Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Sony CDP 520ES CD Player

This is just too rich.

Here is a photo of the innards of this $600 list, vintage 1985 cd player:

Hmm, does this look familiar???

It is a dead ringer for the innards of the non-Esprit CDP 302 cd player documented a few days ago. The exterior is also identical, save the name. Whatever could justify the Esprit badge? Could it be... why yes it is. Here tucked in the corner are a few differences:

Yup, 4 boutique caps, the round red 'uns at the lower left and at the middle and lower right (one is just peeking through the wires. These are Elna Cerafines in the analog stage, right where I put a pair of Elna Silmic II's and a pair of Panasonic FM's in the 302.

Oh, yeah, there is one other difference. The 4 power supply caps of the 302 included 3 3300 mfd caps and 1 4700 mfd cap. Two were black Nippon Chemicon SM's and two were blue NXD's. The 520ES has 3 at 4700 and only 1 at 3300, so the power supply was slightly beefier. These are the 4 large blue caps (all Nippon Chemicon NXD's) at the top of the photo above.

Now there could be a bit more to this than meets the eye. Sony could have done some hand matching/selection of components and maybe there is something different about the chip set that I cannot see. But still.

So, in 1985 the price of 4 small boutique caps, a very slightly beefier power supply and a some Sony ES bragging rights was 50 bucks.

UPDATE: I just hate it when I miss something. There is a slight difference in the transports at the left rail. The rail is visible in the 302 but not in the 520ES, plus there is a slight difference in the back with a small board mounted differently. Now I am going to have to pop the tops again...


kmc said...

lwe passes at age 92

louis w. erath of abbeyville, la passed away in sept 2008. creator of the lwe line of loudspeakers manufactured in houston, tx in the late '60's thru the mid "70's. erath "mr. e" to those of us that worked with him, was clearly a pioneer in high end audio along with cronies saul marantz, paul klipsch, and many others. he was president of the acoustical engineering society of america several times throughout his membership. not enough time to tell more about him now, but i will continue my recollections of this mentor through future blogs. i assure you some interesting stories. tune in for more and thanks nat.-kmc

John said...

Quick question for you Nat.

I own a Sony cdp-520 es along with 2 other pieces of vintage stereo equipment. A harmon/kardon TD202 single tape deck and Yamaha RX 300u stereo reciever. Any advice as to what these would be worth, used, obviously. Thanks in advance for any insight.

Jim B said...

This may be hard to believe, but I bought a 520es brand new in 1985 for $550. Twenty-eight years later it remains my primary CD player and reference unit. I'd love to find another for backup.

Christopher Lott said...

How can I get in touch with Jim B? I have a Sony 520 ES II in primo condition, bought it new for $599 (oh yeah, probably more than list price). It works well except for the drawer mechanism which moves soooooooo sloooooowwwwwly it's quite painful. Happy to part with it at this point.