Review: Pioneer PD-65 elite CD Player

Category: Digital

At $850 new, it has a lot of competition, but used players are a tremendous bargain. They're build like a tank and appear to last a long time. Even with the years-old technology the sound would give any new unit a run for its money. In fact, I was hard-pressed to hear more than minor differences between the DAC-ed and the un-DAC-ed sound

This replaced a reasonably decent Technics, but there's really no sensible comparison. I love the stable platter mechanism. The only weakness I can think of is that the buttons on the remote are not intuitively laid out. Oh, and there's a silly honeycombed bottom that makes it virtually impossible to place the unit directly on cones.

I haven't had much experience listening to true high-end CD players, but if money were no object I suspect I'd keep it as a transport and put the money into a better DAC.

I listen to about 70% classical, 30% other stuff. I test a system with the Bernstein/LA Phil DG recording of West Side Story, Pinnock's DG Water Music, selected Steely Dan/Donald Fagan tracks, and the Bonnie Raitt track from Stay Awake (Disney songs). I treat all my CDs with AudioPrism StopLight and demagnetize them with a Furutech RD-1.

Associated gear
Parasound HDCD-1500 DAC, Stealth coax, Audient Technologies Tactic, cones

Similar products
Better-quality Technics
The PD-65 is a classic player. The stable platter technology alone makes this a very desirable purchase. Pioneer was foolish to discontinue using the stable platter. My PD-65 CONSISTENTLY played all cd's that it saw. As a transport, it rates extremely high. As a player, there are others with better sound. However, you would be hard pressed to find a better player for the price. I mated mine with a Meridian 566 and there were not to many transport/dacs in the price range that sounded better.