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 Post subject: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically sound?
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2019, 17:40 
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I just watched a 10 sided CAV box set and it got me thinking about the finite number of players out there and the broken, semi-broken and soon to be broken players in need of repair...

I begin to wonder which players are the most mechanically robust, well built, long lasting and less likely to breakdown. For the purpose of this thread I don't care about PQ only reliability.

I seem to remember reading here that industrial players and/or karaoke players, due to the nature of their design and intended use, are less fragile than normal consumer players. Is there any truth to that and why specifically? What makes them more robust? For example, some people don't like DVL players due to the way it senses discs and has more moving parts to break. Some people even prefer players that are LD only and don't play CDs.

Side question: How long will a 25+ year old player last if you watch 1 CLV title per day? What about all those box sets in CAV? Am I just killing my machine(s) with each spin?

...and just before anyone mentions it, yes we all know any working player is better than a dead one.
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2019, 17:58 
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The 80s industrial decks are the toughest I know of. I can’t remember the names but they all have RS232 ports, are single sided, only have analog sound, and come with giant remotes. They are usually very quiet but have a noisy picture.

They are the toughest because because there is a lot of brass in places where there is plastic on home decks. Everything is built to run 24/7 for years and they do. Nearly mil-spec.

The way things are now I’d say they are probably going to be the last decks still going. I prefer to have a collation of players and just watch my stuff without worrying about the decks. Sometimes they fail and you fix them, sometimes it takes a year to get it going again. Have spares. I have one of those old industrial decks but I prefer to use home stuff for the features.
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2019, 00:03 
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sonicboom wrote:
Some people even prefer players that are LD only and don't play CDs.

I don't think CD playback as a feature has much of an effect on longevity.

sonicboom wrote:
How long will a 25+ year old player last if you watch 1 CLV title per day?

No way to really answer this. If that 25+ year old player experienced little use, it would likely last a long time. When I attempt to assess how long a player has left, it is really a question on how much life is left in the pickup for me. Signs of dropouts or digital audio distortion usually mean the pickup is weak. This can be temporarily fixed with an adjustment though.

sonicboom wrote:
Am I just killing my machine(s) with each spin?

Yes, but the same goes for a lot of things.

signofzeta wrote:
The 80s industrial decks are the toughest I know of. I can’t remember the names but they all have RS232 ports, are single sided, only have analog sound, and come with giant remotes. They are usually very quiet but have a noisy picture.

LD-V2200 is one. Very well made CLD-3030 chassis based player. I'm fond of the CLD-V2600 as well, but it is not as well made.
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2019, 01:19 
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If you’re really concerned with wear there are some things to avoid:

The 704/99/whatever players. The spindles are just under-built, period.

CAV discs - spin max speed 1800RPM all the way through the movie. If the release you’re watching is the Star Wars black box then that’s many many miles more travel.

CDVs - low mass but spin at a new max speed of 2700RPM. You can *hear* your motor crying for mercy, even on a semi quiet deck.
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2019, 02:58 
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When Grasshopper and I talk about which players will last we both agree on players before the mid 90s that are built like tanks.

Think about my situation, I had a 3070 which I still have today. I picked up an R7G around 2005 had the spindle replaced around
20012 sold it and started using my 3070 and picked up a few other older players.

The 3070 never needed work and was run close to the same as the R7G but that was around 2013 or so, now my S1 and 3070 are my main players.

I feel that these older players before stuff like AC-3 were shelved when they were upgraded, if the original owner still has it they went back to using it,
if they don't and sold it years ago someone else has it and runs it.

Really I feel the older players for some reason will be the last running, caps will go bad first before anything else.

I have 5 players and should be fine for my lifetime, that's why I'm selling off the common titles to replace with DVDs where cost effective and if I really
need said film.
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2019, 12:06 
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What was the movie? That's 10 sided?
I think my LDS1 is more of a tank than my cld79 is. It just seems to me some early players were built to last.
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2019, 15:43 
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I don't think there ever was a 10 sided film, or maybe Brazil comes to mind but its not just the one film but 2 versions and could be a bunch of sides.

The most I can think of were the Discovisions where they were all CAV and most would be 6, I don't know if there is a 7 sided film that was released
to the public?

The one box set of The Godfather that has all the films cut into one is at least 8 or 10 sides, can't remember now.
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2019, 16:36 
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Thanks for all the suggestions - keep them coming! I have always been intrigued at industrial players since we had them in school. Owning one should be a rite of passage for me. I also like that there is EFM/RS232 ports to play with on my old Macs and for stupid projects.

Also, 4300/4400 is used for Domesday so that got me thinking more about build quality.

