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The Sony PSOne SCPH-101 mod thread (a very under-rated CDP)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I guess by now everybody knows that the full-sized PS1 SCPH-1001 receives quite some hype as a CD player. The updated model, the much smaller PSOne 101 from around 2000, didn't receive such hype at all. Well, I found a 101 the other day at a "very" low price, so I bought it anyway, (the catch was it didn't come with a power supply, so I will have to come up with one myself. Doesn't bother me a bit, since I will be making linear power supply for it anyway).

Here comes the main advantage of the 101 (vs. the hype and very expensive full-size 1001's): you can get the little 101 all day long on ebay for $15~$20 shipped. If you need more than one, there is even an Ebay store that whole sales the 101's for $20, shipped.

I am also modding a SCPH-1001 to the extreme. I will compare them after both are fully modded. Probably in two month or so.

1001 vs. 101, non-SQ related:
First of all, I will have to say the little 101 is a much better engineered machine. There are only 6 screws to undo, and the components literally disassembles themself once you seperate the top and bottum cover. Very easy to work on. (on the other hand the large SCPH-1001 has many many pieces and many many screws...).

Mechanical:
The transport mechanism of the 101 is mounted on three struts which are part of the bottom cover. This make it super easy to damp the transport without altering the look of the machine, all you have to do is attach the dampening material directly to the bottom surface, just that easy... Meanwhile, the well-received full-size SCPH-1001 has the spinner thingey sitting on top a piece of thin sheet metal, it will be very difficult to damp -- no room on top, and under the sheet metal is the circuti board, so no room there either. (Now, if you are willing to completely recase the larger 1001, the "sit-on-top" transport mounting style allows easy mounting to a piece of solid wood block or marble, all you need is an extension on the flextap.....there might be more on that in the 1001 thread)

Audio Circuitry:
Unlike the PS-1001 which uses a AKM DAC chip, The PSOne integrated the DAC function into a big CXD processor chip. Left and right audio signal then goes to the 3527 (no data sheet available whatsoever). There are a pair of 0.82uf caps at the inputs of the 3527. Some web info indicated that 3527 is a I/V stage, but how can the I/V use capacitor at input? To find out if the 3527 is actually just a current buffer, I did a signal tap at the 0.82uf caps, and pipe out the signal to the outside and used a pair of VitaminQ for DC blocking.

signal tapping (this is just to figure out the type of signal it is, it is not the official mod).
--signal wires are teflon insulated SPC, ground wire is thicker solid OFC in teflon.
--The 3527 chip is easy to find, it is near the rear of the machine, right next to the "sony computer entertainment" chip. The yellow thing at the corner is the power jack.

post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quick comparision, signal-tapped 101 vs. modified Sony CA70ES CDP (VitQ upgrade for the output stage) vs. modified Sony D-9 PCDP (VitQ output upgrade, caps hiden in the battery compartment)

As indicated above, all machines now have the same VitQ output caps. Therefore this is a fairly fair comparision among the 101 & CA70ES & D9.
Listening was done with a Stax SRM-1 amp driving a pair of Lambda phones.





First run, half-azz modded PS-101 vs. modded CA70ES.
First of all, I'd like to point out the CA70ES, is a pretty nice sounding CDP. It is a ES series changer (Elevated Standard, I guess it was supposed to be like the Acura line in Honda?), has 4 dual op-amps for the output stage, and now sports a pair of 96P VitQ caps too. The sound is very warm and full, pretty good for general rock and pop stuff.

Results:
--CA70ES: as has been said above, a warm and full sound. good details (but not super detailed). Strong bass. good wide sound stage. The sound is engaging, though have kind of a "bite" to it, like a slight glare somewhere in the frequencies.
--101: the sound is cooler and more lay back. sound stage width about the same as the CX70. The little 101 has less bass, no doubt about it. But the bass depth is all there, so I suspect it will just need a larger size output cap. The sound is "fine" and "light" and "even", didn't notice glares or bites. Good details, they are there but they don't jump out at you. If you like photography, I'd say the 101 is more "flat lighted", things are evenly illuminated and shown well, but they don't grab your attention; while the CX70ES have more "contrast" between bright spot and dark shadows.
-- Overall, I will say the CA70ES's more full and engaging sound wins, but not in absolute terms. The 101 is nic and just different. Both of these will provide lots of casual listen fun. For long term listening, I would prefer the 101's glare free even sound. And did I mention this is just a 101 signal tapping test, it is not even "offically modded" yet?
-- Note: the 101 has a much lower output level. To get the same loudness, the amp's volume knob will have to go 12 o'clock for the 101 while only need 9 o'clock for the CA70. Of course, that is to be expected, what do you think the CA70ES's 4 opamp output stage was designed for?


