Magnavox FD3040 CD Player and What Exactly Is a "First Generation" CD Player?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Analogman, Jul 5, 2014.

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  1. Analogman

    Analogman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Today I picked this old machine up. I did so simply because it's build quality was more like that of an ancient all metal top loading VCR than for any other reason, and the fact that although "dated" in appearance compared to today's offerings it is very handsome with clean lines that speak well to minimalism; none of those funky 1980's graphics all over the face of it (like SONY loved so much). That and the fact that it employs variable level(s) out pots on the back let me know that at some time it was a serious machine. Not to mention the fact that it weighs about 20 pounds. The date of manufacture is: December 1984

    After doing a little research it appears that it was in fact a good one back in the day and still enjoys a following. This video claims it's essentially the same machine as the Marantz CD-74:

    But none of this really means anything substantive to me; I am not a CD player guru or aficionado.

    All I did where I bought it was plug it in and confirm a working display and that it could recognize a disc. I have not yet play tested it. Figured it was worth taking a chance on as I only paid them $5 bucks for it and it is in nearly mint condition although it does not (sadly) have it's optional remote. Ah well, guess you can't win them all for $5 bucks!

    I always take a second look at these old Magnavox machines as most of them are merely re-badged Philips models with the nice all metal transports and most from the early 1980s are made in Belgium. This one however is made in Japan.

    Does anyone here know of or own this machine? I will clean it thoroughly and lubricate it first; if it plays well for any length of time I may consider re-capping it if I like the way it sounds. But regardless, was this a special model in any way? (worth keeping/a "keeper"). What little I have read so far indicates it used good sounding DACs so I'm optimistic.

    I became interested in Vintage CD players (if you can believe/accept there is such a thing as a "Vintage" CD player) after I sold my original REGA Planet (which I bought new) after owning it for about 10 years. It replaced my first CD player which was a 1990 or so black plastic $200 Onkyo which I passed on to my then very small Son. It was a good sounding machine (the REGA, but still no where near my turntable) but after 10 years or so I wasn't interested in any inevitable repairs or service on a modern digital device so while it was still working well I sold it for more than half of what I paid for it new. It had actually started to develop some issues with recognizing discs and seemed to be a bit more noisy than when new but that may all be speculative on my part (memory's getting cloudy) and disc dependent. Either way, it's gone and I don't really miss it that much.

    I then ran original SONY Playstations (the "1001" model; I picked up 3 of them) as my stand alone player until the lasers got tired and actually enjoyed the sound they made more so than the REGA believe it or not (and I still do; I just started developing drop out issues eventually with all 3 thanks to worn out lasers (these things all come with about 100,000 hours on them) and have run out of room to tweak the bias and voltages any further so they really all need new sled assemblies and fresh caps). There are a ton of mods available for these machines and even a couple of German sites devoted entirely to transforming the platform of this "toy" into a real "hi-end" machine complete with elegant well dampened cabinets/cases. Don't know if I am that committed to it's sonic virtues or not at this point; I may revisit one of those projects after I finish the other 100 ANALOG and tube projects I already have going. And get all of my albums cleaned and organised!

    So, in the meantime I am using my Son's well traveled circa 2000 or 2001 all black plastic SONY (the hand me down Onkyo's replacement; it just died finally) which I replaced for him with a decent single disc new machine this past Christmas as it had started developing issues which I was able to fix with a good cleaning and an oil change!

    If you haven't figured it out already, CD sound to me is fine as long as it's not filled with sins of inclusion. I just cannot make myself invest heavily in the digital hardware given it's constantly changing executions and relatively fragile nature as compared to good turntables or even tape machines. Most Music I love I listen to and own in both formats; so if it's the better sonics I'm interested in I'll generally pull out the Lp. Simply put, most CD players make me happy, only a few I've heard or owned have made me want to just turn them off. And, as I understand things, MOST "hi-end" CD players are just re-boxed and re-worked/modified platforms from the Japanese like Marantz, Philips etc. $1,000 dollar machines in $5,000 boxes for the most part (I've peeked inside a few). I am too old to get into the CD player modding hobby (chips and such) but I will pick up an iron and do a re-cap or simple output mod if it really works.

