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Pioneer PD-S801 (sold)

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Pioneer PD-S801 (sold) Empty Pioneer PD-S801 (sold)

Post by HiFiLab Tue Feb 02, 2021 4:12 pm

Made In Japan
In good working condition

You see the PD-S801 is no ordinary CD player. Sure enough it looks little different from either the PD-S501 overleaf or even its immediate predecessor, the PD-8700. It features the same upside-down Stable Platter Mechanism and includes a similarly generous array of facilities. Inside, however, lurks the shadow of ‘Legato Link Conversion’ or LLC for short.

LLC has little to do with the D/A convertor, however, which is an up-dated version of the bitstream (Pulse Flow) IC used in earlier players. No, the heart of LLC is a rather novel DSP chip that ‘moulds’ unwanted stop-band noise.

Conventional FIR digital filters will attempt to scrub-out everything beyond 22.05kHz (half the 44.1 kHz sampling frequency). Yet Pioneer’s ‘filter’ is less severe, letting a certain amount of these reflected ‘digital images’ through. Incidentally, this is exactly the same process adopted by Wadia in its DigiMaster DACs.

Sound quality

Two samples and three sessions later and our listeners fell into one of three camps.

Camp one admired its subtle detailing, the uncommonly realistic imaging and the warm, human quality it brought to vocals. It captured the clubby acoustic of our jazz selection very well indeed, yet, because the music had plenty of ‘weight’, it was neither as crisp or nimble as with some of the better players in the group.

Camp two was less convinced. They thought it was flummoxed by the complexity of the Mozart Concerto as the piano, double bass and cellos were squashed together, muting the instruments’ upper harmonics. Nevertheless its weighty bass was appreciated, especially as it contributed to the warmth and intimacy of the Jennifer Warnes CD.

Camp three were utterly scathing in their appraisal. ‘It has an inoffensive but boring presentation’ they began ‘yet retains the ability to shock with unexpectedly fierce flashes of strings or percussion’. Abrupt bursts of sound which, apparently, were quite out of character with its otherwise very mellow balance.

The Mozart CD was described as screechy and fierce. A mess of sound that, despite possessing a surprising sense of depth, maintained very little contact between the strings and their acoustic.


Many listeners will be attracted by the openness, the visceral detailing and unusual ‘atmosphere’ recreated by this player. Equally, others are just as likely to be frustrated by its smooth, gentle but muted treble quality. As one panellist concluded, ‘easy-going yet with an uncanny ability to offend’.

Love it or loathe it, you’ll never know unless you try it. We’ll leave you to sort this one out in the demonstration room.

Dealer\Reseller\Trader\Service Provider
Dealer\Reseller\Trader\Service Provider

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