Specifications Marantz DD82
D/A conversion: Bitstrem DAC-7 Differential mode 1 bit pulse density modulation with 20 bit 8 times oversampling digital filter
A/D conversion: Bitstream Sigma-Delta modulation 64 times oversampling with 18 bit resolution

Frequency response Digital:
48kHz sampling: 10-Hz - 22kHz +/- 0,2dB
44.1kHz sampling: 10Hz - 20kHz +/- 0.2dB
32kHz sampling: 10Hz - 14.5kHz +/- 0.2dB
Analog (Type II tape): 20Hz - 18kHz +/- 3dB

Signal to noise ratio (A-weighted)
Digital (playback):
>103dB (Marantz DD92)
>101dB (Marantz DD82)
Analog (no NR, Type II): >59dB
Dolby B Improvement: up to 10dB
Dolby C Improvement: up to 20dB

Dynamic range
Digital (playback): >100dB

Total Harmonic distortion
Digital (playback):
<0.03% at 1kHz (Marantz DD92)
<0.035% at 1kHz (Marantz DD82)

Channel separation
Digital (playback): 100dB at 1kHz

Wow and flutter
Ditigal: below the limit of measurement
Analog (WRMS): .015%

Output level and impedance
Analog fixed: 2V / 1.5 kOhm
Analog variable: 0-2V / 1.5 kOhm
Digital co-axial: .5V p-p/75 Ohm
Digital optical: Toslink-19 dBm

Power supply
/01 version: 110-120/220-240V AC 50/60Hz
/02 version: 230V AC 50/60Hz
/05/07 version: 240V AC 50/60Hz
U version: 120V AC 50Hz 35W

456mm (including side panels, Marantz DD92)
420mm (Marantz DD82)
Height: 132mm
Depth: 344mm
13kg (Marantz DD92)
8.2kg (Marantz DD82)


Review Marantz dd82 | Top
Digital Compact Cassette was proof positive that Philips could screw up like the rest of them. But this makes for incredible second-hand bargains now, like this Marantz DD-82, says David Price.

I remember the scene well. Tokyo 1991, Tower Records, Shibuya. At one end of the huge shop floor lurked two strange new hi-fi oddities. One was a Sony MZ-1, which was a tiny (by the standards of the day), black MiniDisc portable. The other was a massive Technics DCC recorder, about the size of a 1970s video and complete with 'tasteful' wooden side cheeks.

There was a crowd of people around the MiniDisc machine, but the DCC sat awkwardly beside it completely unnoticed. This scene was rich with significance - who in the shiny, new high tech 1990s wanted another big, fat, dumpy looking tape based format?

The tragedy was that after the crowd cleared, I sauntered over to try the two formats out. The Sony MiniDisc was playing some god-awful Michael Bolton disc, and the sound was appalling. Laced with digital nasties - weird, phasey effects, 'breathing', odd digital artefacts - even allowing for the questionable programme material, it was virtually unlistenable.

The Technics DCC by comparison sounded superb - I remember being amazed by its clarity, evenness of tone and musicality. Even as a regular DAT user (I carried around my Sony TC-D3 DATman everywhere I went, using it as a Walkman), I was surprised how good this data-compressed format sounded. Only when you wanted to change track or post-edit your recordings did it become a total pain.

I told Marantz's Ken Ishiwata this recently and he didn't sound surprised. As far as he's concerned, there was little wrong with DCC's sound quality. From a man with an obsessive attention to detail (everything from his Nokia 8210 mobile phone to his Koetsu cartridge has been custom modified - either by him or by his friend the designer!), this is no small compliment.

He told me that he and other key Philips and Marantz personnel spent a hell of a lot of time getting the format's PASC (Passive Adaptive SubCoding) data compression algorithm sorted, and then went on to do lots of tweaking elsewhere. Indeed, so good was PASC that it went on to form the basis of MP3, which is also capable of superb sound - people who say otherwise simply don't know what they're talking about.

No, there was nothing wrong with DCC's sonics. Even today, the DD-82 you see here sounds incredibly open and smooth - you don't hear any compressed audio nasties - and in some respects actually seems warmer and more satisfying than uncompressed DAT. Later machines like this had a wide, 18 bit Bitstream and some very respectable digital and audio circuitry inside.

