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Review and Measurements of Technics SL-PG100 vintage CD player

pma

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#1
Technics SL-PG100

This was my first CD player, bought in 1991. It is based on MN66271 1-bit MASH converter. It is incredible but it works flawlessly till nowadays. However, I never liked the sound of the unit and replaced it soon with SONY XA-2ES. Technics was also responsible for my initial dislike of sound of “digital” music. As it is still in my stock and working, I have decided, after decades, to make some measurements on this unit.

THD at 1kHz and 0dBFS
1574081905719.png

THD is not bad and SINAD (A weighted) is 88dB. Quite acceptable value taking the age of the unit into account. However, noise floor is not clean and shows quite a lot of spectral lines that I call “digital rubbish”. I think this was responsible for unpleasant sound of early digital CD players.

THD at 1kHz and -60dBFS
1574081940802.png

Again we can see acceptable distortion, but a lot of “rubbish”.

THD at 5kHz and 0dBFS
1574081978790.png

Distortion is getting worse and we can see mirror images above 22kHz, clear evidence of sub-optimal digital (and analog?) filter section.

THD at 5kHz and -60dBFS
1574082009147.png

Low distortion however rubbish is present

THD at 50Hz and 0dBFS
1574082050993.png

Interestingly we can see much higher distortion than at 1kHz. Output electrolytic capacitors?

CCIF IMD 19+20kHz
1574082078847.png

This is not good. HF linearity is quite poor and we can also see 2 mirror images near Fs/2.

Digital zero
1574234450010.png

Not so bad and referred to full output noise is about -96dB(A). This measurement was updated on 11/19/2019.

White noise
1574082139919.png

White noise test shows digital filter behavior and we can see that attenuation above Fs/2 is insufficient. This explains mirror images seen in previous plots.

HF noise spectrum to 10MHz
1574082179659.png

This is not bad. We can see usual noise shaping of the MASH converter and quite clean spectrum above 1MHz, with some not too high peaks all below -98dBV. However see that there is quite some energy between 100kHz and 1MHz.

Conclusion
The results are not excellent, but not so bad as well. Show me the newer generation CD player which is still functioning after 28 years :).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Follow up (November 21, 2019)
Two measurements are added, DIM (sine 3.18kHz + square 15kHz) and Multitone

1574323672072.png

DIM measurement, square 3.18kHz + sine 15kHz. Only 4 spectral lines should appear, 3.18 kHz and its 3rd and 5th harmonics and 15kHz

1574322579638.png

Multitone test. Not bad at all, however IME this test is much easier than DIM.

Updated on November 21, 2019 by pma
 
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anmpr1

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#3
Current players are notable for a general lack of features. Not this, and others like it from that time period. Certainly some capability was due to the era, but look at what your dollars bought: easy track programming for one. For tape users you had peak find, tape length, program fade, etc. The fact that it still works is sort of amazing to me. I owned both Yamaha and Denon decks that both went south, many years ago. As I recall, they both had problems with laser tracking. If I could buy a modern CD player with the features of my erstwhile Denon DCD-1500 I probably would do it.
 

pma

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#4
I owned both Yamaha and Denon decks that both went south, many years ago.
This is my experience as well and SONY XA-2ES and Marantz SA8001 both have died soon (in 2 years?) because of the laser. This Technics is the one that seems to last forever ;). The other one very reliable is Vincent CD-S3, I have had it for 5 years now, playing it every day and still no problem. It is a nice unit with balanced output as well, which I appreciate greatly. There must be something different with lasers used.
 

pma

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#6
Thank you!

I have just created my 2nd audio system with this player. At the bottom there is Kenwood KA-5010 clone,
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...vintage-kenwood-ka-5010-amplifier-clone.9902/
above one of my preamps and on the top there is Technics SL-PG100. Speakers Quadral Ascent 90. The sound is much more acceptable than I remember from the nineties, most probably for the reason that the components behind the player are much better than those I had in the nineties.

P1030454-1.jpg
 

MediumRare

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#7
Thanks for that write-up. I'd like to see more reviews of CD players. I still use mine frequently, especially when auditioning CDs I'm considering ripping.

It seemed to me very little (none?) of the "digital hash" on its own would be audible. The THD at 50Hz and 0dBFS might be audible (-70 dB). But then the IMD with multiple spikes at -65 dB showed a significant issue. I think a 32 tone THD would reveal the issue. Any way you can run that?

