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CD Players for Pairing with MiniDisc Decks

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BearBoy

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Following on from some discussion in @kgallen's thread about his lovely new MDS-JB940, I said I'd start a new thread to discuss what CD players people have paired up with their MiniDisc decks.

 

After some initial messing about with a couple of random players (documented here) I've ended up with two set ups:

 

  • Office setup: Sony SCD-XB790 > MDS-JB980/940
  • Living room setup: Marantz SA8005 > MDS-JB980

 

The office set up is the one that gets by far the most use (the joys of working from home...) and everything works well without any issues. I am, however, interested in some of the interoperability that Sony introduced between my original set up from 1997 (Sony CDP-XE500 > Sony MDS-JE500) and what I have now. i.e. Control A1 / A1(II) etc (I appreciate it's pretty limited, but....)

 

The only deck I currently have with this functionality is my MDS-JB940, which has Control A1(II), so I've had half an eye open for a "matching" CD player for a while now but never get around to taking the plunge. The two CD players I've been mostly keeping an eye open for are the CDP-XB930 and the CDP-XB740. These were, afaik, the last Sony QS decks made in the XB9XX / XB7XX series that had Control A1(II). I'd mainly be interested in a QS deck so they match my MiniDisc decks from an aesthetic perspective.

 

Has anyone get any experience with using Control A1 / A1(II) or either of the decks I mentioned? Or, any other Sony decks from that era?

 

What have you got in your set up and how does it all function?

 

Interested in any CD/MD related discussion really so feel free to go as "off topic" as you like 🙂

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got the marantz cd63 ki connected to a jb930 via coaxial, made quite a bit of a difference,

with marantz players you could have either option, coaxial or optical

have you liberated the 480 from the combination thingy you got a bit back kevin

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46 minutes ago, kgallen said:

Tascam MD-350 with Tascam CD-450.


The annoying thing here is you can’t connect these directly digitally as the CD only has coax output and the MD only has TOSLINK optical I/O 🤦‍♂️

 

Wow. Tascam really didn't think that through, did they? Or were there matching pairs (e.g. MD-350 with CD-350 and MD-450 with CD-450) that had the correct corresponding connections?

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13 hours ago, M1JWR said:

got the marantz cd63 ki connected to a jb930 via coaxial, made quite a bit of a difference

 

Quite a bit of difference compared to your previous CD player? Or using analogue/optical?

 

I remember those Marantz CD63 KI's being very highly thought of.

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14 hours ago, kgallen said:

MDS-JE530 + CDP-XE530 (+ friends!)

 

I've got a soft spot for those Sony machines with the beveled front plates. My first MD setup was an MDS-JE500 paired with a CDP-XE500 (I also had a matching VHS machine) in that style.

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31 minutes ago, BearBoy said:

 

Quite a bit of difference compared to your previous CD player? Or using analogue/optical?

 

I remember those Marantz CD63 KI's being very highly thought of.

the difference is between analogue and coaxial, the jb's dac is better than the marantz i believe,

and when used this way it shows, bye the way a cd63se is a good choice aswell.

ive also used a denon dcd 825, the results were a little closer with that one as they use burr brown dac's,

they are decent price just now, they have variable output adjusted with the remote, if thats missing you

would need to use a programmable one as the default volume is not the loudest position.

these are old but good girls and now are getting age related issues eg laser, which are cheap and plentiful,

denon used a sony and marantz uses a phillips type, the 5v regulator can go bad an the marantz, easy fix,

symptom of that is no switch on.

they dont make them like they used to, these are better built than todays rubbish.

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1 hour ago, BearBoy said:

I've got a soft spot for those Sony machines with the beveled front plates. My first MD setup was an MDS-JE500 paired with a CDP-XE500 (I also had a matching VHS machine) in that style.

Yea me too, the case of the 520/530 era was so much better than the creaky cheapness of the ‘e-line’ cases of the 440/480/770.

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1 hour ago, BearBoy said:

 

Wow. Tascam really didn't think that through, did they? Or were there matching pairs (e.g. MD-350 with CD-350 and MD-450 with CD-450) that had the correct corresponding connections?

