Review: Denon DCD-1560 CD Player

Category: Digital

At the time this was one of the top units from Denon.I believe it was third from the flagship model. Probably the first units to have real 20 bit D/A technology,with 8 times oversampling. I have had this unit for quite sometime now.This was a NOS unit. This has been a total plug n play unit and has never given a moments problem. This is a single tray CD Player with way above average transport. Controls have that solid feel,nothing flimsy here. Weighs in at least 20 pounds. For a CD Player it is heavy. Retailed for $650.00 in 1991 or 1992,cant remember which year though.

I listen to a wide variety of music and for a CD Player it is quite remarkable. At times I forget I am listening to the digital format,it is that good. To extract the most from this CD Player it needs a good preamp and power amp. It is unforgiving if the rest of the system is not up to the task. But with the given of having the proper PreAmp and Power Amp as well as decent speakers,this CD Player from Denon can deliver sonics that are on par with todays CD Players up to the $1,500.00 range. Can you do better than the Denon 1560 - Sure you can. When I replace this will go to a CAL unit. But at the secondary prices these sell for,it is damn near impossible to do better.


  • No. channels: 2
  • Frequency Response:2-20,0000Hz
  • Dynamic Range: 100 dB
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 115dB
  • Harmonice Distortion: 0.002%(1kHz)
  • Separation: 106 dB (1kHz)
  • Wow & Flutter: Below Measurable Limit.
  • Output Voltage:2.0 V,Variable 0 - 2.0 V
  • Discs: Compact Disc Format

    General Characteristics

  • Power Supply: 50/60 Hz,voltage is shown in rating label
  • Power Consumption: 18 W
  • Dimensions: 19 3/32 x 5 10/32 x 13 25/32
  • Weight: about 20 Pounds

    Functions and Display

  • Functions:Direct Selection,automatic search,programmed playback,repeat playback,manual search,auto space,time mode,auto edit,emphasis feature
  • Track number,time,music calendar,and engaged modes and Headphone jack.
  • Remote Control

    Clearly with the above specifications this Denon was way ahead of the competition when it came out. And can hold its own very nicely with the players of today. Have never been disappointed with the sonics of this Denon 1560 CD Player. In my opinion this is just about as good as it gets for digital. For what these sell for in the secondary market,the simple question why spend more??

    The back panel of the Denon 1560 has fixed and variable outputs as well as optical and coax connection,nice touch there. This unit is extremely resistant to vibration due to its very ridgid chassis and Denons BMC technology.

    The way this Denon CD Player sounds,plus its build quality,it will be a long time before I move up to a California Audio Labs unit.Then again may opt for another Denon. Very pleased with this one.

    Associated gear
    Click to view my Virtual System

    Similar products
    Music Hall,Rega Planet,Sony,Parasound,California Audio Labs.

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    Totally agree.

    I've still got my 1988 DCD-1520, the predecessor to the 1560. First it was my main player, then it served as a transport feeding a Wadia 25 DAC, and now it is the CD source in the bedroom system. I use the variable outs to feed the amp directly (Adcom 535II driving Cambridge Soundworks Ambiance monitors). I couldn't be more pleased with the sound considering the total system cost of $1000.

    I had to replace the laser a couple of years ago, but other
    than that it has performed flawlessly for over 14 years.
    I'm new to Audiogon and just came across this thread. I have a Denon DCD-1520 that feeds a Benchmark Media DAC1. Mine will skip the final one to two minutes on the last track of several CDs that are over approximately 70 minutes in duration. Is this a laser alignment problem?

    BTW, this player with its 20bit DACS, has been impressive.
    I couldn't agree more. I purchased my DCD-1560 back in the early nineties and it has not missed a beat since. I have however, been thinking that maybe it is time to upgrade to something current, but finding a CDP that can better the sonics of this player without spending mega bucks is proving to be a difficult task. In fact after reading your glowing testimonial I'm now reluctant to dispense with it. As a side note the performance of this CDP can be lifted significantly by removing the plastic stock feet and replacing with cones. I use Audiopoints. With the right set up and corresponding equipment it sounds pretty damn hoopy for an old girl. (-:
    Well my big CD system has gone down and needs sevice. So from the closet I pulled out the venerable Denon DCD 1560. Cleaned it up a bit and cleaned the laser. Plugged it in and it immdeiately came to life and sound oh so good. For a unit released in 1991 who can complain, It does have a 20 bit chip in it. And it is really not a let down to switch to. Sure the Classe separates have it beat overall,but at a cost of several thousand dollars. I must admit this has been a very pleasant surprise. Very glad that I did not sell this unit. And by the posts to this thread it seems keeping it was a very good idea. Oh I will have the Classe gear repaired. But the sonic differences between the two are so close, I wondered why I made the jump to more expensive gear. Guess we have all been in that boat. Long live the Denon DCD 1560.
    Boy, what a great "blast from the past". Also, couldn't agree more. Denon's top models from that era were always very musical beasts indeed.

