Repair or Replace - Marantz CD63se


I have a Marantz CD63se that I paid $353 in 1996. Bad laser assembly, estimated at $210 to repair. I have no idea how CD players have evolved (or devolved)in the last 15 years or what $350 in the new/used market can get me today. Help! Should I repair this or buy new/used, like the CD6004?
esenecal
Back when your CD player was current, it was an excellent value for the money. CD players have progressed since then. If it was my choice, I would go for a new unit. The transport in your player is still probably competitive but the dac section isn't.

My first choice, if you can find a good used one, is a Rotel RCD 1072. I had one and thought it was great. I wish I never sold mine. Some other excellent choices would be Cambridge, NAD and Marantz. All 3 make something in your price range. For me, I like the Cambridge. Not only for sound quality, but build quality, as well.

I'm sure there are some other brands out there that are excellent too. Other posters will probably recommend some of them. I can only recommend what I have heard myself. You should have no problem getting a CD player that will make you happy.
i predict the concensus is move on.....
I agree, move on. My experience is, if you replaced the laser something else will fail shortly after. It is 12 yrs old, it owes you nothing.

11-02-12: Theo
I agree, move on. My experience is, if you replaced the laser something else will fail shortly after. It is 12 yrs old, it owes you nothing.

Umm, that's 16 years, more than half the distance back to the introduction of the CD in 1982.

At this point you may be better off ripping all your music (with a lossless codec) to a PC or Mac, and then get an inexpensive 3rd party music control software such as JRMC, Audirvana, or Songbird to improve the sound on playback.

I'm getting excellent sound with my MacBook Pro plus portable 500 GB hard drive to hold the music plus Audirvana Plus working as a plug-in to optimize the computer for sound while using iTunes as the user interface. You can further improve the sound with an asynchronous USB DAC such as the Musical Fidelity V-DAC MkII. This will sound worlds better than your 1996 CD player.
Johnny ... And then what do you do when the hard drive crashes and dies? I am in the process of attempting to recover my data from an iMac hard drive that died after 6 years of use. The data had been backed up a little while ago to an Iomega hard drive that has died, as well. It is easier to purchase a new CD player, than recover.

If obsolescence is a concern, then approach this as a bucket list project and buy two cd players so you are covered for the next 20 plus years. Or buy a cd player and a turntable. I am not trying to be a wiseass, but hard drives are such a crap shoot and this is coming from an IT person.

To the original question, your cd player is dead, but fortunately cd players have changed and for the better since Clinton's first term in office. Buy a Rega Apollo (1k) and either an XTZ CD100 (600) or an Emotiva (400) as a back-up. Or a Rega Apollo and a Project Carbon turntable (400).

Rich
"Johnny ... And then what do you do when the hard drive crashes and dies? I am in the process of attempting to recover my data from an iMac hard drive that died after 6 years of use. The data had been backed up a little while ago to an Iomega hard drive that has died, as well. It is easier to purchase a new CD player, than recover. "

Don't take this the wrong way but it sounds like you're not being careful enough with your back ups. Assuming that both HD's didn't die at exactly the same time, you should have immediately copied your back up to a new HD. Also, HD's are very cheap. Get a 3rd one if you have to.
OK so I carry the one and take away the 6 , yep that's 16!
Either way at 16yrs the Marantz has provided more than your initial investment. I'd go new and never look back.
I'm with Zd542 in this, there are plenty of excellent CD players out there at reasonable prices and it makes sense to have one both to play the CDs you have and to rip discs to a hard drive if you decide to go that way.

Also agree with him about hard drives. It's absolutely true that hard drives always fail, often in less than six years, but having a cabinet full of CDs isn't failure proof, either. One of my friends had her entire collection of more 300 CDs taken by a burglar about six weeks ago. She had no backup and replacing that collection would cost thousands of dollars. The cost of the three hard drives it would have taken to store that collection and back it up to two different locations would have cost less than $200.

I have four copies of my music collection on hard drives. I back up once a week to a second drive on my desktop and alternate monthly backups on a drive in a fireproof/waterproof chest in my basement and another that lives in a locked filing cabinet in my office. With an incremental backup program, that represents about ten minutes effort on my part every week.
Thanks folks. I was certainly of the mind to just move on, but needed some encouragement! Got it. Small budget here so I'll probably go with the Marantz 5004 or maybe Rotel or Rega. We'll see. Not really in the market for ripping. I have many of them ripped to itunes already, but I don't want to lug my computer around or spend all the time ripping and getting into more equipment, though I appreciate the suggestion Johnny. I've got two kids under 2 and hardly have enough time to sit down and just listen to what I have! Guess I'll tell the shop to keep it for parts rather than pay the return shipping. Goodbye old 63SE...
Hi Zd - Understand your point. But it was just lousy luck on my part as both drives crashed within days of each other. My iMac is a version 2.4, considered vintage no less, is no longer supported by Apple, and does not sync with the Cloud and blah, blah, blah. So in reality I was spending a lot of time dicking around with data.

