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Rolling back the years - Marantz CD52 MK II Special Edition

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T

the record spot

Guest
Haha, well, it was here when I got home from work - annoyingly left outside my front door (I live in a new-build block) but at least I don't have to go to the depot tomorrow to pick it up. And this thing's in near mint condition! Great find!
 

Inter_Voice

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the record spot said:
Haha, well, it was here when I got home from work - annoyingly left outside my front door (I live in a new-build block) but at least I don't have to go to the depot tomorrow to pick it up. And this thing's in near mint condition! Great find!
Then let us know how the CD52 Mk II SE goes in comparison with the Denon and the SA7001-KI as mentioned in your initial post. :cheers:
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Okay, so, had the CD52 MkII-SE here for a couple of days now and just been playing some well known reference discs. First off, a big shout out to the seller who'd either picked up or looked after the player very well. It's like new and no marks or scratches, etc, that often comes with older players. This is around 20 yers old or thereabouts but looks the part still.

The other thing that struck me is how lght it is - compared to the heftier SA7001-KI and the heftier still Denon, the CD52SE is almost anorexic at about 4kgs! The other thing is how big the display readout is. Much like the Philips players (CD650, 850, etc) of which the Marantz is from the same lineage, it makes reading the output a doddle. Nice clear numbers but not dimmable.

The remainder of the fascia is similar to the SA7001-KI - transport to the left, middle set display, control buttons to the right. Marantz used to put direct access track number buttons on the fascia too so there's a row of them to hand as well. All the buttons work fine though and to round things off, there's a headphone socket and volume control too.

Another thing that struck me about this player (as you'll have noticed, quite a lot has!), is the disc loading time. I mean, this is fast! I can put the disc in the tray, press play on the fascia and it's on and playing music before I've sat down. My chair is about six feet so barely three steps. Compared to the Denon, where I can go out and do some shopping before it kicks off, that's a fair old difference. I assume that it's down to the Denon having to work out what type of disc it has, then engaging that circuitry to play back the disc - none of this universal player business back in the early 90s!

So, playback. Comparing apples with oranges is a bit unlikely here. The other two players are Marantz and Denon, so there's going to be a similarity if nothing else. In short, the 52 is strong on the midrange, a bit lean in the bass and articulate in the treble. Some have called it bright, and I could see why, especially in a set-up where that's already accentuated by either the amp or the speakers. Too much of a good thing, etc.

However, it's very easy to sit back and just enjoy the presence of the CD52SE, music is lucid, to the fore and well presented, bouncing along with energy. This isn't a shrill "all-highs and not much else" player. It does bass, but not the overblown kind (a good thing for me and my tastes) so what you get is what's there, no flab. I've played my usual tracks by my usual bands, so Yes and Genesis and the odd other one thrown in.

How does it compare to the Denon? Okay, so, we're talking a - say - mid90s player with a mid-2000s machine. The Marantz was £300 or so and the Denon clocked in at £1000. How big is the gap? Not much. The Denon is the better player, not surprisingly. There is more refinement to the playback, bass enjoys a better expression, the top end is a little more rounded off and the midrange is as good. The CD52SE is no slouch for all that, but in this setup, the 3930 is the better player and I#d expect that to bear out in most configurations.

Meeting up with the CD52 was a nice experience after all this time. A complete steal for the money I paid (£65 including delivery) and I'd happily recommend anyone on a tight budget looking one out. The SE version usually goes for around £100-150, condition varies, so check carefully. Get a good one and you won't be too disappointed.
 

MajorFubar

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Nice review which concurs largely with my opinion of the player when my dad owned one 20 years ago.
the record spot said:
none of this universal player business back in the early 90s!
tell you what it will do though, and I don't know whether it's by design or by accident: while some CD players from that era struggle with CDRs, not only will CD52s play CDRs, they'll also play some CD-RWs, ie the erasable ones. I know that because I found out by accident. Neat trick that, for 1992.
 

