Yamaha CDC-735 CD-changer

Yamaha's entry won the quick-draw competition, thanks in part to its on-board table-of-contents (TOC) memory. Normally, each time a disc is loaded into playing position, a player must read the table of contents at its beginning to get track numbers, locations, times, and so forth. The CDC-735, however, reads this information once and saves it until the disc drawer is opened again or power is shut off, enabling it to maintain a brisker pace when reloading discs. Because of this TOC memory and its fast-moving mechanics, the CDC-735 was the fastest in the group at changing discs, doing the job within 6 seconds. Unfortunately, it was also among the noisiest.

For home recordists, the CDC-735 provides a nice edit feature: You can program a tape length and select tracks from as many as five discs, and the system will automatically arrange your selections to fit onto the two sides of the tape. The CDC-735 can also store track-sequence programs for as many as a hundred discs, which it will use automatically whenever any of those discs is played. Other features include forty-track programmability; single-track, single-disc, and all-discs repeat; single-disc and all-discs random playback; and index search from the remote control.

Four disc positions are fully accessible when the drawer is open, and the fifth position can be rotated into the open with the Disc Skip button. If you are playing a single disc, it will always be accessible when the drawer is open. The front panel is made of aluminum, and because Yamaha feels that front-panel displays can generate a small amount of audio interference, the CDC-735's can be turned off (or dimmed) during playback. The CDC-735 has a variable-level headphone output, variable-level line outputs, and a coaxial digital output with an on/off switch. Curiously, the headphone output is muted if the digital output is switched on. D/A conversion is handled by Yamaha's S-Bit Plus low-bit system with second-order noise shaping and a time-base corrector to reduce jitter.

The CDC-735's disc drawer seemed somewhat less substantial than some of the others, and the frequently used Play/Pause, Stop, and Disc Skip buttons are the same size as other, less important buttons. I also thought its amber display was the least attractive and least legible of the group, though it does show lots of useful information, such as output-level attenuation. The Yamaha placed first in phase error and disc-change time and last in dynamic range and channel separation at 20,000 Hz.

Yamaha CDC-735 CD-changer photo