Denon DCD-1650AR CD Players

DCD-1650AR

User Reviews (41)

Showing 1-10 of 41  
extreme_boky   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 10, 2004]
Strength:

Neutral sound, distortion free

Weakness:

Didn't move me. No sense of 'being there' in a studio with them while recording...

I bought 1650 SR version with 4 Burr – Brown PCM 1704U DACs (dual differential). I would like to point out that interconnects selection is very important, as well as power cable. It appears this CD player does not like high impedance interconnects. I’ll start with what’s good about this player: 1. As I mentioned, 4 DACs in dual differential mode is the best configuration you can get for the money. Unfortunately, dual differential configuration had not been followed through analogue stage all the way, therefore – we get only single ended RCA connectors at the back. 2. Excellent layout of ICs on the PCB. ICs are of high quality sourced from Sanyo in digital section + DENON proprietary Alpha Processing 24 chip. Sound does appear to be very neutral and free from distortions. Tracks are laid - out impeccably minimising RF induced artefacts. Analogue section + analogue side of DACs get A LOT OF Elna Silmic II capacitors, where particular attention was payed to bypassing. Some capacitors get the bay-pass, where some don’t – a sign of trial and error invested in this model – truly excellent! 3. Analogue power supply is, again, excellent with a lot of money spent on Elna Cerafines + very exotic bypass capacitors, but only 2 here + 2 on main PCB. Very fast 35 nano-sec. diodes are used for AC rectification. 2 in parallel (8 total) – outstanding. 4. Mechanism is one of the better ones, with over – scanning to detect either standard CDs, or CD – R / RW discs. There is also a disc clamp – excellent again! 5. Good OP ICs in analogue section – could be better (at much higher price). 6. Potted transformers – one for digital and one for audio. 7. Use of ferrite beads, but only limited! Now, the things I do not like about this CD player: 1. Cheep 50 cents RCA connectors – shocking at this price point. 2. No use of copper shielding whatsoever! There is a thick metal plate located at the top of the mechanism, which has copper plating only. 3. Digital power supply gets very cheep $3 bridge rectifier. My 20-year long experience in modifying Hi-Fi equipment tells me that digital power section is more important than analogue. Fast switching soft recovery diodes are mandatory here. Fortunately, there are some Elna Silmics, but only on the power supply board. Digital section of the main PCB gets cheep capacitors – maybe a way to keep this player “away” from truly high – end DENON players. 4. Display is bright and characters are too small. 5. Headphone circuit sounds horrifying. There is no point in disabling this circuit to prevent its influence on analogue stage because everything’s been buffered to prevent headphone circuit affecting the analogue stage. 6. Cheep crystal 16.9334 MHz clock solution. The sound? It is very neutral, free from any distortions. Bass-mid region is a bit anemic. What lacks is intimacy and the feel of being there… This can be rectified with a bit of money spent on good clock with couple of buffered outputs – one for DSP chip, and the other for AL24 chip, which would in this design benefit tremendously + good quality OP analogue ICs + copper shielding + deadening of side panels / the chassis’ sides + good quality RCA connectors + removal and replacement of two back-to back Silmics with something better, at least AURI caps or similar + more ferrite beads for isolation and levering the noise floor. I hope this would be helpful...

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
bacobits   AudioPhile [Jan 31, 2004]
Strength:

Build Quality

Weakness:

Maybe HDCD, I only have 6 HDCDs. Just what is Microsloth (not mispelled) doing with this anyway??

After doing some research on the Denon DCD 1650AR I purchased it used. This is a “B” rated player included on Stereophile‘s listing for 3 years. A revelation in its self. Most of the time I don’t care. Not too much stays on those lists for too long, it was in this case as long as Denon made it. This 27 pound player is an excellent choice until things shake out concerning the Format wars. I don’t want to spend $25 each from a limited SACD list. The better players are to expensive. The cheaper ones are 2 pound lightweight pieces of junk as far as I’m concerned. I have over 700 Redbook CDs I am not at all interested in DVD Video etc. that most of these players include. The transport on the Denon is so solid I would add a DAC down the road. A few criticisms in past reviews here on the Denon are not warranted. All you have to do is review their equipment used to make the comparisons. The Denon has a refined sound and does not sound digital at all. I don’t think it has bass slam as stated here compared to the CAL Icon HDCD I have. It is a very detailed bass for sure. The main thing that needs to be addressed with this player is to trash the power cord. An aftermarket PC will take it to the next level. It is that sensitive. I’m using an older XLO Green PC ($250). This cable completely transforms the Denon. Blacker backgrounds, Instrument separation, layering and width were just a few big improvements. This PC change has not been brought up on any other review here. I have been skeptical in the past on these expensive Power Cords. You can hear differences but usually subtle ones. This time it was jaw dropping. I have no foolish criticisms of the plastic remote. You are not going to get a remote made of a solid billet of aluminum in this price class. I have also never seen a remote on/off switch. Most of the time players have to be turned off on the unit itself. A few nice touches are the “Fade” volume to Pause and the Indicator dimming and complete turn off. This is a highly recommended player and well built. I like it. Period!

