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Rolling back the years - Marantz CD52 MK II Special Edition

T

the record spot

Guest
Picked one of these up on Ebay earlier on today; I used to have the CD52 Mk II before, just not the SE version (which was around £50 more at £300 I think and was the precursor to Ken Ishiwata's "KI Signature" series. I've aways liked what Ken brings to the Marantz table - with the exception of some of the amps (the PM6010-KI was lovely but a little lean in the wrong setup) - and so this was a no-brainer when I saw it on a very good BIN this morning.

I'll let you know how it goes, but it will be an interesting comparison between the Denon, the SA7001-KI and the CD52 Mk II SE. Watch this space (if you're interested!).
 

ESP2009

New member
Feb 16, 2009
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My goodness, that takes me back! If memory serves me well, I travelled over to Worcester to a hi-fi retailer there in order to audition that 'player and the CD63 KI Sig for the very first time. By comparison with the latter, I found the CD52 a touch harsh and lacking in the kind of sound that made me purchase the CD63 instead. Side by side there was no contest - even Herself agreed (and she was just along for the ride, as it were).

I look forward to your report.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
That's interesting! I'd never have described the CD52 as harsh but that's based on the non-SE version. I used my player with some Mission 751s (original mesh-dome tweeter version) and an Arcam Alpha 5. That system rocked!
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Well, for about £65 delivered, it was hardly going to break the bank. I'll send it on to charity when I'm done with it probably. The SA7001 is up on Ebay so I'll be down to the Denon (which is a truly fine piece of kit). Looking forward to it though Matthew, plus it has one of the nicest remotes I've used I think. Sits nicely in the hand, responsive and substantial. Rather unlike the Denon's remote which you could go into battle with!
 

ESP2009

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Feb 16, 2009
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"That's interesting! I'd never have described the CD52 as harsh but that's based on the non-SE version."

:) Yes, but in all honesty, I didn't know much about hi-fi in those days (has much changed?) and I was very much in the hands of the salesman and if he didn't know how to bring out he best in a piece of kit, who was I to judge?

It was in the late '90s as I recall, and I was just setting out on the 'real' hi-fi trail. But I do seem to recollect that by compariosn with the CD63 MkII KI Sig, the CD52 was a harsher listen. Anyway, at the end of the day, it's all down to subjectivity, listening environment and a sympathetic system with synergy. Hey, I might even listen to the CD52 now and wonder why I didn't like it much.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I had a Linn LP12/Ittok arm and a couple of moving coil cartridges for several years, got to know and love them, and then wanted to move to CD mid 90's after a few earlier try out failures, i.e. CD not up to snuff. Reviews led me to the £300 CD52 so I bought one from a local (now gone) hifi shop more or less on trust as demos hardly ever worked for me in unfamiliar surroundings. Well, when I got it home it was awful, really muddled and harsh, no insight or micro detail, zilch. Luckily, a CD63 review came out just a week or so later and the hifi shop agreed a swap.

What a difference, the CD63 was almost there, there were all the musical elements, just not quite as easy to hear as on my Linn. I later got a Dacmagic and then it reached the heights at last and was really quite similar to the Linn setup.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Never heard the original CD52, but the Mark II was quite excellent IMO. Perhaps down to your partnering equipment, placement in the room, speaker positioning?
 

ESP2009

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Feb 16, 2009
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the record spot said:
Never heard the original CD52, but the Mark II was quite excellent IMO. Perhaps down to your partnering equipment, placement in the room, speaker positioning?
That's the challenge: so many variables. In fact, now I think on it, I can't even recall if it was the original CD52 or the mkII that I heard.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Well, it's getting on for a few years back now. You can officially start numbering them in decades if that's easier! :)
 

Thompsonuxb

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Feb 19, 2012
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never heard the 52, my first cd player was the Marantz CD53, put me off vinyl for life, the fidelity was so far ahead of vinyl (pair of Sony 176s speakers and technics amp cannot remember the name) I could'nt go back.

Upgraded to the cd 63se remember audioning an Arcam 73t, never sounded as good or should I say it never suited my system, but the NAD I bought for recording sounds much better...... we can't go backwards, can we?
 

Inter_Voice

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Oct 5, 2010
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A month ago I won a Marantz CD63 MKii KI from the Bay for about 130 quits. The sound is actually quite good from this 20 years old machine. The transport is from Phillips and is one of the most reliable transports and are used in many high ended CDPs. I think the original Leema Antila also used similar Phillips transports (but the later IIS version uses different transport). The KI version has full copper chassis with a toroidal transformer. The entire unit is very easy to take apart and I therefore changed the master clock by an independent clock and powered by its own source, changed the opamps with audiophine quality and make good the servo power supply by using bigger capacities. I also changed some critical capacities to better quality. The HDAM is by-passed and I also disabled the headphone circuit. I spent about about 350 quits on the electronics.