Yes, my 704 spindle motor is dead and will take me a while to do the repair (I'm scared to screw it up). I'll post here looking for help when I decide to take the plunge. Thankfully I have a few players but as we all know they're all in a state of unknown use prior to us getting them. I'm worried that I'm going to ruin the nice players and be stuck with not great machines or need to constantly be looking for a better set up. That is my fear with spending big money on something like an XO or even a R7G. Eventually those will die and I'll be bummed.

Part of the fun of this hobby is the the hardware. It also is the part that sucks because it so prone to failure.

The 10 sided monster was the JFK box. Sides 1-8 are the movie then the last disc is a documentary.
https://www.lddb.com/laserdisc/04533/35574/JFK/Beyond-JFK:-Question-of-Conspiracy
Most CAV movies are 2-3 discs so still quite a bit of RPMs.

What about karaoke players? Are those somewhere between home and industrial as far as MTBF or expected life?
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2019, 17:21 
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Most karaoke players are just consumer decks. Most of them anyway.

If you want to fix your 704 some day then start looking for spindles now.

The nice thing you may not have considered is that “good” LD players aren’t as important as they used to be. The post processing stuff we have now can make lame decks look way better.

Also, I personally don’t consider LD players unreliable. They do die, but my main deck that I use almost every day is from 1996 which means literally tens of millions of PlayStations 1,2, and 3 have died when it has carried on. Even solid state stuff these days often craps out despite having no obvious reason to Or is obsolesced intentionally through software updates. Every iPhone that ever broke died younger than any LD player I’ve ever owned.
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2019, 19:59 
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The main weakness of Laserdisc players are that they easily break during shipping, but I personally haven't had any functional player failing on me by just using it. Closest was a CLD-R7G which had some weird playback issues. Turned out that a straw of hair and gotten under the pickup somehow and prevented it from reading the discs smoothly. Cleaned it up and it still works perfectly fine to this day.
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2019, 23:37 
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Interesting thread. I don't have too much to add as I've yet to have an issue but I've been happily reading.

Good point about CAV discs Zeta. They are mostly fairly easy to avoid as well. My most played CAV discs are Ghost in the Shell and Robin Hood.
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2019, 00:01 
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My LDW1 broke but I fixed it with $5 worth of epoxy (and hours).

My 99 has had...I’m going to say three or four spindles. I’ve only lost one but I didn’t get it until about 6 years ago. I own or have owned 7 or 8 other decks and I don’t think any of them ever broke. Grip rings and cleanings maybe and an M Holder on my 604. I traded away by very first player, the S201, in the late 90s and it worked fine then. I actually dropped that sucker on cement from about 2’ up and it had no affect on playback. It worked in 2004 when I saw it the last time. So dropped once, used a LOT, and still lasted 12 years or more, never repaired. Seriously, how does one beat that? And that deck is basically garbage.

One thing I didn’t mention that should be obvious, decks with Both Side Play are more fragile except the W1 which is bonkers tough in every directions.
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2019, 00:53 
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I had a CLD-92 die partly because power was ran straight from the transformer to the audio board with no fuses in between. I'm curious if Pioneer did that with the CLD-3070.
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2019, 02:21 
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High end players are more likely to have high quality electrical components although they might share mechanical components with cheaper players. Excessive heat would be more damaging on the electrical components than excessive use. Irregular power as in over voltage and inadequate ventilation will cause the player to run warmer than it should. People often stack these in tight cabinets. Ideal conditions are described in the manuals but rarely anyone follow those.

Ideally you want to find a moderately used high end player pulled out from a professionally installed high end theater. Although not guaranteed, the pro installer likely given enough breath room for the player in the rack, the player is provided clean power and as described above has higher quality components being an expensive player in the first place.

This is a difficult scenario. You could probably find these 10 years ago but I doubt there are many high end theaters which kept the laserdisc players in their system. It still isn’t impossible though. I bought a Theta Voyager from a Theta dealer a couple of years ago. The dealer claimed he had installed the player brand new into the customer’s system in the early 2000s and has pulled it out himself as a trade in recently for a Theta Blu-ray player.

You also have to keep in mind and be able to identify a high end player from a hype end player. For instance, Theta Voyager is a DVL-919 placed inside a very fancy Theta chassis with some power section and output stage upgrades. DVL-919 is far from a high end player but the Theta Voyager with its fancy chassis sold for $6,500, second only to Pioneer HLD-X0 (Around $8,000) as the most expensive laserdisc player ever.
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2019, 03:30 
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I saw an old listing in the UK where someone was selling the Theta Voyager for like a hundred pounds, about two years ago. If I'd been looking for a player then, I'd probably offered him another hundred to ship it, too.