Similar Products Used: CAL Icon MKII HDCD Power Boss upgrade version
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
handymnami   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 24, 2003]
Strength:

Great tone and dynamics in the complete range of the music, and very impressive bass slam!

Weakness:

Promped me to buy another new CD player (Cary Audio 306/200) because it shamed the Arcam in my high-end system.

I have two systems. One for every day use, and another I only listen to on the weekends. I bought the Denon for daily use. Its built like a vault, great appearance, and it sounds fantastic. It made my Arcam FMJ23C-T sound so sterile, I ultimatey replaced it. I don't know how the Denon was eliminated from the Stereophile list, while the Arcam remains. This is my first Denon product and I am extremely impressed. Do yourself a favor and give it a try. Forget what the elitists say. Go with what you hear, and how the unit makes you feel. Its a steal at its price.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
SPY   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 21, 2003]
Strength:

purity, clarity, highs and mids, sound stage,

Weakness:

Heavy

Acquired the asian version Denon DCD-1650SR. What can I say after a day of listening is awesome! I really like the purity of the sound coming from this beauty and the beast player. I can now clearly hear what music is all about. I think what makes this player so distinct compared to much expensive is the build quality as well as the DAC used by Denon. You'll be surprised how it delivers sound from your cd collection. Truly wonderful highs, clarity is magnificient.

Similar Products Used: Marantz SA8260, Marantz CD-53MKII
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Sanlyn   AudioPhile [Apr 15, 2002]
Strength:

Hefty transport, smooth mechanism, good soundstaging, smooth highs, deep bass.

Weakness:

No lower midrange, lazy dynamics, musically slack and boring, really chintzy analogue output stage.

A curious product, this. Intended to replace my trusty Denon 1500-MkII. I placed my better judgement in a Stereophile review of the 1650AR, only to find in new issues that the 1650 has been deleted from Recommended Components -- the reason being, apparently, that a new 1650AR isn''t what the old one was. Mind you, this has a rock-steady transport (you could pay $2K plus for a good one), but the analogue output is emaciated, brittle, and undernourished. High end is smooth, but poor lower-midrange output gives the highs too much emphasis, resulting in tinny sound. Good, deep bass, but no slam to it like the 1500-II. Audibly, a sad case of instant and persisting boredom. Good width & depth, but highs lsuch as string sections seem blurred and unfocussed. Vocals lack realism, orchestras lack solidity. Beefy transport like a $2000 machine, but sound like a $99.95 Circuit City Special. Adding the basic $500 MSB Link DAC III made it sound closer to the hype in Denon''s ads. Has a pro-quality transport, but don''t expect much musically without a good outboard DAC added-on. Overall System used: Modified Dynaco PAS3 Preamp, also Adcom GPT450 Tuner/Preamp Dynaco Stereo 400 Power PSB Alpha Mini w/PSB SubZero5 subwoof AR EB101 Turntable, various pickups Monster M1000 (original 1990), + Original M1/Time-Phase cable, other cable or wire now and then. MSB Link DAC III Converter

Similar Products Used: Keeping my Denon 1500-II, despite its 12-yr-old clunky transport.
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
Vincent Chen   Audiophile [Aug 19, 2000]
Strength:

Stout and impressive build, Allot of recievers don't weigh this much. Display shut off, index support

Weakness:

price may scare many off but if you can afford the 1650AR,you do your CD collection and your ears a favor..read below.

