Sansui PC-V1000 CD-player Review
Although the PC-V1000 digital Compact Disc player is Sansui's first, its performance, features, circuit design, price, and date of introduction make it more of a "second-generation" model. For example, unlike some first-generation CD players, the PC-V1000 can access any number of tracks on a disc up to the standardized maximum of ninety-nine. The PC-V1000's programmed-playback system allows playback of up to fifteen tracks in any chosen order instead of being limited to the programmed tracks' original numerical order as some players are. And the Sansui player includes an infrared remote control as standard equipment.
In some respects the PC-V1000 is ahead of most other CD players regardless of generation. It is unusually good-looking too. The numerical track-number and time display and the operating-status indicator lights are not as garish as they seem on other models. In a nice styling touch, there is a luminescent blue bar over the disc compartment that is very attractive, especially in a darkened room. Overall, the player measures 17 x 11-3/4 x 4-3/8 inches and weighs 16 pounds. Price: $850.
Many of the performance qualities of a Compact Disc player are determined by the CD encoding standards, and it has been our experience in testing a large number of CD players that these qualities vary little or not at all from one player to another. The Sansui PC-V1000 was no exception. One of the areas where measurable (though mostly inaudible) differences exist is in the frequency response, which can be affected to a slight degree by the cutoff characteristics of the low-pass filters that follow the conversion of a digital signal to analog form.
The PC-V1000's frequency response was ruler-flat from 20 to 1,000 Hz (less than 0.05 dB overall variation), with slight ripples superimposed on a gentle downward slope above that frequency. The overall response variation from 20 to 20,000 Hz was a mere 0.8 dB, most of it in the uppermost octave. Playback of a square wave showed the type of symmetrical ringing that is characteristic of digital low-pass filters, which this machine uses instead of analog-circuit filters.
The very low phase shift between channels, a maximum of less than 5 degrees at 20,000 Hz, suggests that each channel has its own digital-to-analog converter instead of switching (multiplexing) a single D/A converter between the channels as many players do. The larger phase shifts of such players-we have measured as much as 90 degrees at 20,000 Hz-reflect the interchannel time delay, about 10 microseconds, resulting from the switching action. In contrast, the interchannel time error of a machine like the PC-V1000 is less than 1 microsecond, although both delays are normally inaudible.
The cueing time of the PC-V1000 from track 1 to track 15 of the Philips TS4 sampler was somewhat slower than we have measured on many other CD players. Its cueing accuracy was excellent, however. The transition from track 17 to track 18 (an instantaneous change, with no silent interval) was accomplished with absolutely no audible clipping of the beginning of the latter track.
The defect tracking ability of the Sansui machine was also excellent, and it easily coped with the worst simulated disc damage on the Philips TS3A test record with no sign of program dropouts. On the other hand, its resistance to physical impacts was only fair, so that a moderate tap of the hand on the top or side of the case was sufficient to impair tracking of the record for a moment. In normal operation, though, the machine showed absolutely no "touchiness" in its handling.
The operation of the Sansui PC-V1000 and its remote control is very straightforward. Its programming system is simple and logical, although we found it necessary first to read the instruction manual to establish the functions of some of the keys identified only by symbols, as well as the operating details of such features as the phrase memory and the introskip mode of operation.
The PC-V1000 lacks the ability to cue or program by time or index codes, but in every other respect it is at least a match for any second-generation CD player in operating flexibility, to say nothing of sound quality. One might expect the frequency response of our sample of the PC-VI000 to give the sound a slightly "soft" quality compared with that of units having absolutely flat response to the highest audio frequencies. We could not detect such a characteristic by listening to a number of CD's, but we would hardly expect to hear that small a difference without a true A/B test. Anyway, it is difficult to imagine any sensible person placing any importance on such minute response differences.
The one feature of the PC-V1000 to which we take exception is the headphone output jack, which lacks a volume control. The output into an open circuit was a surprisingly high 7.7 volts from a 0-dB signal, and it still measured almost 6 volts into a 600-ohm load, resulting in an uncomfortably loud volume. A 0-dB signal was clipped when loaded with 600 ohms, and the clipping became severe at lower load impedances. Since there is no level control, distortion is inevitable with many medium-impedance phones. We found the headphone listening level to be uncomfortably loud, although distortion was not a problem since recorded music levels rarely, if ever, reach 0 dB. We would not recommend using headphones with this unit.
On the whole, though, this is yet another excellent CD player and a handsomer one than most. The audiophile has rarely had such a large field of fine products to choose from as with today's CD players, and the Sansui PC-V1000 is representative of the best that the second-generation players have to offer.