Marantz CD-63 KI Signature CD Player Service & Repair

Marantz CD-63 KI Signature CD Player Service & Repair

I was recently asked by a customer to repair and service his Marantz CD-63 KI Signature CD player. The player was misbehaving, not reading the table of contents (TOC) with some discs and was also skipping occasionally.

I was actually really pleased to work on one of these classic disc spinners again. The Marantz players were all very similar across the CD-63 – CD-67 range and the SE and KI Signature models really only brought parts quality improvements in key areas, rather than different circuit layout. This range of players is all very serviceable and upgradeable, using some quality replacement parts in critical areas.

Anyway, this player’s laser lens was dirty and the output power was down slightly on what it should be. This resulted in the initial focus not being achieved at every load, hence the failure to read the TOC with some discs. Standard practice here is to measure the laser’s output power and adjust if possible to bring the emission back into line. I also always lubricate the sled mechanism, loader, check rubber belts and replace where required and generally clean and tweak players when I have them on my bench.

Sometimes small adjustments to focus and servo tracking and gain will restore the player’s ability to read discs reliably. In the case of this Marantz CD-63, I tweaked the laser output power very slightly, cleaned the lens and lubricated the sled mechanism and she worked perfectly once again.

It is worth mentioning a couple of points about laser output. The power output or energy the laser diode emits will decrease linearly over time. This is normal and to be expected and the standard method for resolving this is to replace the laser assembly, a fairly straightforward process. Sometimes a small adjustment of laser power output can considerably extend the service life of the laser, but the laser’s output power must be measured, to ensure the diode does not overheat and burn out.

Dialling in too much power can cause the laser to die as soon as the power is turned on, so DO NOT ADJUST LASER POWER OUTPUT unless you know what you are doing and have a reliable way of measuring output power! In fact, these days I have an excellent supplier of replacement mechs for these players and I prefer to simply replace the laser with a brand new one, like this one:

Marantz CD-63

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Here we see the nice solid chassis with stiffening bar and toroidal transformer.

 

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Elna Silmic capacitors are expensive and a nice touch in this KI breathed-on CD-63. General parts quality is very good, as is board layout and assembly quality.

 

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Ceramic capacitors give away the high frequency sections of this player. Note also the quality red polyester capacitors in the background and more Elna Silmics.

 

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Spot the quartz crystal, encapsulated in goop and a rubber grommet, to dampen vibration and improve short-term immunity to jitter. Behind that we have more quality red Elna capacitors for minimising the local power supply impedance before the HDAM discrete output buffers under copper cans in the background.

 

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Another view of some nice polyester caps, more nice electrolytics and the HDAM discrete output modules.

 

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The mech, removed from the chassis of the player.

 

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The underside of the mech itself is how we access the laser output power trimmer. Note that this must not be carelessly adjusted or the laser will die a near-instant death. Output power must be VERY carefully adjusted, preferably with a laser power meter, to ensure the laser operates at optimal power levels, to maximise service life.

 

Liquid Mike

As a kid, I cherished my Tandy 200-in-1 electronics project lab and Dick Smith Funway electronics kits. I had my own little hi-fi at 16. Later, I started Liquid Audio, a specialist hi-fi equipment repair business. Keeping classic hi-fi gear alive and well is what we do. Our mission: to deliver TLC for classic Japanese, American and European hi-fi stereo equipment. In my spare time, I cook, ride, listen to music and research interesting topics.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. panos

    I had the same issue as it is described.The player was misbehaving, not reading the table of contents (TOC) with some discs and was also skipping occasionally.
    What i did:
    I went underside of the mech and had access the laser output power trimmer.
    I gave it a twist clockwise.2 or 3 mm. I was lucky i guess.
    All worked as before.Ir reads everything,no skipping, and the spindle noise is less

    1. Liquid Mike

      Hi Panos, glad this worked for you but it’s not the answer unfortunately and will accelerate the death of the laser. Increasing laser current takes the laser past the designed optical and thermal output power. The player will come back to life for a little while but the decline is accelerated. I install new lasers in these players all the time though and this solution works well and gives years of additional life.

  2. Zan

    Hi, I recently bought a Marantz CD-63 mkII KI Signature (secondhand) and whilst the player turns on, the CD doesn’t turn. I have tried a few CDs and it’s the same results. I note that you have recently repaired one and wonder if you would take a look at mine please?

    If so, could you please let me know where you are based in Australia, and perhaps an indication of repair cost (I understand it ultimately depends on what needs to be fixed but a range would be good)?

    Thanks,
    Zan

    1. Mike

      Hi Zan, I would be happy to look at it, I am based in Perth. Unfortunately trying to estimate repair costs without actually looking at the equipment is not possible as I don’t know what’s wrong with the player. Are you in Perth?

  3. Steve Saunders

    Hey Mike, I’m looking forward to having some of your magic worked on my Marantz SC/SM-80.
    Steve

    1. Mike

      Hi Steve, looking forward to working on them! Just clearing a bit more work and then should be good to go. Regards, Mike.

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