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January 15, 2012 / billo44

CD Transport (Shigaclone) Version 1, 2011

This idea was started by the Quest for a decent CD player at a low price and by two threads on the DIY Audio forum…

The main thread is now over 500 pages long;-

Fortunately it has been summed up here;-

DIY audio folk in Poland realised the laser unit from a cheap JVC boom box was the same drive unit as used in one of the current high-end CD players much praised by Audiophiles (I’m ignoring a big grey area there!).

The original player is called a Shigaraki, hence the DIY copy is often called a Shigaclone

The main problem with this DIY CD drive is that the original JVC donor boombox is now very hard to find, especially here in Japan.

However I got lucky and found a Sanyo boombox which used the same CD unit.  Unfortunately this is getting hard to find now also.

After stripping the boombox for all the parts needed, this is what you have left….

The remote, the control board, the laser unit and board, and the magnetic puck from the CD door.

Then to set it up on a test bed…. I used a rejected cast iron stove griddle from the skip (dumpster) at work for the base.  Cast iron is very heavy, damps vibrations and is relatively easy to work (but dirty).

Note the high quality ‘butty-box’ enclosure for the first power transformer!

About this time I had a lucky find in an old salvaged Aiwa amp (beyond repair)… a nice small toroidal transformer about the correct rating.

I salvaged the rectifier and fuse part of the circuit board and made up a proper power supply.

The original recommended voltage regulator (to step down to 8v DC) used black gate capacitors which are now very hard to find.  My version, following the suggestions of folks on the forum, uses two Rubycon ZL 1000 uF 25v, the input side capacitor is by-passed with a Nichicon fine gold 33 uF 16v.  The regulator is an LM7808.

The required directions for modifying the main board are found on the DIY forum, mostly removing a few capacitors and replacing one or two.  The summary thread has all the details.

Power is fed into the board where a choke has been removed.  The digital output from the board is used to feed a separate DAC (digital analogue converter) for the audio output.

I tapped the control/display board for wires for the required five buttons, play, FF, rewind, stop, and the ‘door’ button which connects to the original door switch position to instruct the player to read the CD table of contents.

Here we are with most of the work done and the base cut to size waiting for the enclosure.

The simple wooden enclosure with a cut away for the display, and a back plate for teh digital out and power in plugs. This is only required because I glued the frame together too early, during an inspired moment!

From the top showing the regulator which uses the cast iron base as its heat sink, display board, main board/laser and buttons.  Here you can see the exposed laser lens (maybe, assuming you know what they look like), you can be blinded by the laser from a CD drive, so be very careful not to look at this when the unit is powered up (obligatory sensible safety warning!).  This is the reason most CD players have a door with a built in safety switch so that the laser will not operate with the door open.

Here with the acrylic top fitted but not yet ‘brushed’, the power supply to the right (I know… boring box…).

And here the finished drive with a brushed acrylic top.

I’ve just started work on Mk II with various improvements…

Thanks to Peter Daniels as the prime mover on the above CD transport forum, and to all the other valued contributors.  Peter is very free with his expert advice and encouragement and has the experience and instinct required to cut through the BS.

The finished player sounds very good to me!

In the end this is all a subjective listening judgement, some serious people pooh pooh the whole thing.  I can only trust my ears and stick with the particular flavour of BS  that I personally chose to subscribe to.  I have to admit that investing time and money (even a little money) into a thing pre-disposes one to pass favourable judgments on said thing….

I bored you again….!

Off dear!



Leave a Comment
  1. János / Sep 23 2013 8:56 pm

    Excelent work! If you do have some chance, try to get Blackgate as seen in the description of original Shigaclone version. They makes huge difference.

    • billo44 / Sep 23 2013 9:28 pm

      I did just that, and separated the laser mechanism board from the main circuit board. Mk II has been on the bench for 18 months just like this since I can’t stop listening to it long enough to put a case around it… or finish the blog on it…
      I just published the blog as a draft to show you a basic picture….

  2. el pong / Dec 5 2013 7:29 pm

    why you bother with CD transport clone amuses me, your el cheapo pc cd/dvd drive is so much precise than the so called hi end transport. meridian had a very expensive reference cd transport that uses a pc cd recordable drive, even the notebook cd/dvd drive can be use at all angles and able to withstand shock very well without all the mumbo jumbo. the redbook specs were good for the 80’s era, now it is obsolete, music execs will not like you to know that and even kill the dvd-audio that will make the cd sounded as digital junk. sorry but this is already 2013, I thought you should know that

    • billo44 / Dec 5 2013 9:17 pm

      I don’t understand what you are trying to say?

    • billo44 / Dec 18 2013 9:39 pm

      Glad to have amused you el pong!
      This is not a pc cd/dvd drive, it will only play CD and has no connection to any PC.
      Did I make any comment about how precise the shigaclone drive was?

      The red book specifications might be obsolete, but I still have 25 years worth of much loved music recorded in this format.
      I am not looking for the ultimate digital line level media player, just something better than MP3 or FLAC.
      I think my opening statement about looking for ‘a decent CD player at a low price’ is fairly clear.

      I was trained by a musical instrument maker and therefore like to think I have good ears, I don’t trust reviews on the web, I trust my ears.

      Can I ask, have you ever heard the Meridian ‘very expensive reference(?) CD transport’ you mention? Or are you just comparing my words about one system you have never listened to (my ‘amusing el cheapo CD drive’) against someone else’s words about another system you never listened to either?

      Barring natural disasters, I have no requirement for my CD player to work at all angles or to withstand shock.

      I do know the date, thank you.

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