Inter_Voice

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Previously I did not have any experience with Marantz products not until I got my s/h CD63 MKII KI. After listening to this 20 years old CD63 I can totally agree that Marantz CDP are very good at mid range reproduction. It is suprisingly that this grand father product can sound that good (I mean after a bid of modding work). I think the bass can be better if the power supply (current) to the servo is more steady. I am planning to change the CD63's transformer to a bigger one and see how it can affect the bass reproduction.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Just playing Rickie Lee Jones excellent debut album (from a production/mastering as well as a music POV) and it sounds sublime. Need to spin a few more discs to come up with a more rounded opinion. Might try out one of the Sony's next - the 791 is apparently very good.

Accusations of box swapping might appear on the horizon, but hang it, it's great! :clap:
 

ESP2009

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the record spot said:
Just playing Rickie Lee Jones excellent debut album (from a production/mastering as well as a music POV) and it sounds sublime. Need to spin a few more discs to come up with a more rounded opinion. Might try out one of the Sony's next - the 791 is apparently very good.

Accusations of box swapping might appear on the horizon, but hang it, it's great! :clap:
Hey, it's your time, your interest and your collection of boxes - enjoy! :dance:
 

relocated

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Jan 20, 2012
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Glad you are enjoying your Marantz, RS.

I still use a cd50se with my AVI ADM 9Ts and [although it is probably because the sound is familiar] really enjoy what the Marantz can do.

I purchased it early 90s and had it reclocked and upgraded by a company in Malvern a couple of years later and it has always been good enough to keep my money in my pocket when the upgrade bug bit. Some very well reviewed [and expensive] cdp were just not as good or better and it always amused me to see salesmen's expressions when they listened in on the demos.

Amazingly it also works perfectly with any cdr you introduce it to. I will be very sad indeed when it finally turns up it's toes.
 

MajorFubar

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Inter_Voice said:
It is suprisingly that this grand father product can sound that good
Not really. For 15 years upto about 1997, CD players were state of the art and were a major consumer of manufacturers' R&D budget. Each new generation strove to improve on the last. Since then it's all been about multichannel, DVDs, BDs, and now streaming. So if you look at it from that angle, it's not really surprising that a highly-regarded mid-range CDP from the height of the medium's heyday can still kick a**.

What's more surprising is how cheaply machines from that era can be picked up on the used market, seeing that they can still hold there own against new models costing more. It can only be down to the widely held belief that old = inferior.
 

Inter_Voice

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MajorFubar said:
Inter_Voice said:
It is suprisingly that this grand father product can sound that good
Not really. For 15 years upto about 1997, CD players were state of the art and were a major consumer of manufacturers' R&D budget. Each new generation strove to improve on the last. Since then it's all been about multichannel, DVDs, BDs, and now streaming. So if you look at it from that angle, it's not really surprising that a highly-regarded mid-range CDP from the height of the medium's heyday can still kick a**. What's more surprising is how cheaply machines from that era can be picked up on the used market, seeing that they can still hold there own against new models costing more. It can only be down to the widely held belief that old = inferior.
Well said. :clap:

I have no experience with the new technology, such as surround and streaming etc and I still stick to playing CDs. May be my age copes with grand father products better. :)
 

bobbyblue

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Oct 21, 2012
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Hi Guys, just joined first post. Sorry to jump straight in but I saw Marantz CD52 SE mentioned and that was going to be my query to you guys. I have had the Marantz for years along with a Pioneer A400X & a pair of Tannoy 607’s. I want to do away with Speakers & Amp & go over to using Headphones only. Now, I’m completely out of touch with the “Hi Fi” scene & would like to know what you guys would suggest would be my best option. Have heard a friends Marantz 6004 which I quite liked. But can I do any better? Budget is £600. Music is mainly 60’s, 70’s Stones, Beatles, Shads, Pink Floyd, Michel Jarre. Thnx Guys.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Hi BB, welcome to the forum, all I can suggest is doing a comparison between the two. I think the earlier Marantz is a terrific player. Loads up a disc in no time, the one I landed cost me about £40 or something (haven't read my original post again before replying to your query) and that was delivered. Condition is mint. The coax doesn't work, but no biggie. Through analogue phono cables it's just fine. I did okay for the money paid. Performance was well up there (stacked up against the 7001-KI player I had, the £1000 Denon I use now....) although I've not tried it with a contemporary new release player. Hence why you'd be better off giving it a run against one of the newer kids on the block. Plus they offer additional functionality in some cases (like Harman Kardon's brilliant HD990 with its onboard DAC). Depends what you want, future requirements....yadder, yadder!

