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Personal review of Marantz CD7300

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At long last, I've finally sat down with the Marantz CD7300 fronting my main sound system. The following are my personal impressions and as always subject to my sound/music preference and no golden pair of ears.



At first instance, I'm impressed by the weight of the maching as it sports a double-layer chassis construction of 2mm thick steel plate weighing 1.5Kg at the bottom. This serves to reduce the effects of both rotational vibration of discs and external vibrations. Line outputs are not fixed and no longer endowed with remote controlled output volume. Henceforth, U get a potentiometer for headphone socket. Tappings on the cover suggests some effort have been done to dampen vibration.


Feature wise, U get a plus-minus 12% range pitch control that is more commonly seen in pro cdps like their own PD-321 professional cdp. This is useful only for musicians unless U wanna hear Chip and Dale singing instead of humans. Another boon to purists is "Display on/off" control as lab tests have proven FIPs (fluorescent indicator displays) do generate some significant amount garbage to power supply which in turns affect sound quality. There's also a "Jog function" for track skips and other playback functions. Functions on the remote are nicely laid out.


The insides:

Transport is a VAM2202 instead of VAM1201 used in the CD6000 series. Bigger and sturdier, it gives smoother ejection/retraction and probably beneficial to the sound chain. In the heart of it all is the Cirrus Logic CS4396 DAC which is capable of upsampling to 24bit/192KHz. In this unit, it is made to function at 16-bit/44.1KHz, 128 times oversampling. The digital section is situated underneath the transport mechanism and far away from the analogue pcb which resides on the mid-right of cdp. There's ample space around capacitors and I reckon newer versions will sport larger and better caps than the prevalent array of Elnas and Panasonics. This is a blessing to modders. HDAMs are made up of copper-encased modules and surface mounted components that are also incorporated into the flagship SA-12S1 SACD player.


Now the sound..........


It's very obvious that this cdp is different from the 6000 series as it lacks the somewhat sharp highs which can be bothersome to some. No disrespect to 6000"s as this series fits tube setups very well because of its signature in the highs. Absence of this in 7300 suggests it's better partnered with solid-state equipment. I suspect a slight roll-off in the treble which contributes to a very analogue sound and sibilence on some of my test discs are absent. Listen to the works on top hats and very obvious is the sheen to them instead of white noise. Nonetheless, it's more than capable of presenting air and decay of highs in some live tracks. The earlier conclusion is further supported by my findings when playing tracks that are entirely recorded and mastered with tube gears.


Where does the forte of 7300 lie? The answer is in the mids. Besides vocals, acoustic instruments such as piano, wood, wind and strings are delicious and liquid. The house sound of Marantz is once again apparent here. Warm and slightly laidback, vocals are never shouty and very involving. How much so? Let's just say I often forgot to take notes while listening to vocals, jazz and chamber pieces. I reckon the full bosom of the mids add to my involvement in the music when this department is highlighted during playback. Guitar licks are also as sweet as sugar.


As expected of cdps in this price range, bass depth is not as deep as machines in the range of $1000 and over but sufficiently so. Duly so, bass tonality in the extreme lows are also left wanting. However, U lose some, U gain some. I reckon there's a hump to the upper bass which gives an impressive punch and weight to music. I suspect this signature crosses over to the mids and adds to the body there. Do not be led astray that 7300 sounds lean. On the contrary, it sounds rather mean and on tracks with double bass, hear how it growls and booms your room but never so much as to cloud the mids and highs. This suggests good separation and overall, it portrays a sound that is as big as those in the $1000 bracket. Acoustic music aside, this also bodes well for fans of Hip-hop, R&B and Trance music.


Details are abundant but of course, this does not match cdps with 24-bit resolution. All subtle nuisances on the tracks I've tested are detectable albeit not as prominent than that of my MF A3CD.


I believe 7300 projects soundstaging depth better than width but music never sounded constricted during my auditions.


Another department the 7300 fares very well is in its timbral nature. Bass weight, thickness, liquid mids and not-overly exhuberant highs are all the essence of presenting accurate timbre of instruments.


