How many years are CD players good for??

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Kevin_Breeze, Aug 7, 2004.

  1. Kevin_Breeze

    Kevin_Breeze Second Unit

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    I read a post somewhere where someone was talking about how its not worth it to buy used CD players b/c laser's are only good for like 5 years or something to that effect??

    (I am asking b/c I just bought a 3-yr old Cambridge D500SE)
     
  2. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Nonsense. The laser on a LaserDisc player, the same type of device exactly, which typically got a heavier workout because it was used for playing movies [running two hours plus at a time next to a very heavy duty motor generating plenty of heat] as well for CDs, has generally been estimated at least 10 years lifetime. I have an LDP from 1991 which is still going strong on the original pickup, although it had to have the alignment corrected and the disc tray replaced [it had warped from sitting over the power supply]. This is not a concern at all.
     
  3. DanFe

    DanFe Second Unit

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    My brother still has a cd player I bought and then gave to him (I used it a lot for about 8 years and he uses it a lot now) in 1987 and it's still running great.
     
  4. Kevin_Breeze

    Kevin_Breeze Second Unit

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    thanks for the input guys and not to downplay it, b/c it's great to hear how long certain players have been going, but I am hoping to get some actual techies in here with maybe some real data to back-up one side or the other...

    Does the performance significantly start to degrade after a while? Are their maintenance procedures that should or could be done to prevent performance decline, or do certain parts of a CD player just generally go "kaput" after so many years??

    Like i said the Cambridge D500SE I bought is 3 years old and I'd like to hope its good for at least another 5-7 years....
     
  5. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    We have some laserdisc players that have been in constant use - ~9 hours/day for 364 days/year since 1988. That's 52,500 hours so far.

    Actually, to be fair, those are some pretty amazing LD players - the antique Sony LDP-2000 players... complete with a LED bar-graph to indicate head position over the disc!

    We've had CD players running similar schedules for 8-10 years.

    Now, as a scary aside, averaged over the course of a year, the building RMS voltage is 128VAC. What it doesn't kill, it seems to make stronger! [​IMG]

    Now, at home, I've an old Sony CD player that's seen conventional home-style usage for 14-15 years now with no problems. (That said, it may croak tonight.)

    All that aside, I, personally, wouldn't buy a used CD player. Not, at least, for any real amount of money, unless there was something ----ed special about the thing!

    Leo Kerr
    [email protected]
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    The main argument against purchasing any used electromechanical device is that it has moving parts, and moving parts wear out. So, I wouldn't buy used turntables (unless of classic vintage as a collectable), LD or CD or DVD players, and tape recorders.

    As for lifespans. I have a 1989 Sony CDP-670 (I think — just a pedestrian unit) that quit about two years ago.
     
  7. Steve Berger

    Steve Berger Supporting Actor

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    The early units tended to be well designed and actually built by the companies selling them. The current ones are assembled from outsourced assemblies and vendor parts with price , performance , and features as the only design qualifications. Reliability , durability , and serviceability are not considered "saleable" features and are pretty well ignored in most current designs. You may buy a "Nifty New Thingy" from a "Big Name Manufacturer" only to find out that is has a "FlungOneOut" chassis and "WhokNowsWho" circuit boards.

    Unfortunately , most of the good stuff is over 10 years old and becomming unreliable due to age ; and the new stuff is mostly junk.

    There is probably some good stuff out there but by the time you can determine which ones , they're gone and the manufacturer is selling one that looks exactly the same (even similar model numbers - on purpose) that they outsourced.

    This is my 32nd year in servicing consumer electronics. A "Big Name Manufacturer" once said at a training class when asked why parts and manuals weren't available for their current TVs ; "If the average customer doesn't see an immediate , direct benefit , then we do not invest in that part of the company" and "since the average customer's set doesn't break in the first few months , manuals and parts don't need to be available yet". They are also the company who said "You can't sell failure" when asked about the obvious fragility of their newly redesigned VCR. They told us not to mention how much it would cost to fix the (273 moving parts) VCR evertime the customer put a tape in crooked. And they are a company noted for having pretty good products!
     
