PIONEER PD-91 Reference CD player (1987/1990) - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews

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CD Players & Dedicated Music Transports

Master Tasuke's Avatar Master Tasuke
02:53 PM Liked: 10
post #1 of 9
09-09-2010 | Posts: 41
Joined: May 2010

this is my dream CD player, the PIONEER PD-91.

the instruction manual for this player describes this player's sound as "Minute Level Resolution" and that is exactly as it is.
every element of an arbitrary musical program is roundly
and sharply defined, NOTHING is hazed over on this remarkable CDP.

i have the service manual, and i intend to purchase a couple of spare pick-ups in the near future.
(they are $144.00ea. from PIONEER PARTS.)

(bless PIONEER for using a standardized,
fully compatible laser pick-up design in all their 1987/present CDPs,
single disc as well as changer. as such, they have kept their CDP laser pick-up
in production well into the 2000s, and have a large back stock
of japanese made pick-ups on hand.)

with those, i should be able to keep this beauty alive
for at least a sizable portion of my lifetime.

while this player has both OPTICAL and COAXIAL digital outputs,
making it an ideal transport to feed a modern day outboard DAC,
the player by itself is the single finest sounding CDP that i have ever
been witness to hear.

as such, i do not envision myself ever
growing dissatisfied with it's sound and adding a modern DAC as
i have seen several PD-91 owners on the internet do.

perhaps my ears are not good enough, or maybe my
amplifier/loudspeaker chain does not resolve well enough,
but when i had this player in my system, on it's own merits,
i found myself wanting for absolutely nothing, and i believe that
that is about as close to Audio Nirvana as i am likely to ever get...

Master Tasuke's Avatar Master Tasuke
03:09 PM Liked: 10
post #2 of 9
09-09-2010 | Posts: 41
Joined: May 2010
my copy of the PD-91 came factory stock, with the U.S./Euro market-typical stamped sheet metal top bonnet.
i had a dead copy of the japanese-market
version of this player; the PD-3000. one of it's swappable design improvements
over the U.S. PD-91 is a solid aluminum top panel in place
of the sheet metal bonnet;



another variation between the U.S./Euro PD-91 and japanese "PD-3000" versionis a set of isolator feet filled with the same epoxy resin as is used in the outboard-mounted transformer, plus a solid steel support foot for the transformer cradle, in place of the hollow polycarbonate foot substituted in the PD-91;

PD-91 set on left, PD-3000 set on right.
main isolator in background, transformer in fore;

(steel fender washer added to PD-3000 main isolator by me)

so, as you can see, what i have here is basically the best of both worlds,
and boy, does it ever look and sound magnificent!!
now all i need is at least a couple
of spare Laser pick-ups, and i'll be set for life!!

PD-91 V.S. PD-3000;

PD-91 (U.S./EURO MARKET, 1988/1990)

PD-3000 (JAPANESE MARKET, 1987/1988)

PD-91 (U.S./EURO MARKET, 1988/1990)

PD-3000 (JAPANESE MARKET, 1987/1988)

Master Tasuke's Avatar Master Tasuke
10:16 AM Liked: 10
post #3 of 9
12-22-2010 | Posts: 41
Joined: May 2010
well, it took me these past three-odd months to get the courage to do this, but...

not long after i got my new copy of the PIONEER PD-91 CDP, i noticed something
wrong with it's display window.

there was this gooey dried substance gathered along the top edge
of the FL display acrylic, and there was also obvious signs that either
the acrylic window had either been poorly placed in the factory,
fallen off of the player sometime after initial retail purchase and had been
poorly adhered back into place by the original owner, or both.

furthermore, the red transparent FL shading sheet was also somehow misplaced
off of center on the display acrylic, exposing a line of shading sheet adhesive
all along the bottom edge of the window, and also allowing some unshaded
FL tube light to shine through.

i attempted to live with this for the last three months, but i just couldn't
take such a hideous blemish on such a magnificent CDP any longer.

the $200.00 USD i spent on that dead Japanese PD-3000 has tuned out to be
worth every penny, as it had a perfectly minty front bezel, and it's ABS plastic
inner bezel module, containing the FL display window, was indispensable in
rectifying this little dilemma.

i swapped out the inner bezels, and the result is a perfect FL window,
in the blue shade typical of both the EURO/WORLD versions of the PD-91,
as well as the Japanese PD-3000 parent design;

here is the original bezel and window, in all their F&%ed up glory...