But then, it's a transport without it's own DAC isn't it?
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2019, 05:54 
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takeshi666 wrote:
I saw an old listing in the UK where someone was selling the Theta Voyager for like a hundred pounds, about two years ago. If I'd been looking for a player then, I'd probably offered him another hundred to ship it, too.

But then, it's a transport without it's own DAC isn't it?


You can listen to analog tracks if available on the disc. Digital tracks are output as bitstream only. Cosmetically it is magnificent. Nothing comes close to its beauty and built. Even the mighty HLD-X0 looks dull and small next to it. Very thick brushed aluminum everywhere. I had both silver and black versions together at one point. They are both the most beautiful disc players (among all disc player, not only LD). Inside it has the most advance power section among all disc players. The entire stock power section has been bypassed. There are 7 separate (very large) transformers. Even the servo motor and the tray motor get their own dedicated power transformer and rectifiers. All stock capacitors on the stock Pioneer boards are replaced with oversized audiophile grade capacitors. The entire video output stage is bypassed and there is a new analog output video output stage. You could buy the optional component output card which adds 480p progressive scan output. This makes it the only LD player with 480p progressive scan output. This output card uses sil501 (if I recall) which is an earlier deinterlacing chip from DVDO (ABT). Like any other Theta player, the entire stock audio section is also bypassed for the very low jitter digital audio output stage. Digital SDI output and RS-232 serial control output were other options but I have never seen any Voyager with these options installed. I asked Theta of their existence and they couldn’t confirm.

Nevertheless, the core unit they used is a DVL-919 which is above average but not stellar. It is not a low noise design. Mpeg decoder for the DVD section has inherit chroma bug issues which can not be remedied with upgrades. I would say it performs better than a CLD-704 with all these upgrades.
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2019, 06:52 
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Holy crap.

And yeah, it’s a shame it’s a DVL. That treatment to a more solid LD machine would be even better.
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2019, 12:47 
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substance wrote:
takeshi666 wrote:
I saw an old listing in the UK where someone was selling the Theta Voyager for like a hundred pounds, about two years ago. If I'd been looking for a player then, I'd probably offered him another hundred to ship it, too.

But then, it's a transport without it's own DAC isn't it?


You can listen to analog tracks if available on the disc. Digital tracks are output as bitstream only.

Coax only or does it have TOSlink?
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2019, 15:54 
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takeshi666 wrote:
substance wrote:
takeshi666 wrote:
I saw an old listing in the UK where someone was selling the Theta Voyager for like a hundred pounds, about two years ago. If I'd been looking for a player then, I'd probably offered him another hundred to ship it, too.

But then, it's a transport without it's own DAC isn't it?


You can listen to analog tracks if available on the disc. Digital tracks are output as bitstream only.

Coax only or does it have TOSlink?


Toslink was optional add on. I have not seen any Theta units installed with this option. It must be super rare if it even exists.
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 Post subject: Re: Which players are the most reliable or mechanically soun
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2019, 16:57 
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signofzeta wrote:
Most karaoke players are just consumer decks. Most of them anyway.

I'm hoping the v888 lasts a while.....
signofzeta wrote:
If you want to fix your 704 some day then start looking for spindles now.

I have a 702 that has cracked gear teeth so I plan on using its motor in the 704. I may have questions for you in the future...
signofzeta wrote:
Also, I personally don’t consider LD players unreliable.

The sheer number of moving parts, many of them old/thin/fragile plastic and the unknown treatment and use is what I'm talking about. As mentioned previously, all 12cm media requires so much less power to spin them. I think dust and heat kill the PS3s. Just abused really.
substance wrote:
You also have to keep in mind and be able to identify a high end player from a hype end player.

This kinda got off topic into PQ and high end players. Really just asking about mechanical superiority. I'm not the kind of person who'd every buy a Theta. I'd be fine with the 919 if it was in decent shape.

Also, to someone's point, PQ is largely determined by whatever processing you're using these days be it an external processor or just the TV processing. PQ is not a concern right now.

I had read here, somewhere, that the XO and perhaps another industrial player used a solid metal rail instead of a loading belt or something along those lines. I seem to remember seeing photos of the S1 and/or X1 that had a solid copper honeycomb base for stability...those are things I'm interested in. Build quality, stability, longevity and reliability. These are all design features at heart. The best players have the best design for mechanical layout and workflow. X0, X1, S1 are all pretty solidly built compared to a 704.

For example, there are several types of side flipping systems (Alpha, Gamma, Epsilon). Some players have a door in front of the drawer (that often sticks or breaks). Not only do I want to know what's best, let's hear which players SUCK in this regard. Which players are constantly breaking due to a design flaw or a cheap/poorly made part (like the M Holder thing). Another example is the 704/99 series has spindle issues. The X9 has a cheap tray that breaks...
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