TEAC VRDS-10 CD Player Repair & Service

TEAC VRDS-10 CD Player Repair & Service

Many won’t be familiar with their high-end products, but this TEAC VRDS-10 CD player is an absolute gem. Let’s take a look.

The TEAC VRDS-10 is a very serious CD player from around 30 years ago now. Utilising the venerable Sony KSS-151A laser mech and a custom, heavy-duty direct-drive CD motor and chassis, the VRDS-10 means business. In this article, we repair and service this old girl.

Something to consider: this CD player still works, using her original laser, some 30 years after manufacture. I really cannot overstate this, because many new players last around 2 – 5 years. Anyway, don’t forget to check out my accompanying video on YouTube:

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

There’s much to love about the TEAC VRDS-10 and not much not to. Starting with the good, the build is fantastic, 10kg of metal, very little plastic. The machine is serviceable and built to last. The Sony KSS-151A laser is legendary for its performance and reliability and the loader is built like a tank. This machine will last, no doubt about it.

Testing the repaired and serviced VRDS-10.

In terms of the bad, the DAC chips used here are the relatively ordinary Philips TDA1547, one of the first bitstream chips and, in my opinion, not a great sounding one. Note however that opinions on this vary and the overall machine design is more important than the DAC chips used.

The boards have somewhat flimsy traces, not Sony ES or Accuphase grade. The loader uses two drive belts, one of which is easy to access and the other not. That’s it though, overall a great machine. Thankfully, there is no ugly with the VRDS-10.

Keep in mind that this was a premium player at the time of sale. Costing  GBP £769, roughly $1150 USD or $2000 AUD, and that’s in 1993! This VRDS-10 still sounds excellent, no doubt a result of good overall design, so don’t be put off by its age if you find one in good condition.

The VRDS-10 is a very solid, well laid out machine.

Specifications, courtesy HiFi Engine

Disc format: CD
Digital converter: 2 x TDA1547, bitstream, 8 x oversampling
CD Mechanism: KSS-151A
Frequency response: 1Hz to 20kHz
Dynamic range: 99dB
Signal to Noise Ratio: 110dB
Channel separation: 110dB
Total harmonic distortion: 0.0013%
Line output: 2.2V
Digital outputs: coaxial, optical
Dimensions: 442 x 149 x 331mm
Weight: 10kg
Accessories: RC-481 remote control
Year: 1992
Price: GBP £769 (1993)

Problems with this TEAC VRDS-10

If you visit regularly you’ll know I really enjoy CD player repairs. Not all machines can be viably repaired of course, but this one certainly could.

This TEAC VRDS-10 came to me jammed up with a disc stuck inside and a history of not playing or running reliably. Inspection revealed the need for a full mech-out mechanical service and a board-level repair to the analog power supply.

Most of these machines have a resistor which gets too hot, the solution is not to change the value but to replace it and mount the part in such a way that it radiates heat more effectively, ie off the board rather than hugging it.


Repair & Service

This VRDS-10 needed a full mechanical service and board repair, so let’s dig in. First I repaired the power supply issue.

Burned resistor and traces of corrosive glue, which I’m in the process of removing here.
New metal film resistor, of the correct power rating, mounted above the board to aid in cooling.
You can see that the pads underneath the resistor were damaged from the excess heat, incorrect resistor placement right against the board and because the copper is very thin. I removed the damaged pads, exposed fresh copper and used component leads to improve heatsinking. Still a little more to when this pic was taken, but you get the idea.

Mechanical Work

Next, I focussed on the loader. These machines suffer from worn drive belts as all CD players do. Reduced belt efficiency and diminished lubricant lead to excessive friction in the loader mech, causing the drive not to actuate the limit switches, causing player confusion and operational issues.

Loader removed from the machine. Here I’ve also removed the VRDS top drive module.
Next, it’s the tray and tray drive belt.
The trickiest part of this is removing the clamp drive module and changing the clamp drive belt. You can see I’ve removed the clamp cam circlip and worm drive shaft at this point. All relevant shafts, posts, slides, motors and bearings receive attention at this point.
Here’s the serviced loader back together with some new cable ties, ready for reinstallation into the player.
The reassembled TEAC VRDS-10


This TEAC VRDS-10 now works perfectly again, a great result. I got some great feedback from the owner about the machine. He seemed most impressed by the fact that she works smoothly and sounds quite a bit better, no doubt due to the service and power supply repair. He felt she sounded somewhat veiled prior to the repair and service, less so now, so that’s great.

In terms of outright performance, it’s fair to say she is limited by her TDA1547 DAC chips. As I mentioned previously though, they have a sound of their own that some really like and she still sounds great. This only confirms that the whole is always more important than the sum of the parts.

To buy a player built like this now would cost many thousands of dollars, so I always feel its best to keep equipment like this running and enjoy it, while we still can! You can add a nice external DAC and you’ll have a really high-performance player, far better than sub $2000 players now, as long as you use a semi-decent DAC like a PS Audio NuWave DSD for example.


The glamour shot – she does look nice though doesn’t she.

Liquid Mike

At 10 I was pulling apart electronics and by 13 I'd have Dad's hi-fi in pieces when my parents went out! Later, I started Liquid Audio, a specialist electronics repairer known for detail-focused service, repair and restoration of hi-fi electronics & turntables. 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 ride motorcycles, travel, listen to music and research interesting topics.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Tonto

    Hi, I have a Esoteric x03se with a vrds neo drive and the trey is stuck closed because it has been in a humid environment Florida so i suppose the belt is gummy or broken.

    What is important to lubricate (and what should i use) and what kind replacement belts should i use ( length and type) for the trey and clamp belts. I think there is only two belt i have seen in these vrds repair videos. Thanks for the great repair page!

    1. Liquid Mike

      Hi Tonto, sounds like she needs major service, technical enquiries like these can be made through my contact page.

  2. Chris Rogerson

    Thank you mike . I’m very pleased to retrieve my porcupine tree CD . Voyage 34 ! One of my favourites. I’ve been playing the ole girl vrds 10 now for a couple of months and she’s not missed a beat . Sounds better than ever. Loved the video can’t thank you enough !

    1. Liquid Mike

      Hi Chris, fantastic stuff and thanks for the feedback. She really is a lovely machine and I’m only too happy to have repaired her for you! Don’t hesitate to let me know if there is anything else I can do to assist.

    1. Liquid Mike

      This really depends on who you speak to, but many of us who listen to these things for a living would disagree. Thanks for your comment though, this highlights the sometimes vastly differing opinions you can find out there. I’ve updated my article to reflect this point.

Feel free to leave a comment, technical questions should be asked via our Contact page