    There is also another machine available to me for even less (maybe $2 bucks). It is pretty beat up but not trashed. It is definitely an all black plastic piece but surprisingly is only a wee bit younger than the FD3040. It is another Magnavox, a CDB460 manufactured 1987 (I think, the machine's not here) made in Belgium and is definitely a re-badged Philips model. I don't know about the guts of it but the machine itself isn't even in the same universe as the FD3040 with respect to build quality and materials. The heat sink alone on the FD3040 weighs more than the whole CDP460 machine! (but yes, I know that doesn't prove or mean anything as for SOUND potential).
    Still I have a hard time understanding such a paradigm shift in build quality from the same maker in just under 3 years?! Unless these two machines are representatives from two entirely disparate consumer model line-ups? I know the black plastic plague came on us fast, but between these two examples of machines from the same moniker separated by less than 3 years....all I can say is "damn"!
    So, if anyone knows anything or has an opinion on this one please chime in as well. I can find references to it but mainly chip set related and seemingly always in the context of the model above, below or preceding it model year wise. I'm not really hot on it because it too has no remote and is as I have said a bit beaten up. But if it's made of good bits and has decent sound quality I might consider putting a modest effort into it. Can always use a back up machine it seems when using "ancient" players.

    My main interest and quest for information and ideas is for the one I now own, the Magnavox FD3040.
    Interestingly enough, someone thought/thinks enough of it to have posted it's owners manual on the web; one of the firt things things that pops up on a search of the machine and it's a pdf, not someone trying to sell you a copy:

    And finally, in lay terms, what is a "first generation" versus "second" and later CD player? I've never heard of a "third" of "forth" generation CD player. When and why did this reference stop?

    Thank you to any and all who made it through this tome of a post!
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
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  2. ElizabethH

    ElizabethH Forum Resident

    SE Wisconsin,USA
    My first CD player was a Sanyo DAD8. Back in 1984.
    I Googled yours.. 1984 too.
  3. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    East TN
    True first generation Philips/Magnavox CD players are Top Loaders. In Philips CD-100 and CD-101, In Magnavox FD-1000 and FD 1010 models. These have CDM-0 or CDM-1 die cast transport mechanisms and tank like construction. Made in Holland. The Belgium made front loaders are second generation models.
    kevinsinnott and MLutthans like this.
  4. Analogman

    Analogman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Understood and thank you.........BUT the SONY CDP-101 is also commonly referred to a "first generation" machine and it's a front drawer loader. I am also aware that in the early days of commercial consumer (and "pro") hardware a great deal of cross pollination occurred with regard to parts, chip sets and transports.
    So, it's back to my original question; what exactly defines a "first generation " machine? Is it merely in reference to specific offerings from manufacturer to manufacturer or is there a constant technical requisite that they all shared? Or is it simply defined by a specific time frame.

    But actually, I am more interested in any feedback I can get on this particular Magnavox than anything else. I may have convoluted my inquiry with the side bar questioning on the "first generation" moniker.

    But to complicate the matter of the secondary question even more there's the matter of these wonderful devices and how they factor into it all!:

    Thank you all for your input!

    This is the most optimistic part of it regarding my new $5 dollar special!

    MAGNAVOX FD3040----2 x TDA1540 – SAA7030----CDM-1
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2014
  5. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    East TN
    Sony's first generation CD player was a front loader. Your Magnavox is technically very early second generation. But with the desirable first generation transport.
  6. crooner

    crooner Tube Marantzed

    San Diego, CA
    First generation Philips machines are wonderful. I went through all the trouble of importing a Philips CD100 from England (it required a Laser 2 certification and FCC form for customs) and rewire the transformer for 120V. I wanted a Philips badged unit instead of Magnavox. After a complete recap with audiophile grade Nichicon Muse caps, it sounds fantastic to me!

