS-E12 MD both front and rear. The E12 is made in Japan, the D12 in Korea. The CDP-D12 is from around 2003, the MDS-E12 first appeared around 2001. Even so the CD machine is not CD-Text, which is a little surprising and a little disappointing [*]. The best I can do so far is hook the pair up with coax SPDIF. The CD player at least has both optical TOSLINK and coax outputs, because the E12 only has coax digital I/O (the MDS-E10 has both optical and coax but lacks all of the other control and non-standard I/O found on the E12). They both have the Ctrl-S input port, which as far as I can see, is only of use to cable to the remote control instead of using IR. I'm quite bemused why Sony stopped adding the Control-A1(II) ports to machines, the Ctrl-S in comparison seems pretty limited (I realise other MD decks migrated to USB). Ctrl-S is input only so you can't connect machines together with it.

The CD player has balanced (XLR) outputs to match the E12, and it's those I'll be using to hook up to my X32 Compact digital mixer when these machines are employed "in anger". The CDP again like the E12 has the remote control ports on DB9 - parallel and RS232. I intend to use the parallel controls - on the E12 at least. I've been playing around with this today (hence the mess on the dining room table!). My intention is to design a DMX-to-E12-remote interface to go between my Zero88 FLX lighting console and my other pair of racked E12s. In this way I'll be able to use lighting cues to trigger concurrent sound effect or music cues playing from the E12s. (This will probably be based on an Arduino with an added DMX interface, control port to two E12s, a small LCD and some buttons to configure settings. See here).

If I wanted to make a dubbing pair I could probably make up a DB9 lead to connect the two parallel ports, so when the CD starts to play the MD starts to record. However as the CD has no CD-Text support and the MD no Control-A1 port, there is no way to copy titles. What this means is, even with all of the machines I have, I still don't have fully satisfactory means of dubbing CD to MD and even less for dubbing MD to MD. For CD to MD I have my Tascam MD-CD1 machine - which is mostly ok but has an annoying quirk of putting a short gap between adjacent tracks, although at least it does copy titles. Annoyingly even though they are "pro" machines there is no way to defeat SCMS. Which leads me to my outstanding MD-MD cloning requirement which is still not satisfied. I have the MDS-JE530 and recently now the MDS-JE770, which I can hook up with optical TOSLINK and Control-A1(II), but with that setup I'm stumped with either SCMS for the audio or "Titles Protected" even on MD's I've made myself. This means I have to bring either the E12 or E10 machines into the mix, which can control SCMS, but neither of those have Control-A1(II) ports for titles copy. It's all very frustrating...

[*] And even more bizarre and annoying since the CD chip used in the machine appears to have a CD-Text decoder built into it:

image.png

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Regards the CDP-D12, if anyone has any info on the service mode I'd be interested to hear.

I have the Service Manual (Issue 1). This doesn't describe any service mode (or the key sequence to enter one). It does describe a Factory Reset, which is STOP+MENU then power on the deck.

Further by playing with buttons, I've found that STOP+DISPLAY (then power on) gets you into a key-test mode for testing all front panel buttons and the AMS encoder.

However I've not found a way into any more comprehensive test mode like we find on the MD machines. Regards the CDP-D12 I would like to find if there are any odo counters to see how many hours of use the laser has. Nothing is documented in the service manual, but as this machine is of the same era as the E12 I find it hard to believe Sony didn't add any service or check modes - even though I realise the CD machine will have fewer service parameters than an MD machine.

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Found another for the CDP-D12.

VARISPEED+DISPLAY (power on) is fluo display test. DISPLAY toggle all pixels on and off. Interestingly this display looks very similar to the one used in the E12, although it's not exactly the same. For example, it includes TOC EDIT, LP2/LP4, REC and also interestingly a bargraph VU meter - I've never seen it operate on this CD machine, yet it's supported on the display. This certainly calls for more investigations...!

A similar key sequence (key position or key name) doesn't make the E12 go into a display test mode, however my interest is tweaked...

Check it out:

cdpd12_display_test.JPG

Also:

A.CUE+DISPLAY (power on) is some kind of RS232 receiver check. This is too much fun! Again, can't get the E12 to do the same, but I just bet it's in there somewhere :-)

cdpd12_rs232_check_ACUE_DISPLAY.JPG

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1 hour ago, kgallen said:

Well as you know I like my I/O on a machine :-D

In terms of interconnecting the two it's a little disappointing.

That's a shame. I thought, given the number of connections on the rear of the two machines, and that they both appear to "match", you might have been able to get them working together in some fashion.

Have you got a CD player that's Control-A1(II) compatible? Just wondered if that brought any benefits with your MDS-JE770?

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3 minutes ago, BearBoy said:

Have you got a CD player that's Control-A1(II) compatible? Just wondered if that brought any benefits with your MDS-JE770?

Yes, I've got a CDP-XE530 (yup only a few months ago...) that I found to "go" with the MDS-JE530 :-) Which has (a) CD-Text, (b) Optical and Coax outputs (c) Control-A1(II). With that I know I can do a first-generation digital copy from CD to MD (SP) XE530-JE530. It should do the same with the 770. Getting the 770 was more about can I do MD-MD clones between the JE530 and JE770. Initial trials failed due to either SCMS or Title Protect. What I need to do is get a CD recorded onto MD using the E12 (with SCMS disabled) with titles and then try and dub that 530-770.

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More fun with the CDP-D12 hunting for test modes.

PLAY+DISPLAY gets you into a parallel port test mode. The input pin conditions are shown on the display, the output pin states can be controlled by rotating the AMS encoder:

cdpd12_parallel_check_pg1_PLAY_DISPLAY.JPG cdpd12_parallel_check_pg2_PLAY_DISPLAY.JPG

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A.CUE+MENU is a version report.