  8. Kevin_Breeze

    Kevin_Breeze Second Unit

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    Hmm, it seems what you guys are saying is a contradiction. You and other's talk about your players lasting upwards of 15 years and than say you won't buy one used?? If someone is selling a 1-3 yr old player, than whats wrong with buying it if it has a good 10+ years left in it? Buying used can save you a lot of money and you may only be mising out 6-10% of its lifespan.

    Just look at cars...talk about moving parts! [​IMG] But there's still great value in buying a used car thats only a few years old with low mileage.

    Granted this is under the assumption it was taken care of, but I think 99% of any higher-end type CD players will be well taken care of. I mean how many people abuse a cd player? What would you even do to abuse it? it's not like a car where you can drive it real hard. CD players only have one speed and sit comfortably in a rack in doors (hopefully)all the time...so as long as they can last upwards of 15 years, I don't understand the logic in refusing to buy used?
     
  9. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Well, there's always: you don't know how many PB&J sandwitches have been injested by the transport...

    ...you don't know if it was kept in a clean or dirty environment.

    ...you don't know if they fixed it with a guitar spring in the hope of it lasting long enough to sell the sucker to another sucker.

    ...and, to be perfectly fair, you don't know if it's going to be a stunning beauty that'll last you ten more years.

    Cambridge isn't a name I recognize, so I can't judge. I'd be more inclined to buy a used Tascam over a used Sony, though.

    But look at what Steve wrote. That early Sony LDP-2000 I referenced earlier outmassed my home LDP-4500 by probably fifteen pounds. My 4500 sounds like crap when it first spins up the disc. The 2000 only sounds bad when it decides the disc needs to be cleaned and ejects the disc. Those disc-eject motors and gears only run once or twice a year! (Gre-e-e-tch!)

    Now, also, with specific point regarding CD-players.

    1. I believe a cd-player with a digital out will perform just as well (sonically) as any other CD player with a digital out.

    Leo Kerr
     
  10. Kevin_Breeze

    Kevin_Breeze Second Unit

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    "Well, there's always: you don't know how many PB&J sandwitches have been injested by the transport...

    ...you don't know if it was kept in a clean or dirty environment.

    ...you don't know if they fixed it with a guitar spring in the hope of it lasting long enough to sell the sucker to another sucker.

    ...and, to be perfectly fair, you don't know if it's going to be a stunning beauty that'll last you ten more years."


    Understandable, but although possible, the likelihood of someone feeding it PB&J sandwiches, keeping it outdoors or fixing it with a guitar string is very low IMO. Not that it's a gaurantee of anything but feeback ratings on Audiogon and ebay also offer a little more piece of mind these days...
    Getting a warranty is obviously a much better piece of mind and the strongest argument for buyingbrand new IMO, but sometimes the price difference is worth the risk which I believe is relatively low as long as you shop wisely. For example don't buy from a guy with 50% positive feedback. (the player I bougth was from a guy with 100% positive feedback with 33 ratings over a couple years).

    As far as the digital out, most higher end CD players will have better DAC than recievers which I read can also induce noise. Most people prefer to use the analog inputs on the CD player to use it's own DAC's. If you are talking about on outboard DAC, well thats a whole different discussion.
     
  11. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. Supporting Actor

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    Kevin:

    There was an industry survey conducted recently and the results stated that the _average_ lifespan of a CD player is currently 5 years. I forget where I read this, but it was in a trade publication (I work for a hifi store).

    Now, that is average. There are machines out there that will last much longer of course, and some that might not last even that long.

    I think transport quality overall has declined in recent years. Sony used to make some bulletproof transports that are still going strong today. Their current transport is nice, but whether it has the longevity of their older models is questionable.

    LaserDisc players in general often had well-built transports, especially in terms of spindle motors - after all, the discs themselves were much larger and therefore required something beefier to spin them. We have many customers still using old LD players as transports.

    Now, as for your original question: its a total crap shoot as to how long a used player will last. You should be able to get a few more years out of it, but who knows how it was used before. Maybe the previous owner only played a few discs a month, or maybe it was played 24/7. As always when buying used pieces with moving parts: buyer beware. [​IMG]


    Jeff.
     
  12. Kevin_Breeze

    Kevin_Breeze Second Unit

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    one thing i am still a little unclear on, is are we talking simply until something breaks, or until performance degrades? In other words, for the most part, as long as it is still actually functioning and playing CD's is it fine?