    Last edited: Jul 6, 2014
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  7. maui_musicman

    maui_musicman Well-Known Member

    Kihei, Hi USA
    I had an early Magnavox CDP. I think it was a 14 bit resolution as Philips dropped the two least significant bits.
    Nice sounding piece for it's day and easily upgradable.
  8. Analogman

    Analogman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Beautiful! Frustrating though; I just read yesterday a rather lengthy and interesting article on the reasons Philips was branding so much of their stuff "Maganavox" here (post acquisition) in the U.S.A. and how the public's perception of the brand "Magnavox" at the time cost them. Of course now I can't find it.
    They miscalculated I guess and figured "Magnavox" still enjoyed the prestige it once did during the tube era.
    Losing "Magnavox" to the "New World Order" (the real, original and truly innovative company it once was long ago) is yet another sad story, to me anyway. The "Philips Magnavox" marketing scheme of the '90s didn't fare much better either and I guess Philips finally gave up. Someone there must have really believed in something about the name!
  9. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    East Coast, USA
    It's harder to draw a line on the Sony side, but the "second-generation" Philips units were the ones designed around their newer, 16-bit TDA-1541A chip. Many of these units also featured 2x or 4x oversampling. I owned a Magnavox CDB-650 that sounded very good out of the box and outstanding after modification by Euphonic Technology in Connecticut. (After-market mods were big business in those days.)

  10. RPhelps

    RPhelps Forum Resident

    Athens, GA
    I also owned a Magnavox CDB-650 - I think I still have it in a box in the attic - what did those mods cost you ?
  11. ffracer

    ffracer Custom Title

    A couple things:

    1. Check out this website on early gen CD players. It is in French, but you can figure it out or use a translator.

    2. For those who weren't around then, Philips was known in the USA as Norelco and then acquired US TV maker Magnavox in 1974. They shifted most of their main A/V branding to Magnavox, which was well known, but did not have a reputation much more than mass market appliances. Norelco was used on mainly electric shavers after that.

    Philips also acquired GTE's A/V business and the rights to the Sylvania name for A/V stuff (Osram acquired the lighting business in the USA/Canada) for the USA and Canada. Philips also had controlling ownership of Marantz (Standard Radio Company) in Japan back then. So Philips and Marantz players are related.

    Philips did not use their global brand namesake in the US on products that competed with Philco for many years due to trademark infringement. Philips bought the rights to the Philco brand and started using the Philips brand on more than lighting and industrial products in the USA shortly after the CD became popular. At one point Philps sold products under the following brands in the USA: Philips, Philips Magnavox, Magnavox, Norelco, Sylvania, Philco, and Marantz.

    This created confusion in the US market place during the first few years of the CD, as:
    1. It started with Magnavox branding with the CD launch and then later added Philips and then later Sylvania (popular US brand then) and Philco on the same products.
    2. Philips ' reputation was not known in the USA like it was in most countries
    3. Magnavox was not perceived as high performance (despite great CD players) or often sold in similar channels as Sony and Technics, often sold in Mom and Pop TV stores
    4. PolyGram, Philips' record company and its family of labels, was not perceived in the USA to have any marketing connection Philips, despite heavy CD promotion - unlike Europe where Philips and PolyGram were co-promoted.
    5. Sony promoted its involvement with CD development heavily in the USA to be perceived as the inventor, rather than relatively unknown Philips.
    6. Philips (not Norelco) was used as a brand for decades in Canada and added Magnavox as a brand when acquired. The opposite of the USA.
    Philips using Magnavox in the US would have the equivalent of Matsushita Electric/Panasonic using the Quasar brand for the launch of the first $1000 high tech CD player instead of Technics or later, Panasonic.
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  12. Lovealego

