Philips CD-Players of the first generation

The CD is dead - long live the CD!
Here I will share my 10 years of experience with the Philips CD-Players of the first generation. Step by step I will modify a CD104 in one of the best CD-Players in the world.

1. Stroke: Power supply board

With this modding, the player gets new juice. At least twice the capacitance of the original capacitors and even three times of the capacitance for the so important 5V digital supply.
Furthermore it gets an excellent Furutech mains socket to make the player securer and get rid of first weak design points. Also i will fix the fundamental audio theme called: ground loops. I found 6 ground loops.

  • fixes all ground loops in the supply section
  • disconnects the device ground from the signal ground
  • all ground connections soldered, not plugged
  • twice the capacitance for all supply rails
  • three times capacitance for 5V digital supply
  • high-grade audio-capacitors
  • high-grade audio-rectifiers
  • including Furutech mains socket
  • as DIY-kit with step-by-step instructions, sneak preview here
  • or ready built in your player

EUR 150.-
Built in your Player
EUR 300.-

2. Stroke: Laserprint

Here I deal with the other end or more likely the beginning of the digital signal! The laserprint houses the control for the laserdiode on one hand. The laser has to emit light as constant as possible. On the other hand it comprises the amplifiers for the signal that is obtained by light interference. This signal splits into the actual data stream that is being demodulated to the digital signal and the tracking, focus and motor information that is being evaluated by the servo. A good summary of these complex operations is on Wikipedia or even more detailed here.
When this tuning is performed, it is a good opportunity to clean the shaft of the drive and replace the platter bearing with Teflon. If you order "built in your player" I will clean the inner lenses of the laser stock (this cleaning is necessary due to after 35 years some debris has fallen through the gap of the moving focus lens). Also included is adjusting the azimuth of the RAFOC-unit and its axial bearing clearance.

  • separate ground rails for the laser and the sampled data
  • precision trimming potentiometer for the laser supply
  • correction of the original print regarding power supply
  • 3-times capacitance for this power supply
  • better op-amp for the servo-signals
  • high-grade audio-capacitors
  • low-noise transistors and resistors for the hf-amplifier
  • Teflon platter bearing
  • as DIY-kit with step-by-step instructions, sneak preview here
  • or ready built in your player incl. cleaning of the inner laser lenses
    and optimizing the azimuth

EUR 150.-
Built in your player
EUR 350.-

3. Stroke: Servoprint and Outputstage

The servoprint is quite a complex circuit. At the latest here arises the question: why new prints? In my opinion there are three good reasons.
On the one hand the prints are, depending on the external circumstances of the last 35 years, exhausted. In some devices solder pads peel off by just looking at them. And the copper side of the pcb tends to become a semiconductor. They are staring literally towards death. The pcb material of today pledges easily another 50 years.
On the other hand every single component in a high-end device will leave its acoustic signature! No matter where it is. That makes sense due to the fact there is only one ground and the output stage and the servo and all other modules have to share the same supply voltages. To get rid of all suboptimal sounding components (e.g. ceramic capacitors) theres a lot of solderwork ahead. Or new circuit prints!
The third good reason is the possible higher integration of the circuit. This gives way for additional components, e.g. to stabilise the supplies. And it gives way for the new output stage on the servo board.
There is a fourth reason I will explain later.

  • separate ground rails ...
  • lots of capacitance for all ICs
  • ultrafast WIMA FKP-caps to decouple the digital components
  • high-grade audio-capacitors and resistors
  • no solder mask on the output stage area
  • outputstage with high-end op-amps
  • Rhopoint wire-wound resistors for the I/V conversion
  • incl. Rike-Audio S-Cap decoupling-cap
  • as DIY-kit with comprehensive instructions
  • or ready built in your player

EUR 350.-
Built in your player
EUR 600.-

More about the topic Philips CD player:

Here the original CD 104 Service Manual. (5.5MB!)

nanocamp offers information on the topic "servicing the CDM-1 drive".

CD - Tweaks

Some things get stuck with you. In High-End and the rest of your live this is a clear sign that something is working. Three tweaks so far that imho definitely bring better sound:

CD washing machine

CDs are clean, when freshly bought ... or not? Since years I use the CD washer "Hydrobath 1120". Here little Youtube-video how this works.

Blacken the CD edge

All you need is a black Edding 500 or similar waterproof felt tip. If you want to take it exactly, you can also blacken the blank area on the outside which can be easy observed under some LED-lamps.


to be placed on top of the CD ... I use this one.

CD cryo-treated

Cryo treatment doesn't only work with metal. Also other materials "relax" when deep temperature treated. It works also with CDs due to they are read optically and thus refraction of light in the CD medium is of importance. Who doesn't believe it can burn two identical CDs and send one to George Forester who will cryo-treat it for free!