When the PlayStation 1 launched in the West in 1995, it not only provided players with hours upon hours of entertainment thanks to its library of impressive video games but also came with the ability to play CDs, giving fans yet another reason to love Sony's little grey box.
For many retro collectors, it's a feature that probably doesn't mean all that much nowadays, with most people simply turning to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music to listen to their favourite tunes. However, according to a recent feature from the audio publication WhatHiFi, there is a small group of audiophiles who have been seeking out and modifying early PS1 consoles (specifically the SCPH-1001 and SCPH-1002 models) to use as a cheap and easy way to play through their CD collection, swearing that the machine has a surprisingly smooth sound for its price point.
Some of the modifications covered in the feature include adding things like custom clear lids to see the disc spinning and even going so far as to transform the console itself into an integrated amplifier.
WhatHiFi's Ainsley Walker reasons that people are opting for these original models over later versions of the console because of "its different internal components as well as [its] RCA audio outputs", which allow it to be easily incorporated into an audiophile's existing setup. They also argue that some users believe these earlier machines use a higher quality digital-to-analog converter (DAC) than later models.
The idea of the PlayStation being an underrated CD player comes up quite a bit in audio spaces, with audiophiles constantly finding themselves in disagreement over how much of the reaction is based on facts relative to nostalgia. Nevertheless, it's incredible to see the hardware finding a dedicated community outside of the expected audience.