Phillips no longer producing transports


Hi folks, as many of you are no doubt aware Phillips have decided to stop producing the Pro 2 LH transport used by ARC, Ayon, Vitus and others. What does this all mean? I'm informed by one manufacturer who I wont name that their stock of transports is good for another year or so of production whilst maintaining stock for warranty service. I'm told they are now moving toward designing a server to replace cd players in future. Esoteric are still manufacturing transports, and Accuphase have moved to a proprietory transport mechanism, so cd players will still be produce into the future. But for a powerhouse like Phillips to give up on cd transports is a harbinger, a sign of things to come and the likely phasing out of cd production. It is likely in future cd production will only continue in small runs of for audiophile labels and boutique producers, and high res downloads will continue to develop and become more mainstream. I think Bob Dylan said "The times they are a changin'".
Convert?fit=crop&h=128&rotate=exif&w=128melbguy1
Not a big surprise ... right? There is no reason they can not do what Rega did with the Apollo and source their own transport mechanisms. There is always the re-purposed DVD mechanism route. Or there is my particular spin on this which is stockpiling new CD players which are being discontinued and sold off at a 50% or greater discount. I am 56 now and should be good for another 20 years or so. We'll see if I still give a hoot about all this 2033.

Rich
When Valjoux decided to abandon the 7750 automatic movement and get with the digial watch craze, an engineer for Valjoux squirreled away the machinery for making them. It didn't take long for Valjoux to realize their mistake and the 7750 movement is still the workhorse for their line. They can't make enough of them and payment for that movement is made 6 to 12 months before any make receives the product, sometimes longer.

Thank goodness for that prescient engineer.

Crunching numbers for shareholders who can't see beyond the 1st quarter is common these days but hopefully, someone will see the value of putting away some nuts for the winter.

All the best,
Nonoise
All great points Rich and Nonoise. This is the perfect time for those companies to step up and develop their own transports. CD/DVD/BR players are not going away, anytime soon!
Agreed Jafant, Rich and Nonoise made cogent points. I think the likely outcome is with cd sales declining, some manufacturers may go down the server route rather than tooling up to build their own transport and just see what happens in future. The larger players with more corporate funds may well build a proprietary transport mechanism or negotiate an OEM contract with someone like Esoteric. Of course doing so means designing around the new transport from scratch.

It is likely Phillips won't relinquish the patent for their Pro 2 transport, but unless cd sales increase which seems unlikely, Phillips for one are out of the transport-building business.

However as Rich eluded to, their are other transport options such as using a cd/dvd rom drive as used by Cary, Oppo/MSB etc. Boulder are doing something similar and use a very accurate cd/dvd rom drive sourced from the Supercomputer industry. Their 1021 network player is ideally placed for the future with a readily available/replaceable transport mechanism and the capability to stream over ethernet.

It will be interesting to see if shiny discs have a revival one day like vinyl!
A couple of the main engineers parted ways with philips a few years back and made their own company called stream unlimited,, this is in my Ayon owners manual, thus the pro transport rebourne!, My transport was made in 2013 for this Ayon 2s player., I also talked to paul at usa tube audio, the u.s. distributer for Ayon, He confirmed the story of stream unlimited that I researched originally to find out about the company.
Many Thanks! Melbguy and Audiolabyrinth.
As an owner of the ARC CD-8, this is a major big deal issue for ARC. Most of their current as well most of their older CDPs use the Phillips transport. I hope ARC stockpiles enough to service what they've sold the last n++ years. I'll e mail Kal at ARC and find out if there's a back-up plan. I sure hope so. Nothing lasts for ever. Thanks for the heads-up.
Stream Unlimited in its previous iteration was the Philips Audio Video Innovation Centre based in Vienna. They developed new technologies and modules for Philips into ready for market products. Whilst under Philips umbrella, this centre likely developed the cd-pro2 transport for the company, who in turn later released the CD-Pro2LF in 2006 after Philips brought product development in-house. Incidentally 'LF' is short for "Lead free" which was required after the RoHS directive introduced on the 1st of July, 2006. So to clarify, Stream Unlimited did not manufacture Pro-2LF transports as used by Ayon, ARC and others. These were produced up to recently by Philips who have now ceased production. As far as I can tell, Stream Unlimited offer an optical storage product as well as software, hardware, wireless and compliance services.