    Indeed, my first "real" CD player was the venerable Denon DCD1500II (two? generations prior to the 1560), back when the general, ignorant consensus was that "all good CD players sounded the same". It was hard to beat it, and then the subsequent models after, at anything NEAR the price back then.

    I then upgraded to the DCD1520, then ultimately on to the 1560, before going totally insane from there...

    The DCD1560 truly is a "classic" CD player.
    Well my now primary CD Player has developed tracking problems and needs service. So the Denon DCD 1560 is pressed into service.

    But before that I decided to trade in the 1560 for the new NAD 542 CD Player. So I packed up the 1560 went to the local NAD dealer to see what kind of deal I could make. New the NAD 542 is $499.95. Was offered $125.00 for the 1560 leaving a balance of $374.95. Okay I can swing that. But first let me audition the NAD 542. The NAD 542 is a marvelous player and has HDCD 24 bit chip and all. What was really surprising was the sonic signature between the 1560 and NAD 542 was surprisingly small. The NAD 542 has the 1560 beat in all areas, but by only the smallest of margins. The NAD should outperform this venerable 1560 as it has 14 years on the Denon. But to my amazement the 1560 was hanging right in there and could not be overall faulted for it is performance. The sales staff there also commented that the differences were small as well. One staffer commented that the build quality was better on the Denon 1560 than the NAD 542. The only major difference was that the NAD 542 has the HDCD chip and the Denon 1560 does not have HDCD, but does have a 20 bit chip. But I do have HDCD with the primary player. Decided not to do the deal as in my opinion there is not $375.00 worth of difference between the two. Most of the staffers also agreed that the difference was probably not worth it,unless I just had to have HDCD.

    So yes the Denon DCD 1560 remains a keeper after 14 years since it was new. This is one of audios most enduring products that keeps delivering the promise and few products can make that statement years down the road. Pure value for the money.

    Have since installed the Denon DCD 1560 into the main system, while my $2,000.00 CD player needs service after 6 years.
    I had the DCD-1420 (circa 1989) from day 1 and was the strongest link in my low-fi system. It too had the 20bit lambda DAC. Never had problems with it in all the 15 years I used it, in fact the sound only got better as I upgraded other weak links in the system. The thing was built like a tank, certainly superior to all other Japanese CDPs of that era.