As per Marantz house sound, tempo is just a tad slow but this actually helps me to get involve with the music better. I relate this to my experience with Nordost Red Dawn interconnects which sound really detailed and fast. But to me, it was too fast for me and instead of a boon, it fails to get me involve with the music. Back to the 7300, I suspect the hump in upper bass has a hand in this result.


How does the headphone socket fare?

Output from this port is capable of driving a 250-ohm BeyerDynamic DT880 to overbearing loudness but stress will occur at full volume. With the headphone volume control set at about 12-2 o'clock, it should be sufficient for normal listening. Most of the abovementioned characteristics are apparent but to a lesser degree and on this note, bass depth is once again left wanting. However, I have to admit that it sounds impressive to those who have yet to be exposed to head amps. From memory and limited experience with headphone sockets, I'll say it fares as well as CD63KI which I shower with accolades. It also sounds less dry than through Mackie VLZ Pro 1202.



Not many sub $1000 cdps can match the weight and refinement in the mids of CD7300 but some may surpass it in bass definition and depth. I believe this is one of those analogue sounding digital machines which most seek, especially vinyl lovers who don't usually place much emphasis on cdps relative to their turntables. The 7300 will definitely appeal to this crowd and being so, it's never fatigueing to listen for long hours. I believe its appeal will grow stronger instead. The 7300 will not impress on initial listening relative to some cdps which are eventually deemed bright, harsh or digital sounding after extensive period. As I also lean towards the "dark side" ie. vinyl and turntables, those who are uninitiated with analogue sound can find examples with Marantz CD7300.


What ancillaries to partner with?

Any changes in interconnects and power cords must not pare the strength in mids but try to work on those that helps to increase the extreme highs and lows. For beginners, I suggest a change of the captive power cord to Belden 19364 (eg Bob Crump's recipe) as this will give more air and widen soundstage dimensions. However, mids will be a tad recessed upon this change and Tara Labs Ref Gen II is preferred to bringing a balance to the overall sound. Alternatively, just install a pair of Kimber Silver Streaks interconnects but partnership with the Belden 19364 power cord is a suspect and thus, not recommended in my own opinion. As yet, I stand by my preference of the CD7300 to partner with solid state equipments than tube based where CD6000 series are perhaps more appropriate. Of course, conclusion is subjective and I'm only drawing this upon my own music and sound preference.


Gears used for review:

- Marantz CD7300 connnected with Tara Labs Ref Gen II

- Behringer DSP8024 connected with Kimber Silver Streaks

- Musical Fidelity A3CR pre amp connected with Kimber Silver Streaks

- Krell KSA-150 power amp

- Dynaudio Acoustics BM6P & PPM2 near-field monitors

- BeyerDynamic DT-880 headphones


CD used:

1. Karrin Allyson-Balads

2. Patricia Barber-Nightclub

3. Keiko Lee-Daydreaming

4. Tsai Chin-Golden Leaflets

5. Alice Lau-A Date (all tube recording and mastering)

6. Antonio Forcione-Live

7. Ray Brown Trio-Some of my friends are guitarists

8. Die Rohre-The Tube (all tube recording and mastering)

9. TakeDake-Asian roots.


Marantz CD7300 specs:

- Plays Audio CD's and MP3 CD's

- HDAM Modules each channel for high quality audio reproduction

- CD Text and MP3 ID3 tag display

- 12% Pitch Control

- 1-30 seconds Quick Replay function

- CD-R and CD-RW playback capability

- Cirrus Crystal CS4396 DACs

- VAM 2202 transport

- Display Off function

- Choice of analogue and optical/coaxial digital outputs

- Marantz D-Bus remote link sockets

- Easy Jog Control function

- Power Consumption 12W

- Dimension (WxHxD) 440 x 89 x 317mm

- Weight 5.7kg

- Frequency Range CD 2Hz-20 kHz

- Signal to noise ratio CD >110dB

- Line Output 2.2v rms

- Make in Japan





Please reserve comments to this thread http://www.sgheadphones.com/index.php?act=ST&f=2&t=497

Edited by Mackie

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Wow, great review Mackie ... I'll have to reread this again laugh.gif


I'll now add this to my list of potential CDPs to get rolleyes.gif

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