Round 2, PS-101 vs. modded D9
-- some background info about the D9: I recently modded a few vintage metal-case Sony PCDP's. These first generation Discmans use metal transport mechanism and are of very high quality. After replacing the signal caps with VitQ's, the Discman's line-out SQ can rival or beat generic desktop CDP's. This modded D9 have a SQ performence about the same as the stock CA70ES's (and being a ES series, the stock CA70 wasn't too much a slacker either.)
-- D9 have a more punchy bass, I noticed that right away. But the bass is more of a mid-bass, doesn't go very deep. The mids details are more easily visible. The sound is very up-front and personal, but also a little more compressed and "harder". Shows some harshness/glare problems.
-- 101: again, an even, light, fine and layback sound. I definitly like the 101 more for long term listening.


None of these CDP's above is of "high-grade" or even "mid-fi", they are good for casual listening and that is what I am keeping them for. The signal-tap 101 does show a lot of potential, I especally like its lack of glares. At the current stage it doesn't show any problems except the sound is not very transparent (the other two's sonic-flavoring problem kind of covered up the transparency problem). A higher grade output cap should improve the 101's SQ further, I will definitly try some large value Russian FT-3 teflons.


Is the little PSone-101 worth modding? Abosolutly, the mod is very easy to do and yields good result. $20 for a used console, $30 for some loose parts and boutique caps (I am talking about Auricaps here), and you get youself a very nice little machine that is fun to listen to all day long. But please don't expect it to be a giant killer, no, there is no way it will kick a $600 CDP's arse , just keep it as a good sounding fun little machine. Hey, you can even play video games with it .


Have fun

(the offical mod will follow, hopefully sometime soon)
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
getting official: took out the 0.82uf caps, and now using 99.99% silver/teflon wire.

post #4 of 11
Gnar...
post #5 of 11
very interesting audiocats, i would love to hear an update on this if you catch the bump!
do you still like the unit?
how does it stack up against the scph100x?
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
still working on finalizing it. Got a couple of plastic boxes to hold linear power supply and output caps, the main problem right now is the heatsink for the linear supply, I want it to stay on top of the box for better dissipation but couldn't find a heatsink that looks nice enough. And I want this one to look good

From my "sonic memory" the 101 sound is more even, while the 1001 has a mids/bass emphasize. At first I was amazed by the 1001's "clarity" but later realized it was done by hiding details so certain things show better. The big 1001 has a "thicker" sound (does kind of remind me the turn-table on a cheap component stereo I had before), and have very good imagining.

I think I like the modded 101 (VitQ 1uf as output) a little more than the stock 1001.

The little 101's main problem is bass, I will still need to try larger caps and see if things will improve.
post #7 of 11

I'd be interested in an update on this. I'm getting a PSone to act as a small form factor CD player with a Tivoli 1 as a kitchen system. I have a SCPH 1002 in my living room as a CD player so am familiar with some of the concepts

 

many thanks

 

 

Jonathan

post #8 of 11

Mind me resurrecting an old thread.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by AudioCats View Post

Quick comparision, signal-tapped 101 vs. modified Sony CA70ES CDP



Very interesting to see you have the CA70ES. I found this CDP available at a local thrift store for only $30.  I also own the PSOne (model no. SCHP-1001); would the CA70ES [stock] be a nice small upgrade? If all were well with the player, I was thinking of using it as my main CDP until I feel the need to upgrade.


Edited by Destroysall - 8/18/13 at 8:57pm
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

the CA70ES makes a good transport. The RCA output needs upgrade, the sound from a stock unit is not that involving. I think the best way to get good sound out of it is by linking the optical output to a DAC.

$30 is a good price, if it reads disc without problem (they are usually super reliable).

post #10 of 11

There are a pair of 0.82uf caps at the inputs of the 3527. Some web info indicated that 3527 is a I/V stage, but how can the I/V use capacitor at input?Yes you're right.

NLg8fL
post #11 of 11

The sound is "fine" and "light" and "even", didn't notice glares or bites. Good details, they are there but they don't jump out at you. If you like photography, I'd say the 101 is more "flat lighted", things are evenly illuminated and shown well, but they don't grab your attention; while the CX70ES have more "contrast" between bright spot and dark shadows

65pFOd


Edited by ITALIAN9 - 8/28/13 at 8:04am
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