I received feedback from one manufacturer who stated they will likely move out of disc spinners altogether toward a more profitable and sustainable business model. Boulder are already part way there with a hybrid disc/streamer product.
Let us hope that a more focused group will continue to produce CD drives, exclusively. As far as hybrid (cd/dvd drive + server/streamer) products go, those will be inferior because of multi-use ROM-based drives. Not the same quality standard.
Bifwynne please let me know what Kal says. I just got a brand new cd9, and needed a new transport right out of the box. ARC service was exceptional.

Confident this will now last a long time, but would feel much better knowing it could be serviced again should the need arise.

On a separate note, can't wait for this to be fully broken in!
Sony no baloney.
09-10-13: Schubert
Sony no baloney.
..sounds like Schubert's unfinished symphony :D
Let us hope that a more focused group will continue to produce CD drives, exclusively
... until chapter 11.
Nonoise, Many years ago A LOT (!!!) of NEW (in movement containers) Valjoux 72 movements were discarded and crushed!!
I wonder if new Phillips Pro Transports are available for purchase for those outside of the industry. I would feel secure having a backup as for my Naim CD555. I plan on using it, and living, for a long time.
Knghifi -

there are a plethora of spinners out there that uses some form of Phillips CD drive- no chapter 11 in sight!
Isochronism, in the unlikely event your Phillips Pro2 transport fails in future the most likely part to fail would be the laser. If you contact Naim they should be prepared to sell you a laser assembly to keep on stock. My next cd player will have a Pro2-LF transport & I plan to get it shipped with a spare laser assembly mainly for resale value. Obviously being able to advertise your player with a spare laser will give assurance to any prospective buyer.
Mel, Thanks. I will look into that. I plan to keep my CDP for the long term.
Iso, i'm pretty much the same. My next cdp will be a Vitus SCD-025 which I plan to keep for the long haul. One spare laser on hand is good insurance.
Thats a shame, The philips transports were very good!, I will miss them!, they always played cds when other transports would not!, On the bright side, what do all of you have to say about the Esoteric K-03, K-01 transports?
Audiolabyrinth you have already beat this to death on another thread.

No need to hyjack this one!
Audiolabyrinth you have already beat this to death on another thread.
Just like one of my old Philips drives, stuck on REPEAT! Tara Labs ... on and on and on ...

I say good ridden to Philip Transports. All my cd players with Philip drives had problems. Many were very expensive Krells. Sounds fantastic when working but never for long. Now 100% computer audio with music backup on USB drives.
@ Yashu, I have never talked about just transports any where on audiogon, I do not know what you are talking about!, cd-players, Yes, I have talked alot about them for sure, If that is what you are talking about, transports, never said anything concerning them!, I have said what I wanted here, good reads on this topic here, Have a good day,, cheers.
Folks, remember this is just a hobby so let's enjoy it. A bit of side discussion doesn't hurt, so long as it's not beating a dead horse.
@ Knghifi, For what its worth, there are many, many people who enjoy talking about Taralabs cables!, just like any thing else, its just a hobby!, do not knock me for Taralabs!, I do not knock you about eanything!, I cannot help that there is a following of Taralabs that is huge!, we will keep on and on!, we enjoy our conversations!
09-11-13: Knghifi
I say good ridden to Philip Transports. All my cd players with Philip drives had problems. Many were very expensive Krells. Sounds fantastic when working but never for long. Now 100% computer audio with music backup on USB drives.
Fair enough Knghifi. It is understandable if you've had a bad run with Phillips drives the Company's announcement would probably be welcomed. I haven't owned a Pro2 transport long enough to have an opinion one way or the other. I plan to maintain a high end cd player, but add a streamer and stream internet radio & my My Tunes library wirelessly over a high speed, wide bandwidth wifi network. However that is really just for background listening. For critical listening, rbcd & sacd's will still remain my reference.
Melbguy1, I respect your decision. We all have our preferences unless constantly shoving it and needing confirmation of their decisions from others.

