.this easy fix for my LaserDisc player's sluggish performance originally provided by LD aficionado Kurtis Bahr (thanks again!). After the repair my CLD-D503 was holding up but upon chance I found its "step-up", the CLD-D703, on eBay complete with original box, remote, and manual for just $120 two weeks ago.
I was antsy about the purchase, especially after a giant eBay screwjob on a severely damaged Betamax player several years ago, but it arrived last Tuesday packaged quite well and in excellent shape. Still the eternal pessimist, I figured it got heaved about so much during shipping that the tray or laser was knocked out of alignment. Amazingly, the unit spun up and played fine.
This time the motor's rubber ring looked even worse than the 503 with something resembling caked white chalk filling in the textured surface before scrubbing. Breaking out the alcohol and Q-tips and performing the same operation much to my surprise resulted in success. The player didn't screech and didn't hesitant one bit to play Side B and then return to Side A when finished. It seems funny such a simple thing would hurt the player's functions so much.
I'm really after the stereo digital PCM tracks many LDs feature. The more basic 503 unit can play them, but only via stereo analog jacks, which means the digital audio is processed by the player and not my much more modern A/V receiver. The 703 has Optical Out and Coaxial jacks which send the raw PCM signal to a receiver for processing. The audio difference in terms of clarity and impact are very clear and I can finally understand why many old school LD owners say the format sounds better than DVD (True Lies sounds incredible!). Also LDs with uncompressed DTS audio can be sent through Optical to any DTS-decoding receiver just like DVD (don't have any DTS LDs yet).
There's also "standard" and customizable "variable" DNR levels for both the luminance and chroma parts of the image. Noise reduction isn't such a bad thing with analog video like VHS or LD but I turned it off anyway. Regarding the construction of the 703, the mechanical end of the tray, laser assembly, gamma turn flip "cartridge", and entire outer case itself are identical to the 503. So if you have trouble in this respect it may pay off grabbing a cheap 503 off eBay and stripping it for parts. However the power, video, and audio boards are indeed different in comparison. Anyway, cool stuff!