By the way, are you using some kind of input (analog or digital) or are you reading a CD? If CD, can you describe, please?
 

pma

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#8
I am reading a CD disc. I have several "pro" CD tests discs and a number of those I prepared myself. The reason is that even at the "pro" discs the test signals are often not properly dithered and this is a real issue with 16-bits. I always check the discs in CoolEdit Pro before I use them. So the "hash" seen here really comes from the player. It is audible only on very low level signals (-60dB, -80dB) after you amplify the output above standard listening level.

One remark to the 50Hz seen at -95dBV in every plot. This also comes from the player. When the output is muted (to GND), the 50Hz line disappears and also the noise floor is clean then.

Also please note that my plots are calibrated in dBV and NOT in dBr or dBFS. This is for the reason to read easily real amplitude of the spectral lines. So always please read dBV for the base frequency or just read "RMS" value which is shown in every plot and which is the true rms signal value.
 

LTig

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#10
Thanks for that write-up. I'd like to see more reviews of CD players. I still use mine frequently, especially when auditioning CDs I'm considering ripping.
I could measure a Tascam CD-RW700 and a Kenwood DP-5010. Have to create a test CD first though. Maybe in December.
 

pma

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#11
I can measure Vincent CD-S3 player, which I have in a perfect condition. I have quite a lot of measurements by now, but to make a review, I will have to make more systematic approach, maybe similar as in this thread. Just one "appetiser", to show how good a CD player can be:

cds3_5k.png
 

Blumlein 88

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#12
Thank you!

I have just created my 2nd audio system with this player. At the bottom there is Kenwood KA-5010 clone,
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...vintage-kenwood-ka-5010-amplifier-clone.9902/
above one of my preamps and on the top there is Technics SL-PG100. Speakers Quadral Ascent 90. The sound is much more acceptable than I remember from the nineties, most probably for the reason that the components behind the player are much better than those I had in the nineties.

View attachment 39259
You didn't mention the vintage rabbit ears antenna. :)
 

restorer-john

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#13
I could measure a Tascam CD-RW700 and a Kenwood DP-5010. Have to create a test CD first though. Maybe in December.
The best test CD to use for these types of tests is the Denon Audio Technical CD (38C39-7147) pressed in 1983/4. I have several of these, along with the CBS-1, a Sony YEDs and a few others. The Denon is permanently in my test reference CD player on the bench...

It contains not only perfectly centred (concentricity selected), but also in the horizontal plane. If you buy a 2nd hand one, it must be absolutely unmarked or your THD testing will suffer. The only tracks it misses out on are -80/-90dB tracks.

It contains 99 tracks listed below:

Announcement For Basic Checks

1 Channel L,R (Emphasis) 0:22
2 Balance, Phase L±R (Emphasis) 0:38
Source Material For Listening Tests
3 Orchestra (Bruckner) (Emphasis) 1:42
4 Concerto (Mendelssohn) (Emphasis) 0:45
5 Chamber Music (Dvorjak) (Emphasis) 0:44
6 Piano (Mussorgsky) (Emphasis) 0:43
7 Organ (Buxtehude) (Emphasis) 0:45
8 Jazz (Dollar Brand) (Emphasis) 0:49
9 Rock (Public Image Ltd) (Emphasis) 0:45
10 Announcement English (Emphasis) 1:49
11 Announcement Japanese (Emphasis) 0:47

Test Signals For Basic Checks

12 1001Hz -15dB Sine Wave L,R 0:30
13 1001Hz -15dB Sine Wave 0:30
14 1001Hz -16dB Sine Wave 0:30
15 1001Hz -18dB Sine Wave 0:30
16 1001Hz -20dB Sine Wave 0:30
17 1001Hz -15dB Sine Wave L-R 0:30

CD Player Test Signals (For S/N, THD, Frequency Response, Etc.)