VARISPEED+MENU is a relay check and FF and VARI buttons seem to toggle the p-out and e-out (from the schematics these seem to be "pause out" and "end out").

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On 5/8/2021 at 10:39 PM, kgallen said:

Yes, I've got a CDP-XE530 (yup only a few months ago...) that I found to "go" with the MDS-JE530 :-) Which has (a) CD-Text, (b) Optical and Coax outputs (c) Control-A1(II). With that I know I can do a first-generation digital copy from CD to MD (SP) XE530-JE530. It should do the same with the 770. Getting the 770 was more about can I do MD-MD clones between the JE530 and JE770. Initial trials failed due to either SCMS or Title Protect. What I need to do is get a CD recorded onto MD using the E12 (with SCMS disabled) with titles and then try and dub that 530-770.

So, just to clarify, copying from CD to MD with Control-A1(II) will transfer song titles (assuming the CD in question has CD text) but copying from MD to MD with Control-A1(II) doesn't?

 

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13 minutes ago, BearBoy said:

So, just to clarify, copying from CD to MD with Control-A1(II) will transfer song titles (assuming the CD in question has CD text) but copying from MD to MD with Control-A1(II) doesn't?

Correct. Annoying.

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Hmmm. Annoying, but useful to know, I guess.

I had been looking at the section on Control-A1(II) in the manual for my MDS-JB940 and there's no mention of CD text/song titles etc. Just fairly vague references to "transmission of control signals", which didn't look too exciting tbh - just automatic switching of amp inputs with a compatible Sony amp etc.

I then found a separate section "Synchro Recording with a Sony CD Player" that does state that:

Quote

During CD Synchro-recording, the deck copies CD text information (CD text and disc memos) as it is to the MD (Disc Memo Copy Function).

The Disc Memo Copy Function operates when you make a CD Synchro-recording from a Sony CD player connected with a control A1(II) cable (not supplied) to the MD deck.

Unfortunately it looks like Sony had abandoned Control-A1(II) by the time they made the CD player I have connected up to my MD decks in my office (SCD-XB790). I think it dates from around 2003. My MDS-JB940 (2000?) has the functionality but the slightly later MDS-JB980 doesn't.

 

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2 minutes ago, BearBoy said:

Unfortunately it looks like Sony had abandoned Control-A1(II) by the time they made the CD player I have connected up to my MD decks in my office (SCD-XB790). I think it dates from around 2003. My MDS-JB940 (2000?) has the functionality but the slightly later MDS-JB980 doesn't.

Yes it seemed to have an annoyingly short life. MD-wise it seems to appear on the 920 (but not the 520) which would be 1998, lasting though the x30 range and I think the 770 (2001) was the last. Not sure about the 640/940 without downloading the manuals. So maybe 8 or so MD decks? CD decks seemed to just drop it, and MD decks migrated to USB and PC-Link connectivity, rather than deck-deck connectivity.

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I had started pulling together a table of the specs of the Sony decks (ATRAC version, mechanism type, encoder etc). I included the Control-A1 information from the manuals for each deck:

image.png.77068a347d77e95b1f84d41fe151248d.png

This is just an extract for the full size (i.e. not midi/mini) decks from the MDS-XXX20 range onwards. It doesn't include any ES decks or Pro decks (yet). I couldn't find a manual for the MDS-JB730 but am assuming, based on the fact that the 930, 630 and 530 all have it, that it probably has Control-A1(II) as well.

None of the lower end decks (i.e. MDS-JE3XX and MDS-JE4XX) had Control A1 and Sony discontinued it by the time the JB980 and JE780 arrived.

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34 minutes ago, kgallen said:

Yes it seemed to have an annoyingly short life. MD-wise it seems to appear on the 920 (but not the 520) which would be 1998, lasting though the x30 range and I think the 770 (2001) was the last. Not sure about the 640/940 without downloading the manuals. So maybe 8 or so MD decks? CD decks seemed to just drop it, and MD decks migrated to USB and PC-Link connectivity, rather than deck-deck connectivity.

Taking issue with this statement. I think that A1(II) and PC-link are essentially identical. (Where's NGY?) When they finally moved to NetMD (USB) that is when the Ctrl-A1 stuff disappeared.

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1 hour ago, sfbp said:

Taking issue with this statement. I think that A1(II) and PC-link are essentially identical. (Where's NGY?) When they finally moved to NetMD (USB) that is when the Ctrl-A1 stuff disappeared.

I'm not going to argue with the boss (he might ban me!) :-D

Looks like I need to hit the schematics for the 770 as that seems the machine that has all of these on! The devil is probably in the firmware though. Maybe the 770 was a "more interesting" buy after all!

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8 hours ago, sfbp said:

Taking issue with this statement. I think that A1(II) and PC-link are essentially identical. (Where's NGY?) When they finally moved to NetMD (USB) that is when the Ctrl-A1 stuff disappeared.

They look a little different at the hardware level. PC-Link looks to be real I2C (IIC), with Keyboard overlayed on the same PS/2 connector. Control-A1(II) looks to be a proprietary hardware interface - although admittedly it has similarities to I2C, viz an open collector output with passive pull-up.

It may be that the bytes that are sent over these three interfaces are essentially the same.

On the 770 the PC-Link, Keyboard and Control-A1(II) have independent connections to the uC. Looking at the uC pinout/datasheet, the PC-Link I2C is served by a dedicated I2C engine in the uC. The Keyboard overlay (KBCLK/KBDATA) uses uC pins that are simple GPIO only and the A1_IN/A1_OUT also look to use GPIO - so these interfaces will be "bit-bashed" in firmware rather than using hardware UART engines.

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