1988, when CD players were built with no cost cutting, a KENWOOD DP-990SG thread

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by sobolan, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. sobolan

    sobolan Active Member

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    I have this cdp for some years and each time I put a CD in, I am amazed of how easily it reads it, whether it is original or written in a CD burner. In fact I never found an audio CD that this monster wouldn't read.

    Today I opened it up to check a dead LED light. I didn't change it since I can not find one of the same color and I don't want to change them all for a burnt one. I also had to fix one of its feet because the spring in it became softer than the others(the thing weighs over 11kg, ~22 pounds).

    Other than that, the machine is rock solid and the build quality is exceptional. At the end of the post I will add some pictures with the guts and the feet.

    I opened this for future reference of this model. I will try to add all the info I know.

    I. The case. I have no idea what is the thing stuck on the panels, but when I knock on them they sound like a wallpapered concrete wall. It is applied on the top cover, in fact the top cover has another layer of insulation above the circuit boards, bottom cover, side panels.

    II. Chassis. Thick steel everywhere. The panel that holds the top circuit board is full, it is not just a frame. The circuit board is put in soft plastic pegs. The whole thing is fixed to the rest of the chassis with 6 screws. In the middle there is a support beam to keep it from buckling although I don't see how that would happen.

    III. Mechanics. The CD tray although it is made of plastic is reinforced with steel. The chassis of the whole mechanism is made of cast metal. The potentiometer for the volume is motorized, although very well built is a potential weakness but since it is almost never used it will not bother anyone even if it stops working.

    IV. Electronics. Very clean build, testing points, quality pcb and components. Just look at the way the crystal clock is attached, upside down in a foam craddle. It has 2 x PCM56P-K one for each channel and 8 x jrc4560DA opamps. The laser still seems to have replacements in production. Here are some some specs:
    Dynamic range: 96dB
    Total harmonic distortion: 0.0015%
    Analog fixed: 2,0 V at 110 Ohm
    Analog variable 0 - 2,0 V at 110 Ohm
    Digital (Coax): 0,5 Vss, 75 Ohm

    V. Feet. There is a spring inside each of them and two damper pistons with rubber o-rings. As seen from the pictures the feet are tied to the bottom of the cdp through hinges. They seem to be effective in absorbing the earthquake-like vibrations from the trucks that pass under my window.

    VI. Controls and outputs. It has all the controls needed for a cdp. play,pause,ff,rew,skip ff, skip rew, index, repeat, display for 20 songs and you can choose directly wich one you want to play. It also has a remote sensor, but unfortunately I do not have it so I have no idea what controls it had; probably all the ones available on the front of the machine. As outputs it has a fixed and a variable analog output and digital coax and optical output.

    VII. Conclusion. This machine was not a TOTL cdp, just a very good one(at least in my opinion). When it was first marketed it sold for about 600$ (please correct me if I am wrong) and today you will not find this overkill build in that price range. Of course technology has evolved and the quality of the DAC's has increased, there is no doubt about that. You will buy better sounding machines for the same amount of money, but it seems that the build quality is nowhere near what it was 28 years ago.

    I miss it. I miss the big heavy sturdy electronics although I am as old as the cdp above and never caught their golden age. I hate seeing colorful LCD's and dot matrix. I hate round plastic buttons and curves, over complicated receivers with lots of menus and features that you will never get to use. Please give me sharp edges, square buttons and metal knobs, give me brushed metal black or silver, metal switches and simple lights.

    Anyway, here are the picture promised:
     

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  2. dr*audio

    dr*audio Fish fingers and custard!

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    Wow, that is well built! Looks like they made their own transport, too, which is very unusual.
     
  3. sobolan

    sobolan Active Member

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    304
    There, fixed. The rubber mat under the spring was replaced and the spring retensioned. It took some effort to get the spring right but now the CDP sits straight and the foot does not sag anymore.

    Does anyone know the remote code that this thing used? It works with a universal remote but I would like to get the original.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

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    Well, according to some calculator I looked at, $600 in 1988 would be almost $1300 today. When was the last time you laid hands on a $1300 player?

    Frankly, I think technology doesn't translate directly in that regard but some consideration has to be made for valuation of money.
     
