A serious player from Pioneer!
Where do I even begin with this absolutely beautiful piece of machinery? The Pioneer CLD-R7G is a fantastic player manufactured in the late 1990’s (from 97 - 99 to be specific) by Pioneer Japan and only sold in Japan (does the term Japanese Domestic Market apply to products that aren’t vehicles?). Aside from cosmetically being quite a stunning piece (with its silver faceplate and rose gold body, much more chic than your usual gloss black LD player), the R7G functions like an absolute dream...
The R7G is packed to the brim with every last feature that you’ll find in an LD player. If you’re an LD enthusiast, you’ll be at least vaguely familiar with MUSE LD, and players such as the SCARILY expensive Pioneer HLD-X9... well, essentially the R7G has all the features employed in your usual MUSE player, aside being able to play MUSE discs (the one LD format I’ll NEVER get into since the discs and players are just too fuckin expensive).
As far as features go, the R7G has...
- Playback of all standard definition LDs (CLV, CAV, 8” LD singles, SQUEEZE, CD Video) as well as CDs (and CD singles!)
- Two composite/RCA video + L&R audio outs
- Two S-Video outs (most Pioneer players only had one)
- Digital audio optical out
- AC-3 RF out (which is quite a sought after feature, allowing for proper playback of LDs encoded with Dolby Digital surround sound)
- Both side play, with Quick Turn and Display Off options (self explanatory enough, skips reading the disc's ToC to flip the disc quicker and bypasses the player’s display, both the text on the TV screen and the player itself)
- Fully featured Jog & Shuttle dial (allowing for more precise frame by frame playback and slow-mo, some may consider it a gimmick but it’s genuinely a great feature to have in my opinion, and this player’s dial and functionality is smooth as butter)
- Field Still (essentially a digital image grabber if I understand it correctly, allowing for still frames with CLV discs which couldn’t be done on standard LD players, a feature that was only employed on a handful of high end models, such as the Pioneer CLD-D703)
- LD-G, or LaserDisc Graphics (a Japanese exclusive captioning system separate from standard Closed Captioning, allowing for multi-language subtitling, which can’t be accessed on standard players)
...And last but certainly not least (if anything, last and certainly most!)
V-DNR Selection, allowing for separate adjustment of Luma (YNR) and Chroma (CNR) noise levels, the ability to enable an NEC 3D Y/C Comb Filter, sharpness adjustment, and D-EXT (a luminance dynamic range expander, somewhat of a fancy brightness control), features that are directly mirrored from the aforementioned Pioneer HLD-X9 MUSE player (so, yes, this player has circuitry that was employed and necessary in the playback of High Def LaserDisc!!!). To dumb it down as much as humanly possible, it’s got a bunch of adjustments only available on VERY high end models which causes the player to look just PERFECT…
I should also briefly discuss the R7G’s remote, the CU-CLD140
As far as remotes go, this one is gorgeous… with how feature packed the R7G is, the remote, of course, is completely necessary for the player’s functionality (though frankly I would argue that goes for all LD players) unless you’re the sort of person who only ever presses play (and maybe pause every once in a while). It took me a bit of time to get used to piloting the CU-CLD140, especially since the text on the remote is in Japanese, but all things considered it’s very streamlined and well thought out. It also matches the player in that it’s just real god damn pretty!
In conclusion, the Pioneer CLD-R7G is just a really, really amazing LD player. I’m very impressed with it and don’t think I’ll ever feel the need to replace it or purchase another player (aside maybe a PAL player someday…). Oh, and you can also check out my other player, the CLD-D503 here!