In a word, WOW. In a world of lightweight cost cutting DVD and CD and CD-RW machines, this Denon DCD-1650AR is a Mammoth in this realm today with a curb weight of 26.4 pounds. That is right, 26.4 pounds, and chuck full of features and benefits that any died in the wool tape recording nut could want. Fade in, and fade out, Auto edit, and peak finding for setting meter levels. Pretty darn awesome there, but it doesn’t stop there. Index is fully supported for all those classical discs I have and was not able to use since my old Sony ES machine. Black is the color theme here with gold lettering. Center mounted, your Compact discs are loaded in the usual fashion with a quality drawer to boot. Basic functions to left and right of the drawer keep the look clean. Power and display button to the left and the usual transport controls to the right, with the pause control curiously missing here, and a headphone jack with level control for the variable output as well. Thank you Denon, these are touches that my NAD doesn’t have. The rear apron consist of the normal fare, fixed/variable outputs in the –10dbv RCA kind, along with your Toslink optical and RCA coaxial output, with gold plating on all RCA connections. A detachable I.E.C. cable is also part of the main cast here.

Life and sound of the Denon DCD-1650AR

Incredible dynamics and terrific bass extension that blows away my Nakamichi OMS-5 that I so covet. Midrange is about right with just a little more presence than I would expect but not overly distracting. The highs are well controlled. Surprising since I was expecting bright city here especially with my associated gear and speakers tilting to slightly more forward side of reality, but no, the 1650AR plays so smooth. The detail is pretty darn good too. Sound staging is quite good giving a good picture of how everyone is laid out. My CD-R discs play just dandy, but the CD-RW will not play on this machine.
Unfortunate, but the other machines I have already support this format so no big deal here.

The controls are first rate with terrific feel. I have confidence using this player. The remote control though your typical plastic fare is easy to use with round and rectangular buttons.
Logically grouped, the remote has plenty of space for even my at times clumsy fingers.
The remote is powerful enough for me to bounce the signal off walls and windows. While my dual firing infrared Mitsubishi remote trounces all but my Pronto remote, this remote is in the upper crust in the signal bounce test for me here. My favorite feature is that I can shut off the display to eliminate additional noise that may creep in from the inverter circuits needed to drive the display. A tweak touch here I admit, but I am glad Denon thought of it.

Summary and final thoughts

While digital technology like anything else technical is ever on the change, the Denon DCD-1650AR eschews the poor build that so many other machines have and that unfortunately that most folks take for granted, I find refreshing. I looked at the Sony XA-20ES, and the Rotel machines. I must say the Sound of the Rotel machines do and always will impress me, and while the Sony build quality is very good, the lean sound and that easy to lose disc clamp would be a bother to me. So for the $1000.00 price that this player would sell for would be a strong value in my book when you consider all you get. The sound is award winning too, see the Stereophile class “B” rating and see what myself and others here are not alone in giving praise where their ears are concerned. This is my first Denon product in my studio/audio/video home, and I must admit that if this is the way Denon builds their gear, then they can expect me to highly recommend them without hesitation. Some folks that I would also like to recommend who are always so helpful and professional are the folks at the “Sound Factor” store in Pasadena California…www.soundfactor.com. The gentlemen are, Duke, Thang, and Rick, and Ross. Like the Denon DCD-1650AR they are interested in great sound and deliver so see and hear the 1650AR, and ask any of these great folks to help you, and you will take some great gear home like the Denon 1650AR.

V.C.

Associated equipment:

Rotel RMB-1095 power amplifier
Sony TAE-9000ES pre amplifier
B & W 603s2 speakers
Nakamichi Oms-5 cd player
Nad 502 cd player



Similar Products Used: Tascam CD-RWs,NAD,Nakamichi,Rotel
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Edmund   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 27, 2001]
Strength:

Very well built with a sturdy transport

Weakness:

24 Bit technology is not available

This player was selected as a replacement to my previous 13yrs old DCD1400.
I have confirmed with Denon USA that the 1650AZ model which is sold in Japan will NOT be coming into the US. The 1650AR is the best we can get.
Right now, I'm just breaking it in and it sounds pretty detail and accurate I am not too concern with the existing 20bit DAC as I will be using it as a transport only.
To me the Denon sounded real and warm, this same effect can also be obtained from the CD72 but the idea of having the CD transport right in the center, was the deciding factor.

