Yamaha CD-X1 & CD-2 CD players My Dinner With Toyasaki Matsumoto

Sidebar 1: My Dinner With Toyasaki Matsumoto

Toyasaki Matsumoto, designer of the Yamaha CD-X1 and manager of Yamaha's Design Group 2, recently visited the US and met us for lunch at Nelson's, the famous upper West Side New York Delicatessen. After sampling the local pastrami, which he greatly enjoyed, we got down to business: the CD revolution and his company's new cost-effective player. Here are Mr. Matsumoto's views on the subject.

The key to the CD-Xl's considerable success in the United States lay in its small size and reduced cost. Designed originally for the minicomponent market, the second-generation CD-XI achieved its cost effectiveness through the use of high-density, Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuitry. Many first-generation CD players were handmade, and their cost reflected that inefficient form of production. Yamaha currently has invested $6 million in VLSI chip development, in the belief that the rapidly growing world CD market will go to the company that puts out the least-expensive and most-reliable CD players.

The latest to be released from Yamaha will probably offer more features and even better value. In fact, the CD-2 offers the same sonics as the CD-X1 (footnote 1), but with cordless remote control for only $100 more.

With the recent closeout of the Technics SL-7 at $299, the "street price" of a CD player has been set quite low. In terestingly, the cost of Japanese CD players is lower in the US than in Japan, often by as much as $150 for the same unit.

Compact Discs also have begun to drop in price, as signaled by CBS-Sony selling CDs at S10 wholesale. Their Terre Haute, IN manufacturing plant is due to come on line in 1985 as the first US source of the shiny discs. Current plants include Denon, Sony, Technics, and Sanyo sites in Japan as well as the Philips plant in Hanover, Germany). With 3000 titles now available in Japan, and many classical and operatic releases now coming out in CD format simultaneously with the cassette and vinyl editions, CD availability will increase and the price should continue to drop.

Matsumoto has designed an audiophile version of the CD-X1, the CD-la, which will be marketed exclusively in Japan. The 'la uses premium parts at all circuit levels, discrete components rather than VLSI chips, independent power supplies with special line filters, a dual error-correction circuit, independent left and right D/A converters, and an llth-order filter employing polyproprylene caps. In short, every thing a CD player could have to make it sound better—except perhaps tubes! The laser pickup utilizes a phase-detection, gain-switching focus servo with an auto-lock for.its single beam, a totally different approach from the triple-beam pickup of the CD-X1 and CD-2.

The CD-la also allows the user to insert a 5-second interval before the beginning of playback and between each selection for cassette recording, as does the CD-2. in addition, a complex time display, skip operation, fader controls, monitor search, and progammable play back are all included. The unit is roughly twice the size of the CD-X1, weighs 25 lbs, 6 ounces, and would cost just under $2000 if it were sold in the United States. Wouldn't I give my eye teeth to take a listen to it!—Larry Greenhill

Footnote 1: Actually the sonics of the CD-2 are definitely better, though not by a wide margin.—J. Gordon Holt
Yamaha Electronics Corp.
6660 Orangethorpe Avenue
Buena Park, CA 90260
(714) 522-9105

volvic's picture

In 1984 I had a great summer job that payed a heck of a lot of money, after setting aside what I needed for University (which wasn't that much in Canada), I had enough to either buy one of two things I coveted; a Rolex or the Yamaha CDX-1, after several auditions I decided that CD still didn't cut it for me and just couldn't compete with vinyl. I opted for the Rolex which I still own and will be passing on to my son, whereas the CDX-1 has been confined to the dustbin of history. I didn't buy my first CD player until 2000 when I finally purchased one of the last Karik/Numerik combos that Linn made. The point being, in hi-fi, a second sober thought before making a large purchase can go a long way and being an early adopter has its drawbacks.