    Lovealego Forum Resident

    Danville, CA
    My first cd Player was the Magnavox CDB 502. I loved that one. It had a tray but the laser assembly was part of the tray.
    How do these compare to the ones being talked about in this thread? I have often thought of finding it again. It regularly comes up on ebay for about $40.
    I think I paid $80 new back in mid 80s.
    I replaced mine with a Sony ES 10 disc changer that I loved for 15 years.
    Sold that and have had Denon or Oppo players since. Still wish I had that old Magnavox and wish I would have purchased a SonyES single disc player instead of the 10disc changer. I would still have it today if I did.
  13. Analogman

    Analogman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Well it would seem my new toy qualifies as a "First Generation"
    I did some basic cleaning and the machine performs flawlessly so it will receive the full treatment, lubrication and maybe even a re-cap
    Learned some interesting things and that a lot of people enjoy modifying these early machines and claim "studio" quality results (these are serious hobbyists, not people selling services)
    Step one seems to be to rid the machine of oversampling if it contains the early chip set and filter as mine does; don't know if I'll want to mod such a nice example

    The puzzling thing to me though is that the subjective "loudness" and the amount I have to turn the amp "up" seems very much less than that of modern CD players, almost like my PHONO levels
    But according to the manual for this machine it's output is the standard 2 V rms
    It is also cool that it has line out pots to adjust the level if you wish
    I have them wide open

    Here are some little clips of information I thought were interesting:

    MAGNAVOX FD3040 2 x TDA1540 – SAA7030 CDM-1 CD104/CD 104 philips TDA.html
    the DAC - Philips TDA1540, and the output stage.
    This is a funny DAC - the oldest dac on earth. It s debut was together with CD format, circa 1980. I was just 16 years old then and we had Solidarity in Poland and a year later - the martial law. Philips came out with a DAC capable of doing 14 bit words and a disk recorded with 16 bits. We miss two precious bits - they are LOST forever. So the quality level resembles that of a very good MP# or something like that. Only few years later the Philips people released the next gen - TDA1541. (1985)
    Anyway, we are dealing with a grandmother of the TDA1541 - the TDA1540.
    The datasheet reveals that this is almost identical chip although it is mono. It is very interesting to read about the working principle how the digits are translated into electrical signal - MUSIC. It is easier now to understand the role of the famous 14 decoupling caps.
    TDA 1540 differs from the TDA1541 also because it is MONO. One needed per channel.
    There are three power supplies : plus 5, minus 5 and minus 17 V. For both channels - 6 are needed. Each needs a good cap like os-con.
  14. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Tracy, CA, USA
    I bought a Magnavox FD-3030 at "Poor Richard's" stereo in SF, CA (I drove from Pleasanton to buy it, it was on sale (closeout?) for something like $299). This would have been summer of 1984, I think.

    CDs were kept in locked display cases and were $24 or more each. A demo CD came with the player that I still have. I think I tossed the player when it quit working several years later ...

    I always thought it was a 2nd generation player that was at the time being replaced by a newer model (FD-3040) ... but don't know for sure. I had a Yamaha A-700 integrated amp and a 3 piece "3D Acoustics" sub-sat speaker system. Sounded OK but didn't have spatial depth ...

    says 1983, for the FD-3040 it says 1984 ... earliest model listed says 1982.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
  15. Analogman

