This week, we are reviewing the Onkyo C-N7050 network CD player, a versatile device for listening to CDs, Internet radio, MP3, FLAC, ALAC and DSD audio files. This player is equipped with iPhone, iPod, iPad and USB flash drive and hard drive compatible USB ports.
The Onkyo C-N7050 has a Texas Instruments Burr Brown PCM1795 DAC converter, well known for its very good performances whose specific feature is handling PCM and DSD streams. PCM decoding up to 24 bits/192 kHz and DSD up to 5.6 MHz is possible. Onkyo has integrated its Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry (VLSC) which aids the conversion of CD quality (44.1 kHz) PCM stream by interpolating digital data before converting it into audible signals.
Design and ergonomics
The Onkyo C-N7050 complies strictly with the brand’s other products ? i.e. a monolithic design which may be considered austere. The device looks well finished with a metallic case and panel. The alphanumeric LCD display screen is adequately big to be read from the listening point. There is a range of buttons to control the device without always having to reach for the remote control. This remote control is large and easy to use.
As well as an RCA stereo output, there are two S/PDIF digital outputs to run an external DAC or one integrated to an amp (stereo or home cinema). The RJ-45 connector allows the Onkyo C-N7050 to be connected to the local network.
Located on the left, the disc tray is very quiet when ejecting and inserting discs. Rotation is scarcely audible at a distance of 50 cm from the device and playback doesn’t cause any mechanical noise. Discs are read quickly.
The vTuner protocol is integrated into the Onkyo C-N7050, enabling users to access thousands of Internet radio channels. Integration is standard with browsing on the LCD screen, by country or genre for example. Three radio stations can be linked to the three direct access buttons situated at the bottom right of the screen. Pressing and holding down the button when listening to a particular station will automatically store it in memory.
The DLNA 1.5 network protocol is available and two separate modes exist ? DMP and DMR. The Digital Media Player mode allows the Onkyo C-N7050 to find UPnP/DLNA audio file servers on the local network, such as those from a NAS or software like Foobar2000, JRiver Media Center, Windows Media Player or Serviio for example. The Onkyo C-N7050 detected our Foobar2000 server.
There are two USB ports which are compatible with FAT32 format flash and hard drives as well as with iPhones, iPod touch and iPads. Analysing the connected device takes time and browsing is about average. Our MP3, FLAC and DSF (DSD) files were read without any problem.
We listened to the Onkyo C-N7050 with a Hegel H80 amp and Focal Aria 906 speakers paired up with a REL subwoofer (soon to be in these pages). The player was connected to the amp using Viard Audio Premium RCA-RCA cables, whereas the amp was connected to the speakers with Viard Audio Silver HD12 cable. Our sources were FLAC and DSD files, read using a USB flash drive via the local network.
The amazing delivery soon makes up for the dated design of the Onkyo C-N7050. It is both dynamic and very precise, regardless of the source. Many details are extracted from the recording as soon as the music begins and the dynamic range is well set out and handled. The Onkyo C-N7050 manages to inject the necessary vigour in its delivery without going too far. The Onkyo C-N7050 was able to handle all musical styles we listened to.
What we particularly liked
The bright and steady listening experience via the stereo line output and the rapid operating time. The extensive range of audio files (MP3, OGG, AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, DSD, etc.). The three shortcut buttons for selecting Internet radio stations.
What we would have liked to see
A more user-friendly control app and the integration of online music services such as Deezer and Spotify. The integration of the AirPlay protocol for wireless listening from an iPod, iPhone or iPad. A more up-to-date LCD screen and digital inputs for use as an external DAC.
For those looking for a CD player with network functions or a network player with CD functions, then the Onkyo C-N7050 is for you as there is very little choice from other competing brands. Apart from the Yamaha CD-N301 (AirPlay without DSD support), there is no other alternative to the C-N7050.