As I found when I reviewed this machine's cheaper Philips cousin - the DCC951 - in early 1995, if you put these into MONITOR mode, they'll act as off-board DACs which actually sound better than some more expensive, purpose built designs. You can thank a nicely implemented Philips SAA7350 Bitstream chip for that, plus Ken's myriad tweaks, ranging from trick op-amps in the analogue output stage to the ubiquitous copper screws!

The DD-82 is a big old beast (420x132x344mm, WxHxD), and weighs a lot more than your average MiniDisc recorder (8.2kg!). Place it against a modern MD machine - say a Sony MDS-JB940QS - and it's an ergonomic disaster area. With buttons scattered randomly all over the place, huge 16 segment bar graph display and an oppressive black fascia it's very nineties mucho macho.

Round the back, there's a choice of coaxial or optical digital inputs plus line in (running through a fine sounding A-D converter) and fixed and variable analogue outs. Otherwise, that's your lot - the magic of this machine is in the listening, not the beholding.

If you have enough hours in the day to endure DCC's fussy whirring and tedious track search antics, and want something that makes great recordings cheaply, there's simply nothing better. Because DCC went the way of the Dodo, causing Philips to flush away (probably) more money than the EU manages to squander in a decade, it's a terminally unfashionable format.

This in turn means that you can pick DCCs up in the classifieds for next to nothing - and yes, you can still buy the tapes. This one cost 50 including 10 DCCs - to buy new five years ago it could have added up to over 700 - can't say fairer than that!

DCC RECORDERS - Frequently Asked Questions
Does DCC Sound as good as DAT ?

We're in the realms of subjectivity here. Because the new generation of DCC machines utilises 18 bit recording the dynamic range is greater than that of DAT or CD. Most aficionados agree that DCC sounds as good as sub 1000 DAT machines, and many say that the overall sound isn't as brittle - its more natural and "analogue-y". We are biased (of course), but from the thousands of units we've sold we've only ever had one complaint about the sound quality, and countless numbers of people contacting us saying that they can't believe how good DCC sounds.

Comparative tests with MiniDisc have repeatedly shown that DCC sounds better.

Don't however compare the 18-bit machines (DCC730/951/170) with the earlier DCC machines which do not sound as good.

Why is DCC so cheap?
DCC uses a fixed head mechanism - like a cassette recorder - as opposed to DAT which uses a helically scanning head system - like a video recorder. Consequently the mechanics of the DCC's transport is much simpler, and therefore less expensive to manufacture.

What's the difference between the DCC951 and the DCC730?
Very little apart from styling. The 951 is designed to match the 900-Series of Philips audio components, and incorporates an additional bus for communicating to other 900 series units - but for 95% of users this is of no use. Otherwise the performance of the 730 and 951 is identical.

Are DCC units reliable?
Because they are mechanically so simple, there is relatively little to go wrong and they have proved to be very reliable.

Is it better to buy a portable (170) or a mains powered unit (730/951)?

If you want to go on location and/or collect samples, then the 170 is the best bet, otherwise get a mains powered unit. These have much bigger buttons, faster rewind, infra-red remote, and titling, and for studio use are much easier to use day-on-day. The portables though have stereo mic inputs and are very sexy.

Paul White - 'Sound On Sound'
'.... now that the supply of cheap DAT machines is drying up, a great many home studio owners are wondering which way to turn for mastering. Furthermore, certain very cheap DAT machines have gained reputations for unreliability.... it [ DCC ] seems now almost certain to become a significant player in the private studio market.'

'.... It would seem then that DCC is the perfect answer for those looking for a low-cost means of recording high quality stereo masters..'

'To confirm that the machine was compatible with DAT, I cloned a tape I'd made in the studio and had no trouble with this procedure at all. When the two recordings were compared by switching from the original to the copy during replay, a difference in sound was just evident, but it was subjectively no greater than the difference between one make of DAT machine and another.... Test recordings made via the analogue inputs also showed the recording quality to be excellent.'

'Also reassuring is the fact that the digital I/O's seem happy enough talking to DAT machines and that bodes well for those who want to download their finished mixes into digital editing systems or make DAT clones. In fact, you have the advantage that the sample rate of DCC conforms to the pro. 44.1 khz. rather than the 48 khz. standard adopted by most budget DAT recorders.'

