ARC has just released the newest reference product called a CD-8.
I just got mine and am burning it in.
Any comments or thoughts?
What's different from the CD-7?
A whole lot from power supply to DAC chip. I just got mine. I'll be reporting on it at length after it breaks in some.
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About least half year I am happily leaving with my setup. The components my set up is based on are:
-MBL9008A (mono blocks)
-Nordost ODIN speaker and interconnect cables
-Finite Elemente Master Reference rack
In these days I am hardly waiting for the new CD from ARC, REF CD8. The big dilemma I have is if I did not do a mistake ordering it instead of dCS Puccini. Since your experience with dCS new line of CD players was so positive and impressive. Before I continue with my question I must say that your reviews are the closest to the way I experience and enjoy the music. For me you are the most competitive reviewer. What I would like to know is the setup you were so impressed about dCS gear (Puccini). Since the least change I did in my setup was the REF CD7 which change the Gryphon Mikado. Here it was just amazing how the synergy between the REF3 and REF CD7 was by margin beater then the old set up. After two months leather new CD from ARC arrive L. Did you prefer the dCS connected via MBL 6010D or it also works very fine with ARC preamp? Experience about synergy was so dramatic that I just can forget it. Actually it is second the biggest after I install Nordost Brahma power cord from the wall where electricity is entering my apartment to the power plant. This 16m of power cord did in the past the biggest change I ever heard in my 15 years old audiophile “carrier”! The second was experience with ARC combination of preamp and CD…. I will normally follow up the forum on AVguide where I already notice that you are testing CD8 but I will be any way very happy if you will be ready to give me a replay about dilemma I have. I hope that I was clear since English language is not my basic language.
I wish you all the best in the year 2009 and plenty beautiful experiences in the world of recorded music.
Kind regards from Europe,
Any pics of the unit please.
I'm hoping to be hearing it over the weekend, at home. According to the ARC dealer, it is way way better than the CD-7, but then again, you'd expect he would say that :)
THe unit looks exactly like a CD-7 there are no differences outside except the number 8 on the face plate.
My initial reaction and they tell me its not broken in yet, is it is much more transparent than the CD-7 and much faster as well.
I want to play it more since it has a long break in period I have been told.
I have got my Ref8 on tuesday replacing ref7...my initial thoughts is that ref8 is much faster than ref7....also it music seems to evolve from a darker background...its early days yet and i left mine on repeat since 3pm yesterday to enjoy it over the week end...seems to improve on the weaknesses of ref7 so far...but still early days..
THey tell me the break in is a long time. I have had mine on repeat for 10 days and I will take another and serious listen to it this weekend. I hope it is broken in by then. My first impressions were that is was faster, much quieter with much better signal to noise and becuase of that better dimension. I want to see if this weekend it fully opens up.
its been over 100 hours and so far its a ref 7.5
Well dealer who was supposed to show up witht he unit on Saturday didn't, and I am still clueless. Will try for this coming weekend.
They tell me that the break in is a lot longer than 100 hours.
I have noticed quite a difference in the extension of mine in both extremes over the first ten days.
It seems to be getting better and better but slowly.
Tell me more, tell me more!
It is definetly more transparent and faster than the "7" by a wide margin.
You can come hear it but I thnk it still needs some more time.
Perhaps a week more
No problem, as I am still working on bringing someone with me.
I got a loaner and will have it home until late Sunday/Monday. The unit I have has been 'broken-in' by the dealer, but I have no idea for how long. I'm playing it uncritically before doing a proper listening session over the weekend. It is producing very musical sounds indeed. I hope to do some A/Bs as well and will hopefully report what my ears hear next week.
Break in is supposed to be very long time. I just started using mine in my demo system to listen to this week after having it for a month. It is far better than Cd-7 and it has changed a lot in the thre plus weeks I have been running it .
I am going to do a comparison with my808.2 in the next feww days when I have time and after the football weekend :)
Did you get the CD I sent?
Yes I did and thanks, I got it a few days ago.
I had a chance to listen to and compare CD8 and CD7 at my system. I used to write this piece for Audiogon Forum below:
As I typed before, I had a chance to get a CD8 and CD7 for the weekend to home and experienced these two with my audio setup. My system basically is ARC gear, Ref-3 and Ref-610T monos. A couple of weeks ago I tested Ref-7 and found it has a better synergy than my Audio Aero Prestige. Now it was a better and more exiting test, comparing the successor of Ref-7 and Ref-7.
CD8 had approx 150 hours of burning while Ref-7 had 500+ hours. One can argue that CD8 needs much more hours to perform its optimum.
I also invited some audiophile friends to compare these two players.
I did not reveal which player was playing to the listeners until the end. So it was player A vs player B.
The conclusion was very straightforward. I guess it is a fair to say CD8 is a better player with a margin so that there is no doubt. I was expecting it to improve the virtues of Ref-7 to some margin but we found CD8 as a remarkably different sounding player than CD7. CD8 is fast, I mean really fast compared to Ref-7. Ref-7 seems like having a larger soundstage with larger instruments but in terms of accuracy and pinpoint imaging CD8 did everything right. CD8 has a darker background, better resolution in resolving instruments and inner details. Highs are better defined. It has a better authority and control over any frequency band. CD7 plays more forward compared to CD8. CD8 has a sounstage deeper and more behind the speakers. It is more effortless.
At the end of the listening test we also compared CD8 with my analog setup (Acoustic Solid Royal tt, Graham Phantom tonearm, Transfiguration Orpheus cartridge, ARC PH-7) to see really how close it gets to analog which is my current reference source in my setup. I might say CD8 is one more step closer to analog presentation than CD7. There is still a gap between my analog and my digital sources but it is narrower. So to me, CD8 is that good.
