Review: Arcam Diva CD72 CD Player

Category: Digital

This piece of equipment has been in my system since March 2001. It replaced an old Yamaha multiple CD changer. I was immediately stunned with the improvement in sonics. Enlarged soundstage, musicality, no brightness, good bass extension, nice mids and highs, not fatiguing during long listening sessions. The remote is easy to use, albeit a little larger than I like, and can be used with other Arcam DiVA components.

Some of my favorite CDs for testing equipment:

1. Joni Mitchell's "Blue"
2. The Blue Nile's "Hats"
3. John Mellencamp's self titled "John Mellencamp"
4. Norah Jones' latest effort
5. MFSL Stevie Wonder "Innervisions"
6. Ryan Adams "Heartbreaker"
7. Macy Gray "On How Life Is"
8. A Blue Nile bootleg of their "Hats" tour (excellent sonics)
9. Trespassers William "Anchor"

I primarily listen to indie rock, classic rock, alt. country, R&B, female vocalists including Lucinda Williams and Norah Jones, and well-recorded CDs. After hearing at my local audio equipment salon on a number of occasions, I just purchased a CD by Trespassers William ("Anchor"), from the Indie Rock genre, which has incredible sonics and fine vocal performances.

I was looking for a player which would disappear and allow the music to take over. I personally dislike players which are bright and do not reflect accuracy in the mids and bass. This player exceeded all my expectations for a player in the sub-$1500 price range. I also liked the fact that it was upgradeable for a small investment.

If money was no object, I would definitely own this player as part of a system in my household. Whether it would be in my dedicated 2-channel system or not, only time will tell. That is where it is now and where it will remain until I find a player that exceeds it significantly. The only player I have heard that may do that is the new Ayre CX-7. However, I heard it in my local audio equipment salon and not on my equipment in my listening area so the verdict is still out. And it is considerably more pricey at $3,000.

If you are looking for a redbook player in the sub-$1500 price range, I encourage you to give the Arcam DiVa CD-72 player an audition. Preferably in your home, on your own equipment. A dynamo!

Associated gear
LFD Mistral integrated amp; LFD Mistral phono preamp; Coincident Technology Triumph Signature speakers; Rega Planar 25 Turntable with Rega Super Bias cartridge; Tascam CD-RW700 CD Recorder; Record Doctor LP cleaner

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I have not heard a Redbook CD player in this price range that equals the Arcam DiVA CD-72 player.
The Diva player is a super bargain at about $650 as i own one myself. It's your basic looking player with a trendy silver finish. The remote is a bit protrusive isn't it.

The sound quality is certainly an upgrade from my privious Cambridge Audio D-500se and only marginally more expensive.For the price you get quite a bit of slam in the bottom end, full throtle speed and relatively smooth and even midrange.However, I cannot agree with Mcrheist's description of the highs being "Nice" as i feel this is where it's shortcomings lie. My system seems to suffer from excessive "shhhhh" and "Pssstttt" when female voice or symbals are executed.Too much splash and a little too bright I say. Don't get me wrong, this is a highly accomplished player but it does appear to have weaknesses (everything does). I suppose this brash high end could be associated with my Totem cabling or Totem Sttaf speakers- I doubt its my amp(Moon I-5080 integrated).Perhaps the Arcam player is just not suited to my system and i should continue auditioning- Can we ever stop?

If you have any suggestions on how I might alleviate my high frequency woes please contact me through this blissful website.

I think that which CD player sounds best is apparently very system- and listener-dependent. In my system at the time (NAD 3300 PE, Vandersteen 1C, ACI Titan II LE), the Arcam Diva CD72 sounded nice though a bit lean. In the under-$1000+ category, the Rotel CDP-971 and the NAD C541i (which I soon purchased) sounded significantly better.

The moral of this story is that one should try to audition prospective CD players at home. Failing that, one should do their auditioning with favorite recordings in systems that they can assess.
I find my Arcam cd 72t to be a fine player but a bit lean and I hear hiss from some cd's like the new Norah Jones cd? Any opinions on this out there?
From what I understand there will always be audible hiss (ambient noise) which is most apperent at higher volume levels. Try turning down the gain a notch on your preamp, if you have this option. I'll probably pick up that disc this weekend so I will try it on my CD23 and let you know.
An old girlfriend of mine once left "Blue" at my apartment by accident, and I never returned it! Her vocals really keep you listening (when portrayed correctly).

(NOTE to anyone remotely concerned with CAR audio: If your system can not produce Joni Mitchell's voice as a clear, coherent image between the speakers, you need to do some work. When things are correct system-wise, even the most diehard rap fan or rock n' roller will sit through "Blue" in its entirety, jaw agape. It's as if she is standing on your hood singing!)

In a good home system, "Blue" is spooky clear!

Glad to see that a fellow member has such good ears!!!

What are a few of your other faves, Mcrheist?

-joe m
Good review. Just purchased the Arcam CD 73 based on this review. Soon as it gets about 50 hours on it will do a review on the 73.

We will see how it stacks up against my Classe CDP .5 Player. Will be an interesting comparison between a $2,000.00 dollar player that is 7 years old to the newer 73 that sells for $699.00.
Arcam Diva CD72 is wery dull sounding cdp and therefore it is somehow easy to listen. So beware You can`t get much detail, clarity, imaging and openness with this player. It can be usefull somehow in wery bright systems to tame the brightness but it is clearly not high-end player. The plastic faceplate and sound compares easily to some wery low cost source.
Sorry for my negative response but I think this forum needs some more sincere posts to pick out really valuable items.
NB! I am always sceptical for english made equipment. I have tried some B&W and Kef speakers and these are definitely not so good how the reviews tell.
Not everyone know how to enjoy a nice cupa the English
Well that review was written almost 5 years ago, with the equipment being in my system (at that time) almost 6 years ago. Since that point in time, my system has changed considerably, the player has been sold, and the industry has made significant strides in players in the sub $<1500 category. Currently, there may be quite a few sub-$1500 players that would surpass the Arcam DiVA CD72. One current possibly that comes to mind: the Rega Apollo ($999 MSRP). But, it's hard to say. Pretty much all that equipment has come and gone. So, please, keep this all in perspective when you read this review...It WAS 5/6 years ago.