Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Very, Very Rare Sony CDP 650ESD CD Player

This statement piece from Sony Esprit was built in February, 1986 and retailed for $1300. This unit clearly spent its last years in a garage since the back half was completely coated in fur. I spent a good hour cleaning it with cotton swabs and fired it up. It came up nicely on the Sencore Powerite, but the drawer wouldn't open: as usual the rail grease had become rail sludge. So, another 10 minutes of swabbing followed by the oil got the door to open.

There is almost no information on this player on the web. For comparison purposes here is the write up on a Sony CDP 302 from '85 and the very similar Sony CDP 520ES.

This player is very heavy and chock full of copper. It is also chock full o' boutique caps, mostly Elna Cerafines and a few Blackgates. There are 6 op-amps in the analog stage that have copper heatsinks mounted on top, which can be seen at the upper right of the picture below:

The transport is complex:

The drawer action was a bit slow and it skipped occasionally, so we opened the bottom:

Mike said the skipping was caused by a sticking sled, and he was correct. The 650ESD played very nicely post lube. I changed one belt, somewhat unsuccessfully. The second was trickier to remove so I blew it off. My choice of replacement belt was not very good, the drawer action was actually worse afterwards. It will have to wait until next time.

Here is the bottom of the transport. The laser is on a sled that slides front to back, right to left in the photo below. The two belts are at the left, around the white plastic pulley.

This 650ESD is noted as the first cd player with digital out and it is housed in a pod sticking out of the back. Odd. The switch says 'On', 'On (For Audio Use)', and 'Off'. I am not exactly sure the how the two 'Ons' differed. And it has 3 play modes, I am not sure how that works. I might actually have to procure a manual and suffer the resulting testosterone loss.

And a nod of appreciation to Sony, c. 1986.

This is a spectacularly designed and built player. I am not sure what is next beyond belts. There are a few caps that could use a freshen-up, but it is tough to replace Cerafines with anything other than Cerafines. Time to do some research.


skip said...

I happen to have this cd player. I tried my hardest to stick to my vinyl but when I had to get a cd player I wanted it to be among the better ones since I stick to high end equiptment. Sony, then wasn't among my preferences but I was impressed with this one. I really enjoyed it until the mid '90s when it started to skip. I called sony then sent them a hate mail, I mean an email. They recommended a repair shop. I took it to an authorized sony repair shop and they said they could not fix it. It has been box away for the last 12 -15 years... til now. I will try to lube the sled soon myself thanks to your post. Hope it works!

Anonymous said...

I have this as well. Mint condition. Works very well. I am interested in selling it. Here's my craigslist link to the ad:
Is $75 too low??

Thomas Bivens

skip said...

My first thought is to say that it is too low. Especially in mint condition. However, there are things to consider. Not many people are looking for cd players these days and there is not much information on this particular piece so only someone who appreciates would pay more. In addition my guess is that most people still using a cd player that would pay much more are using a transport. Bottom line; It is worth more. But you probably won't get much more. I just hate to see you give it away. Someone who knows what they are getting will jump on this.

Jeff Svirtunas said...

I've owned a few CD players in my time. One of my faves was a Sony with a player and a CD recorder. Made in Japan and sounded nice. After they went to China, I moved on to Marantz Reference.