Marantz CD-7 CD Players

CD-7

Audiophile player with Double Crown converters and DSP

User Reviews (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8  
Cavalaf   AudioPhile [Sep 16, 2011]

Having been searching for a better CD player/Dac for some months, trying different models including modded ones with valves, NOS types etc., I came to realise that the old style multibit DAC sound was what I was yearning for. A bit more research came up with the Marantz CD7 as being the ultimate version of that.

As you will know if you are reading this, the CD7 was Marantz's final high-end dedicated CD design. They used over the top components and materials, to make the best use of the stock of what they thought to be their best ever DAC chip - the double crown TDA1541 made by their parent company Philips. The limit of their chip supply meant they only made 750 of them. They originally sold for £3,500 in the UK, with inflation, that is the equivalent to about £4,800 in 2011.

I had looked at a number of potential Marantzes and saved the searches on ebay and forgot about it - I believed the chance of picking up one of these is so remote. However, a week or two later I was surprised to see a CD7 had appeared. I have learned my lesson with previous rare items - buy it fast because it can be years before you see another. So, no messing around, I clicked on Buy it Now and yesterday it arrived. Six hours of listening later and I am staggered by what I have heard.

Putting it through a Luxman L-507u into Spendor SP1 speakers (all also bought pre-owned), the speed and dynamics, the complex layers of instrumental textures, all are realised as if you are sitting in the concert hall about 5 rows from the front. Disks which were well reviewed but I found disappointing are now jaw droppingly good. Voices have greater presence and individuality. Acoustic instruments have all their harmonics and timbres, including string basses - this is the first time I have heard the woodyness and air in their sound, just as in real life.

I have never been a much of a fan of pop music, Jazz and Classical being my music. However, I found myself putting on my other half's pop and rock disks - and yes my foot was tapping, rhythm was sexy and tunes catchy in a way I did not expect. Also the beauty of some of their voices were a real surprise (Tracy Chapman nearly made me cry). Big band jazz was extraordinary, the classic Count Basie tightness was almost brutal. Small ensembles were wonderful, intimate and detailed. Miles Davis's Kind of Blue was restored to the sound I remembered from much my loved vinyl jazz collection.

I used to be interested in SACD and Hi-Res recordings. I no longer care - I cannot image any improvement, especially as the SACD recordings are rarely great performers (where are the opera SACDs? - no Pavarotti, no Domingo, no Corelli, no Bergonzi, no Sutherland, no Callas, no freni ... one Carreras, no modern ones, no classics - unbelievable).

The other fact of course is that pre-owned classic and rare equipment such as this is no longer falling in value - as long as you take care of it someone else will buy it from you and you might even make a profit. it's better than money in the bank - as you can enjoy it while you own it.

If you see a Marantz CD7 for sale and you care about CDs - then if you have the money just buy it.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
paul barras   AudioPhile [Feb 23, 2005]
Strength:

Great CD playback Solid, Vault-like build quality Pretty, pretty remote Ability to work as a DAC

Weakness:

Heavy CDs only

The CD-7's playback is incredibly, almost ridiculously accurate and will destroy the worst of recordings, making them near unlistenable. Its bulk makes it a pain to move around, a critical consideration for those audiophile college students, if there is such a breed. It lacks flexibility by being unable to play anything other than CDs, no HDCDs, no SACDs, no DVD-As, as such it is an anachronism. The final factor, it must be admitted, does not affect the majority, who own CDs and do not wish to convert their entire collection to the latest and greatest. In the end, with the advantages of a first class performance, build quality and the ability to act as a DAC for other equipment, the disadvantages can easily be discounted. If you are looking for the best CD playback, you need look no further, the CD-7 is it. It is still the player to beat.

Similar Products Used: Sony SCD-1
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
James Henry   Audiophile [Sep 11, 2000]
Strength:

A beautiful machine in all regards.

Weakness:

Soundstage could be a little bigger. Must be partnered with top range equipment.

As you can see I have tried out a number of machines, each with their own character and style. I have gone for the CD-7 as it does almost everything very, very well, whereas the other contenders just fell down on one or two things that I was not able to live with. The BAT - a little too warm, lacks the drive that the CD-7 most certainly has. The Wadia - I still don't know what to make of this machine. The Naim - still lacks tonal colour. The Sony - bound to be a sound investment but I'm going to wait and see as the CD-7 will take care of my 16 bit disks forever and I'll buy a dedicated SACD/DVD-A machine when the time is right. (Or maybe upsampling...?) To cut a long story short the Marantz is a great CD player, with drive, rhythm, clarity and transparency throughout its presentation. Ken Ishiwata, its designer, set out to make his statement 16 bit CD player and he has done so. It retails for £3,500 which is alot of money, but I have no doubt that I picked the right one. They say only 750 have been made. If you're in this price range for heaven's sake make sure you get to hear one before it's too late.

