View Full Version : Mystery Vintage Magnavox CD player?

12-03-2003, 12:56 AM
Well I got back from the thrift store a while back with my odd find of the day. I found what appears to be a mid 1980s Magnavox CD player, however here is the odd part, the plate telling the model and date of manufacture is missing from the back. The unit itself is rather small, stands roughly a foot wide, looks dwarfed compared to the Fisher RS-1060 which I have hooked it up to for temporary testing purposes. Unit has provisions for a remote which is missing, front of unit states Magnavox above the power button on the upper left corner. Says Digital Audio Compact Disc Player below the loading tray, Motor Powered Front Loading Programmable Memory below that. The drawer itself has a felt padded platter with a curved laser cutout (like the type of pickup that swings rather than drives straight across), the front window is clear reads Optical Laser Beam on it. This flips down when you press the button to load it, out pops the tray which reads single beam laser pickup. Has a greenish yellow LED inside there on the top which can be seen through the clear front. LEDs dsiplay track number/time. Has otherwise standard CD controls. Rear panel has a DIN type output, digital output to use as a transport, standard RCA outs, and a heatsink of some sort. Its awfully heavy for a unit standing only one foot wide. Black in color, plastic facade in the front as well as bottom (again its surprisingly heavy considering the plastic). I fired it up for the first time and happened to pop in a badly scratched CD, my Akai CD-A7 has a heck of a time attempting to read this, right now the unknown Mangavox has tracked through 5 tracks without even a digital glitch. The only noticable problem is the LED display does not always work properly, sometimes it drops a bar of the digit it is displaying. Sound is nothing short of amazing, stereo seperation top notch. I will hook it up with a tube preamp for further testing with the other RS-1060 tomorrow. I am still surprised how well the transport is handling this terribly scratched CD. As I said the Akai can hardly read it, aside from track skipping problems (can't locate the starts of tracks properly, but its only apparent on this CD which would give most players a problem) it plays the tracks perfectly. I wish I knew what the heck the model was. Next to the vintage MCS Series A 6801 this is the finest sounding/performing vintage CD player I have used. Certainly a nice find for $5. As it stands my lineup of 1986 and prior CD players is as follows. MCS 6801 circa 1984, Akai CD-A7 circa 1985, Soundesign 5050blk circa 1986 (my guess from taking it apart is this unit was built by Toshiba), Sony D-5 portable (unknown vintage), the mystery Magnavox (looks like it may have been 1985 or so based on cosmetic comparisons). I am quickly becoming a fan of these vintage units. The older ones and their unique sounds tracking a CD, music to my ears, especially the MCS. Well if this unit sounds familiar to anyone let me know.

12-03-2003, 11:19 PM
sounds like one of their earlier ca. 1986 units. I remember them...a bit narrower than the normal 17" width of most 80's/90's stuff. IIRC the ones with the heatsinks on back (those were for the power supply) had the original Philips TDA 1540 DACs in them, they were a 14-bit DAC, dual DAC's and 4X oversampling IIRC. I seem to recall them using a bit-shifting scheme to get 16 bit playbakc resolution out of the 14-bit converters.

Some of the first tube CD players (CAL Tempest) were based on this Philips design. They had the old swing-arm single-beam laser pickup...those always were quite good at tracking.

Neat old beasts.


12-11-2003, 05:15 PM
Sounds like the 1986 line of players. I have the FD-1040SL from 1984-85 that uses the identical tracking mechanism and probably similar internals. Inside looks like a prototype or something with bare copper boards (no greening). Mine doesn't have remote or a provision though, and the RCA output is on a cord, not a jack on the unit itself.

The early Magnavox/Philips players are known for their warm sound and bulletproof tracking. I tried to see just how much it would take to make mine mistrack by putting a wedge shaped piece of black electric tape on a cd. It would go through about 1/4" before it mistracked. Took almost as much to even show a discernable dropout due to the Reed-Soloman Cross-Interleave error correction code used in those (did I get that sequence right?). An outstanding player that makes a modern one sound "bright".

ha1156w (yes, that's an FM stereo IC number).

12-11-2003, 10:02 PM
The Electrobrand QCD-1000 portable CD players I have, which I firmly believe to be the best sounding portables have the same prototype like no greening circuit board type you mentioned. The mystery Magnavox sounds good, tracks excellently, much better than the Akai. My older MCS 6801 (1984) never really has any problems tracking either, I personally think the MCS (a Technics built unit) sounds better but I have better speakers hooked up to that stereo than I do to the one I use the Magnavox with.

Retro Stereo
12-13-2003, 10:45 AM
I just picked up a Magnavox CDB 482 CD player which was made back in 1988 and sold new for $230. It is a 16 bit, 4x oversampling unit and it sounds absolutely wonderful. The guy tossed it in with all this other stuff I bought from him for $75

Technics SU-V9 Integrated Amp 120 wpc - New = $650

Technics RS-M258R Cassette Deck w/auto reverse - New = $400

Yamaha T-500 Tuner - New = $230

Kenwood Audio Timer AT-50 - New = $115

Huge (about 80 or 90 lbs each) Pioneer S-1010 R/L Speakers
(Mirror Image) They handle 240 watts each - New = $1360 pair (for about $200 or so I could have them looking and working like new)

All of this other stuff was purchased new around 1982 or 83 over in Germany by his brother.


12-19-2005, 06:30 PM
Scouring the forums for any info on subject 6 CD disk changer (manufactured March 1989)... Got it today from the local church thrift store, condition unknown, but dusty.

Problem is "ERR" on display when each CD is loaded after inserting CD magazine. Floating read head unit is CDM 4/20. Belts in good condition. Clean inside. Have cleaned lens with isopropyl.