If you plan to like you cd player, I suggests buy spare transports for backup. Good luck!
@ Knghifi, For what its worth, there are many, many people who enjoy talking about Taralabs cables!, just like any thing else, its just a hobby!, do not knock me for Taralabs!, I do not knock you about eanything!, I cannot help that there is a following of Taralabs that is huge!, we will keep on and on!, we enjoy our conversations!
That's NOT my point. I could careless what you use.

BTW, I don't care if you knock my decisions. Only think imporant is I don't knock my decisions.
Spoke to Kal, ARC Customer Service Tech Rep, today. He reported that ARC is aware of the issue but seemed unconcerned, even with the advent of the new Ref CD-9 which uses the Pro 2. Kal said that ARC has more than enough Pro 2 transports in stock to support new production and replacement of older CDP units. That's the news folks. Go figure????

I suppose the good news is that the Pro 2 is touted as being pretty sturdy and trouble free. Perhaps the need for replacement units is not acute. I own the Ref CD-8 and previously the Ref CD-7. So far, no problems to report. Nevertheless, the business side of me tells me that ARC will have to source another supplier or end the use of the Pro 2 with Ref CD-9. Just a guess.
All my cd players with Philip drives had problems. Many were very expensive Krells.

You are talking about Philips SACD drives. That is a very different design, which indeed was problematic. On the other hand, the CD-Pro2 discussed in this thread, is very reliable.
Phillips Pro transport mechanisms are serviceable and can be easily reconditioned to perform as new. Typically only two parts "fail", the spindle motor or laser assembly. ARC is therefore well situated to meet any transport repairs well into the future.
Thanks for your input Reb
You are talking about Philips SACD drives. That is a very different design, which indeed was problematic. On the other hand, the CD-Pro2 discussed in this thread, is very reliable.
NO I'M NOT. I'm talking about Philips CD drives.

Phillips Pro transport mechanisms are serviceable and can be easily reconditioned to perform as new ...
I don't know the model I had but you can't fix something that never worked.

I remember asking Patrick @Krell why use such a unreliable transport and his answer, because it sounds good.
What Krell model that was ?
What Krell model that was ?
KPS30i. After 3 or 4 new replacements, Krell ran out of transports and gave me KPS 30i replacement. I forgot the model but 1st one had transport issues and I traded in the 2nd one. Too bad ... they sound fantastic.
It used to be that Sony transports were bulletproof, and far superior to Philips units. Things completely flipped in the past decade when Sony shifted production to China, and their transports became so bad it was scary. In fact, to fix a batch of CD players where 8 or 10 were bad, ALL 12 replacements I received were also defective. Beyond incredible, yes? Conversely, the introduction of the Philips Pro2 brought rock solid reliability, and I'd not encountered a failed unit.

At any rate, while this announcement certainly is bad news to audiophiles, why on earth would Philips stay in the business? High-end audio is an absurdly small market, a company of that size would inevitably abandon us.
Its no surprise to me. Bryston discontinued the the BCD-1 over a year ago for the same reason, no available drives.

Phillips needs a large consumer market to keep up production and that is dwindling.

And I am not certain I see the need for real time CD playback given that the "ripped to file" systems are at least as good or better sonically, and they need much less expensive CDROM/DVDROM drives and a few chips to implement.
And I am not certain I see the need for real time CD playback given that the "ripped to file" systems are at least as good or better sonically, and they need much less expensive CDROM/DVDROM drives and a few chips to implement.
Yep, exactly my conclusion 6+ yrs ago.

If one of my backup USB drive or internal HDD dies, inexpensive to replace. All modular so just plug and play.