'At its current RRP of under 250 including VAT, free tape and inclusive remote control, the DCC730 is a superb budget mastering machine.... At this price, DCC is currently the only low cost option for high quality stereo mastering.'

'.... the recording quality is to all intents and purposes indistinguishable from DAT or CD. Indeed, if you're using the analogue input, you'll actually get a little more dynamic range than you would with a DAT machine.'

'.... for those looking for an affordable, high quality mastering system that maintains a high degree of compatibility with existing equipment, I have no hesitation in saying that the DCC730 represents an excellent way of spending 250.'

'What Hi-Fi'
The verdict from the above publication gave 19 stars from a maximum of 20 based on the four criteria of sound, build, facilities and value.

'And let it be said that the DCC is very, very good.'

'.... the improved dynamics of the 18 bit system are again apparent.... certainly there's no feeling that this is CD's poor relation'

'.... the DCC deck really shines: it makes stunning recordings from analogue sources, such as radio tuners. Hooked to the superb Audiolab 8000T tuned in to a variety of Radio 3 concerts, it's capable of making recordings that sound just as good as the off-air signal.'

'The digital format ensures solid pitch stability, even with demanding solo instruments such as flute, violin or piano, and you can set levels conservatively for the loudest passages confident of no tape hiss even in quiet sections.'

'.... it's easy to forget you're listening to tape and not a silver disc.'

'Record digitally from CD and the deck sounds good....but of course, you're not going to get 18 bit resolution from such recordings, since the source material - the CD - is only 16 bit.... With this new deck Philips has moved on from the simple ability to tape CD's well. Whether you play the new 18 bit pre-recorded tapes or make recordings from analogue sources, the DCC has a role of its own.'

'Hi-Fi World'
'I've used a good quality DAT machine for years and am no stranger to the way digital tape can render analogue sound dry and antiseptic. But the Philips simply wouldn't entertain the possibility, giving a surprisingly warm and fulsome rendition. The bass was particularly well-rounded and lacked the sense of sterility so common with digital. There was no trace of hardness higher up the frequency range - the drum kit was crisply captured and ride cymbals showed neither imprecision nor hardness.'

'All in all, I was seriously impressed with the DCC.'

'The Mix' (DCC170 portable)

'Fortunately, Philips have included a digital output on the DCC, which really does expand its horizons significantly, especially if you're in the market for squeaky-clean samples, digital editing or just plain tape cloning.'

'All DCC recorders will accept a digital input at all three popular sample rates (32, 44.1 & 48khz ), which is good news for anyone who wants to transfer a DAT collection to DCC. DCC's ability to handle any sampling rate you can throw at it might even precipitate a glut of second-hand DAT machines!'

'So Philips have produced an 18 bit portable DCC for 250 quid. Sounds too good to be true doesn't it? Nevertheless it's here, and the lessons of of price and consumer willingness to invest in a new format have been well and truly learned by their marketing team. The major record companies have already given the format a vote of confidence with pre-recorded tapes.'

'.... you can't ignore the fact that this is a portable digital recorder at a previously unheard of price....'

'I invited several people to listen to both the [Sony] minidisc MZ-R2 and the DCC170. Digital transfers of recordings to both formats were played back, and blindfold listening tests were carried out using four different sized speakers in different environments. It has to be said that it was pretty close, but the DCC170 seemed to win the day. Words such as "spacey", "airy" and "more exciting" were used to describe the DCC170 sound, and the MZ-R2 did seem to lose some of the recordings ambience and presence. On smaller speakers, the detail of sparkling percussion appeared more defined on the DCC.... the stereo image was narrower and the bass fainter than the DCC'

'Last but not least, is the appealing ability of the DCC system to play existing analogue tapes.... the DCC brings out the best in any tape.'

'Hi-Fi Choice' (DCC170 Portable)
The comparative test from the above publication gave the DCC170 a maximum 5 stars for both sound quality and overall verdict against 3 for Sharps' MD-M11and 4 for Sony's MZ-R2 minidisc systems.

'.... If I wanted to bootleg an essential concert this [DCC170] is the one I would choose.'


'HiFi World' - 4 Globes
'Which? Magazine' - Best Buy
'What Hi-Fi?' Awards - Highly Recommended
'What Hi-Fi?' - 4 Star Review

Source: hi-fi world