From the 1-st gen Sony CDP 701ES (October 1983)
Recently bought in NOS (New Old Stock) condition, after four years of constant www research! This outcome was pronounced with big “Uff” & “Yeah” emotions!
What a smart beauty, what a classy look and ergonomics! This is the first TOP one released by Sony. Pls name it Glamour series, by Sony Japan called ESPRIT branch. Can you imagine my face during original box opening and other market contenders, when this hi-end was launched?
Take your bra off baby and let me see those…
Yeah, the touch'n'feel department “sits” on its right benchmark here. Sony struggled hard for best craftsmanship quality during those days of audio glory and JPY keeping great exchange ratios - therefore they developed best constructed units for only high, but not sky-rocketing prices. Getting back to this model – the front panel and tube display should be each designers case study - subject: how to punt many things togeather in synergy and elegant, max subtle way. One can feel certain finger vibration when moving it through the alu body of this beast. Such a vibro can be attained only when best machinery is performing on the aluminium plates – super duper micro polish, here added as an extra value to make you scream.
Now, fire it up to the power line and let it have a big GO, since 1983. Push the open button and hear the thick aluminium drawer loudly moves out like the Terminator, constantly till the end. Let the disc in and hear how four motor perform each certain sequence: drawer, disc chunking press, laser sled and finally the last one cd spindler – working dead silent! The mecha alone weights about 3kg... Any comments? Now get your happy face and made it sit on a sofa. Ears open and eyes starting to open twice as usual here :) Ha!
It’s a Sony!
This certain company’s great Japanese engineers not only have done perfect work with the designing methods, building mechanics but put the same effort with electronic section. As an audiophile maniac I was rather on the dark side of theory that CD players also lead major role in the way of audio reproduction. In my opinion first role goes to loudspeakers, second to amps, …. BUT! But after judging on a few hi-end made today and past time CD players I came to final conclusion, that the difference here is really easy audible, as with amps. The CDP 701 ES was the first gen. player made with cutting edge technology to set digital audio hi-end standards – more to say some type of its electronic parts are still applied nowadays in a high-class units by electronic industry.
This player (in first batch) came as the one’n’only from Sony to be specified with two mono Digital to Analog Converters for each channel – CX 890 pro-type. During the same 1983 year, in march the first CDP-101 was launched, but with one dual DAC for digital to audio L+R transformation (CX20017) – pretty good but nothing had me prepaired for this 701 staff. The CDP-701’s chassis is cooper galvanized and strengthened with 4mm alu plates, extra dampened with sort of bitumen mats – gives total of 12kg! The market price was set twice as for CDP 101.
Let us consider the power supply stage: R-core type (in 1982?!) external transformer potted in resin, 8200uF caps for filtering, 6 voltage lines super three times stabilized + copper relays for pure power delivery.
Moreover I’ve checked the capacity of EACH electrolytic cap – after 27 years they all fit in 2% tolerance, measuring above the nominal! This should be called the NASA quality standard here!
After this tech bla, bla, bla speech we return to the sound issue. Analog audio line, after being DAC unpacked, goes through the analog amp section and meets sort of audio frequency correction, which here means: special Murata low pass filters and one op-amp in final amplification stage, connected to the Line Out (gold plated chinches). Comparing to 1990 top 16kg CDP-X-777ES (last top model) for ex., in the final result my 701 gets higher score, also living really little distance to present competition. Second BUT?! One can ask himself what the hell is Murata filter made off? Getting to the service manual lives us with zero feedback, cause the Muratas are just shown as an empty connection box – so no place for a briefy answer to: “Dr Manual tell us what’s inside?”. Murata’s Top Secret story. Hmm.. Sometimes strange things happen, which in a split second put you in another place of a problem. One channel suddenly got blurred with distortions, kind of unpleasant audio peaks and craks. I’ve done faulty part investigation and finally found that one of two Muratas (alu encapsulated box) is making all the fuss. As this part can not be serviced, just only replaced with another one – this brought me to the dead end. Those sophisticated Muratas were designed only for this special Sony...
Sometime ago I’ve developed a plan for Eryk S Direct Audio unit, made it special to suit only 1-st gen. SONY CDPs. This is a “simplifistique”, sophisticated class-A discrete audio amp, which enables to by-pass all the op-amps (boxed & mass produced modules) – so to cut the long story short, instead of one standard op-amp with 50 medicore transistors you get only few selected transistors in my concept. Finally the Murata's top-secret design has been opened, thus solved – 5 hi spec. op-amps, each with RC filters hidden inside this small box! PRETTY HORROR IDEA. Very bad for the sound and very good for the measurements. Sony made F1 spec. for reviews but forgot a little about the pure audio aspect. Even though they've done a great job, because the sound for R or L channel goes through 6 mono op-amps and it still sounds pretty damn good after all! My Muratas went to the waste bin and Eryk S Direct Audio appeared on the factory’s circuit board.
Ok, Great! Now tell us, tell us about the sound you crazy bastardo!
THIS SOUND IS AMAZING. The 3D space, timbre, and tonal balance is what should be called superb and truly in the best league. This item offers pure direct approach to the music - see it, feel it, almost can touch it! I rest my case.
TDA 1541 go home please!
Ladies and Gentelman please welcome CX890!
Secondly, the laser’s servo adjustments and full mech relubrication procedures took place, because after almost 30 years of waiting in the box the above proved to be essential. Worth mentioning is the fact, that the 701's inner design is massive, having totally regular modules.
Summing up. The total of 100 hours of pure enthusiastic work has been spent on this audio Bentley like beast, just for another 30 years of owner’s pride and quite a wide smile!
AIN’T THIS THE JOB WELL DONE ? :)