In my last similar post, I picked up a cheap “vintage” stereo system. It was going to just a holdover until I released the major funds for a new full stereo system. That release is probably being held up by the future planned redo of the living room. And that’s a few rooms later, where I’m currently stuck in the master bathroom. But anyway…
The new cheapo stereo ($28 to buy and $30 to repair) gave me radio and cassette tape capabilities. To get any use out of it, I had to start buying cassettes. That’s not really something I wanted to get into, but there I was. I really wanted a CD player and had been looking for one that would match the style. It needed to have a silver face to match and ideally have plenty of buttons.
That search was not as fruitful as I’d hoped, so I compromised and said I’d pick out a stand-in player until I found what I really wanted. Today, I finally made that purchase. It was all of $10, the same price as the tape deck. It was a brand that I’d heard was well respected in that era, but one I’d never experienced before.
This is my new-to-me Onkyo DX-701, circa 1992.
I have to say, when I first powered on the CD player and the display panel lit up, I grinned like an idiot. It had been so long since I’d seen old-school digital displays like that.
That might have even exceeded my fascination of playing cassettes and staring at the level meters.
But, back to the CD player, the thing is built solid. I’m sure everyone is used to the CD tray in their computer, a flimsy piece of crap. The CD tray on this device is smooth and wobble-free. It’s substantial. The whole player was a little dirty, but I cleaned the heck out of it. I took the cover off and found the insides to be completely dust free. This was not a neglected piece of equipment stuffed in a closet or garage and I’m glad to give it a new life.
One little thing of note is that all three of these devices have physical power buttons. You know how everything now is a soft power button – push it and it toggles the power, no tactile difference between on and off? These devices all physically move metal contacts in a switch to toggle power on and off. You feel the detent when the button is on (it remains in) and you feel it spring back out when you power it off. It’s a minor thing, but it’s also something you don’t experience anymore. It feels like quality.
Sonically, it’s incredible. If I plug into the headphone jack on the player itself, dead quiet. My MCS amp has an audible noise floor, but to its credit, I can’t turn the volume past about 5% without serious discomfort. With great power comes a great hissing noise floor, apparently.
So, at this point, I can relax and wait for the right silver-faced CD player to cross my path. And, where can you get a full stereo for under $100?