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Old 6th December 2004, 10:51   #1
merlin
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Marantz CD7

Having been without a proper CD player since I sold my Moon to Robbo over a year ago, I recently decided to take the plunge and pick up a mint expample of the Marantz CD7.

With only 750 of these existing worldwide, they very rarely pop up on the used market, and when they do they don't last long. For those not familiar with the CD7, this is CD done the old fashioned way. No upsampling, no interpolation filters or 24 bit dacs, the CD7 was old fashioned when it came out in 1999 so five years on it seems seriously dated

Build quality is fabulous, a copper-plated diecast chassis , loads of copper sheilding and a reassuring weight of 16kg. The Dac's are quite special - Double Crown multibit chips that alledgedly provide superior linearity. 16 bit only of course - none of this modern stuff!

So how does it sound? Well in the recent past I have had the opportunity to sample of the delights of many fine CD players at home whilst looking for a replacement. The dCS Delius/Purcell, the Resolution Audio Opus 21 are just two, but I have also had experience of the Moon Eclipse, the Wadia 861, and the Meridian G08.

Now memory is a fickle thing, particularly when it comes to hifi comparisons done in differing systems some time apart. So the fact that I have not done an A-B comparison should be take into account when reading this.

But my impressions based on one weekend's listening suggest that the CD7 is a very special player indeed, in fact the first silver disc player I have heard that can approach analogue in many of the areas that are important to me.

It has that driven, propulsive quality that makes vinyl so entertaining, in many ways reminding me of top end Naim CD players like the CDS2. Where it betters the Naim IMO is in areas of tonal colours and soundstaging, where it is amongst the best I have ever heard. The impression is that this Marantz has slightly greater low level resolution than the other units I have listened to. This not only leads to greater detail retrieval in the "haven't heard that before" sense, but also greater tangibility to vocals and individual instruments.

So that's the hifi bollox out the way This thing rocks! Music is incredibly involving for CD, bass is powerful and tight and (for those who claim it's important) it grooves like a barsteward.

So we've got Naim like timing, Wadia style bass, and dCS style resolution all in one musically satisfying package. I'm sure all of the above better the CD7 in one area or another. I very much doubt any of them provide a better all round musical performance. With used prices for all of the above being around £4,500 these days, I would say the CD7 is an absolute steal unless those of us lucky enough to own one decide to sell at prices the sound actually justifies.

The CD7 is one of those products that makes you realise just how badly the industry has gone wrong.

Last edited by merlin : 6th December 2004 at 10:54.
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Old 6th December 2004, 11:40   #2
alanbeeb
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Interesting.... I owned a CD7 for a while, and thought it was a good player, but ultimately found that more recent devices from other manufacturers outplayed it. Particularly I found the Meridian G07 and G08 had better imaging and bass slam. All IMHO of course.

I got it when I did a straight swap of my previous Sony SCD-1 for it with someone - I definitely got the better deal there! The CD7 was miles better for normal CD than the SCD-1.

However, I found it seemed to have a slightly restricted soundstage, a sort of narrowing of left/right information compared to other players. I would not swap the Electrocompaniet DAC for one now.
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Old 6th December 2004, 11:54   #3
merlin
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Just goes to show it's horses for course Alan. I would not swap my Arcam DVD player for the G08 I thought it was one of the most boring CD spinners I have ever heard, as those who saw me refusing to listen to it anymore will confirm

I have tried in the review to explain just why I think the CD7 is special in musical terms. With regards to the soundstage, yes it will be restricted in width compared to modern upsamplers - that's the trick they play. Upsampling however, reduces the solidity of images once you get above 96khz, as even dCS are happy to admit. For me, that just loses the palpability essential to a musical performance. Image width I can adjust with my speakers.
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Old 6th December 2004, 12:12   #4
wadia-miester
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanbeeb
Interesting.... I. Particularly I found the Meridian G07 and G08 had better imaging and bass slam. All IMHO of course..
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Old 6th December 2004, 13:52   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlin
Just goes to show it's horses for course Alan. I would not swap my Arcam DVD player for the G08 I thought it was one of the most boring CD spinners I have ever heard, as those who saw me refusing to listen to it anymore will confirm

