The D-66 represents a typical personal compact disc player of the early 1990’s. The compact disc format was nearly ten years old at this stage, but throughout the 80’s compact disc players and even the discs themselves remained luxury items, desired by many but owned by relatively few. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.
By 1990, the mass production of equipment had reduced prices to a more attainable level. Compact discs were also becoming cheaper and a good selection of music was available. The low-cost 3” CD single also appeared around this time, though as a format it would not endure. Against this backdrop, the D-66 is easy to understand. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.
The D-66 was not a particularly expensive model (by Sony standards), but it was well featured, easy to use and compact. All the important functions were there, including programmable track selection, LCD time display, various repeat modes (1, all, shuffle, a-b etc) and remote control, the latter either by a unit in the lead of the supplied headphones or using an optional infra-red handset and receiver. The “mega bass” loudness system was also fitted, with two settings. 8 times oversampling, an exotic high-end technique pioneered in the D-Z555 only a few years previously, was used in this model. New ranges of semiconductors made this much easier to achieve in low cost models. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.
The D-66 did not include any of the electronic jog-resisting features that would become common later, but attempts were made to make it more stable than was usual. As well as being suspended on springs, the optical mechanism and spindle motor were damped by three rubber bags filled with fluid. This “dual damper anti-shock mechanism” helped a little, but did not eliminate the problem of skipping completely. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.
A number of possibilities presented themselves when it came to powering the unit. Firstly, two normal “AA” cells could be used. These gave a rather short life so instead one could use the rechargeable battery, though because this was of the lead-acid type it had to be used carefully to avoid damaging it. The supplied mains adaptor could also be used, both to run the player and the charge the battery, or finally a car adaptor was available. The bottom of the machine fitted onto the standard Sony in-car anti-shock mount, which fitted a number of models from this period. In-car use was a big selling feature at the time as few cars included compact disc players as a standard fitting. When used this way, the LCD window was illuminated in orange. The D-66 could also be used with a home hi-fi system, connected via the line out connector. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.
The D-66 used a new type of mechanism where the compact disc was retained on the spindle by three ball bearings in the spindle hub. This removed the need for a clamper in the lid, simplifying the cabinet and helping to keep the machine reasonably slim. It has to be said though that the quality of the casework and fittings was not as good as some of the previous, more expensive models. Thin, cheap plastics were used for most of the outside, and some of the controls had a flimsy, insubstantial feel. This again though was typical of the period. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.