Can you recommend me a CD and radio component for a home stereo?
September 11, 2014 1:23 PM   Subscribe

I recently bought a used "compact component system" home stereo. It had two parts - one is the volume/sound setting and cassette deck combo. The other half is a CD and radio combo. The CD part was busted though. Ideally I'd like to replace the entire CD/radio section. Can you recommend me a good replacement for that section or recommend a better way to complete my system which lacks CD capabilities?

This is a followup to a question I posted recently:

I got a used stereo system but the disc part is busted. It's a JVC CA-C77BK/CA-C99S if that makes a difference - I tried to find a picture but all that came up was remotes for the unit since it's no longer manufactured. Anyhow I need a replacement "component" for the half that plays cd and radio. The radio works fine but they are part of one "unit" of the stereo.

Am I better off getting just a disc component and keeping the part I have for the radio, or getting a disc and radio replacement and tossing the part I have? Or am I better off getting a different stereo altogether, ie it's not good to mix and match or something? And any suggestions of brands (model names if you happen to know them) that made or still make either option that is recommended?

I'm keeping the speakers.. is there possibly going to be an issue with connectivity between different brands or types or stereo components and speakers? I guess what I mean is are there different types of connections or is there some sort of standard? Also, the two halves of the stereo system have a "belt" that comes out of one and "clicks" into the other in the back. Is that standard or do I need to look for a make that also has the belt? I checked around and I didn't see any models that had the "belt hole" that my current player has..? I also checked around for an identical model to replace mine but no such luck.

I know these are things I should research, but trust me when I say I'll probably end up more confused afterwards than when I went in. I know next to nothing about audio stuff. Any advice is appreciated!
posted by atinna to Technology (4 answers total)
Best answer: What you have sounds like something a bit weird and proprietary. Stereo systems tend to come in two forms: completely integrated - a single box that houses CD, tuner, MP3 (nowadays) and cassette (in times past) - or a separates system.

A separates system consists (as the name suggests) of separate components that you plug together. So you'd have a CD player. Or a tuner (radio). Or a cassette deck. Then you'd have a separate amplifier and separate speakers. Everything plugs into the amplifier: the inputs (CD, tuner etc.) and the outputs (the speakers).

A long time ago (they stopped making them in the 90s, I think) there were 'tuner amps', which incorporated the tuner into the amplifier. You'd still buy a separate cassette deck. And then there were odd hybrid things that would combine a CD player and a cassette deck. Again, these would plug into the amp, which would power the speakers. They're generally (apart from the speakers) a bunch of black boxes that stack nicely.

So with that explained, what you have is the former. It's an integrated system that just happens to have two 'halves' that connect together. I'm guessing that the 'belt' is either just a bit of hardware joining the two, or else it's a ribbon cable or something containing wires.

Either way, I don't think you'll find a replacement for the non-working part of your stereo.

Your best bet is probably to trawl ebay for a complete system that does what you want. Or you could do the same for separates - many old hifi separates are really cheap now, and the quality is fantastic in many cases. An old Denon DRM-500 (an excellent budget tape deck in its day) can be had for about $15, for instance. Systems built from separate components are almost always far superior to 'integrated' systems.

Amplifiers tend to be made to drive speakers of a specific impedance (measured in ohms). Most amps will drive most hi-fi speakers in practice, so that's not usually is big deal unless you're dealing with really old kit.
posted by pipeski at 2:54 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've seen systems like this that use a flat cable connection or "belt" as you've described. This is not something that is likely to be compatible among various brands, or even between models of a particular brand.

You might be able to use another CD player with your unit. If it has "aux in" jacks in the back, you could connect the CD player's line out to the aux in. This would be two RCA jacks or a single 1/8" stereo jack. On the JVC you'd need to select aux, not CD, to play your CDs.
posted by in278s at 3:50 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Tuner amps" are "receivers", fwiw.

Yes, look for aux in and run a separate CD player into it.
posted by persona au gratin at 1:00 AM on September 12, 2014

Response by poster: Pipeski, Solid advice. I've decided to build a stereo from separate parts. No point in getting another "all in one" system just to have it malfunction and have to replace it or another part again.

In278s, thanks also helpful very advice if I had gone that route. And yeah I looked around and the connector belt is definitely an uncommon thing.
posted by atinna at 6:39 PM on September 19, 2014

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