When you see “Reference” as part of the model on a unit, you would expect nothing less than spectacular. And the Reference CD7 will not short change you on that. From the moment you put your CD in and slide the top cover close, you can almost be guaranteed a listening experience like no other. This is not going to compete with the likes of Esoteric’s P-03/D-03 combo or dCS’s Scarlatti stack but then again, the Reference CD7 costs no where near these other reference pieces. But in terms of performance, the Reference CD7 is every bit as good. In fact, on a side by side comparison, the more expensive Estoeric and dCS may exhibit a slight edge in control and detail but is no more enjoyable than the much “cheaper” Reference CD7. The Reference CD7 was smooth, warm and very articulate with every musical note it picks up from the CD. It may not play SACDs like the other two but it does such a good job with regular CDs you wouldn’t even miss your SACDs. This is quite an achievement.
The top loading design on the Reference CD7 has it pros and cons. Being a “fixed” base, it does not suffer the extra expense from installing a highly rigid mechanical drawer like in Esoteric and thus raising its MSRP and from our experience, a fixed base design almost have zero or minimal mechanical failure from rough handling during shipping. The setback is that it has to sit on top if the rack and if you already have a turntable, than you might need another rack or a wider rack to have both of them sit on the top.
Cosmetically, the player is in great shape. Just some minor scuff marks here and there and a small knick on the top front right edge of the faceplate but nothing major. Original remote and box included.