Marantz CD5004 CD player Marantz CD5004 CD player Measurements

Sidebar 3: Measurements

I used Stereophile's loan sample of the top-of-the-line Audio Precision SYS2722 system to perform the measurements on the Marantz CD5004 (see and the January 2008 "As We See It"). For some tests, I also used my Audio Precision System One Dual Domain and the Miller Audio Research Jitter Analyzer.

The Marantz's maximum output at 1kHz was 2.35V, which is 1.4dB higher than the CD standard's 2V. Unless compensated for, this will be audible in comparisons with other players. The output preserved absolute polarity (ie, was non-inverting), and was sourced from a fairly low impedance of 202 ohms. The error correction was excellent, the CD5004 playing, without audible glitches, all tracks on the Pierre Verany Test CD up to track 34, which has 2mm gaps in the data spiral. However, monitoring the error flags in the digital output with RME's DIGICheck program revealed that there were occasional interpolated errors from track 31, which has 1mm gaps, onward.

The frequency response was flat over most of the audioband, with a slight drop to –0.25dB at 20kHz (fig.1, blue and red traces). There was very slightly more top-octave energy with preemphasized data (fig.1, cyan, magenta). Channel separation (not shown) was superb at >120dB in both directions at all frequencies. I tested the Marantz's resolution by playing a dithered 1kHz tone at –90dBFS from CD while sweeping the center frequency of a 1/3-octave bandpass filter from 20kHz to 20Hz; the resulting spectrum is shown in fig.2. The traces peak at exactly –90dB, suggesting minimal linearity error. Other than a small bump centered at the power-supply frequency of 120Hz, the noise floor in this graph is actually that of the recorded dither used to encode the signal. Repeating the analysis with an FFT technique and a linear frequency scale gave the spectrum shown in fig.3. The supply-related spuriae are low enough in level that they will be inaudible under all circumstances.

Fig.1 Marantz CD5004, frequency response at –12dBFS into 100k ohms (left channel blue, right red) and with preemphasized data (left cyan, right magenta; 0.25dB/vertical div.).

Fig.2 Marantz CD5004, 1/3-octave spectrum with noise and spuriae of dithered 1kHz tone at –90dBFS with 16-bit data (right channel dashed).

Fig.3 Marantz CD5004, FFT-derived spectrum with noise and spuriae of dithered 1kHz tone at –90dBFS with 16-bit data (left channel blue, right red).

Plotting the amplitude error against absolute signal level gave a curve that was dominated by the dither, so I haven't shown the graph. But with the CD5004's minimal linearity and a noise floor well below that of the CD medium, it came as no surprise that its reproduction of an undithered signal at exactly –90.31dBFS was perfect (fig.4). The waveform in each channel is superbly symmetrical, and the three DC voltage levels described by the data are well resolved.

Fig.4 Marantz CD5004, waveform of undithered 1kHz sinewave at –90.31dBFS, 16-bit data (left channel blue, right red).

The CD5004 is well capable of driving low impedances with very low distortion. Even into the demanding 600 ohm load, the highest-level distortion harmonic, the third, remained at –94dB (0.002%), with all other harmonics below –110dB (fig.5). The Marantz did similarly well on the high-frequency intermodulation test, with all distortion components below –100dB (0.001%, fig.6).

Fig.5 Marantz CD5004, spectrum of 50Hz sinewave, DC–1kHz, at 0dBFS into 600 ohms (left channel blue, right red; linear frequency scale).

Fig.6 Marantz CD5004, HF intermodulation spectrum, DC–24kHz, 19+20kHz at 0dBFS into 100k ohms (linear frequency scale).

Finally, the CD5004 offered superb rejection of word-clock jitter, with the odd harmonics of the LSB-level, 229.6875Hz squarewave lying at the residual level, and only pairs of sidebands at ±60 and ±120Hz visible to the sides of the 11.205kHz tone in the narrowband spectrum of the Marantz's output while it played the Miller/Dunn J-Test signal (fig.7). I haven't given a numeric figure for the player's jitter level, as it was below the Miller Analyzer's resolution limit.

