PWT 3rd Drive and Counting

I’ve learned a lot from these forums but this is my first post.

I have a PWT that is on its third drive and I’m trying to figure out what to do. PSA has been great about servicing my unit and more than fair considering that it is out of warranty. I’m sure my situation is unusual.

I bought the unit new but apparently it was several years old when I got it. I bought it in March 2019. The first drive lasted about 15 months and PSA replaced it. The second drive lasted about 7 months and PSA replaced that one too. I just received my PWT last week from Colorado with the third drive and already it appears that it is acting up. When I open the drawer it doesn’t open smoothly - it starts out fast, then slows down, and then speeds up again before it opens all the way. This started happening literally on the 3rd CD I played through it. The two previous drives also exhibited this behavior before they failed (drawer finally wouldn’t open at all). I play an average of 5 to 15 CDs a week on the unit. The two previous drives wouldn’t close sometimes so I would have to give them a push or jiggle the tray. This drive doesn’t do that yet but we’ll have to see if it starts.

Right now the drive is working but I’m worried that it will fail soon. PSA told me that for subsequent drives they would charge $500 and guarantee the drive for a year (they don’t sell the parts anymore). If this drive fails I don’t think I would spend $500 to fix it because I don’t have confidence that it would last over a year. FWIW I really like this piece of gear. I’m using it with a PWD Mk II and I was hoping that it might be the last CD player I ever buy. However, I can’t see spending $500/year to keep it going.

So here are my questions:

  1. Has anyone heard of a problem like this with the PWT?
  2. When I got the drive fixed the first time I was informed by PSA that this unit was “B Stock” and only had a one year warranty. I was not informed of that by the dealer when I bought it (obviously I won’t be doing business with that dealer again). Could there be some reason why a B Stock unit would be having these problems? Did B Stock include inferior parts?
  3. Could there be something I’m doing to cause this problem? The unit is on an audio rack in a non smoking home at regular room temperature. I have 2 other CD players that are 10+ years old and they are still using their original drives. One of them has literally played thousands of CDs without a problem.
  4. I can buy a used PWT in very good condition for around $1200. If I did that would I be more likely to end up with a transport that worked for many years? Is this a case where the older parts were better quality than the newer parts?
  5. What is the average life of the drive in a PWT?

Thanks for any help or insight you can give.

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B-Stock can mean different things to different companies. It could be an item that was returned within their 30-day trial period and could not be resold as new. Could also be a unit that was rejected for something simple as a cosmetic defect or something needed to be repaired. Normally, B-Stock items are nearly good as new and sold at a slight discount.

From what the person at PSA told me, I believe that it was simply an overstock that was being sold out because they were selling the DirectStream products. However, I don’t know this for sure which is why I was asking. I’m hoping that someone familiar with PSA use of the term “B Stock” can shed some light on the issue.

I hate to say but it’s possible this is a case of lightning striking multiple times in the same spot. The drive in there should last much longer than a year. It isn’t nearly the quality of the drive that’s in the new PST, but it should still have a good lifetime.
The PWT is one of the VERY few products we have ever sold as “B-stock.” We sold that as such a number of years ago when the DMP came out and we received a gang load as trade. We put these units through testing and if any parts seemed worn, we swapped them out. These did come with a 1 year warranty as opposed to our standard 3 year. I don’t think you’re doing anything wong at all. 5-15 discs a week seems very reasonable and you shouldn’t have any trouble like this for a good while.

I have a PWT, but fortunately not had your bad luck with drives. My understanding is that if this is a unit from the end of the production time, then it uses a standard computer DVD drive easily available from ebay. Also, that swapping it out is not a major undertaking, with the trickiest but being getting the door cover off one unit and putting it on the new one. There was a long thread about it a few months ago - worth a read.

Much good information here. I can order the ASUS drive and I intend to do that. Can someone tell me how I can know whether my drive is SATA or PATA and when it was manufactured?
Serial Number 062190

Thanks! Very good information.

I’ve replaced my Asus drive with a Plextor-891SAF. It outperformed the Asus and is also quieter. I’ve even tried a Blue Ray drive and that too outperformed the Asus. I would think PSA should be able to tell you if your drive is SATA or PATA. I purchased my PWT used and found that it had the older drive technology when I compared it to my friends PWT. His PWT sounded better than mine so I sent it to PSA for them to upgrade it to the latest drive they were using. The Asus drive was noisy so I changed it to the Plextor. Just thought I would share that with you.

If he gets the all threads he can open the cover and see if it has a ribbon cable or the SATA cable.

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Had issues with my PWT drive and a Reaolution Audio Opus 21 drive. The older CDROM drives are not the best quality.

The PST SACD/CD drive is made by Marantz and is bulletproof.

I believe PSA offers good trade-in price for DMP/PWT? upgrade to PST. But need to check with PSA directly.

The PWT always performed better than the DMP as far as functionality goes. The PWT is a real memory player that extracts data bit perfect and overcomes the analog storage methods of the CD. The DMP and PST are more susceptible to the storage methods. This makes it more important that the quality of the physical drive be higher. They play the disk on the fly like every other spinner out there.

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My PWT did not perform better than my DMP. Transport failures vs software issues. The DMP never stopped working.

The PWT reads 30 seconds ahead and the DMP reads a couple of seconds ahead. Both utilize the digital lense

I never said the DMP does not use a digital lens. I simply stated the fact that the PWT extracts the data bit perfect into a large memory. The DMP and PST use conventional error correction and play the disk on the fly. It outputs through the digital lens. My experience with the PWT and DMP differ from yours to this very day my DMP still refuses to play a disk on first insert. This only happens occasionally. I have never had that happen with the PWT.

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Are you sure? I thought PSA kept the digital lens/buffer feature but just reduced the amount of data/“buffer time” employed in the two newer spinners.

The used an Oppo drive in the DMP and now a Denon/Maranzt drive in the PST. both have their own controllers and are not connected to the Fpga for control functions only to pass the data to the outputs. This is all because of wanting to support true DSD layer playback to the DAC. They were considering building another redhook only true memory player but opted for the SACD/Redbook PST. They do use a digital lens in both the DMP but it is after the fact the same as it would be if you used an external digital lens.

This does not square with your “on the fly” comment in my mind - but I apparently misunderstood your meaning.


To your point Scott.

On the fly means the data comes off the disk at a constant linear velocity. This is the way most disk players out there play a disk. The PWT does not do this. It extracts the data at a high rate the same way a computer handles the data. The data than goes into a solid state memory and a precise clock is used to control the output of the data to the DAC. Thus the term memory player. The digital lens in the DMP and PST is used to clean and isolate the data from the source to output it to the DAC.

Originally they were going to call the DMP the Directstream transport. They changed the name to maintain the idea of a memory player.