    Analogman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Earlier and more handsome than the FD3040 to my eyes. Essentially the same machine though, just the very initial versions of the key ingredients (like a CDM-0 versus "1").
    Your memory may not be right on the year you bought yours if what this kid says about his date code is accurate. The FD3040 is December 1985. I am (was) beginning to believe based on conclusions from reading that the true "first" generation were the few with NO oversampling, but then some SONYs screw the time frame up on that one. I don't know, but I do know it drives me nuts when catch-phrases that are used almost universally on a specific topic yet are so ubiquitous they either have no real meaning (except to and for the first time user) or no one really knows what it is!
  16. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Tracy, CA, USA
    I may have 'misspoken' - I meant that the earliest model Magnavox CD player (FD-1000) was 1982. I imagine the years listed on the

    site are when the players were first introduced. I got my first 'real job' in July 1983, and had gotten some decent stereo gear by summer '84. I don't remember exactly when I got the 3030 ... maybe it was 1985, but likely before June, when I met my wife (and had other things to spend spare cash on!) anyway, cool machines!

    and yes, the 3030 was ahead of its time by bathing the CD in green LEDs ...
  17. Analogman

    Analogman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I was only referencing your comment that you thought the FD3030 was on "closeout" when you bought yours. The kid's video would suggest it was still in production as of May of '84. I was going to say; that would have been a hell of a deal in those times!

    Now you've referenced the FD1000 and the year 1982. So which machine is it that you "think" you owned and "tossed" after several years?

    I've found it easier to date any given machine's production periods from those transport and chip set pages like the one I think I've posted in this thread already; there's a bunch of them.

    Like Beatles records, the early machines almost all seem to have had a different U.S. and Rest of the World release date.
  18. House de Kris

    House de Kris VVell-known member

    Actually, the two least significant bits are not dropped and LOST forever. From the very get-go, Philips was promoting oversampling as the way to go. Their very earliest 14-bit players use 4x oversampling to give us 16-bit equivalent in the audio band. This is for the very simple reason that it was quite expensive to make a DAC with sufficient linearity at the time. It was much easier to make a 14 bitter that ran four times as fast. Sony refused to heed the advice of their partner until, like, their third generation.
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  19. Analogman

    Analogman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    You are pointing out, and correcting an excerpt from an article written by someone who's first language was clearly NOT English. I posted that sample to give an idea of what the fellow was doing as to mods as I also included his link.

    Those are not my words.
  20. Analogman

    Analogman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    And, even that was trimmed out of context; please don't put words in my mouth or misquote me. I will make every attempt to do the same for you or any other poster.

    Thank you
  21. maui_musicman

    maui_musicman Well-Known Member

    Kihei, Hi USA
    Sorry if I over simplified that. It was nearly 30 years ago. I think mine was a 2x oversampled unit.
  22. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Tracy, CA, USA
    I don't know if you mean to be snarky with this comment, but I owned an FD-3030, that was 30 years ago, so I don't remember what happened to it after I was finished using it. Sorry to disappoint you.

    And yes, possibly it was just 'on sale' and was still in production. Big whoop.
  23. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    Don't get rid of the oversampling, especially with a 14-bit TDA1540-based machine. Ignore the lampizator site, he gets so many technical things wrong. Non-oversampling is the worst of all worlds!

    I would advise against using the variable outputs, and would use the fixed outputs (assuming this model has both).

    For more info on the drive and DAC chip, see:

    For some links on the early days of CD see:
  24. Analogman

    Analogman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Thank you for your thoughts!
    Unfortunately the unbalanced RCA "outs" are only quantity (2) and the level pots are part of the deal.

    And yes, I got the feeling that the "lampizator" fellow does a lot of things "just because he can".

    Only quoted/cited him as I found his exuberance over these old machines uplifting.

    Where are you in the Bay Area? I am in Clayton.
  25. Analogman

    Analogman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Not trying to "mean" or come across "snarky" at all dude (are YOU trying to be a douche by using that pop phrase, that and "big whoop"?)

    I was just engaging you in polite conversation based on the facts and statements you made in your posts.

    Sorry if you have a problem with the fact that I actually read people's posts (pay attention to what they are saying, or asking, and making an honest attempt to comprehend what I have read).

    Don't just make "noise" if your comments are just that, vague memories of anecdotal bull ****. I would not have asked the question if I wasn't seriously interested in learning an accurate answer if one exists.
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