The improvement is stunning. When compared with my Leema Antila IIS the modified CD63 though has less space the vocals are more forward. Antila IIS has a very neutral SQ but CD63 is very soft and has very sweet sonic signature. The bass is a bit more extended than the Antila but the high frequency is rolled off by a bit. If you like vocals this will suit you. However CD63 is not as fast as Antila.

The CD63 after modification sounds much more analogue and I can listen to music for a long time without fatique. Actually after the modification I tested the CDP and listened my music for more than 10 hrs on the first day. I have not used any Marantz products before but I think the sonic signature of Marantz CDPs are generally on the soft and sweet side. Anyone who knows some DIY and wants to have a go can vist diyaudio.com and search for CD63 mod. The total cost of my modified CD63 is about 500 quits but IMHO it can compete with any CDP of 2500 quit.

If you don't want to DIY you can use the CD63 MKii KI as a transport and feed the digital signal to a better quality DAC the result is also very good.
 

ESP2009

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Feb 16, 2009
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Thompsonuxb said:
never heard the 52, my first cd player was the Marantz CD53, put me off vinyl for life, the fidelity was so far ahead of vinyl (pair of Sony 176s speakers and technics amp cannot remember the name) I could'nt go back. Upgraded to the cd 63se remember audioning an Arcam 73t, never sounded as good or should I say it never suited my system, but the NAD I bought for recording sounds much better...... we can't go backwards, can we?
Occasionally, courtesy of the Fleabay or similar, we can. :)
 

ESP2009

New member
Feb 16, 2009
177
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Inter_Voice said:
A month ago I won a Marantz CD63 MKii KI from the Bay for about 130 quits. The sound is actually quite good from this 20 years old machine. The transport is from Phillips and is one of the most reliable transports and are used in many high ended CDPs. I think the original Leema Antila also used similar Phillips transports (but the later IIS version uses different transport). The KI version has full copper chassis with a toroidal transformer. The entire unit is very easy to take apart and I therefore changed the master clock by an independent clock and powered by its own source, changed the opamps with audiophine quality and make good the servo power supply by using bigger capacities. I also changed some critical capacities to better quality. The HDAM is by-passed and I also disabled the headphone circuit. I spent about about 350 quits on the electronics.

The improvement is stunning. When compared with my Leema Antila IIS the modified CD63 though has less space the vocals are more forward. Antila IIS has a very neutral SQ but CD63 is very soft and has very sweet sonic signature. The bass is a bit more extended than the Antila but the high frequency is rolled off by a bit. If you like vocals this will suit you. However CD63 is not as fast as Antila.

The CD63 after modification sounds much more analogue and I can listen to music for a long time without fatique. Actually after the modification I tested the CDP and listened my music for more than 10 hrs on the first day. I have not used any Marantz products before but I think the sonic signature of Marantz CDPs are generally on the soft and sweet side. Anyone who knows some DIY and wants to have a go can vist diyaudio.com and search for CD63 mod. The total cost of my modified CD63 is about 500 quits but IMHO it can compete with any CDP of 2500 quit.

If you don't want to DIY you can use the CD63 MKii KI as a transport and feed the digital signal to a better quality DAC the result is also very good.
I have a modified CD63 MkII and I am very, very reluctant to part with it.
 

MajorFubar

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Mar 3, 2010
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Count me in as a very loyal CD-63 mkII KI owner. Not modified either: exactly as Ken built it. It was the first player I ever bought where the sound was so good that I never got upgradeitis with it, and to prove it I still own it. And that says a lot.
 

Inter_Voice

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Oct 5, 2010
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MajorFubar said:
Count me in as a very loyal CD-63 mkII KI owner. Not modified either: exactly as Ken built it. It was the first player I ever bought where the sound was so good that I never got upgradeitis with it, and to prove it I still own it. And that says a lot.
I noticed that there are almost 2000 pages of discussions on CD63 and CD67 in the DIY forum and I managed to go through most of them a few months ago. Eventually I got hold of one KI from the Bay and did some mod work to see how good the CD63 would be. The DIY job was not difficult to me as there are very detailed information in the forum to show you how the DIY should be carried out.

I have mentioned in my previous thread that the result has proved to be stunning and suprisingly good. I cannot say the modded CD63 sounds better than my Leema Antila IIS but it has its own characteristics. The sonic signiture of the two CDPs are different. Antila IIS is exrtremely fast, transparant, neutral and has a lot of space. I can hear every details of the music. It is also very pleasant to my ears and no sense of fatigue on long time listening. An extremely good CDP indeed. It can handle very complicated music such as orchastral work with ease and reproduces all the instrumental details. For CD63 the SQ is very smooth, the mid range is particularily sweet. The bass is more extended but the HF is a bit rolled off. It is very pleasant to my ears and I can feel the emotion of the singer. The music reproduces is also very transparant but lacks some space thus you can feel the singer is a bit closed to you. The downside of the CD63 is that it handles very complicated music with a bit of difficulties. My verdit is that CD63 is extremely good for slow and simple music, like vocals, blues and soft acoustic music. On this part IMO it performs better than the Antila IIS. The modded CDP also sounds very analogue to my ears.