    As a comparison, a car may still run, but it could be only running at about a 50% performance rate compared to when it was new... wondering if there is a similar effect with CD players too...
     
  13. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Digital components don't degrade,they either work or don't.Solid state analog curcuitry is pretty much the same.Tubes do degrade however,but not many CD players utilize them.My Pioneer Elite Cd player is 10 years old,and works,sounds the same as when it was brand new.
     
  14. Kevin_Breeze

    Kevin_Breeze Second Unit

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    Thanks Lewis, thats what I was thinking, i was just starting to get a little skeptical based on some of the comments. I think the whole 5 year thing is basically a general guesstimate saying that on average something will go wrong by the 5 year mark, but I would think any of the higher quality CD players, meaning other than the $89 ones at walmart, will probably go well beyond this point unless abused in some way...

    Well i will keep my fingers X'd, only time will tell...
     
  15. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. Supporting Actor

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    Kevin:

    The sonic performance of a CD player, as Lewis has said, will not degrade - either it works or it doesn't. But as long as it is still functional, a CD player will sound just as good as the day it was purchased.

    Functional performance, however, can degrade. For example, if either the laser pickup or the spindle motor begins to deteriorate, you may notice that the CD player starts to skip. Usually this is very erratic at first, but over time it becomes worse and worse until it is intolerable. At this point the choice becomes whether or not to affect the repair. As the mechanism is often the most expensive component in the machine (depending, of course, on the quality of the machine), many people will often choose to simply buy a new machine.


    Jeff.
     
  16. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    By the way: If you're going to buy used, buy from a reputable local Hi-Fi/Home Theatre dealer. They will (a) warrant and (b) service what they sell, generally at more reasonable rates than service centres, and they generally are careful about what they buy and give it a thorough once-over. This advice has treated me well. A 90-day warranty, by the way, is in my experience sufficient, at least with LD machines, because I have found that if it runs for 10 days [on a strenuous usage schedule] without trouble, it will run indefinitely; this largely because the problem is more likely to be optical or mechanical than electronic [although the dead bug spread thinly all over the inside of my pawnshop CLD-V710 qualified as all three]. Of course, used is just about the only choice with LD... but the guidelines I have stated will probably work for anything, and save money in the long run over (a) buying new with the same features or (b) repairs.

    By the way, Mr. Kerr, just what the [double-em-dash] business are you in?? I didn't realise those old institutional machines were even still running. :b
     
  17. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. Supporting Actor

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    That is exactly what it is - an industry average. I was disappointed when I saw that figure, because I for one expect more than five years out of my CD players. [​IMG]


    Jeff.
     
  18. Kevin_Breeze

    Kevin_Breeze Second Unit

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    Thanks for the input guys. Are any of you familiar with the Cambridge D500SE?

    http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/classicseries/d500se.html

    I am not familiar with the laser pickup/spindle motor parts etc that are used in the machine or whether or not they are high quality or not, I do know that the main focus in their design was to use quality parts without the bells and whistles for a low cost/good sounding unit. Granted this unit was assembled in china and is low-end compared to the $3000-$5000 players that are out there, but hopefully they used some durable "guts"

    Christopher the point you touch on about the first 10 day's runs along the same lines as what I was thinking that this guy has had the player 3 years and he told me he played it about an hour a day on average so in terms of whther he got a lemon from the factory it seems pretty safe to me that he didn't or something would have gone wrong by now. Just another way of looking at it...a way that also makes me feel better and helps justify buying used [​IMG]
     
  19. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    My old Sony basic 5 disc is still working fine after 11 years of regular use. The tray failed once, a flex circuit cracked (apparently a known issue for these players), but otherwise has been fine for that time.

    I completely agree about trying to find the piece at a shop that handles used gear, but if going with Audiogon or such, just do a little research on the model in question and ask the seller a lot of questions and if at all possible, look local so you can go look/listen first.
     
  20. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    Another unknown about a second hand player would be how many (if any) severe voltage spikes it's been subjected to and whether or not it was plugged into a good surge protector during its life. Heat, being another source of excessive stress, would come into play if the unit had spent its life in an enclosed cabinet.

    That said, I've had a Denon 5 disk changer that's been flawless for 11 years of regular dailey use

    Mort
     

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