18 1001Hz 0dB Sine Wave L 0:30
19 1001Hz 0dB Sine Wave R 0:30
20 9999Hz 0dB Sine Wave L 0:30
21 9999Hz 0dB Sine Wave R 0:30
22 100Hz 0dB Sine Wave L 0:30
23 100Hz 0dB Sine Wave R 0:30
24 19999Hz 0dB Sine Wave L 0:30
25 19999Hz 0dB Sine Wave R 0:30
26 21.5Hz 0dB Sine Wave L 0:30
27 21.5Hz 0dB Sine Wave R 0:30
28 1001Hz 0dB Sine Wave L (Emphasis) 0:30
29 1001Hz 0dB Sine Wave R (Emphasis) 0:30
30 1001Hz -24dB Sine Wave L 0:30
31 1001Hz -24dB Sine Wave R 0:30
32 1001Hz -60dB Sine Wave L 0:30
33 1001Hz -60dB Sine Wave R 0:29
34 Infinity Zero 2:01
35 Infinity Zero (Emphasis) 0:30
36 1kHz -15dB, 20Hz-20kHz -20dB L 5s/oct 0:57
37 1kHz -15dB, 20Hz-20kHz -20dB R 5s/oct 0:57
38 1kHz -15dB, 20Hz-20kHz -20dB L 5s/oct (Emphasis) 0:57
39 1kHz -15dB, 20Hz-20kHz -20dB R 5s/oct (Emphasis) 0:57
40 250Hz+8020Hz 4/1 0dB L 0:30
41 250Hz+8020Hz 4/1 0dB R 0:30
42 250Hz+8020Hz 4/1 -10dB 0:30
43 11kHz+12kHz 1/1 0dB L 0:30
44 11kHz+12kHz 1/1 0dB R 0:30
45 11kHz+12kHz 1/1 -10dB 0:30

Various Measurement Signals I (Frequency Spot Of Sine Wave)

46 40Hz 0dB Sine Wave 0:30
47 100Hz 0dB Sine Wave 0:30
48 315Hz 0dB Sine Wave 0:30
49 1001Hz 0dB Sine Wave 0:30
50 3149Hz 0dB Sine Wave 0:30
51 6301Hz 0dB Sine Wave 0:30
52 9999Hz 0dB Sine Wave 0:30
53 15999Hz 0dB Sine Wave 0:30
54 17999Hz 0dB Sine Wave 0:30
55 19999Hz 0dB Sine Wave 0:30
56 100Hz -20dB Sine Wave 0:30
57 1001Hz -20dB Sine Wave 0:30
58 9999Hz -20dB Sine Wave 0:30
59 100Hz -40dB Sine Wave 0:30
60 1001Hz -40dB Sine Wave 0:30
61 9999Hz -40dB Sine Wave 0:30
62 100Hz -60dB Sine Wave 0:30
63 1001Hz -60dB Sine Wave 0:30
64 9999Hz -60dB Sine Wave 0:33

Various Measurement Signals II (Frequency, Level, Phase Sweep Of Sine Wave)

65 1kHz -10dB 5Hz-22.05 KHz -15dB 5s/oct 1:11
66 1001Hz -20dB, -60-0dB 0.5s/dB 0:42
67 100Hz -20dB, -60-0dB 0.5s/dB 0:42
68 9999Hz -20dB, -60-0dB 0.5s/dB 0:43
69 401Hz 0dB 0°, 0°-360° 12°/s 0:42
70 401Hz -20dB 0°, 0°-360° 12°/s 0:43

Various Measurement Signals III (Toneburst, Impulse, Band Noise)

71 100Hz -12dB Square Wave 0:31
72 1001Hz Toneburst (EIA) 20wv 0dB - 480wv -20dB 0:30
73 1001Hz Toneburst (EIAJ) 8wv 0dB - 24wv Zero 0:30
74 401Hz Toneburst 10wv 0dB - 190wv Zero 0:30
75 4000Hz Toneburst 100wv 0dB - 1900wv Zero 0:31
76 Impulse I (1sample) 0dB 100ms±20% 256 Times 0:29
77 Impulse II (1sample) 0dB 4s±20% 8 Times 0:35
78 Pulsive Signal (40ms) 0dB 7s±20% 4 Times 0:31
79 White Noise 0dB 2:06
80 25Hz 31.5Hz 40Hz -20,-16dB 1/3,1 Oct Band 0:19
81 50Hz 63Hz 80Hz -20,-16dB 0:15
82 100Hz 125Hz 160Hz -20,-16dB 0:15
83 200Hz 250Hz 315Hz -20,-16dB 0:15
84 400Hz 500Hz 630Hz -20,-16dB 0:15
85 800Hz 1kHz 1.25kHz -20dB,-16dB 0:15
86 1.6Khz 2kHz 2.5kHz -20,-16dB 0:15
87 3.15kHz 4kHz 5kHz -20,-16dB 0:15
88 6.3kHz 8kHz 10kHz -20,-16dB 0:15
89 12.5kHz 16kHz -20,-16dB 0:30
90 Pink Noise -14dB 0:29
91 3150Hz -20dB Sine Wave (Wow Flutter) 0:30
92 FFFF,0000 22.05kHz 0:32