Here is my answer to a question regarding midbass performances of CD7 vs CD8. Again from Audiogon.
I might say CD8 was not fully burned-in so that the frequency extremes might get even better, but I can clearly say the bass definition of CD8 is superior. It is faster and a bit more neutral in texture so that CD7 is trying to catch the timing and a bit lacks and feels like a bit heavy and boomy. I never felt CD7 had a lack of midbass weight, and indeed it was the player which had more weight and emphasis on midbass. While CD7 was louder and heavier in midbass, CD8 had a better control, faster and deeper (and probably lower) bass definition. So compared to CD8, CD7 sounded darker. On the other hand, CD8 did not have a tonal preference. The CD7 unit we tested did not have upgraded power supply kit. So, I cant comment on whether the new power supply or new DAC of CD8 or both of them creating the difference. Given Wsill's comments for power supply upgrade of CD7, I assume an upgraded CD7 performs better than original CD7. So, a comparison of an upgraded CD7 with CD8 will be more meaningful to evaluate the CD8.
I've had it in my house for a week. I thought the CD-8 was a good improvement on the CD-7. It retains the same character and was highly enjoyable to listen to. However, compared to my Emm Labs / DAC 6e, I found it too relaxed and it shrunk the soundstage, both left to right and back to front. Sent it back to the dealer with thanks.
I'll try the Meridian 808.2 next :)
Zeb, you got home after all that travel and went right to listen......I am proud of you!!!! I need more clients like you ...Please move to Florida!!!!!!
You never know Elliot, I might surprise you one day :)
Btw, most of my listening to the CD-8 was done before CES; I just didn't have the time to post it!
Tell us more!
Mark, come on by and I will play for you or give me a call and we can talk.
Does anyone know if CD7 is upgradeable to a CD8? I just bought my ARC gear (Ref 3, Ref110, and Ref CD7) a year or so ago and would rather not pony up for a CD8 if there is an upgrade path from CD7?
Also JV, any impressions yet especially as to differences (both positive and negative) vs. CD7? Are you planning on reviewing the CD8 any time soon? Thx
If I'm reading the info correctly, there is no upgrade.
there is no pure upgrade to ref8 from ref7 as the dac is changed however the output stage upgrade is avaliable to ref7...in otherwords the upgrade from ref7 is to a ref7.5 not ref8
REFERENCE CD8 Compact Disc Player
We are proud to introduce a model that may be the most musical and musically accurate single-chassis compact disc player, the Reference CD8. It replaces a product that was still garnering five-star reviews three years after its introduction, the esteemed Reference CD7.
With the advent of the CD5 and DAC7 in 2008, we knew that the DAC used in our Reference player needed a newer, higher-resolution version. (The new 24-bit, 192-kHz chipset is not retrofittable to the CD7.) And, our engineers found a way to physically incorporate the same power-supply regulation used in the Reference 3, using a single 6550C to replace two 6H30 triodes, giving better performance and longer tube life. Other enhancements include our newest output coupling capacitors and special damping tweaks. The playback mechanism continues to be the unsurpassed Philips PRO2R — still the best dedicated CD mechanism available.
The REFCD8 also features a new dimmable display, allowing five levels of illumination or completely off. A small LED indicator remains lit when the player is on, as a reminder to prevent the player from being left on inadvertently. In size, input and output configuration, —and in all other operational functions, the REFCD8 is identical to the REFCD7. But there the similarities end.
Sonically, the REFCD8 stands in a class all its own. While retaining the lush, full embodiment of the CD7 sound, the CD8 adds new dimensions of transparency. It immediately shows greater transient speed top-to-bottom, purer resolution of low-level detail and expanded dynamic contrasts, with more bass slam, definition and extension. The soundstage is larger and more holographic because of the heightened ability of the REFCD8 to embody and locate instruments and voices. Rhythmically, the REFCD8 also picks up the pace compared to the CD7, with improved timing cues and better rhythmic interplay. You will find other sonic dimensions to marvel as you spend time with this enticing player.
Quite simply, the REFCD8 will have you rearranging your compact disc collection all over again as you rediscover and reprioritize old and new favorites. It really is the most mesmerizing, musically accurate CD player we have ever experienced — and what better way to bring enhanced value to a growing, and costly, CD collection!
I do not see an upgrade path.
what is cost of CD8 ? any discount !
The cd 7 can be upgraded to cd 8 status. The crystal chipset will be changed to the Burr Brown and the powersupply will be upgraded as well. Even the faceplate will be changed ! Cost in Europe is arround Euro 2.000,- ( I know that distributors have been upgrading surplus cd 7´s from their stocks ). So I recon that it is easy to get a cheap cd 7 faceplate right now!!!
That's interesting because ARC in the US has said no upgrade path from Ref CD7 to CD8. Who is doing the upgrades in Europe??
Just talked to the german distributor ( Audio Reference in Hamburg ) again today bacause the time has come were would like to try an upgrade. But now he said that there is no upgrade posibility appart from the power supply upgrade. But but, he was willing to exhange my cd 7 to a brand new cd 8 for 1500 - 2000 Euros depending on the state of my cd 7. He appologised that he had earlier toled that an upgrade was possible !
By the way,
Has any of you cd 7 owners expericened that the mids and highs can be a little harsh ?
Jon Valin or anyone else:
Have you any views on using the ARC CD8 with non-tube electronics - preamp and amp? I would be using it with Spectral electronics. The reason I ask is that I am looking at a used unit and will not have a chance to test it in my setup.
I am using the Ref8 with Krell FBP 700cx and Krel 222 pre amp...so far so good...
but was joy to listen to in the old all Audio research rtef system i must say