I don’t know, I bought them at different times, the CDP new (discontinued stock possibly) and the MD-350 maybe a year later from eBay second hand but immaculate in-box. Having a quick google there isn’t a Tascam CD-350. There isn’t an MD-450.

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My setup is as follows - a bit of a mix 'n' match, but mostly Onkyo.

 

  • Onkyo CR-N765 networked bookshelf system - used for CD's, streaming Hi-Res FLAC files from the NAS drive upstairs, internet radio, amp
  • Onkyo C-705FX2 CD Player
  • Onkyo MD-105FX Hi-MD mini deck
  • Sony BDP-S5100 Blu-Ray player

 

The Onkyo C-705FX2 is connected to the MD-105FX for synchro recording via optical from CD to MD. It is also connected to the CR-N765 via another optical for CD playback only. The Onkyo components are all connected via the control cables as well, so if you power off the amp it powers off everything else and if you switch on the C-705FX2 it powers on the CR-N765. 

 

The CR-N765 is connected to the MD-105FX via analogue for recording from the radio to MD. 

The MD-105FX is connected to the CR-N765 via analogue for MD playback

The Sony Blu-Ray player is connected via coaxial to the CR-N765 for BD playback or if I want to record from a Blu-Ray I connect it via my SCMS stripper and a coax to toslink converter to the MD-105FX and I can record in PCM (which I usually then convert down to Atrac3+ 352k). 

 

1647184627050.jpg

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You're on the wrong forum, @Richard. You should be on OnkyoInsider 😉

 

On 3/13/2022 at 3:28 PM, Richard said:

The Sony Blu-Ray player is connected via coaxial to the CR-N765 for BD playback or if I want to record from a Blu-Ray I connect it via my SCMS stripper and a coax to toslink converter to the MD-105FX and I can record in PCM (which I usually then convert down to Atrac3+ 352k). 

 

Is that PCM to ATRAC conversion done on the MD-105FX or via SonicStage?

 

Does the Onkyo connect to a PC or is the recording just via digital/analogue inputs?

 

I completely missed the boat on Hi-MD and the cost of the (actual Hi-MD) blanks means it's a boat I am highly unlikely to ever catch up with...

 

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On 3/13/2022 at 7:53 AM, kgallen said:

Yea me too, the case of the 520/530 era was so much better than the creaky cheapness of the ‘e-line’ cases of the 440/480/770.

You can count me in on that too.  I really like the case design of my JE520. Wish I could find the matching CD deck, CDP-XE520.  Maybe one day 😉

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4 hours ago, Allen Scofield said:

You can count me in on that too.  I really like the case design of my JE520. Wish I could find the matching CD deck, CDP-XE520.  Maybe one day 😉

If you’re UK there is Sony CDP-XE530 on eBay at the moment for 40 quid. That’s quite a close match. (Ahh sorry I see you’re States-side…)
 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Sony-Compact-Disc-CD-Player-CDP-XE530-Working-AUDIOPHILE-Unit-Only-/203868167617?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&_trksid=p2349624.m2548.l6249&mkrid=710-127635-2958-0

 

@BearBoy made me start looking for CD players now!)

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Is there a site with a CDP machine listing a bit like we have for MDS machines on minidisc.org?

 

From digging around I’m getting the impression the CDP numbering is a bit like the MDS numbering. For example I see a CDP-XE700 but it’s an older model, much like the MDS-JE700. Similarly I see a CDP-XB930 that looks a similar build to our MDS-JB930. I have the CDP-XE530 which pairs nicely with my MDS-JE530. Similarly CDP-D12 with MDS-E12.

 

So I’m thinking, hmmm… there looks to be some parity here…

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Yeah, I think the CD player naming convention works the same way as for MiniDiscs:

 

XE/JE - entry level models

XB/JB - QS models

XA/JA - ES models

 

The ES models follow a different pattern but for XE/JE and XB/JB the following applies:

 

9X0 is higher in the range than 8X0, which is higher in the range than 7X0, which is higher in the range than 6X0 > 5X0 > 4X0 > 3X0 > 2X0 etc

 

X80 is newer than X70, which is newer than X40, which is newer than X30, which is newer than X20 etc

 

Amplifiers of the same era were TA-FE / TA-FB / TA-FA.