I was researching external drives and was about to pull the trigger on a replacement, when Apple announced the new iMacs about two weeks ago. So, I figured ... what the hey, I can wait a few weeks to buy a new computer and transfer the files over. My current iMac died the following evening.

It is what it is.

Rich
Hi Sfar - Sorry to hear about your friend. With almost 5000 cds, I can't imagine downloading them onto hard drives. No inclination whatsoever and besides I like having the physical media.

The point I was getting at was simple, if you like cds and think that obsolescence is around the corner, pick-up a couple of cd players. It is not much different that your multiple back-up strategy ... if number one fails, you have a number two or three or four.

Rich

11-03-12: Rar1
Johnny ... And then what do you do when the hard drive crashes and dies?

I see you're a Mac guy and so am I. I've had our household wireless network connected to an Apple Time Machine for nearly 4 years, so we have intermittent backups several times a day. If I were to lose my internal drive or a cluster of files, I could retrieve them.

Second, most of my iTunes music is ALAC rips from my personal CD collection, and I still have the CDs,

Third, portable USB drives are CHEEP and ruggedized for portable use. You can get 1TB portable drives from Amazon for under $100. That's enough space to hold 2800 lossless CD albums. For $89 buy two and use one as backup.

The other part of this conversation is that single-play CD players strike me as a rather primitive solution. For $50 I installed Audirvana Plus on my MacBook, enabling me to buffer music files in RAM, adjust upsampling multiples, and turn off processes that might detract from sound quality. Then there's the convenience of having the whole music library at your fingertips and the ability to organize and set up ad hoc playlists at will.

Sonically my MacBook with Audirvana beats my CD players, and I can now play 24/06 and 24/88.2 files through iTunes, whjch totally beats the pants off redbook files.
Rar1,

I didn't mean to come off in a negative way. The only point I was trying to make was that, done right, backing up your music files can drop your risk to almost 0. I have to admit, though, you did have some bad luck.

Johnnyb,

"The other part of this conversation is that single-play CD players strike me as a rather primitive solution. For $50 I installed Audirvana Plus on my MacBook, enabling me to buffer music files in RAM, adjust upsampling multiples, and turn off processes that might detract from sound quality. Then there's the convenience of having the whole music library at your fingertips and the ability to organize and set up ad hoc playlists at will.

Sonically my MacBook with Audirvana beats my CD players, and I can now play 24/06 and 24/88.2 files through iTunes, whjch totally beats the pants off redbook files."

I don't know if I would say primitive. With regards to convenience, then yes, I agree. For sound quality, though, there are quite a few things to consider. The one thing that I think people overlook when getting into computer audio is the analog section of the source. If you look at the design and marketing of most high end CD players, there is usually a very clear focus on the digital section (Transport and DAC), as well as the design of the analog section. I think that's very important. If you look at the inside of any, well thought out CD player, it looks more like a piece of audio equipment than a computer.

In no way am I suggesting that you are not getting good sound or challenging you, in any way. I only ask, what happens to the signal when it gets converted to analog that allows you to get the good sound? Are you using a DAC or the analog output on a sound card? Possibly something else? Not everyone is getting the good results that you are with computer based audio. Any input that you can give can possibly save me, or someone else from making a mistake.

11-03-12: Zd542

Johnnyb,

...
In no way am I suggesting that you are not getting good sound or challenging you, in any way. I only ask, what happens to the signal when it gets converted to analog that allows you to get the good sound? Are you using a DAC or the analog output on a sound card? Possibly something else? Not everyone is getting the good results that you are with computer based audio. Any input that you can give can possibly save me, or someone else from making a mistake.

I'm glad you asked, because getting good computer sound has been a recent and revealing odyssey. There were two main things that turned my computer-based audio into something enjoyable and musically engaging. The first was installing Audirvana Plus and configuring it to upsample in multiples of two. Thus redbook-sourced ALAC files get upsampled to 88.2 Khz instead of 96. This smoothed out the treble a bit. Then I used Audirvana's buffering capability to reserve 5 GB of RAM to buffer music files to RAM before decoding. This *completely* eliminated the bleached, threadbare sound I was getting from streaming directly from a USB hard drive. Third, I set it up to turn off processes that would otherwise create background processes (e.g., backups) and interrupts (e.g., mail announcements). I got some nice AudioQuest Mini-5 cables (PSC+ copper) on closeout from MusicDirect to connect the computer to my line stage. And very significantly, I swapped out a Jolida opamp/tube hybrid line stage for a pure tube (with tube rectifier and ginormous transformer) PTP line stage. THIS was the final flourish, taking all those digital files and rendering them with a natural organic finesse we usually don't associate with digital anything.

So you might say my true tube line stage *is* my carefully constructed analog section. It works for me; I have hardly been able to abide digitally sourced music for years, but with this new setup I can turn a playlist on (Audirvana can work as an iTunes plug-in) and enjoy ALAC files for hours.