Sony DVP-S7000 Review

The DVP-S7000 was one of the most famous and thrilling first generation DVD players, having been released in March 1997 in Tokyo, Japan, and arriving in the UK six months later. It was outrageously overengineered, like with Sony’s ‘first’ ever product – CDP-101 CD player, TCD-D3 DAT player, etc. With just one glance inside, you’ll wonder why most high-end hi-fi disc players suddenly appear to be so poorly built and constructed!

It drew on Sony’s significant experience with optical disc players and had custom optical pickup, semiconductor, and video compression technologies to produce (at the time) exceptionally high quality sound and visuals. It was capable of playing back CDs, Video CDs (ver. 2.0), and DVD video software. The 110,000 yen machine – £700 in the UK, but it sold for much more – was produced at a rate of 5,000 units each month in Japan, and came in titanium grey and gold at first, with a black finish added later.

The DVP-S7000 included Sony’s ‘dual-discrete optical pickup,’ which combined a 780nm and a 650nm laser diode in one component for CD and DVD playback, respectively. The player was equipped with ’tilt servo control,’ which monitored the laser beam’s incident angle and pushed it to remain perpendicular to the disc. Overall data read integrity was increased, resulting in greater video and audio performance. The company’s ‘Digital RF Processing LSI’ was stated to digitally measure the disc’s jitter value and change the optics to reduce it. Smooth scanning in high-speed, slow motion, or frame-by-frame mode was made possible using a ‘ultra-fast’ 32-bit RISC computer.

The visual performance was impressive at the moment, but it’s the audio that we’re most interested in. It sounded terrific at the time, with a strong bass, a smooth midrange, and crisp, clear treble. Although it is not a replacement for a high-end design, the player is perfectly capable of functioning as a competent hi-fi CD player. But the point is that it’s currently available on eBay for around £50. The value of DVD players has decreased dramatically, making them excellent value if you’re seeking for a good optical disc transport. This is emphasized by the Sony’s outstanding build quality, which extends all the way down to the copper chassis and back panel. It’s a solid object, weighing 7kg and measuring 430x111x395mm, but the specs don’t communicate how well crafted it is, with a lovely brushed aluminium fascia and snappy motorized front access panel.

Unfortunately, while the DVD format was (and still is) capable of 24-bit, 96kHz output, the Sony’s solitary optical digital output can only output 24-bit, 48kHz (albeit it can play 24/96 internally). Several firms produced (expensive) upgrades to bypass this shortly after its release, but most machines are not equipped in this way. So, get the DVP-S7000ES if you want a good CD player or CD transport, but don’t expect it to do much else. This wonderful music creator is also a fantastic DVD spinner thanks to its SCART outputs — if only it had HDMI!