 

Cassette decks were TC-KE / TC-KB / TC-KA.

 

Analogue tuners were ST-SE / ST-SB / ST-SA.

 

CD players are CDP / Super Audio CD players are SCD.

 

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43 minutes ago, kgallen said:

Is there a site with a CDP machine listing a bit like we have for MDS machines on minidisc.org?

 

Ha. Was wondering the same thing earlier but I've never come across one. There are "hi-fi museum" type sites but they rarely seem exhaustive.

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Quote

You're on the wrong forum, @Richard. You should be on OnkyoInsider 😉

 

🤣 - Yeah you're right about that

 

Quote

Is that PCM to ATRAC conversion done on the MD-105FX or via SonicStage?

 

That last piece is indeed done on the computer - usually in X-App or SonicStage (I mean I could record direct in Atrac on the deck, but 352k is only available on the PC, and I keep a backup of the PCM files in any case)

 

Quote

Does the Onkyo connect to a PC or is the recording just via digital/analogue inputs?

 

Just analogue / optical inputs

 

Quote

I completely missed the boat on Hi-MD and the cost of the (actual Hi-MD) blanks means it's a boat I am highly unlikely to ever catch up with...

 

You can of course use any blank, not just the 1GB ones. Of course if you are doing a recording in PCM of a concert or something it's handy to do it on a 1GB disc first and then after I have converted it to 352k I'll just put it on 80 minute discs

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20 hours ago, Richard said:

You can of course use any blank, not just the 1GB ones. Of course if you are doing a recording in PCM of a concert or something it's handy to do it on a 1GB disc first and then after I have converted it to 352k I'll just put it on 80 minute discs

 

You're quite correct, of course. I remember being pretty excited about the prospect of Hi-MD back in the day but was holding on for Sony to release a Hi-MD compatible deck (MiniDisc was never just a portable format for me). Unfortunately that never came. I did look at getting an imported Onkyo one (I seem to recall they weren't officially available in the UK?), either the one you have or the slightly wider one (MD-133?), but in the end I turned to the dark side and opted for an iPod. I seem to recall part of the reason I didn't get an Onkyo deck back then, aside from complications of step down transformers/lack of guarantees etc, was that I wanted one in black 🤦‍♂️😆

 

Being able to put multiple albums (didn't Sony's advertising say 50 or something?) or a single disc would have been pretty mind blowing to me back in the mid 2000s and the ability to record "full fat" PCM would have appealed from a home recording perspective.

 

In 2022, however, I'm not sure what real benefit it would bring me as a new adopter. I spend more time listening to my MiniDiscs via my decks than any of my portables so the ability to have more capacity than LP2 provides isn't really that vital and if I was really bothered about the extra quality of PCM on physical media, especially if I wanted more than 26 minutes of it, I could just plump for CD-R/CD-RW.

 

It's obviously a very different scenario if you've already bought in to the format like many of you have.

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I have lost track—not that I was keeping a record—of all the CDPs I had paired with MD decks. All of the CDPs had optical and/or coax out, and that's what I used. The pairing I fancied the most was probably CDP-XA20ES > MDS-JA20ES. Now...well, I have my MXD-D400 if I need to copy from CD to MD.

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16 hours ago, BearBoy said:

 

The ultimate streamlined "pairing" in one box 🙂

Very good, yes, and it even has Type S, and can play MP3 CDs. Copies to LP @4x. Dual-line display for CD and MD. A couple of "could be betters": Lacks monitor function; that is, requires an MD inserted to "monitor." Playback SQ is good, but there are better decks for playback. Of course, this can be resolved by using its optical out.  At one time, I had two of these and two MXD-D40s.

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On 3/15/2022 at 8:41 AM, kgallen said:

Is there a site with a CDP machine listing a bit like we have for MDS machines on minidisc.org?