Similar Products Used: BAT VK-D5, Wadia 830, Naim CDX/XPS, Sony SACD1.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Pete Rogers   an Audio Enthusiast [Aug 17, 1999]

This is the final statement on 16bit 44.1kHz technology by Ken Ishiwata of Marantz.It is a limited edition device with only 750 pieces to be made due to the rarity of the DACs employed.

It uses what in CD terms might be considered as ancient technology , but applied in a highly sophisticated manner. Double crown TD1541 DAcs are used ( the kind Philips used in the 80s ).

DSP is employed to provide the digital filter ( in 3 flavours ), with ( clever) a compensation for pre and post ringing og the filter.

The result is one of the world's best players. Comparisons with other top flight players ( e.g. Wadia 850/860, Mark Levinson No39 ) showed it to be superior in dynamics,rhythm and transparency.

This superlative audio performance is coupled to build quality of an "audio jewellery " standard. The price in comparison to the other players mentioned makes it also a bargain.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
global quest   Audiophile [May 16, 2001]
Strength:

Transparency, Drive, Rhythm, Bite, Microdynamics, Macrodynamics, Monet inspired tonal portrayal, Incredibly smooth and extended upper frequencies, Rock solid lower frequencies, Superbly clear and articulated midrange, Complete coherence under any circumstances

Weakness:

taken as a whole - NONE


This CD player is well known the world over but in the US it is a complete sleeper. My advice to anyone looking at CD players in this price range is to audition the CD-7. I am sure there will be people who will not prefer the CD-7 sound but I think most people would agree that it is a stunningly beautiful approach to music reproduction.

The build is also very solid and the remote is very sexy.

Similar Products Used: BAT, Resolution Audio, Electrocompaniet, Sony SCD1, Linn Ikemi
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Justin Benn   an Audio Enthusiast [Sep 29, 1999]

I've waited to see whether anyone else has woken up to this secret of high-end audio. Having been in the market for an audiophile cd player for the last year, I was on the verge of purchasing the impressive Naim CDS2 - a very good design, that has truly escaped Naim's usual cul-de-sacs.
The Marantz was introduced to me by an astonishing review in the British press, and having heard it, I can say that I wholeheartedly agree with Martin Colloms. Its an exceptional player, combining the strengths of players like Accuphase's DP 65V with those involving characteristics of Naim's top models.

The sound is utterly clear, and authoritative, and wonderfully engaging. Yet it still manages to sound rich and informative. For me it bests Wadia's 860, Naim's CDS2, Accuphase's DP65V, Mark Levinson's No. 39, and Audio Synthesis' Dax Decade. It performs more like a Linn CD12 with a bit more bite!

Auditioning is highly recommended, but you may be disappointed if you don't act quickly as only a few will be made due to the scarcity of the TD1541A Double Gold Crown mulitbit dacs employed. Please write to me if you want a further description.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
mmt   an Audiophile [Sep 29, 1999]

A truly superb CD-Player. The CD-7 is detailed yet smooth without a trace of harshness, a superior soundstage (wide and deep) and dynamic.It has tight articulate bass, a sweet midrange with a clear and open top end.
In addition the build quality is first class. What more do you want ?

Current System :

Marantz CD-7
Krell KRC Pre-amp
Krell KAS2 Monoblocks
Hovland Gen II (XLR) interconnects
Hovland Reference Speaker Cable
Egglestonworks Andra's


OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
L. K.   an Audio Enthusiast [Sep 23, 1999]

A truly top notch CD player from Marantz. I did not expect Marantz, a company that targets mainly the middle-class market, to come up with a product in this catogory.
I was rather doubtful about the performance of the CD 7 at first, but when I hooked it to my YBA/Krell system, its sheer transparency rendered me speechless. Serious!

Until then, I was convinced that the best sub-$10,000 CD player was YBA's superb CD-1 alpha (I have submitted a review on that). That's not to say that the YBA now takes second place. It's a very hard fight, to be sure. I mean, there is something solid about the Marantz, in the sense that it delievers the low frequency with a certain robustness that I have never heard before. The YBA is a more subtle player, one that impresses with its seemingly-flawless upper bass.

All in all, I guess the CD 7 makes a wonderfull CD player. I award it four stars for it's marvellous sound reproduction, especially the very low bass units (take the sound of a cello), although I will place the CD-1 half a notch above it.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-8 of 8  

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