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Panasonic SC-All7CD review: CDs go multiroom

Katharine Byrne
16 Aug 2016
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
350
inc VAT

One of the most versatile multiroom speakers ever made, the All7CD is a must-buy for anyone who still prefers CDs over MP3s

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Specifications

Speakers: 2.1, RMS power output: 40W, Dock connector: None, Wireless: Bluetooth, Dimensions: 450x107x250mm, Weight: 3.4kg,

With more and more people going digitising their music collections, the number of options for those still hanging on to their CD racks is steadily dwindling. Try buying a basic hi-fi that still comes with a CD drive and you'll find your choices are few and far between. Fortunately, Panasonic still has its eye on the optical media crowd: its SC-All7CD speaker not only lets you play those silver discs, but it can also stream them to other compatible Panasonic multiroom speakers (or any speaker that supports Qualcomm's AllPlay standard).

That's not its only party trick, either. The All7CD can also rip CDs to its 4GB internal storage in either WAV or 320Kbits/sec MP3 formats, allowing you to store up to five album presets to play or stream whenever you like. It’s also possible to play music to it from phones and music players over Bluetooth, connect auxiliary music players via 3.5mm audio cable, listen to internet radio stations, stream music from other services such as Napster and Spotify Connect (you’ll need a Premium account for the latter) and even files stored on flash drives thanks to a front-facing USB port. 

Throw in high-res audio support and built-in DAB+ and FM radios, and you have one of the most versatile speakers you can buy today. Practically the only thing it doesn’t support is Apple’s Airplay.

Setting up multiroom and CD streaming

To take advantage of its streaming capabilities, you'll need to connect the All7CD to your wireless network using Panasonic's Music Streaming app, much like Panasonic's All05 and All6 multiroom speakers. The whole process is simple and only took a couple of minutes. All you need to do is plug the All7CD into the mains and follow the onscreen instructions in the app. Alternatively, you can use the Ethernet port at the rear to plug the All7CD straight into your router.

Once it's connected to your home network, simply tap the speaker icon in the top-left corner of the app and you'll see the All7CD listed below, along with any other Panasonic multiroom speakers you currently have set up in your home. Grouping them is a simple matter of dragging one speaker into the other and then tapping done.

Next, you select what you want to stream from the “Re-streaming” source list in the main app menu, tap the All7CD option on the next screen, select your track and bingo – your CD, USB files, radio station or stored preset will now be playing all around the house.

It's so simple that I wonder why more manufacturers haven't added a similar feature into their own multiroom speakers. It's a particular boon for CD lovers such as myself, as it means my old discs are no longer confined to one device or a single room. Instead, they can now be played from anywhere around the house, and the fact I can store up to five presets means I don't even need to go searching for my favourites, either, as I can control everything straight from my smartphone. Likewise, the MixPlay button on the device itself will shuffle everything that's currently stored on the device to give you a bit of variety.  

The one big negative is that you’ll need an awful lot of patience if you want to store more than a handful of CDs on the All7CD, as it’s limited to ripping in real-time. That means you have to play through an entire disc to store it, remembering to press the Record button first, of course.

Sound quality

It's worth putting in the effort, though, because the All7CD's sound quality is excellent. Despite only having two stereo speakers and a built-in woofer, this 2.1 channel system produces clear, balanced audio with a wide and varied soundstage. It handled all my test tracks beautifully, playing everything from classical and orchestral soundtracks to pop and rock with ease.

On the How to Train Your Dragon 2 soundtrack, for instance, each instrument was clearly distinguishable, and all the livelier tracks had plenty of depth and detail. Strings sound a little thin and artificial at times, but flutes, brass, bagpipes and percussion all sounded perfectly natural. Likewise, the piano on Liszt's "Liebestraum No. 3" was so beautifully controlled that the performer could almost have been in the room with me.

Vocals were also crystal clear regardless of the track, and my Muse test album sounded superb. Not only was there plenty of detail in the drums and guitars, but the woofer added a palpable kick to the bass without overwhelming the mids and trebles up top.

Design and remote

As such, the All7CD makes be an excellent choice for the living room, and its smart silver grille and black glossy finish wouldn't look out of place on a coffee table or underneath your TV. It measures 450 x 107 x 250mm, so you'll need a fair amount of room to install it, but it's nevertheless an excellent foundation for building a multiroom audio system. Just make sure you leave enough room to access the media-playback controls beneath the CD tray.

Thankfully, the All7CD comes with a chunky remote with plenty of controls to operate it from afar. The buttons are quite rubbery, but they provide a good level of tactile feedback, and the display responds to commands quickly. It's a shame the volume buttons aren’t larger, but otherwise the remote is sensibly laid out.

Verdict

Panasonic has pulled out all the stops with the SC-All7CD. It can play music from almost every source imaginable and stream it around your home, but it also has built-in radio and high-resolution audio support, and can take advantage of internet streaming services such as Spotify and Napster through Panasonic's Music Streaming app. It sounds brilliant, and its smart design makes it a perfect fit for almost every room in the house.

At £350, it's not exactly cheap, but considering how flexible and versatile it is, I'd say it's an absolute steal compared to other high-res multiroom speakers such as the £400 Sony SRS-X99. The sheer number of options it gives you puts similarly priced speakers such as Samsung's R5 multiroom speaker to shame. It wins a Best Buy award.



Hardware
Speakers2.1
RMS power output40W
Audio inputsNot disclosed
Audio outputs3.5mm headphone
Dock connectorNone
WirelessBluetooth
NFCNo
App supportiOS, Android
File format supportMP3, AIFF, FLAC, WAV, AAC
Battery capacityNot disclosed
Dimensions450x107x250mm
Weight3.4kg

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