In praise of the Philips TDA1541/A/S1/S2 chips.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by SKATTERBRANE, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    I have owned or do own so many CD players, Marantz SACD players, Pioneer Elite universal players, Oppo players, Magnavox 14 bit player (my very first), Teac, Sony, Tascam, Cambridge, Rega Apollo, from entry level to top of the line. But there is ONE CD player I keep coming back to. I bought one new, sold it, bought another mint one, box, manual and all, sold it. And I just bought another. I am not selling it! It is the Philips CD960. Not only does it load and play RIGHT NOW, it does EVERY function quicker than any machine I have ever owned. But most importantly it sounds BETTER than any machine I have ever owned. It has the most "analog" sound of any CD player I have ever heard. Well, the most like my old SOTA turntable anyway, which sounded great. My friend still has one so I do not have to rely only on memory for this comparison.

    I am officially done trying to find a better sounding machine. Now maybe I will simply start cornering the market on these babies. After all, if I really like something, I like to have a few hanging around as spares. I have on order a Nakamichi CDC-3 with the same chip, but it is a 6 CD magazine (Pioneer) changer. Maybe that will displace my Marantz PMD371 carousel? So far this Marantz has been the best sounding changer I've had.

    Maybe I will explore getting a Marantz CD94MKII for fun while I am at it.
     
  2. Tartifless

    Tartifless Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Glad you enjoy it: the cd960 is a wonderful sounding machine, my father has one.

    Just a warning, the loading mechanism is a mess ! It is made by marantz (Philips and marantz joined forces around that time) and is complicated as hell.
    My father uses white grease for maintenance and it works well since 1990.
     
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  3. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Other than changing belts, I have had no problems with my original one I had from 1987-2000 nor the one I bought shortly after selling that one. This one shows no problems, but I have only had it for a few weeks now. I am more concerned about the reliability of the Nakmichi I have coming. Although I have had several Pioneer changers of the same design for my cars with no problems. I will get some lithium grease per your advice, thanks.
     
  4. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    Implemented well in the Maganvox CDB-500 as well. Plays everything I put in her, fast loading and sounds excellent :)
    I just need to figure out how to find a wired remote for it.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. allied333

    allied333 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fenton, MI
    The TDA1541 is a very good chip. Even newer designs came back to the TDA1541. I have not kept up with DAC converters, so I do not know if a better DAC exists now.
     
  6. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    It has the TDA1543, no?
     
  7. Old Audiophool

    Old Audiophool Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Melbourne, Fl.
    No it has the TDA1541, I have one right now and it does sound wonderful. I need some instructions on how to change the belts, do you know of any videos or how-to's?
     
  8. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    No videos I know of. But I changed mine and it was intuitive. There are 4 belts. None are hidden. But one has to take off a guide for the cable that is on pulleys that draws the drawer back in, on the left side of the mechanism. So many of these get sold for "parts, not working" just because the belts turn to varnish and/or spaghetti after 10-20 years.
     
  9. Old Audiophool

    Old Audiophool Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Melbourne, Fl.
    Yes, 3 out of the 4 belts look easy to change, but that 4th one has got me stumped. Not sure, not how to remove, just how to readjust that mechanism after taking it off. Any help would be appreciated, I have gone to a few audio techs and they want to charge over $150 to do it.
     
  10. psulioninks

    psulioninks Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kansas City, USA
    My favorite sounding CD player, the Rotel RCD-955AX, uses the TDA1541A chip as well. :righton:
     
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  11. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Are you talking about the inner one on the right? If I recall it was the hardest one.
     
  12. Old Audiophool

    Old Audiophool Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Melbourne, Fl.
    Yes, that's the one.
     
  13. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    If my memory serves me (it has been 15 -20 years since I've done this) I made a couple of tools out of paper clips. I had to take the clippering off the larger outer pulley and remove it to access the set of inner pulleys. I hooked the belt on the smaller inner pulley, and then on the larger. Then I manually rotated the larger until the belt slipped completely on. I replaced the large outer pulley and replacing that belt was easy in comparison, but similar in procedure. (DON'T LOSE THE CLIPPERING!)
     
  14. Old Audiophool

    Old Audiophool Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Melbourne, Fl.
    Thanks very much, I will try that approach.
     
  15. tommy-thewho

    tommy-thewho Forum Resident

    Location:
    detroit, mi
    I still have the Magnavox CD-650 going strong.
     
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  16. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Let me know how it goes for you.
     
  17. Old Audiophool

    Old Audiophool Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Melbourne, Fl.
    I will, thanks.
     
  18. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    I have a Nakamichi CDP-2A and an Adcom GCD-575, both with the famed TDA1541. They’re both pretty good. They sound a little better than my first CD player, the Pioneer PD-7050. A modded Music Hall CD-25 put them all out of work at my house.
     
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  19. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    Location:
    US

    I've got a non-functioning California AudioLab Tempest Philips-based tube CD player that was amazing sounding with TD1540s in it (same chip as the TDA1541, but only one channel per chip instead of two) before the CD mech started going. I bought a replacement CDM2 (I think that's it) mechanism but it's white instead of black. Is that a CDM2 mechanism in there. I think I'm going to move along the Cal Audio, but I want to find out if the white CDM2 mech is interchangeable with the black. I can't find it out anywhere. If DIYer is interested let me know. My daughter told me to move the excess gear out of the living room. :agree:
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
  20. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    Location:
    US
  21. sublemon

    sublemon Forum Resident

    lol. there have been some advances in dac chips in the last 30 years. there are plenty of good dac chips these days. some of them are even "better" than the Tda1541.
     
    Shel likes this.
  22. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    Location:
    US

    Maybe.... ;)
     
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  23. Guth

    Guth Member: Slink Rand Fan Club

    Location:
    Oregon
    The CD960 with the slide out controls drawer was my very first CD player. On mine, the light bar above the main control buttons lights up in blue. I bought it new around 1990 or so and the shop I bought it from had them on sale (I think they were likely closing them out at that time). I've still got it in my second system in the basement (which was my first system that I put together after college). All of that gear is still working now some three decades later. I did have to obtain new belts for the CD960 a few years back. It's been long enough ago now that I can't remember the details, but I was able to figure it out on my own and get it working again. I remember back when I bought the CD960 there were guys at the shop I bought it from mentioning something about a "Gold Crown" chip, maybe that was an upgrade for it or something like that? (Or maybe I'm getting things mixed up with my old pool table, which model name is a Gold Crown lol).
     
  24. Mlle. Aurora

    Mlle. Aurora Senior Member

    Location:
    München
    Those early Philips CDPs were great, here‘s mine (CD104) still going strong. It has the dual TDA1540s inside.

    [​IMG]

     
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  25. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident

    The TDA1541 is a quite old D/A converter chip. If memory serves me well, my Philips DCC900 (Digital Compact Cassette) from 1994 (or was it 1993?) used this D/A. It sounded quite well,actually outstanding for the time and keeping in mind that DCC used lossy compression from the early 1990's stored on a tape, but it's been 24 years since then so I'm quite sure the TDA1541 has been outperformed a long time ago, you liking its sound signature is another matter...
     

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