Suggestions? Thanks


12-19-2005, 08:25 PM
Scouring the forums for any info on subject 6 CD disk changer (manufactured March 1989)... Got it today from the local church thrift store, condition unknown, but dusty.

Problem is "ERR" on display when each CD is loaded after inserting CD magazine. Floating read head unit is CDM 4/20. Belts in good condition. Clean inside. Have cleaned lens with isopropyl.

Suggestions? Thanks

The laser is gone. I know, I replaced a gazillion of them in the early 1990's when they weren't very old. It really prejudiced me against Magnavox CD players unitl I realized that many of them worked fine for years. I think they had a quality control problem with some of their laser diodes. You have to replace the entire CDM unit, it will cost upwards of $100 if you can still get it.

12-19-2005, 08:26 PM
Oh, and look on the bottom for the model number.

12-19-2005, 09:45 PM
Boy, that was quick! Thanks, Warren!

The CDM is easy enough to replace: I've had it out already, but didn't know what to do after that... As reported in other posts, it does have Philips parts in it from the mold marks.

Is it worth replacing the CDM (if available)? My wife would like a CD changer, and has seen another brand in my brother's house. Alternatively, is it worth anything to anybody for parts?

The Model is CDB484 BK01, Ser 61611316.

12-19-2005, 10:19 PM
The cartridge players are prone to problems. There are little ball bearings in the cartridge that act as detents to keep all the "wings" from coming out at once and jamming inside the player. People often would drop the cartridge and the balls would come out. Check yours; you should only be able to pull one CD out at a time. If you can pull more out, the cartridge will jam. 5 or 6 disc carousel changers are much more reliable.
That said, if you do decide to replace the CDM unit, you need to use anti-static precautions, it is very sensitive to static electricity. The new one will come with a paper-clip looking short across the flex cable. Keep it on there and push the cable into the connector on the board, sliding the clip back as you go. Also, you should wear a ground strap. The older players sometimes had problems with the chip that controls the laser power going bad. You would replace the CDM unit and it would blow up the new one immediately! NAP had a laser power circuit checker you could buy to test it. I made one with an LED, but it's been so long I couldn't tell you how to do it without the service manual ( I left mine at the repair center, since I made it there.)

12-19-2005, 11:24 PM
Warren, you've been more than helpful. Thanks.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

12-20-2005, 02:10 PM
yrly, I can't find pictures to confirm what you have but there were a number of players made by Magnavox (Philips) using that 12" format around that time including the FD1040, 1041 and 2040, as well as a number of other brands (Marantz, Mission) made by Philips.
The dual 14 bit TDA1540 D/A converters were considered by some to be excellent and the error correction capacity was remarkable. Apparently the two least significant bits are dropped during conversion and re-added during error correction. I have three that use the swing-arm laser and they read absolutely anything put in them. I've even found I can pick up the Mission and walk around with it while it plays and get not a single skip. Here is a bit of background on the 1540s:

12-20-2005, 03:37 PM
Two years and thats the most information I have gotten regarding a potential model number on it. Nothing inside really pointed to much either. Still works though, I use it upstairs now in the system I assembled up there.

That said as a testament to the durability all the players I mentioned in that post still work and some are still the ones I use most often, the Akai CD-A7, MCS 6801 in particular. The MCS though approaching 20 years old at that point, I had owned myself for several months.

12-31-2005, 07:01 PM
I picked up a Philips CD160 a few days ago that matches your description of the Magnavox. No listing in the BlueBook for it but opening it up reveals a CDM2/10 transport and a single 16 bit TDA1541 DAC. Mine has different labeling on the front, says 4x oversampling. Compared to the Mission and the Philips CD101 which use dual 1540 DACs, it's very sparse inside and construction is all plastic except the heatsink. Also an unshielded power transformer. Haven't listened to it yet, but error correction is pretty good as it didn't miss a beat while I held it to test it at the thrift. I expect it will sound as good as yours.

I use a Magnavox CDB 482 dates from 1988 in my shop and am reasonably sure it uses the same DAC and oversampling rate as the Philip[s I just acquired but has gone to the full size format. The Mission which shares the same 12" format but uses the 1540s dates from 1985. Bearing in mind Orion doesn't list the Philips I just acquired, between 1984 and 1988 Orion lists for Magnavox the following models that fit the description:
CDB 480
CDB 570 - 1x oversampling

Here's a pic of the Philips to compare.

01-01-2006, 11:10 AM
Found a little more info: The 1541 DAC is actually a dual 16 bit chip usually partnered with the SA7220P/A or B filter which provides the 4x oversampling. The combination is highly thought of and the 1541 DAC is used as the basis for many diy projects.

Read a bit here:

01-05-2006, 01:58 PM
Aside from the control/display layout from what I can see it seems to be almost exactly the same as the mystery Magnavox. Not quite as fancy as that other Magnavox I replaced it with (forget the model, but it was the fancy one, made in Belgium with a flip down keypad, additional filtering outputs, gold jacks etc.)

The little one still sounds good in it's new system hopefully it will continue to work. Most vintage CDPs I have needed some work but aside from a lube job, lens cleaning and an occasional belt I don't think I've had any bite the dust thereafter.

02-03-2006, 08:52 PM
I have a fd 1041 that sounds alot like you discribed here is picture of front.Found at yard sale may have been $5.00 it sounds great and plays any type cd that I tried.


01-09-2008, 02:25 AM
I dug up your old thread with Google and was wondering if you have figured out what it is because what you describe sounds exactly like the one I have. Mine was manufactures in '86 and is an FD 1051 BK 01.