Anyway, hope it goes well, it's a fun search but don't be surprised if the old warhorse still turns in a good showing.
 

MajorFubar

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Do they make DAC-equipped headphone-amps that would take the coax-feed from his CD52SE?

Oh and don't be too hasty to lose your A400 and your 607s either, even if you have to lay them up somewhere for a while. At some point when you want an amp again, you'll spend a lot of money on a new amp to better your old A400, and the 607s are no embarrasment either. I had a pair and only p/x'd them because they were an odd size which never comfortably sat on the floor and never comfortably sat on third-party stands.
 

bobbyblue

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Oct 21, 2012
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Hi Guys, much obliged to you for coming back to me so quickly. Just a wee bit of info without boring the arses off you. I am newly retired and because of my wife’s illness we are having to move into a nursing home hence the reason for going over to Headphones only. My system has been boxed up for some time but had a last listen a couple of days ago and all were working ok. I did have a thought of using the 52 as a transport & getting a half decent DAC & pair of Headphones. Wonder if there’s someone who has had the same thought and what were they using? Or if anyone else were using the Marantz 6004, what Headphones were they using with it. My other problem is, we live out in the sticks and apart from a couple of TV shops in our vicinity it’s a full day of travelling to get near the big stores (I’m getting to old for that commitment). So, if anyone can offer any more suggestions please feel free. Thnx Guys.
 

MajorFubar

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Hi Bobby, sorry to hear all that. I know my posting on this thread will bump it back to the top for a while and give it a bit of short-term new visibility, but to be honest I'd recommend starting a new thread to specifically ask those questions rather than piggyback onto the end of this one.
 

omnibeard

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Dec 7, 2010
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I believe the Beresford Bushmaster is quite highly regarded as a headphone stage - I haven't used mine as such, but read good things about it being used that way.
 

bobbyblue

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Oct 21, 2012
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Hi Guys, again thanks for getting back. Yes MajorFubar I was quite happy over the years with that set-up if I had spent a bit more time & money on cables it would have sounded even better! Point taken I will give this a few more day’s then start a new thread.

(Do they make DAC-equipped headphone-amps that would take the coax-feed from his CD52SE?) Do you see a problem here?

Not familiar with “Beresford Bushmaster” omnibeard will have a hunt around.

Thnx Guys.
 

artist

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Mar 12, 2011
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Hi All,

I am using a standard cd 52 as transport to an Audiolab Mdac to a Unison Research Unico Primo hybrid valve amp to a pair of B & W Matrix 800 speakers(the very large angular 93 db sensitivity floorstanders designed by Kenneth Grange in the 90's), all located in a tiny 2.4 m by 4m space.

I find that the cd 52 (on its own) is not harsh at all and works well as a transport with the Mdac which I also feed with streamed music from a Vortexbox nas through a Squeezebox Touch .

The Mdac has a headphone output which I have not used but you might find further info on same on this site or on pinkfish media . The Mdac is surprisingly good at unravelling the music .
 

MajorFubar

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bobbyblue said:
(Do they make DAC-equipped headphone-amps that would take the coax-feed from his CD52SE?) Do you see a problem here?
No I was just wondering if anyone made 'digital' headphone amps with modern built-in DACs that you could plug straight into the digital oitput of your CD player to enjoy even better sound. I'm wary that my knowledge of HiFi kit starts to get patchy after I got married in 1997 and I fell out of the scene for many years. I'm not exactly 'in with the crowd' even now. Ignoring my speakers which are comparatively recent, my TT, CDP and amp rack-up a combined age of nearly 70 years!
 

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