Other than having a good D to A unit, the transport mechanism is probably the 2nd contributor to great sounding players. That is why more expensive sets have excellent build motor and housing system.

My current setup;
DCD1400
DCD1650AR
HDCD-10 DAC
AR338T speakers
Arcam Delta90 Amp
Kimber DV75
Tara Labs interconnects and speaker cable

Similar Products Used: Rega Planet 2000, Arcam CD72, MF A3CD, Roksan Kandy KC-1
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Joshua   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 11, 2001]
Strength:

detail, detail, detail. Imaging is also very good.

Weakness:

No pause or fast forward on the unit itself--only on the remote, which looks like it flew out of the 1970s.

Compared to my old Sony, this player has boatloads more detail and clarity. It brings out the background sounds very well, and places all of the instruments in their proper positions. Neither the Sony, nor the Meridian (a very old Meridian, mind you) had this much detail. The Meridian had a much warmer sound, but it wasn't detailed enough to mesh with the rest of my stuff. In a way, there is less "life" in the Denon when it comes to vocals--they sometimes are a teensy bit thin. But on the other hand, I am now able to hear the singers breathing--it's the detail again!
I can imagine that this player combined with some naturally bright speakers could be fatigue city. The Denon has a nice yin/yang sort of relationship with my Dynaudio speakers. The Denon needs a little warmth, and the Dynaudios need a detailed source. If you have speakers that color in their own detail, you might have a problem. Otherwise, this CD player could be just the ticket. Like everybody else, I'm a fan of the build quality. If you can get one used like I did, it's an even better value.

My system:

Denon DCD 1650AR
Rotel RX-975 receiver
Dynaudio Audience 52 speaks
Velodyne VLF-810 sub
Cruddy Monstercable throughout

Happy listening

Similar Products Used: Sony 5-disc, Meridian 506.18.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Wilfred   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 03, 2000]

As you can see, I am a diehard fan for Marantz CDP. I've recently audited the CD-17MKII (a last demo unit) and compared it with the Denon DCD-1650AR and DR-17 (Ref. CD recorder) for CD playback performance, CD-17MKII wins my heart without a doubt. The only problem is that there is only one demo unit left and they want $650 for it with full waranty of course. I came very close buying it but I didn't (for those of you who like the CD-17MKII must think I am stupid, hello Bret from New Orleans!!).

Here is the reason, the new DCD-1650AZ! No, I haven't got a chance to hear it, but the Japanese "Stereo Sound" magazine has rated it no. 1 this year for its price range, beating down all those models that used to beat DCD-1650AR, and beating them by a huge margin! Apparently the new 24 bit DA converter and some other new improvements have really done the job right. Not to mention the new unit has the same MSRP as the old DCD-1650AR.

In case most of you who don't know, "Stereo Sound" is the highly regarded Audiophile critics in Japan, every year it does an extensive rating on all catagories of hifi equipments.

So being said, I am waiting for this new baby to show up in the market. Or I have to somehow ship this thing from Japan or far east...

Anyway, still think the CD-17MKII is better than the DCD-1650AR though..., but the denon has a better chasis which is what I really like.

Similar Products Used: Marantz CD-17, CD-17MKII, DR-17, CD-63, CD-63SE
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Frank   Audiophile [Jul 15, 2000]
Strength:

Build Quality, Price, Retrieval of low level detail, Good Bass.

Weakness:

High frequencies can sound a bit harsh with low end equipment and cables. Ugly plastic remote

As you can see, I have tested many CD players, and after an exhaustive search, ended up with the Denon. At this price point, nothing comes close. Yes, some players in the $2000+ range may sound better (which is always subjective - many get fooled into listening to their wallet insead of the music), but for my system, the 1650AR was the perfect source component.

Shop around and compare - It will be tough to find a player that offers this much, and allows most of the your budget to go where it is needed - Speakers, Pre-Amp, and Amp.

Current System
McCormack DNA 0.5 Deluxe
Anthem Pre 1 (NOS Valvo Tubes)
'72 Marantz 120 Tuner
Denon DCD 1650AR
Sonus Faber Concerto
Sunfire Sub
Cardas and Vampire Cable


Similar Products Used: Theta Miles, Rega Planet, Audio Refinement Complete, Anthem CD 1, Marantz CD67SE, Arcam FMJ and Adcom
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 41  

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