How to Slave a CD Player

This product is discontinued. This is an archived page.

Just about any professional studio gear utilizes the proper Master/Slave relationship between digital source devices and converter devices. We did not invent it. The reason it works is that the master clock for the entire system is as close to the converter chip as possible. This is the single most effective way to accomplish jitter-free audio reproduction.

LessLoss would like you to know why some digital gear sounds bad. The reason is mostly Jitter. To avoid Jitter, you need to make your CD player slave to the DAC 2004. This is a very simple procedure. It is true that some companies charge up to $20,000 for the exact same thing you can do to any $30 player for (almost) free.

How to Slave your CD Player to the DAC 2004

The CD or DVD player needs to have a generator (clock oscillator) of the same frequency which is used in the DAC 2004. We ask that our clients open up their CD player and check what frequency their clock runs on. If your frequency is one of the following, then you can use the DAC 2004 in Master Mode, which means you can run your CD player in Slave mode (the best possible way).

Here are the frequencies you should look for:

  • 11.2896 MHz
  • 16.9344 MHz
  • 33.8688 MHz

If you have any of these frequencies on your clock oscillator, let us know and we will customize your DAC 2004 to run in Master Mode in conjunction with your CD player. Any other frequencies are presently not supported.

In essence all you need to do is desolder and remove the quartz resonator from the CD player, and where one of its legs were, solder on the end of the middle conductor of a coaxial cable (any old coaxial cable will do, but LessLoss also offers ready-made digital cable of the highest quality if you are interested). The shield of the cable should be soldered to the closest ground in the CD player you can find.

To determine which leg contact to connect the cable to, sometimes you can do the following experiment:

  • Turn off the CD player. Unsolder and remove the Quartz Oscillator.
  • Turn on the CD player. Touch the end of a screwdriver to one of the contacts where one of the legs were. See what happens. Then let go of the contact. Then try the other contact. See what happens again.
  • Whichever contact gave the most activity from the player, i.e. motor started turning, changing speeds, the laser motor started adjusting itself, etc. That's the contact you want to use for the Master Clock cable.

On some players, the experiment described above is not enough, since both contacts seem to have the same effect. In that case, it is highly likely that both contacts will work, but one of them will sound better than the other. This depends on the brand and model of CD player. There are so many of them that it is impossible to list all possible scenarios, but your ears easily show you the way.

That is what you need to do to slave your CD Player to the DAC 2004. The other end of the coaxial cable is to be connected to Clock Output of the DAC 2004. This will lower the Jitter amount at the DAC by a very substantial amount, and it is possible for any audio enthusiast who has experience in soldering to carry this out.

A Slaved CD Player
A slaved CD player.

When our clients send us the required photos of their CD player, we draw on them to help them see where and how to connect our superclock signal cable.

Even better results.

It is possible to achieve even better results. For the very best possible digital playback, additional power filtering is necessary. In conjunction with this step, a fully synchronous reclocking schematic can be added into the CD player itself. This requires more expertise in electronics than the average audiophile usually has. Testing equipment is necessary, and building custom schematics is needed. We can carry out this special modification of your CD player. Shipping back and forth is not always the best solution. We can also offer the full customization of a new mass-produced CD player.

Soldering Enthusiasts :: Make a CD Player and Slave it to the DAC 2004

You can get some ideas and inspiration from here. But make sure the quartz frequency is one of the three mentioned above. We have our theory that 16.9344 MHz is the best.

If you have questions please contact us.