    I only just traded it in for a Rotel RCD-1072 two weeks ago. And the improvement with the Rotel over the Denon is like day and night.
    Which Rotel Model did you buy?
    I bought this CD Player secondhand, and what can I say. I have been dealing with a lot of different types of players. But when it comes to solidness then the 1560 is truly very good. I still enjoy the sounds and therefore can only recommend the 1560 even as a used gear
    I bought this denon DCD 1560 CD Player in the early 90's and still have it. Yes I was lucky that I bought it as I also didn't know back then that some were better than others. This player has outlasted 3-4 others in the last 10 -12 years since and still sounds better than anything I've heard. Every few years this unit will skip due to lens dirt. If this happens just take the lid off and gently clean the laser off with a cuetip and the right solution. If mine breaks then I will send it to have it fixed before I buy another one (unless I become rich and have 5 grand to drop on something better)
    If you have this cd player don't get rid of it as you will most likely regret it later.
    It is gratifying to read these posts. I found this site searching for current estimates of the value of my 1560 just for fun. Apparently it won't fetch much, but I would never part with it. My best friend works in a high-end audio retail shop and he brought my Denon in to his store to show off. The guys he works with were floored. Despite the fact that it's 14 years old, every one there acknowledged the fact that the DCD-1560 is a fine, fine machine.
    What can my 1560 gain from using cones instead of the plastic feet? The player,amp,tape deck, etc., is on a flat metal rack suspended from a low ceiling in my 10' by 20' listening room.
    Anybody out there know where l can get the tray coverpiece?
    Thanx, lilfish
    My buddy has a 1500 MK11 and it works and sounds fantastic! When l went looking for cd player l used his as the sound benchmark for comparisons. l ended up with a 1560.
    l found my loader panel piece from "Tritronics" and they're on the internet--out of MD and FL, USA.
    I bought the DCD-2560 model back in 1991, built like a tank and still running perfectly in a second system. Wonder if using it as a transport and picking up a DAC would be worthwhile?
    Funny stuff. I moved to 2 different countries thinking it would be short term. Left my HIFI at home incl. a DCD1560.. Now 5 years later...I have purchased a new system, but still have the 1560 at my parents place. It was my 1st HiFly audio piece and knowing that it is not worth much in $ I never parted from it. It is fun to read there are still enthousiasts out there loving it! Makes me wanna get it over ;) I loved its sound and grandeur. This string gave me confirmation to not let it go. Thanks!
    Just upgraded from a 1520 to a DCD-1560 and I really like the new sound. I Have had quite alot of cd players under 1500 retail that I purchased for 800 or less and this unit for a 100 tops them all. I want something really sweet but can't afford it. I am really happy with my system. A akai table with clear audio aurum beta S cartridge rocks. And my ps audio 4.76 really comes through Thr Denon DCD-1560 is a real treat also I really want to upgrade my adcom gfa-555 amp. But not sure as to what. Marsh? And my old 12" polk rta-12 well they have been around for a while. Anyone thinking of a cd player for under 1000 try the denon 1650 r or 1560 or even the 1520 these units are very sweet.Don't forget that vinyl. KABLAM! Almost forgot about my sub. 12" klipsch powered sw12
    I you like this player so much you will be flabbergasted when you hear the DCD-S10 series cd player. It is truly high end and was introduced as S series of Denon's high end components in 1995. The original price was about $2000. I think it can be had now for around $300-500. I thought I should let you know.

    My friend and I bought the package together with the Amplifier PMA-S10, he kept the cd player and I kept the amp, we both ended up paying $250 each for a total package price of $500. Both are in very good condition and weigh over 15Kgs each!

    He has it feeding the Bryston 7B st monoblocks driving the Martin Logan CLS, this system oozes out nothing but details from the source disks.

    I recently reviewed the faboulous S10 amp here.
    Does anyone know a good place to service the Denon DCD-1560 in San Francisco for tracking problems? Thank you for the article, we are definitely enlightened as to the level of quality of this player!

    Thank you,
    Todd - Just move up to the 1650ar. The 1560 was great, but now doubt worth the $$ to service. The Denon 1650ar is a fairly current machine and was 1K when new a couple of years ago. Can be had for around $350 - $500 or so. Same build quality if not a little better than the 1560.
    these old players can really get modded fo great sound.
    Have been using this venerable CDP for 16 years first I was bummed I let a sales guy talk me into it, as I had my sights set on a Rotel...but when the kids finally moved out and I could afford a new amp, I realized it was the crappy Yamaha HT receiver, not the 1560...what a surprise!! I've since been using it as a transport and folks, this is one fine piece...I've compared it here to my buddies Theta, and there is no differance, 4 pairs of ears say so.

    The 1560 Lives ON!!!
    It ain't the sexiest player out there, but I love my Denon nonetheless for its sound.

    I bought it new about 3 years back to replace a Cal Audio Icon MKII based on mass positive reviews on various web sites having a comfort level with Denon products but having never heard it prior. I never missed the old Cal Audio once this came in.

    I'm in continuous process of giving listen to various higher end players whenever I have a chance. I've heard many that sound very good from $1400 to $20000, but so far nothing has convinced me that I need to jump. Either I have a tin ear when it comes to CD players, or the Denon is a very good value.
    I love my new/old Denon DCD 1560 I just purchased. I did not know that plain-jane CDs could sound so good. I'm an analog true-believer with tube gear, Chartwell LS3/5a s, an old Pro Musica Phono unit(Grace 707, Shure V-15 III-G, Ariston RD-11s) so I am just a little un-impressed with digital normally but this is a unit I can enjoy listening to.