SONY PCM-601 ESD For Sale
I admit to being a bit of a hoarder. No, not the obsessive type found on the reality TV shows that can’t make it through their home or apartment because of all of the garbage and stuff. But I do recognize that I tend to hang on to equipment and stuff longer than I should. Sometimes it works out for the best like last year’s use of my aging Ampex 440-C 2-channel reel to reel machine but other times I visit the upstairs storage area of my building and think…when was the last time you used those Apogee converters or the Kawai 88-note MIDI controller? So I’m turning over a new leaf and going to be using this site and eBay to offer some of the “classic” equipment or recordings that I have (including a couple of vinyl LPs by George Van Eps, the original 7-string guitarist that I revered as a kid…in protective sleeves).
The first item that I’m going to try and sell is my cherished SONY PCM-601 Digital Audio Processor. I purchased this unit from a guy in Pasadena in the mid 80s so that I could do digital transfers from my PCM F1 Beta Tapes. The move from analog recording to digital recording was just starting and those of us that made the move used the Sony F1 in conjunction with a Beta Video Deck. It worked with VHS decks too, but at that time both Beta and VHS were vying for the consumer home video market…and the Beta format was actually better.
Of course, none of my customers could play the master “digital recording” that I produced at home so I had to transfer the 44.056 kHz/16-bit PCM Beta Tape to multiple cassette tape machines. I would spend hours making copies for clients. Why use the Sony F1? Well, because it meant that the master was made in very high fidelity PCM and that perhaps sometime in the future I would be able to provide that quality to my customers. I also used this technology to record a lot of my own compositions and concerts. When I did finally get my first digital audio workstation in the late 80s (a Sound Tools system from Digidesign), the PCM-601 was able to do digital transfers into the DAW.
My acquisition of a Sonic Solutions CD Premastering business in 1989 was my road into the world of mastering and I used the SONY PCM-601 a lot in those days.
The use of videotape transports was an interim step between analog recording and DAT (Digital Audio Tapes), It was the bridge format and it worked very well. But I’ve already transferred all of my own recordings and don’t really need this device any longer.
I found one on eBay sold by a medical doctor that has been playing around with audio equipment for years. He describes himself as an avid collector “with a disease”. His description is way over the top with regards to the “audiophile quality” of the converters in this box. We’re doing much better these days…but his pitch is polite. Here are a few of the best selling points that he posted on the eBay site:
“This will do Analog to Digital Conversion with the Best of them.
They do not make them like this anymore.
If they did this unit would likely cost at least $5000 maybe more.
This unit operates at 44 KHz.
This unit can truly be the heart of a current state of the art system.
This is truly one of the best made and best sounding PCM Digital Audio Processors ever made.
No matter what you spend, no matter when you buy your system, this Processor remains state of the art, even to this day.
That is how well it is made and how far ahead of it’s [sic] time it was.
I am likely the most honest person in the world.
I try not to screw anyone.
I practice the Golden Rule and so should you.”
Wow! Are you convinced yet? I love the fact that the sample rate is listed as “44 kHz”…how convenient that he left off the needed decimal place. The 601 (and all of the other digital processor from Sony) has a sample rate of 44.056 kHz NOT 44.1 like standard CDs. That means that digital transfers will be off pitch and slower by a little bit (most of us won’t notice it). So we’re not talking about a state of the art piece. But it does have a specific function and is quite prized by the right people. I was one of those people…but I’m not anymore.
If the good doctor can offer his SONY PCM-601 at $350 then I figure I’m looking for about the same price. I saw one on a site in Manila listed for $1200, but that’s stupid price.
This unit is a piece of history. It’s available…just send me a note. Shipping is on you and there aren’t any refunds or returns. The unit works perfectly.
Note: I have a bunch of other items that will be going up on eBay soon. If you want a list of what I’m going to offering, just drop me an email. I rather sell them to this community than worry about eBay.
16 thoughts on “SONY PCM-601 ESD For Sale”
just wondering if the 601 is still available and if it is, where you’re located and is it a NTSC or PAL unit and 110V or 220V?
I still have a F1 and a 501, but the 601 digital out would make it easier to get my old music tracks, recorded back in the 80’s, onto a PC for editing.
Look forward to your reply.
It’s still available. I’m in Los Angeles so it’s NTSC and 110 volts.
I used to do a lot of work with PCM F1 (Actually the black Nakamichi DMP100 clone of the PCM F1) and later PCM 501 and 601ESD. I believe that the Sampling rate even in NTSC for the PCM 601ESD and 501ES units was 44.1. If you look at your manual it will list the sampling rate at 44.1 and if you look at a PCM 701, DMP100 or PCM F1 it was 44.056. At the time I remember doing digital transfers to DAT machines and reading SP/Dif from CDs I think that I digitally transferred some recordings last year with my unit into Logic and burned CD’s from those recordings without issues. I suppose you could record a 1K tone on a VHS deck, digitally dub it to Logic or pro-tools session at 44.1 and use a frequency counter from the analog output of Logic and the analog output of the PCM 601ESD and see if they both read 1KHz. If the wordclock on the PCM 601 ESD is running at 44.056 when the recording is dubbed, later when the Tone is played back on the DAW (now using internal wordclock of 44.1 it will be slightly elevated in pitch. This can actually be tested without using a recording deck by just looping the Composit video out to the Composite video in on the 601 and recording the digital out onto the DAW.
I’d have to investigate further. I do know that I had to remaster a percussion recordings because of the 44.056 kHz to 44.1 kHz difference.
If the original recordings were done with an F1 or 701, then playback, with SP/Dif or analog with the 601ESD would result in a pitch change. If the original recordings were done on a 501 or 601 you should be fine. My understanding is that there was a work clock change when the 501/601 was introduced. The 1610 and 1630 pro units were 44.1 and they recorded on UMatic decks with NTSC Hetrodyne color carriers, which was not much different than the beta decks that the sony PCM units were paired with.
That’s for the update. I used an F1 for a long time at 44.056 kHz.
I’m interested in the Sony PCM-601–is it still available? If so, how do I reach you?
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Yes, it is still available.
Sept. 4, 2015 – Is your Sony PCM-601 still for sale? I’m interested.
Sorry, I sold it ages ago.
Hi, if anyone is still interested in a PCM601ESD, I have one I’m selling. I have inherited all of my (late) father’s hi-fi and audiophile stuff, and I’m trying to help my mother clear out a TON of equipment. Anyway, this unit will be among them.
http://ebay.to/1PWFCX1 (goes live at 6pm PT, 01/05/2016)
Good luck…I sold mine to a radio station in NYC.
I see it’s an old thread. Nevertheless I would ask you all a question and hope you will reply.
If you had a chance to buy only one of the Sony PCM DAC which one would it be and why?
Many consider Sony PCM-F1 sonically to be the best is that a kind of overstatement?
There are much better DACs now than when the F1 or 601 were around.
Is there any particular one you would recommend to a normal expense?
Schitt Audio makes great products at reasonable prices.