Build Your Own CD?

I know people have tried to build their own passive preamps, tube amps, and tube preamps, and that companies offer kits for these purposes. As I look at home theater and digital (CD components and players) I get the sick feeling that they are all the same on the inside and just packaged differently. There seems to be no reason you could not buy a phillips transport, Crystal D/A and the rest of the stuff necessary to put in the box to make a kick-ass cd player (a D/A would seem even easier), so who amoung us has thought of this? SACD components seem obtainable as well. The only problem is the interconnection and compatibility of the various of digital components, but if someone could tell us what to connect, I believe that it could be done. I am not saying that we could build something as good as Wadia or Sony SACD, but hey, could we build something better than most of the stuff out there?
Guess what: there is someone who did just this and did it BETTER than wadia. the only problem is, and it's a major one unless your only goal is the sound, is that it cant display the track number or the time elapsed. the guy who made it wont market it because he thinks the flaws will prevent anyone from buying but i can virtually guarantee you that the sound will floor you. email albert at and ask him about it. i dont think he'll build you one but he might send you the plans.
good idea, though, you're on the right track. a long long track, but the right one.
Kublakhan, do you know what transport Albert used? I've heard CDs played on his unit using a Creative CD rom unit but don't know if that's the one.
In some regards this is what some the the "MOD" persons do. The only reason Stan Warren likes to modify the Pioneer DVD players is the Burr Brown DAC chip it comes with. He really does not "Modify" the player, he completely re-engineers it from scratch. It's just a box with a laser transport and DAC chip to him. He will actually do the same thing to any player with that same Burr Brown chip. The Onkyo DVD players have it also.
Turbo, i think you're right but i'll check on that. i have an old email from him somewhere.
turbo: here's part of a letter i got from albert at space-tech a couple months ago. hope it helps. you'll have to call or email to clarify if you're really interested obviously.
I think your CD player [this is when i had a CEC TL5100] sounds better than the audio research CD-1.
The CD player I am now using is built by myself, it compose of standard
computer CD-ROM drive with a very decent and carefully designed high grade
power supply, it sounds better than any conventional CD player, I have compare
with the Mark Levinson 30 and Wedia 22 and YBA blue lazer, and mine CD transport
can beat them down easily. The only problem for my CD transport is no track
or time display, so you will not know which track is playing and how much
time left, so I haven't put it in my web site, for I think people can hardly
accept something like that, but it really sounds great !!
Kublakhan: I wish that Albert at Space-Tech would reconsider. I for one do not use the display on my player and could care less about this info. We have not even used the remote control for months now.
Would it be possible to build a multiple cd-changer instead of a single disc player? And would building actually be cheaper than buying?
Well there you go, I'm just the opposite from Dekay. I want to have the track information or it's just no good. And it better be real-time information too, none of this after-the-fact repeating history business. I will buy one from Albert only if he can sort all this out. Maybe he could call it the space-tech 'real-time', or maybe the 'on-time'. With names like that, I would probably buy more than one.
Thanks for the info Kubla.
I sell both Burr Brown and Crystal, if anyone needs a free sample, get in touch...Jeff
This is Albert of Space-tech Lab., the guy Kublakhan mentioned about. My CD player is using the special remote control edition of Creative 48X/52X CD-ROM drive as back-bone, I designed and built a very heavy duty power supply section for it with a decent chassis. I didn't use it's analog output, it is because the on-board D/A is really bad sound, instead I use my own 26bit 512x over-sampling D/A converter with balanced tube output stage, that makes a killer system.
Hi Albert,

Can you give us a rough estimate of the costs involved in the completion of your cd player? Thanks.

Well, Albert wins the cool guy award looks like. Khan, since you're friends with him, you get cool guy honorable mention. I'm with thorty40, how much for this, this, creation?
actually, i'm not friends with him really. i just bought a preamp and a cd tube buffer (when i needed it) from him and thought, MAN this guy really, really, really knows what he's doing, he's super nice, and his prices are so low it's stupid. See, i believe South Park's original post is right. this stuff that wadia, audio research and the likes can be done for a fraction of their sales prices. when you buy from them you're paying their advirtising, r&d, payoffs to certain publications, owner's yachts, all that crap - which they deserve in my opinion because they worked hard to create their companies. but when you hear a real set up system of a knowedgeable do-it-yourselfer there is just no comparison - the quality is HUGE and the prices are tiny. I think albert is that kinda guy. if he would try to market himself better he'd really go far, the the yacht and we'd be back to where we started with the other guys, paying $3000 for his $300 introductory preamp. the fact that this little Space-Tech Laboratory $300 preamp held up to a $3000 arc preamp actually pisses me off. and you know what, arc didn't hand-wire that new preamp, and they didnt' pack it up for you after they did and send it out asap so you could enjoy your music the sooner the better and they didn't write long long letters to you about setting it up and they didn't talk you out of their higher priced items because the rest of your system wouldn't gain from it at that time. i could go on - sorry, i just got on my high horse there for a moment.

anyway, albert's a cool guy but i never met him. maybe he'd take a swing at me if he really knew me for who i really am. but in cyberspace this guy's a winner.

in fact, he's a mad-scientist type and doesn't visit audiogon and didnt' even know audioreview and some other places like that existed. I'm the one who told him about this thread so he'd respond. I'll tell him again.

sorry about the rant, i just came off a nap.
For Marantz cd 57, 60, 63, 67 and SE versions of each. They also have a complete DIY DAC project for die-hard tweaker, plus a cd-clock upgrades.

Here's another using the Phillips 1252-10 cd engine

Here's another for a Technics SL-PG 580

This one has a bunch of DIY DAC's

A 24/96 DAC

This DAC has a tubed out put & sells PCB's

Tubed DAC w/ $125 PCB from SDS Labs

Hope this helps prove that it's possible.
darkmoebius, COOL post bruthah.
I don't have the skills yet, but I would love to make one of the tubed DAC's and see how it fairs against Aj! Tjoeb's line.

I'm currently doing my home work on building a set of 300B tubed monoblock amps and a tubed linestage pre-amp. Not only will it be challenging, but I could never afford the level of performance that I'll be able to build in. The amps should cost $1,200 US and the pre-amp is an Electric Tonalities Foreplay kit at $290 w/ full upgrades. The Foreplay can be tweaked to near "reference" performance. Who knows, though. I'll have to try it and see. I suppose after that, I'll need to try my hand at speakers.
Found this quite some time ago but didn't remember about it till now.