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Introduction

The C-7030 is a component-style CD player for traditional stereo systems.  It has RCA output jacks, which allow it to plug into a stereo receiver or integrated amplifier such as the Onkyo TX-8020.

Is the C-7030 any good?  Is a CD player even worth getting in 2015-2016? 

Let's find out.

For now, I'm not going to delve into a bunch of technical aspects that only matter on paper.  I'm not going to talk about audio quality measures that only a few "golden ears" can hear. 

I'm going to look at whether this player is any good for people who just like music.



A Quick Note


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In This Article


Some Specs

General Characteristics


Circuitry

Connectors

Audio Quality

MP3 Playback

Conclusion









Some Specs


AC Voltage:  110/120V AC
Analog Outputs?  Yes (Stereo RCA out @ 2.0 V rms, 500 ohms)
Case Material:  Steel & Aluminum
Crystal Oscillator Precision:  +/- 10 ppm
Digital to Analog Converter (DAC):  Wolfson 192 KHz / 24-bit
Digital Outputs?  Yes (Optical & Coaxial)
Dimensions:  17 x 12 x 4 inches
Frequency Response: 4 Hz-20 KHz  (you're not going to hear 4 Hz though...)
Headphone Amplifier Built-In?  Yes
Headphone Jack:  1/4" stereo
Made In:  Malaysia
Media Formats Supported:  CD, CD-R, CD-RW, MP3-CD, WMA-CD
Memory:  25 tracks
Output Impedance:  8 ohms for headphones, 100 ohms for RCA line-out
Power Consumption:  12 watts (0.3 watts on standby)
Price (typical):  $199 US;  usually discounted here.
RCA Outputs:  one pair (stereo), line-level output
Remote Control?  Yes
Shuffle / Random Play?  Yes
Signal to Noise Ratio:  107 dB
THD:  0.0029%
Transformer?  Yes
Weight:  about 16 lbs.






General Characteristics

The 7030 is a single-disc player.  Some people might prefer a multi-disc player.   With the C-7030, though, there's no changer mechanism to go bad. 

The player takes a little while (10+ seconds) to show the track numbers when you first load a CD.  Ten seconds may seem like a while;  it's easy to get spoiled listening to MP3's or switching on some of the faster digital cameras.  

The start-up time on the C-7030 is not that big a deal, though, especially given that CD players in 2016 are sort of a take-your-time proposition anyway.   People who just want music fast will have already gotten into MP3's.

The appearance is classy.  A Bach or Mozart CD fits right in here.



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Circuitry

Ever-ready to void my equipment warranties for you dear readers, I opened up the case.  Looking in there, I see surface-mount devices.    That's not at all surprising for a CD player in this price range.  Some of my readers are electronics people who are thinking in terms of whether they can repair this unit themselves.  Then again, you folks already know that SMD repair is doable, even if more tricky than through-hole components.

(Get this tip for your Weller.  It's the one to have for SMD work.)




There are some through-hole components as well.  They're mostly power-handling stuff and larger capacitors, as you would also expect.  I notice the caps are not Nichicon, Rubycon, Panasonic, or Sanyo.   They are TK brand, which is either good or bad depending on whom you ask.  The TK caps are "audio grade", whatever that means.   I don't put too much weight on that anyway.    (Well, sort of, but I think it's better to look at datasheet specs such as ripple current, etc.)

What matters more (to me) is whether the capacitors will last for a long time while performing reasonably well.    So far, I don't know of any widespread problems.   A lot of people are very happy with this player.  I've been using the C-7030 for a while now, and no hiccups.

For this unit, I don't think Onkyo would pick junk.   Low cost, maybe;  but I for one don't hear any detriment to sound quality.  

Here's what I do know.  Mechanical parts on a CD player would likely give trouble before caps went bad, unless for some reason you were using the lowest-grade caps possible. 

I might be discussing the components in more detail later, when I update this review.  Right now I've been busy listening to this player and being amazed at how good it sounds. 

(Buy this CD player)

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Connectors

Analog Output:  Stereo RCA Out
Digital Outputs:  Optical and Coaxial Out




Photo of the back



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Audio Quality

I keep reading about this near-mythical "open sound stage" that good audio equipment has.  Well, if the Onkyo 7030 doesn't have it, then I don't know what does. 

Compared to most of what I've been listening to, the sound is make-you-stop-what-you're-doing-fantastic. 

After you get spoiled for a while having a CD player like this, you will naturally start to go and do other stuff while the music is on.  But the first few listens really made me just stand there and want to take in the sound.

Some people will say there are better players, and maybe they're right... but not in a new player at this price point.   I don't think you're going to surpass this without paying considerably more.
 
It just sounds good.  Bright and clear.

I've had several other CD players over the years, but I don't remember any of them ever sounding this nice.  

A few people say the 7030 sounds harsh.  I'm not hearing that.  It's probably a matter of personal taste.   I have not compared this CD player to anything super-high-end, but I know this much.  The sound quality some people think they hear is directly proportional to the amount of money they paid.  Me, I look for great performance at a low price.  The C-7030 has it.

And by the way, it's also going to matter what kind of speakers you use.  If the sound is too bright for you, try a pair of these.  They will tone down the high frequencies.  Chances are you won't need to do that;  one of the selling points of CD's in the first place was their ability to render the highest frequencies without this hiss and crackle of analog players.   The C-7030 brings back what I remember as the best of clear audio, circa 1988.


(Buy this CD player)


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MP3 Playback


The C-7030 does not have a USB slot, but it does handle MP3 CD's.  What that means is you can have a bunch of MP3 files that were recorded as a "data CD", and this player will still play them.  This is generally a lot quicker than having to rip all your sound files as WAV's and then writing them as an audio disc.

MP3 CD's also allow you to fit more songs on a disc.  You could easily fit 75 to 100 average-length songs on a CD if you record them as MP3's.  Probably more would fit, if you don't mind higher compression / lower bitrates.   Record some vinyl to MP3 files, throw 'em on a CD, then listen to the MP3's on your C-7030.

With the MP3 CD capability, I don't mind the lack of a USB port so much.


(Buy this CD player)


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Conclusion


This CD player does what it should:  it works well and sounds great.

For the price, this is a way to get serious about CD's.  That's not as far-out an idea as it might seem today.  There are mountains of CD's out there.  You might as well play those CD's on a nice CD player like this one. 

The built-in headphone amp is significant.  It means you can enjoy this player without a whole system.   For someone just starting out in old-school audio, that's a great thing.

If you're thinking of getting a CD player, I would highly recommend this unit.  Please purchase yours through this link to help keep my site on-line.  Your help is greatly appreciated and is the only way I can keep this website going.

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