I have tried in the review to explain just why I think the CD7 is special in musical terms. With regards to the soundstage, yes it will be restricted in width compared to modern upsamplers - that's the trick they play. Upsampling however, reduces the solidity of images once you get above 96khz, as even dCS are happy to admit. For me, that just loses the palpability essential to a musical performance. Image width I can adjust with my speakers.
Merlin
If you like the sound of the marantz CD7, you have got to listen to the new Plinius CD101 player. I m lucky to be able to audition one in my home before the dealers.
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Old 6th December 2004, 14:08   #6
merlin
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Thanks Class A but I really don't need to listen to any other CD players at the moment.

FWIW, I don't think the CD7 really has a sound, unlike the vast majority of the stuff that's out there.

It is only the second CD player I have owned to have passed a couple of tests I have when comparing resolution with vinyl. The other was the dCS Delius. It doesn't interfere with the music, unless of course you indulge in cable swapping rather than using the supplied OFC interconnect

Oh and the use of a serious length of elephant cock may well be helping
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Old 6th December 2004, 14:29   #7
alanbeeb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wadia-miester
Sorry, what was I thinking? Must be something wrong with my ears. How could I possibly be at variance with the great and the good?
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Old 6th December 2004, 14:32   #8
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Its ok Alan, we all have our faults, even Merlin and my goodself, you can be exscued this time.
I've honestly yet to hear any meridain with some thwack, hence the funnies
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Old 12th December 2004, 16:27   #9
Mr.C
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlin
The CD7 is one of those products that makes you realise just how badly the industry has gone wrong.
I think you've summed quite a lot up there with that sentence Merlin. For those lucky enough to have heard a well set up CD7 I hope you'll agree.

A recent trip to the London hifi show really was a depressing experience - hearing duff systems costing hundreds of thousands, and the hifi industry's attempts at A/V (Oh...Dear...God...No...!!) made me wonder whether or not the industry is in fact moving backwards these days. What the hell is going so wrong, and why
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Old 12th December 2004, 16:47   #10
michaelab
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Mr.C, what do you mean by a "well set up" CD7? I thought only TT's and speakers (and maybe some valve amps) required "setup".

Michael.
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Old 12th December 2004, 23:06   #11
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Basically I mean putting the CD7 into a suitably high quality, sympathetic system which plays to the CD7's strengths - I'm sure there are systems which would not be kind to what the CD7 does. I've heard it myself in a good system and it was very good indeed, as Merlin describes, but I've also had the misfortune to hear it in a totally mismatched system and the result was very bland, uninvolving music.
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Old 12th December 2004, 23:31   #12
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OK, that's what I thought you meant . I'd love to hear a CD7 myself, I think I'd like it a lot. Back to basics 16/44.1 replay a bit like my DAC...

Micahel.
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Old 13th December 2004, 05:24   #13
nankin
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Quote:
Its ok Alan, we all have our faults, even Merlin and my goodself, you can be exscued this time.
I've honestly yet to hear any meridain with some thwack, hence the funnies
As for the Meridian Thwack I beg to differ my 602/606 has more thwack than a boarding school prefect.
Also how is thwack measured and in what units.

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Old 13th December 2004, 07:50   #14
julian2002
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thwack (mid / upper bass transients) are measured in 'oddles' you can buy a special oddleometer from tony if these things concern you much.
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Old 13th December 2004, 09:58   #15
alanbeeb
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The thing is.... I have tried most Meridian players of past 7-8 yrs at home, I was totally unimpressed by 508.20, 508.24 and 588 and felt they were lifeless and boring with no thwack. But the G07 and G08 were totally different and I really enjoyed them. Plenty thwack that I could hear.
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