 

From digging around I’m getting the impression the CDP numbering is a bit like the MDS numbering. For example I see a CDP-XE700 but it’s an older model, much like the MDS-JE700. Similarly I see a CDP-XB930 that looks a similar build to our MDS-JB930. I have the CDP-XE530 which pairs nicely with my MDS-JE530. Similarly CDP-D12 with MDS-E12.

 

So I’m thinking, hmmm… there looks to be some parity here…

Not quite the same, but interesting and helpful: https://www.dutchaudioclassics.nl/the_complete_d_a_dac_converter_list/

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Been having a strange issue with one of my CD players today.

 

As mentioned above, my office set up has a Sony SCD-XB790 SACD player in it. I don't have that many SACDs tbh but I happened to be listening to one earlier. The machine was probably on (not necessarily playing) for about 2-3 hours when I ejected the SACD I had been listening to and inserted another. This time, however, the machine failed to read the SACD layer of the hybrid disc and just defaulted to the CD layer. I tried to override this using the SACD/CD button but got a < Not Hybrid > error message. I ejected the disc and gave it a clean, although it looked spotless, and tried again. Same outcome. Tried a different disc and then the original SACD I had been listening to successfully but the machine was refusing to recognise they were SACDs and would only play the CD layer.

 

Tried the discs in my Marantz SACD player and they were all recognised as SACDs without any issues.

 

Turned the SCD-XB790 off for a couple of hours while I got on with some work meetings (interspersed with searching eBay for a replacement SCD-XB790 🤦‍♂️) and then tried again. This time it recognised the SACD as a hybrid disc and played the SACD layer without any issues.

 

After about 45 minutes I ejected and re-inserted the SACD but this time it defaulted to the CD layer and I was back to the < Not Hybrid > messages when I tried to manually select the SACD layer.

 

I have turned the machine off now and will leave it for 30 minutes or so before trying again (I did try quickly turning it off and then on again but that had no effect).

 

@sfbp in another thread mentioned the possibility of machines (he was specifically referring to MD decks) potentially becoming temperamental if they overheated and I wonder if something temperature related is going on here?

 

Anyone come across something similar with Sony SACD players before?

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I would be looking for a laser recalibration in the service menu if there is an automatic one not requiring an LPM etc. Laser diode performance is very temperature dependent. I suspect reading the SACD layer is a different laser power setting (and focus) to reading the CD layer. The SACD is a ‘buried layer’.

 

You will probably need to let it cool down to room temperature first. I know nothing about SACD players but as it’s a Sony I suspect it has some service menus similar to MD …

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Update: so after leaving the deck turned off for about 30 minutes I switched it on and inserted the SACD. Player read the disc successfully and I started listening to the SACD layer.

 

After 5 minutes I ejected and re-inserted the disc and, again, it was correctly recognised as a SACD.

 

I then played the disc for 30 minutes before ejecting and re-inserting the disc. This time the machine failed to read the SACD layer and defaulted to the CD one. When I ejected the disc it felt warm to the touch so there is obviously some heat in the machine after it's been on for 35 minutes.

 

Tried another SACD. Same outcome: would only read the CD layer.

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I've got the Service Manual for the SCD-XB780 but seem to recall I couldn't find one for the 790 when I last looked. Will try again.

 

The 780, which is probably very similar, has a "test mode" but it looks like you need specific test discs to use with it.

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Got the 790 from Elektrotanya (but that is on pc, typing this on phone, so can’t link!). Found it straight away with G search though.

 

First tricky question - I bet you’ve only got hybrid SACD not an SACD-only disc…

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I also have a very battered, but perfectly functional, SCD-XB770. I wonder if I could swap the drive mechanisms? The Service Manual for the SCD-XB780 says:

 

CD Mechanism Type: CDM66B-DVBU6B

Base Unit Name: DVBU-6B

Optical Pick-up Name: KHM-234AMA

 

Unfortunately it states under "model name using similar mechanism": new. Which presumably means the 770 had a different mechanism? I'll try to find the service manuals for the 770 and 790.

 

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