the window should not have been removable, it should have been firmly
adhered in place, but, when i took a cleaning cloth to the bezel,
to clean the fingerprints off the window prior to photography,
the moment i applied the slightest pressure to the window,
off it popped. proof positive that it was completely Mis-applied to the bezel...
MikesPioneerPD91's Avatar MikesPioneerPD91
11:45 AM Liked: 10
post #4 of 9
03-16-2011 | Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2011
Hi, I read with great interest your exploits with your PD-91. I have one that needs some "no longer available" parts. I have a drawer that won't stay closed. The shop says that I need a clamping motor, worm gear assembly and that the laser lens is missing. Only the laser is till available through Pioneer. Do you have any spare parts from your donor machine that you would sell me? Thanks in advance, Mike
Master Tasuke's Avatar Master Tasuke
11:04 AM Liked: 10
post #5 of 9
04-24-2011 | Posts: 41
Joined: May 2010
hi there, sorry about the late reply.

i'm sorry, but i don't think i want to part-out either of my two
spare PD-91 transport mechanisms.

i think i can, however, possibly help you to get your -91
back in good working order;

the clamping motor's leads are actually ganged
to the leads of the tray OPEN/CLOSE motor.
they are both terminated to the same PRESS-IN/PULL-OUT harness connector,
so in order to replace one, you have to replace both.

have you tried lubricating the gearwork with WHITE LITHIUM grease?
the PD-3000 i had (and still have the transport assy. of)
had a seized clamper as well, but i coaxed it back into operation
by lubing and hand-actuating it.

try toying with the mechanism; you just might be able to fix it
on the spot with a little bit of hand-tweaking.

as far as the LASER PICK-UP is concerned, try fixing that, too;
pick up some LOCTITE CONTROL GEL super glue,
dab a TINY dollop in two places 180 degrees from each other,
on the outer circumference of the lens, on the side that slots
into the retaining assembly on the pick-up, use a precision pliers
or a good pair of tweezers to hold the lens, and place the lens
into it's slot on the pick-up.

in order to do this, you must remove three PHILLIPS head screws,
and lift and flip the DISC STABILIZER cage out of the way.
this gives you an excellent opportunity to grease that clamper gearwork.

i learned all this from futzing around with my very first PD-91;
a non-functional copy i picked up for $25.00 that had similar issues,
such as a completely missing PICK-UP lens and a transport mecha
in dire need of lubrication. i fixed it up good by bumming a similar
laser pick-up lens from a junk CDP i had, and lubing the mecha.

i lubed the large steel shaft that the disc tray slides on,
and the small steel shaft that the pick-up mounting base slides on,
with a light machine oil. everything else (gearwork) got the
white lithium grease.

finally, the player needed adjustment afterwords, particularly, in order to read
CD-Rs. i adjusted the "FO.GA." (FOCUS GAIN) and "TR.GA." (TRACKING GAIN)
variable potentiometers located on the PCB directly aft of the
disc transport assy.

i hope this helps to get your copy of this magnificent machine
back in like-new-or-better operating condition...
eddiebaby's Avatar eddiebaby
04:43 AM Liked: 10
post #6 of 9
04-29-2013 | Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2013
Totally agree this is one of the best CD players ever made. I had one many years ago and I have heard nothing since to match it in sound, it was better than vinyl and the detail and warmth that come from the midrange is incredible, it was as close to organic as ive ever heard.

I tried upgrading it once to then modern CD player such as marantz 67 ki sigs, myriad, rega planet and adding various dac etc but they sounded like cheap midi system cd players in comparison. I just prefer the convenience of mp3 / flac these days though but this CD player sounds exquisite in every way.

Any one care to give any advice of a modern DAC that will bring this sort of sound, as im only interested in playing from a PC these days. I now they were dual burr browns (16bit I think ) in this unit but what modern DAC chips can match or better this players sound, id be very interested to find out.
Superix's Avatar Superix
08:54 AM Liked: 10
post #7 of 9
06-22-2013 | Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2013
Hi guys, wondered if anyone could give me some advice, I have a perfect PD-91 that I need to sell, it's rarely been used and has been kept in mint condition (I even have the original box) I'm actually selling it for my wife's mother who has not used it in at least 10 years, and its been really looked after.

I also have a Pioneer A-91D amp (also mint with box) a F-91 Reciever (again, mint condition)

I need to sell all 3 and wondered if there are better ways than eBay. I'm based in the UK.

Many thanks in advance!
JA Fant's Avatar JA Fant
04:09 AM Liked: 84
post #8 of 9
06-27-2013 | Posts: 678
Joined: Jun 2009
Still, one of the best ever produced!
westsounds's Avatar westsounds
04:10 AM Liked: 10
post #9 of 9
Today | Posts: 6
Joined: Jun 2010
Pioneer PD91 – any suggestions for a modern day external DAC equivalent.

Hi All

Does anyone know an equivalent DAC (or even possibly a DAC/headphone amp) that has a similar tonality and the detail resolution of a PD91 CD player. This was by far the best sounding source I’ve ever owned, but I just play mp3’s/Flac files these days so looking for a DAC as good as.

Any experience or suggestions,, please…..
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