Grundig CD-8400 MKII
This is the OPTIMAL player for nirvana seekers on a budget.
It is a giant killer, with very simple understatement look.
The ebay price is around 50 Euro but inside the box - this player has a heart of gold !!!
I think it is the predecessor of Grundig CD9000 but despite being
older - it may actually be more suitable for "our" needs.
Let's summarize this player's features:
Philips CDM2 mechanism (easy to find cheap donors)
TDA1541A DAC chip
NO SMD !!!
superb and elegant PCB design (you can tell it screams MADE IN GERMANY !
discrete transistor output stage (no op-amps !!!)
After "tuning" the decoupling caps (14 of them around the DAC) this is a
beautiful machine for lampization. Even without tubes the CD sounds
great ! I would rank it as one of the best CD around.
I would also suggest to change the electrolytic caps for low ESR types
and 5x to 10x larger capacitance (with same or higher voltage rating).
The signal should be taken from DAC outputs - legs 6 and 25 - cut off
from everything else and connected to ground via 80 Ohm resistors.
The voltage is being developed between the DAC output and the resistor.
The signal level is suitable for sending it to tube grid of the
lampizator. Or better - mount the resistor between legs 7 and 9 of the lampizator.
The DAC chip - with the small ceramic caps around it already removed.
They will be replaced with better sounding and larger MKP Wimas.
The new caps were 5 x larger in capacitance, and much bigger physically.
The WIMA caps mounted. This mod makes the sound more dynamic, deep,
spacious, the bass deeper and stronger, the music has more "meat" on
it's skeletons. It really shines and opens-up a great deal.
MK1 - the first variant of this
player uses different PCB - the stock Philips golden one from Gru 9000,
Marantz 40/50/60, and Philips 630/304-2, and many others.
It is a valid option, but not as neat as the superb MK2.