  5. sobolan

    sobolan Active Member

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    304
    I have seen, touched and listened cd players worth over 1000$ in showrooms. I can not complain about the sound but they all look fragile and delicate. Maybe it is just me, and the age of heavy bullet proof gear is just gone.
    Of course I would not afford that kind of gear brand new since it would be worth what I earn in four months(yeah, it sucks being a teacher), but with a monthly salary of let's say 1800$ I would save and buy one. The thing is that it seems that consumerism has made it's way in this class of products too. I have a hard time believeing that a cdp produced in 2016 would still work in 2044.
     
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  6. dr*audio

    dr*audio Fish fingers and custard!

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    That's what really irks me about the new players. They use these horrible cheap Chinese mechanisms that are not going to last, and then you can't get parts for them, so they are basically dispose-able.
     

     

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  7. wu6fiend

    wu6fiend Well-Known Member

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    Impressive player. And I wholeheartedly agree with those who dislike modern players, and long for a return to the days of old. I have several vintage units (two Sony ES models), and an Akai CD-73. All three are large, very heavy units with clear displays, and large, easy to use buttons. Their weight and "solid as a rock" feel are incredible when compared to modern stuff. In marked contrast, my Harman Kardon HD990 (and also the DVD 48 and BDP1) all have the characteristics of "form over function" ie. style before usability. Tiny little buttons, impossible to read unless you get right down and peer closely at them. The modern stuff is also cheap feeling, light, flimsy, more throw away products for a throw away society.
     
  8. sobolan

    sobolan Active Member

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    I looked at pictures of that AKAI. Very nice looking machine. I was also looking at the cdp's Marantz is currently selling. What a disappointment. They forgot how to attract customers. Adding useless gadgets and ipod support won't solve the problem. And what is with that frontal USB? Those things are ugly and useless on a cdp. Leave the usb for the amp. I can imagine putting a memory stick in that usb port and than break it/break the port/pull the thing down because of it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016
  9. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

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    My Yamaha cdx-1100u is becoming like yours truly - creaky, groaning and fussy. However, when I remove the top and see TWO power supplies, painted red (why? because they were PROUD of it) that say "MASSIVE POWER SUPPLY" I realize why I've kept it around.

    I turn it on and let it sit with the tray ejected for an hour before I play it. I have to, otherwise it gets all flaky.

    You don't see build quality like that on anything short of extremely high end stuff nowadays.

    Thanks for posting this very nice cdp.
     
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  10. Northwinds

    Northwinds Huh? Turn what down? Subscriber

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    I feel this way about my dbx DX5, she just keeps playing and making me smile. The quality back then was great, these days not such much unless you drop a bundle
     
  11. Bynem

    Bynem Active Member

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    I have a Kenwood DP-1000. Made in 1987, got the old beast from a certain auction almost 10 years ago. Great line of players.
     

     

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  12. Will S.

    Will S. Well-Known Member

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    It's got an optical out. Keep using it as a transport with a modern DAC and you get the best of both worlds.
     
  13. mufster

    mufster AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Sorry to drag up an old thread but I have some info to share about the remote. I have two of these cd players and I also have a remote control. The unit is RC-P1100SG. you can search under Google and there are a couple of good quality photo's showing the controls. Great cd players with a wonderful smooth drawer mechanism.

    I also have the bigger brother DP-1100SG. The main differences are a metal front face plate instead of plastic. It has twin PSU's and the top cover is thicker gauge metal which makes it heavier and less prone to vibration. The play and pause buttons have lamps illuminating them instead of the play and pause showing in the main display.

    Happy new year.

    All the best,
    Paul
     
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  14. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

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    My old Sony 302 has those play/pause illumination in the buttons. I LOVE that.
     
  15. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    There's a Kenwood DP-880SG listed on ebay right now. Too spendy for me though.
     
  16. dmckean

    dmckean AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Is the DP-880SG as overbuilt at the DP9900SG?
     

     

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  17. sobolan

    sobolan Active Member

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    The 880 is a good player but on a step lower than the 990. The transport is made out of stamped steel not cast, the electronics are all on a single pcb, the chasis is thinner etc. It was built to cost less and it shows. I would call the 880 a nice player but not a "tank"
     
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  18. mufster

    mufster AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    There is a very nice 990SG on that well known auction website. Located in the UK. Nothing to do with me. I'm keeping both of mine. It's in superb condition but is pricey.
     
  19. MaxxVolume

    MaxxVolume AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have two CD players from that era, a Harmon-Kardon HD-7600 (which I believe was one of the first "bitstream" players), and also a Denon DCD-1500, both of which still work and sound great nearly 30 years later.
     

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