This drop dead gorgeous photo is courtesy of Staniu
Philips is a funny company. Whatever they do - chips, cell phones,
stereo - they always have lowest value attached to their brand. They
produced such ugly CD players, that despite being the best, not only
Philips did not succeed to market them as any good at all, but they
literally PROVOKED the small startups to grow on selling tweaked
Philips in good looking cases.
Like Meridian, Micromega, Mission, Rega, Audiomeca, Arcam, Cambridge,
Naim, and many many others. All these companies built on the Philips
building blocks and poor design.
Even the Philips' own brand Marantz - made in Japan upmarket line of
goodies - they managed to sell THE SAME product for over 2 x the price.
After comparing side by side the Marantz 94 and Philips CD960 - you can
be sure of two things: a) they are the same, and B) Philips compared to
gorgeous Marantz is fucking ugly as a sin. It is so ugly that it is on
the verge of being cult, classy, desirable. It is so ugly it is pretty
I used it for a transport because I had a spare DAC960 and I needed the
transport to match.
Inside, the DAC and the CD are THE SAME THING except that the DAC has
additional digital inputs for a DAT and output for a DAT. And it has
two cheap signal balancing transformers added. (yes, it is NOT trully
balanced player. Marantz 94MK2 is)
In Marantz catalogue the combo of CD94 with separate DAC is called
In my case - the ugly couple - (just like the Ozzbourns) was used with
the DAC lampized and the transport had the analog section removed. The
premium aftermatket op-amps and blackgates were saved because they are
worth more than the actual player. But for transport I don't need them
This combo was installed in a superb system consisting of a McIntosh
amp and Goerlich speakers. VERY REVEALING system.
Now it is a difficult part: I must admit this was the best sound I ever
I can hardly admit it because the amp was a transistor monster and the
speakers were not OB.
But there it is - the naked truth. For November 2007 this is the best
system I heard.
And the CD has a big contribution to this success. Even substitution of
the transport with a cheaper CD player based on KSS 210 was apparently
audibly inferior. The Philips combo RULES. And does it WITHOUT
capacitor tweaking - neither decoupling nor electrolytic. All original
20 years old Elnas and Rodensteins were kept intact. The only necessary
tweak is the NOS mod - that removes the oversampling porocess.
The only thing to worry about is to change 4 rubber belts in the
fantastic CDM1 mechanism and it's gonna work another 20 years.
to Philips DAC 960
The ugly front ...
Even more ugly ass..
The totally drop dead gorgeous mechanism ...
Premium ELNA for HiFi and ROE everywhere.
The bottom "lip" is there for no good reason at all.
Even less welcome is the mini console that jumps out from under the
player. It is meant for index programming.
Gimmie a break ...
Overall - if you can find it - SNAP IT if you can!!! they don't make
It's gonna have high resell value like real estate in Dubrovnik. Or a
new old stock Volkswagen Beetle.