Review: Vintage Philips PDCP AZ6801
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neko201

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I picked up a vintage Philips Pdcp from ebay-austria for about 30 dollars. Model AZ6801. Absolutely new in the box with all original accessories, including philips headphones, nice plastic cover...etc.

The thing is big. Very big: 17x13,5x4 cm !!! She needs 6 batteries AA that made her heavy. AZ6801 looks like a grey brick of plastic. Some of you may find it ugly. But there is one important thing about this player: It's a killer !

Real three dimensional sound. Very powerful headphones output (louder than D25 ). No Megabass, no Bassexpander, no DBB...just the real sound of a well balanced bass. Very impressive and present. I think it's the only philips PDCP that has no DBB... Anyway you wouldn't need DBB on this player, because bass are already deep and punchy enough ! In my Grado sr225, sound is everywhere: In front of me, far on the right side, far on the left side and seems sometimes that it comes from the ceiling ! I could'nt believe my ears: In comparison to my D25, my Philips AZ6840 and my denon DCP-30, az6801 produces a real beautiful sound, very natural. I can't really compare to my other Cd players because what I hear is one or two step above, and everything sounds better in the az6801.

I compare the line out with these of my old Philips CDplayer CD460 (fourfold oversampling): The same sound ! Exactly the same ! Just a little less powerfull on the PDCP, but no doubt: It is one of the best Philips PDCP ever made. I'm not sure of the year, but manual says something like: " '89 "...

Now pictures:


The grey brick


Basic functions. No light in the screen.


Eveything in this player is made of solid plastic


Difficult to read on this pic: You have to manually power off the player. Left position of the cursor: Hold


Line out and Input for AC Adaptor (new in the box): 9V-400mA stabilised.


Two headphones output !!! When you plug a second pair of headphones, level decrease a bit.


Somewhere is written: "made in Hong-Kong".


The nice (and new) cover and headphones. Headphones are not that bad and seem to be a "high end model" at the time: Very elegant and light, precise in the high and medium. But almost no bass. My porta pro does a better job, but I can't hear it above 4 because the player is very very loud.


It looks like a small bag. Too big for my pockets...

I love this player. Too big to jog with...not a problem for me. As a musician I travel a lot in a tourbus, so the AZ6801 is quietly sitting next to me. Oh... One more thing: It does'nt skip easily.

Pick one if you can. you won't regret the journey.
 
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Skipinder

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Nice Review! I'd love to find a vintage PCDP like this one at a local pawn shop, but I have horrible luck.
 
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neko201

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Thanks Skipinder !

I found this babe on ebay-austria. Lot of good deals are on ebay-germany as far as Philips is concerned. Sometimes in the netherlands too.
I didn't expect that az6801 sounded that good and powerful. I drive my grado on 5. I think this PDCP can very easily drive aHD600-650 Sennheiser.
It reads all discs, CD and CDr.

Big surprise about this player is that you don't have the feeling that you hear at headphones, because music is AROUND you. I don't have the mood to open the player and see what kind of chips it has, but I would not be very surprised to find the best kind of Philips DAC that the brand used to build at the end of the 80's.

Some questions though came in my mind: Why was it build in Hong Kong ? At the time Philips has built gears in Europe...
Was az6801 a different and rare player for the asian market ?
Why is it the only PDCP that doesn't have DBB (bass boost) ?
I read a lot of az68-- manual (from az6801 to az6892): All Philips PDCP have DBB.
link for it: http://66.102.9.104/search?q=cache:c...lips+az6801&hl
And I wasn't able to find earlier Philips PDCP... Any infos about it are welcome.
 
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pramod

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nice pcdp, btw what is the headphone output, any plans of selling it
 
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neko201

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Thanx Pramod. No I don't sell it


I don't know the electrical values of the headphone out, and even the owner's manuel doesn't tell a single word about it.

All I can say is : az6801 is louder than sony D-25 (one of the loudest PDCP I've ever heard). Even at very loud level, I don't hear any saturation on my grado. Anyway I can't test it to the maximum level, because it will be risky for my ears. I'm used to loudest levels: My machine on stage plays very loud, and I'm a real Kick and bass fan. But I'm not totally deaf, and some higher levels can hurt me and really cause some pain. az6801 is a dangerous gear


As far as sound quality is concerned: The headphones out on the az6801 is really beautiful. I re-discovered some of my discs, and I understand now what the artists meant when they used their different sounds. This player makes you understand music. I think I don't exaggerate. I'd just fallen under a spell
 
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Duncan

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Oops, sorry neko201, I haven't checked my mail for a while


Looks like an interesting player, although I do not believe that it is one of Philips first players (although maybe it is of the AZ prefix) - the first player that Philips made to the best of my knowledge is the CD10...

Either way, sounds like a good unit you have there
 
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neko201

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Thanks Duncan ! It's very frustrating to tell on the web that this PDCP has an amazing soundstage, because noone here seems to have it, so no other way to describe the sound as my way...

I just received a toro bull D25 from Khampi: Wide and precise sound, and punchy too. I can say now that the sound image on the AZ6801 is better imho than on the D25. More natural and more...balls (sorry, I don't find any other word). Modded D25 is just a bit more precise in the high freq.
Toro bull D25 is perfect with a koss porta pro, because of the lack of high freq on this headphone.
AZ6801 is at his best with a good Grado: Sound moves very wide and natural, deep and large, as if you were INSIDE the sound.

Imho AZ6801 is as good as a Philips CD-player of the best era (end 80's).
 
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Mingus1955

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Hi folks,

best player i heard so far and i heard a few: sony d-211, d-303, d-515m d-555, d-777, d-321, technics sl-xp330, technics sl-xp505, panasonic sl-xp900. The philips is the real deal.

Best
Mingus
 
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