Fig.7 Marantz CD5004, high-resolution jitter spectrum of analog output signal, 11.025kHz at –6dBFS, sampled at 44.1kHz with LSB toggled at 229Hz: CD data (left channel blue, right red). Center frequency of trace, 11.025kHz; frequency range, ±3.5kHz.

The Marantz CD5004's measured performance indicates that its intrinsic resolution is better than is needed by the CD medium. That it can offer this level of performance for just $350 is astonishing.—John Atkinson

Marantz America, Inc.
100 Corporate Drive
Mahwah, NJ 07430-2041
(201) 762-6500

LM2940's picture

Thanks for the timely review! I have been looking at buying this unit this past week but I have no place to go and audition it. Your review really helped!
Count me in as one who does not want to see the death of the CD. Long live the silver disc!

deckeda's picture

There are two typos in the URL here for the Follup Up between the two amps. The working URL= --- however, even that URL shouldn't really have "ivsi" in it, just "vs"---an attempt to italicize what appears in the page's Title tag didn't work.

Yours truly,
An unemployed noticer.

Stephen Mejias's picture
Fixed it. Thank you, Noticer.
zachisawesome's picture

I recently purchased this amplifier, and a Rega RP1 to build a new stereo system. I currently have a set of polk speakers that are a few years old and I plan on replacing. Any thoughts on speakers other than the Atom's or the PSB alphas?

larry's picture

have you considered the polk lsi series?

Instaxeis's picture

I purchased this cd player in February of this year and was just blown away by how amazing it made my music sound. It started me on my audiophile baby steps, which knowing me...will lead down a path of musical bliss. Oh and a piece of equipment here or there (so far twice a month since Feb.) I bought it without auditioning it, but I got from Best Buy, so it made it easy with their return policy, I like the ability to change pitch with it. Also, the setting where it turns just about everything off to give it extra playing power, when its not in that setting...its pretty noticeable. Wonderful cd player.

garyoke's picture

I got a 5004 today and I'm returning it tomorrow.

Was replacing an Arcam DV88 that has started to shut itself off at regular moments. The Arcam is extraordinarily transparent, with a good, solid low end. I put the 5004 into my system and noted the holographic midrange (Paul Simon's Dazzling Blue), but also a metallic harshness that was quite wearying. More distressingly, the low end just wasn't there. Reverberant booms replaced the solid lows I was used to in James Taylor's September Grass on the October Sky disc. 

Classical faired better, particularly chamber music. But listening to Claudio Arrau play Beethoven Sonatas there was something missing from Phillips' warmth in the recording. Older recordings (Bernstein/NYP) sounded harsher than I used to hear through the Arcam as well. This wasn't a case of, "well am I really hearing that?". This was: "The unit is going back into the box and is getting shipped back now - I can't live with this sound".

Maybe it was the unit I got - but I don't think so. Think I'll have the Arcam repaired.

Any one else have this experience?

tmsorosk's picture

garyoke , if you got it today and are returning it tomorow , I guess you didn't run it in for the traditional 3 to 4 hundred hours , to bad . Have you learned nothing from Stereophile ?

Marcelo_Ramone's picture


Can you tell me about the headphones output quality.

I want to buy this player to listen with sennheiser hd 598.

Thank you.-

revdocjim's picture

This month I replaced a 15 year old Sony CD player with the Marantz CD5004 and so far I am very happy with it. I feed it into a home made passive attenuator, which then goes to my Hafler XL-280 power amp and Magnepan MMG speakers. I live in Tokyo and was able to get the 5004 for $250 which is a pretty sweet deal! The passive attenuator volume control cost me about $125 in parts.

Spiderking31's picture

I use the marantz CD5004, and have owned it now for about a year and a half, and it's just such an amazing CD player....if used with the right equipment, it will give you true audio nirvana! This CD player also brings out such details, specifically the low level dynamics!. But when paired with very nice equipment, then you'll hear things in the recording's you were previously unable to notice!

Equipment used.

Marantz CD5004
Sennheiser HD650
Moon Audio Blue Dragon V3 headphone cable
Little dot MK3 tube amp