Sony "X7"
ES CD players

For those with a bad memory, these players' names can be a bit confusing as there are 7s all over them. The sequence, however, is in fact rather simple.

Chronologically :

All of these had the big BU-10 aluminium die-cast base/pickup assembly also used in the reference CDP-R1 drive... and many Accuphase players.

Then came the penultimate CDP-X779ES (1991/92) and the ultimate CDP-X707ES (1992/93) which used a slightly different base, partly built on Sony's "G" composite material, also found in the updated CDP-R1a drive as well as in the Japan-only CDP-R3 integrated player... and many Accuphase players.

There are 5 or 6 versions of the BU drive but, strictly speaking, the BU isn't the complete drive. Sony named its CD drives as did Philips (CDM-x) even if these naturally had nothing to do with Philips :) The version used for the 1984/85 generation of Sony CD players for instance was named CDM-4 ; the last one was the CDM-26, as used in the CDP-R10 masterpiece (and only in that one).

The "CDM" name, as used by Sony and unlike Philips, comprises everything from the loading assembly (tray, motor etc), the BU aluminium base (several versions there too) up to the spindle motor, laser diode and related PCBs : Sony's CDM represent more of an internal assembly code name than the CD drive itself. And, again, there is nothing by, of or from Philips there : no swing-arm here !

Practical example : the Sony drive in the CDP-R1 consists of three ensembles :
- CDM4D-10 (entire loading assy, puck, base plate, PCBs etc) which holds...
- BU-10 diecast aluminium base, spring+rubber suspension, linear motor, spindle, bearing, sensors etc) which holds...
- KSS-xxx laser.

The BU-10 assembly is known to be of the "almost everlasting" kind : read "about ten years or more" of moderate but daily use. The revised & simplified assembly seems to have been somewhat less robust but still rather sturdy : the fair majority of X779 and X707 are still playing to this day, almost fifteen years after their first spins ! On the other hand, the vast majority of the earlier units start to fail or have already expired...

Only the Philips CDM-0 to CDM-4 drives are of the truly everlasting kind. Still, fifteen years of use (twenty for the original CDP-557ESD) still sounds very much like quality to me. It is a pity Sony didn't keep stocks of spare lasers because with a dead laser the whole player -however beautiful and expensive- becomes completely useless : no laser = no player.

Note to X7 owners :
The lasers for the early "X7" players (1987...1991) are NOT available anymore from Sony, whatever the country and however desperate you may be.
The lasers for the last two units of the series (X779ES, X707ES) might still be obtainable by way of sly channels : local distributor or, more likely, a repair shop that still has a stock of them hidden in a drawer...

Click the thumbnails for respective overviews >>>

(CDP-707ESD in the USA)
(CDP-777ESA in Japan)
(CDP-777ESJ in Japan)
Keep in mind I : lasers do age and eventually die - there is no way around that.
Keep in mind II : I can NOT help you in in finding a spare laser block.
I have none in stock and also pray my CDP-X777ES and CDP-R1 will make a world record by lasting another 20 years.



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