Source Material For Sound Quality Evaluation

93 Orchestra, Piano -60dB (Emphasis) 0:37
94 Orchestra, Piano -40dB (Emphasis) 0:37
95 Orchestra, Piano -20dB (Emphasis) 0:37
96 Orchestra, Piano Normal (Emphasis) 0:41
97 Music I X4 Normal (Couperin) (Emphasis) 1:04
98 Music II X4 Normal (Debussy) (Emphasis) 1:18
99 Music III X4 Normal (Beethoven) (Emphasis) 1:00


And, for you guys, I've attached a review of the test disc by Louis Challis. :)

The original discs pop up on eBay now and then, but their prices have been rising.
 

Attachments

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restorer-john

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#14
The reason is that even at the "pro" discs the test signals are often not properly dithered and this is a real issue with 16-bits.
The digitally derived pure test signals are not intended to be dithered.

You may be confusing emphasis with dithering. The test tracks clearly articulate emphasized vs non emphasized tracks and the source.
 

LTig

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#15
The best test CD to use for these types of tests is the Denon Audio Technical CD (38C39-7147) pressed in 1983/4.
[..]
If you buy a 2nd hand one, it must be absolutely unmarked or your THD testing will suffer.
What do you mean with "unmarked"? And why does it affect THD testing?
 

restorer-john

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#16
What do you mean with "unmarked"? And why does it affect THD testing?
Even the smallest amount of what would be inaudible interpolation (as opposed to error correction) will give erroneous THD readings. It manifests at all frequencies, but high frequencies are affected the most.

When you even carefully burn a disc, a direct copy of some of my test discs, some machines will exhibit higher THD than with the original pressed disc of the same content. In my experience, even standalone audio CD recorders do not produce a burnt disc that is suitable for use a test disc. As for the alignment, wedge, offset, eccentric and defect discs, there is no substitute for the originals.
 

LTig

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#17
Even the smallest amount of what would be inaudible interpolation (as opposed to error correction) will give erroneous THD readings. It manifests at all frequencies, but high frequencies are affected the most.
Mm - still don't know what you meant with "unmarked". Mint condition?

Regarding interpolation: is this a real world phenomenon or just something which occurs only in seldom cases (e.g. when a CD is heavily scratched on the label side).
When you even carefully burn a disc, a direct copy of some of my test discs, some machines will exhibit higher THD than with the original pressed disc of the same content. In my experience, even standalone audio CD recorders do not produce a burnt disc that is suitable for use a test disc.
I can give it a try, both burning a CD with the PC or feeding the Tascam CD recorder via the RMEs SPDIF output. I think I can create most of the test signals of the Denon disc by myself. I could mail you those discs for comparison.

Problem are the tracks with emphasis. I may have to add support of emphasis in my DIY program but I don't know how to set the emphasis bit when burning a CD with the PC or feeding the RME.
As for the alignment, wedge, offset, eccentric and defect discs, there is no substitute for the originals.
Yep.
 

restorer-john

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#18
Regarding interpolation: is this a real world phenomenon or just something which occurs only in seldom cases (e.g. when a CD is heavily scratched on the label side).
Unfortunately, people tend to rotate discs in the cases and concentric light scratches become the problem, not radial ones. Once the linear burst error (2.4mm) is exceeded, linear interpolation kicks in which is fine for music, not for test tones. Label side Al layer damage is rarely concentric.

I could try digging out an old test disc which I don't use anymore due to very fine damage and posting some comparative tests- just not sure exactly what box of discs it's in... :)

The Denon discs are available on eBay periodically.

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Denon-A...073621?hash=item1ef92692d5:g:f9YAAOSwiwFcvEV6
 

pma

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#19
The digitally derived pure test signals are not intended to be dithered.

You may be confusing emphasis with dithering.
I cannot agree with you on using of undithered tracks for distortion measurements. You get zillion of distortion-like and digital hash like spectral lines then. Same mistake was done even by AES recommendations and test files decades ago. You may use -90dB undithered sine to test lowest bites, that's all. Badly dithered recordings were also the key to horrible sound of some of earliest digital music. Plots of undithered and dithered 44.1/16 sine follows.

1k_undither.png


1k_dither.png
 

JJB70

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#20
I am still using a Sony ES CD player from the same era, it still works, still sounds great and the build quality urinate all over most modern gear.
 

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