audio research
REFERENCE CD7

Description
Compact disc player.

From the ARC website

The CD3 has proven to be one of the most respected, highly-praised CD players available anywhere. Nonetheless, we have been asked repeatedly when we might bring out an even higher-performance, Reference-level model to complement the CD3MKII.

Try as we might, it was not until we had the remarkable circuit of the REF3 preamp that we knew we had the missing link: a gain stage so pure and revelatory that it could finally push CD-player performance well beyond the limits of the CD3MKII. So, we are pleased to introduce the Reference CD7 vacuum-tube player / transport - the first digital product from Audio Research to justify the "Reference" badge.

Incorporating the strongest aspects of the CD3MKII - its rugged construction, the Philips Pro2 laser mechanism, the Crystal 24-bit DAC, its user-friendly menu of useful features and functions - the REF-CD7 breaks new ground with a gain stage taken directly from the REF3, incorporating the latest proprietary capacitor technology found only in Audio Research Reference components. Using four 6H30 triodes, the audio stage features high-voltage regulation using an additional three 6H30s, coupled to a massive power supply.

The extensively ventilated top-load chassis is just slightly deeper front-to-back than the CD3MKII. Height is unchanged to allow a wide range of shelf installation options, while a thicker front panel helps identify the REF-CD7 as a Reference product. Inputs, outputs and the accompanying remote are identical to the CD3MKII. The "standby" function on the CD3MKII is now a power on / off function on the REF-CD7, with an accompanying LED indicator on the front panel.

Given the CD3MKII's reputation for exceptionally musical performance, the logical question might be: "Is the REF-CD7 really that much better?" Yes it is, in every way. You will quickly discover that the REF-CD7 offers a sonic background that is quieter and blacker, thanks to noise and distortion figures that are significantly lower than those of the CD3MKII. Musical dynamics and sheer openness of the soundstage are also much improved, in part due to the massive power supply and carefully chosen parts. But you will also hear dynamic nuances that render small-ensemble recordings much more believable and vivid. Notes and sounds have more individual shape, body and location as they appear and recede. The soundstage expands and breathes as the recording calls for it. Bass response is massive, tuneful and controlled. The REF-CD7 simply has a natural speed and ease without coloration - it is truly like the REF3 in this regard. There is a weight and harmonic completeness one expects from a reference-level vacuum-tube product.

With other digital music formats losing support in the marketplace, we music lovers continue to add ever more redbook CDs to our collections. And what better way to bring those CDs alive than by retrieving their full musical potential and enjoyment through playback on the Reference CD7? With tens of thousands of dollars already invested in CDs, and many more yet to be purchased, it makes more sense than ever to bring out the best in your collection by investing in a CD player that performs musically beyond anything you have previously experienced. This is the heart of what the Reference CD7 is all about.

Introduced
2005

Discontinued
2008

Revisions
Power supply upgrade (December 2008). Replacing two 6H30 tubes with a single 5881.

Options
-

MSRP (US new retail)
$8,995

Specifications

Frequency response 0.5-20,000Hz +0 -1dB
Distortion .005% 1kHz
S/N ratio 110dBA
Phase linearity  
Channel separation 95dB 1kHz
Resolution 24 BIT DELTA-SIGMA DAC
Output impedance (Analog) 660 ohms BAL, 330 ohms SE
Analog outputs Balanced XLR 5.4V RMS (+14.6dBv) max.
Single-Ended RCA 2.7V RMS (+8.6dBv) max.
Digital outputs XLR Balanced AES/EBU 110-ohm 4V P-P
BNC coax SPDIF 75-ohm 0.7V P-P
Drive mechanism Wow & Flutter: Unmeasurable (Quartz stability)
Discs: Accepts 5" (12cm) and 3" (8cm) sizes
Optical pickup Type: 3-beam LDGU (Laser Diode & Grating Unit), with holographic diffraction light pen
Laser: GaAIAs semiconductor, 780nm, 0.5mW maximum output
Servo: Digitally-controlled low-inertia linear positioning actuator.
Signal format Sampling Frequency: 44.1kHz
Quantization Bit: 16bit linear per channel
Channel bit rate: 4.3218Mb/sec
Channel modulation code: EFM (8-14 modulation)
Error correction: CIRC (cross interleave Reed Solomon Code)
Power requirements 100-135VAC 60Hz (200-270VAC 50/60Hz>, 120 watts maximum. (5 watts maximum when unit is turned off).
Other Jitter reduction: High-stability crystal-controlled re-clocking for all outputs.
Compliance: RF interference complies with FCC and CE MARK.
Dimensions 19" (48cm) W x 5 1/4" (13.4 cm) H x 15 3/8" (39.0 cm) D. Handles extend 1-1/2" (3.8 cm) forward of the front panel. Rear connectors extend 3/4" (1.9 cm)
Weight 32.5 lbs. (14.8 kg) Net; 43 lbs. (19.5 kg) Shipping.

Reviews

Issue 174

Pictures

Power supply modification: