PlayStation 1: An Audiophile Bargain or Fool's Gold?
By James Grahame
The high-end audio world is a weird place, filled with "strident yet ethereal highs," "boisterous bass" and $23,500 speaker cables. As with any expensive hobby, there are thousands of clever audiophiles trying to produce truly high-end sound at bargain basement prices.
And what could be more bargain basement than an old game console? There's a growing legion of music fans who are convinced that the lowly PlayStation 1 (Model SCPH-1001/1002) offers CD audio quality that rivals units costing thousands of dollars more. A reviewer on 6moons.com enthuses:
"I had heard rumors of just how good this particular version of the PS1 is when used as a CD player and was curious to give it a listen. This kid's video game player really does have outstanding audio performance. I'm guessing you'd have to spend more than $6000 on a one-box CD player to equal let alone better it."
I'm always skeptical of such claims, especially when they're not backed up by hard evidence. After all, it could just be that the audio output of the PS One is louder than other CD players, or perhaps the Digital to Analog converters color the sound in a musically appealing manner.
Some users report that the PlayStation sounds best when left on for several days before a listening session, which strikes me as alchemy - solid state electronic equipment simply doesn't need time to warm up like vintage tube equipment. The unit will reach "normal" operating temperature within a few minutes, and extreme heat is never a friend of precision integrated circuitry.
I'd definitely be interested in hearing from readers who have tried the PlayStation One with a high-end stereo: Does it really sound better?
Need a high-end CD player? Why not use your old PlayStation? [ars technica]