I have no idea on the circuitry of CD52 but CD 67 is also worth considering. Looking at the circuitry CD63 has a better servo design but CD67 has a better DAC circuitry. If anyone just wanted to buy a decent CDP on the Bay and prefers no DIY work CD67 SE is another good choice. If you can find a CD67 OSE that would be even better as it is fitted with a toroidal transformer. You can bid a CD67 SE on the Bay for about £60 but for OSE it will be more than £100 I believe. If the laser mechanism breaks a spare one costs only £16 in the Bay but you need to DIY and change it youself.
 

ifor

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2002
71
1
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Queen's Innuendo was released in 1991 and the CD version was considerably longer than the edited-for-vinyl version of the album. I bought the vinyl because I didn't have a CD player, but I felt hard done by. I decided it was time to invest in a CD player and as soon as I had built up a vast collection of 5 CDs I purchased a Marantz CD52 mk2 SE from Martin's Hi Fi in Norwich. My decision was based entirely on What HiFi's review of the player. Apparently nothing else came close and I didn't even audition anything else. Coupled with my Technics SU-V303 amp and small Tannoy speakers, I was very pleased.

The Marantz served me well, with a couple of different amps and speakers, until February 2009 when I replaced it with a second hand Cyrus CD8 SE purchased through eBay. The Marantz is still going strong having been passed on to my daughter where it has been reunited with the Technics SU-V303 and my old TDL speakers.
 

Inter_Voice

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It is really hard to think that old stuffs can last for so long - may be their design has a lot of margins. On the other hand new CDPs break down often in a couple of years :cry:
 

ESP2009

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ifor said:
Queen's Innuendo was released in 1991 and the CD version was considerably longer than the edited-for-vinyl version of the album. I bought the vinyl because I didn't have a CD player, but I felt hard done by. I decided it was time to invest in a CD player and as soon as I had built up a vast collection of 5 CDs I purchased a Marantz CD52 mk2 SE from Martin's Hi Fi in Norwich. My decision was based entirely on What HiFi's review of the player. Apparently nothing else came close and I didn't even audition anything else. Coupled with my Technics SU-V303 amp and small Tannoy speakers, I was very pleased.

The Marantz served me well, with a couple of different amps and speakers, until February 2009 when I replaced it with a second hand Cyrus CD8 SE purchased through eBay. The Marantz is still going strong having been passed on to my daughter where it has been reunited with the Technics SU-V303 and my old TDL speakers.
It's a shame that the sound quality of the Innuendo album wasn't up to the same quality as the CDP! ;)
 

a91gti

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Jul 9, 2009
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the record spot said:
Well, for about £65 delivered, it was hardly going to break the bank. I'll send it on to charity when I'm done with it probably. The SA7001 is up on Ebay so I'll be down to the Denon (which is a truly fine piece of kit). Looking forward to it though Matthew, plus it has one of the nicest remotes I've used I think. Sits nicely in the hand, responsive and substantial. Rather unlike the Denon's remote which you could go into battle with!
Blow charity! If you find yourself not wanting it give it to me (as I'm penniless) and I can nos it.
 

shropshire lad

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Feb 18, 2010
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I bought my CD52 in 1991 and it is still going strong . I don't know how it shapes up against other cd players as I haven't compared it to any but I am aware that things could possibly start going wrong with it at any time . It is for this reason I have been thinking about getting hold of a CD 63 to replace it , but so far haven't taken the plunge . However , for the time being the old 52 is doing a fine job .
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
381
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19,270
ifor said:
Queen's Innuendo was released in 1991 and the CD version was considerably longer than the edited-for-vinyl version of the album. I bought the vinyl because I didn't have a CD player, but I felt hard done by. I decided it was time to invest in a CD player and as soon as I had built up a vast collection of 5 CDs I purchased a Marantz CD52 mk2 SE from Martin's Hi Fi in Norwich. My decision was based entirely on What HiFi's review of the player. Apparently nothing else came close and I didn't even audition anything else. Coupled with my Technics SU-V303 amp and small Tannoy speakers, I was very pleased.

The Marantz served me well, with a couple of different amps and speakers, until February 2009 when I replaced it with a second hand Cyrus CD8 SE purchased through eBay. The Marantz is still going strong having been passed on to my daughter where it has been reunited with the Technics SU-V303 and my old TDL speakers.
Mine is a similar tale in terms of reliability and being passed on within the family - my aging Dad still uses it, and the 'matching' Marantz amp. Neither has never broken down or even needed servicing. I think mine was from 1993, as it was superceded within a year or so. The Mission 760i speakers from the same package still work too, as I brought them into use when my speakers needed new terminal blocks.
 

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