I recently had the good fortune to aquire an Arcam 7SE at a very favourable price. So good in fact, that I figured I couldn't afford NOT to buy it. I wasn't looking for a new CD player, in fact I was perfectly happy with my Marantz. Neither have the rather dowdy old-fashioned looks of the Arcams ever appealed to me. So you can trust me when I say that I didn't run home, frantically rip the beast out of it's box, and listen in eager anticipation. In fact I set it up, spun a CD and settled down in front of the computer..... for about 2 minutes! Wow, why have those nice Arcam people been hiding this from me? The sound quality of this player, straight out of the box, just grabbed and held my attention until I realised that it was tomorrow already. The sound stage, compared to the previous encumbent became both deeper and much more stable. The bass end of things is wonderfully airy and unforced, the treble end is very detailed but sweet and you get the feeling that nothing is being held back or masked. A terrific result of all this is that I now find that those few 'edgy' CD's that I no longer played have been made much more listenable. Almost like a really good, quiet vinyl LP! Well done Arcam. To say I'm impressed would be an understatement.
How does such a small company achieve such worldwide appreciation? Simple, Buy this CD player and you'll know! The Alpha 7SE has received praise since it's launch and is still going! I bought mine in a package deal from Richer Sounds, after the 'What Hi-fi' Awards in 1999 in which it achieved the best in category award. The 7SE has every feature you could ask of a CD player and more, apart from the usual controls as standard it comes with a slimline remote (with great pick-up!) , a digital output useful for minidisc recording, display features allowing it to be turned off to improve the sound quality, and numerous programming and scanning options to set the order and select the required tracks. The 7Se as a whole is slimline giving an easy to the eye approach displaying rounded features and a subtle approach.. One clever idea is the remote receptor and the cunning way it blends into the front. overall a very elegant style. The combination I use also has the NAD C340 amp and Mission 773e speakers (see my reviews!) and the result was hedonistic! The player provides a dynamic and lively sound, it's almost as if you can hear the quality, The bass is detailed and the treble outstanding! The competition as mentioned is blown away (literally!) and if it wasn't good enough already it's upgradeable to the Alpha 9! I've had it for one and a half years and and no problems. The book price for this is £300 and when I bought it, was £350 but I got it for £185 (approx.) The best £185 yet!