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commsysman
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Revolutionary New SACD/CD player; the Marantz SA-10

The new Marantz SA-10 may be the new standard for CD and SACD playback.

Its revolutionary system for the conversion of all binary formats into an 11Mhz one-bit data stream which is then simply filtered to remove the high-frequency carrier, leaving only the analog output signal, seems to have the potential to produce the best-sounding CD/SACD playback ever.

Demonstrations have so far been very impressive, and now it is finally available.

I have mine on order, and in a few days I will be listening to it.

Allen Fant
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Whom is your Marantz dealer

Whom is your Marantz dealer/retailer-commsysman?

I would like to demo this spinner as well.

bierfeldt
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Thanks for highlighting

This looks really cool. I would be curious to hear your thoughts once you get it, particularly relative to the Oppo.

commsysman
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SA-10 Player
bierfeldt wrote:

This looks really cool. I would be curious to hear your thoughts once you get it, particularly relative to the Oppo.

I ordered it from Audio Advisor. Delivery is scheduled for tomorrow.

commsysman
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Marantz Dealers
Allen Fant wrote:

Whom is your Marantz dealer/retailer-commsysman?

I would like to demo this spinner as well.

There are LOTS of Marantz dealers, but you should check to see if a local dealer actually has one, because they just came out a few weeks ago.

caphill
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Better than the Oppo 105

I'm sure the SA-10 would sound better than the Oppo 105 for both cd & sacd playbacks as well as used as a standalone DAC.

My cousin just received it last week and he's currently using the Rega Isis Valve Reference cd player with the Rega Osiris Reference integrated amp.
He said the Marantz SA-10 sounded really good especialy with sacd and other high resolution files.
He's been doing an AB comparison between his new Marantz SA-10 and the Rega Isis Valve players and he claimed that for cd playback the Rega Isis Valve is still superior to the Marantz SA-10 but the Rega Isis does not play sacd, so that's why he bought the Marantz SA-10 for sacd playback. And he will still keep using the Rega Isis valve for just cd playback and use the Marantz SA-10 for sacd playback. I didn't get to ask him in what areas that the Rega Isis valve is superior to the Marantz SA-10 for cd playback.
I'm going to go visit him next week and would love to compare it against his beloved Rega Isis valve cd player.

But he said that the Marantz SA-10 offers greater value and it's more flexible and able to play sacd and is more future proof when it comes to format decoding capabilities than the Rega Isis, which can only play regular cd. And the Marantz SA-10 sounded fantastic he said, especially for sacd playbacks.

commsysman
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SA-10 Player

Well, I got it yesterday, and I am certainly not disappointed.

The clarity and realism of both CD and SACD playback are WAY beyond anything I have ever experienced.

Voices and instruments, from CDs and SACDs I have played many times and am thoroughly familiar with, sounded so much more realistic and true-to-life that I was floored.

My wife has always complained that the sound of massed strings in an orchestra often "set her teeth on edge"; but on this player she finds them very nice.

I used to have the Ayre C5XE player, and found my current OPPO BDP-105 better, and I also have the Marantz UD-7007, which is not bad at all.

Stereophile ranks the OPPO and Ayre as Class A players, and this is so much better that there is little comparison.

Allen Fant
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Let's try this again-

Let's try this again- commsysman,

whom is your Marantz dealer/retailer? Where did you purchase your SA-10?

commsysman
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Retailer
Allen Fant wrote:

Let's try this again- commsysman,

whom is your Marantz dealer/retailer? Where did you purchase your SA-10?

I bought mine from Audio Advisor.

I decided that it might be quite a while before a local dealer had one, so I just ordered it from them since Audio Advisor gives you 30 days to return an item for a full refund.

If it didn't give me the major improvement I was looking for, I would just send it back.

I have done that a couple of times with other gear and there was no problem doing so.

In this case, it took me about 10 minutes to decide that it was NOT going back; no way...lol.

bierfeldt
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Thanks for sharing

Thank you for sharing your experience with this unit. As I continue to consider how I will shuffle my gear, this is definitely a device I will consider. I have the Marantz NA-11-s1 Referece Network player which is one of the units that gets an A+ rating here on stereophile. Since this is clearly superior to the Oppo, my hunch is it will be as good or better than the my current DAC which is comforting. I just need to decide what to do as I shuffle gear and this is clearly in the mix.

Allen Fant
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Much Thanks! commsysman.

Much Thanks! commsysman.

caphill
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MQA codec

It doesn't look like the Marantz SA-10 supports MQA? Doesn't say on the Marantz website. I asked my cousin who purchased the SA-10 recently and he did not think it supports MQA. Just out of curiosity. Anyone has any idea? Commysman?

commsysman
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MQA?
caphill wrote:

It doesn't look like the Marantz SA-10 supports MQA? Doesn't say on the Marantz website. I asked my cousin who purchased the SA-10 recently and he did not think it supports MQA. Just out of curiosity. Anyone has any idea? Commysman?

The SA-10 does not support MQA.

My personal interest in MQA is for improved streaming.

Allen Fant
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caphill - where did your

caphill - where did your cousin purchase his SA-10 ?

caphill
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Allen Fant wrote:
Allen Fant wrote:

caphill - where did your cousin purchase his SA-10 ?

Through Magnolia Audio Video. Magnolia is a Marantz dealer. They don't have a Marantz Reference Series gears on display. But you can always return it or exchange it if you aren't satisfied.

caphill
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Marantz SA-10

Allen Fant, the SA-10 is phenomenal. You won't be disappointed with it. Buy it with confident even though you aren't able to demo the unit before purchasing it.

Allen Fant
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TY- caphill.

TY- caphill.

caphill
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Allen Fant wrote:
Allen Fant wrote:

TY- caphill.

Sure thing. Or I would find a Marantz dealer that has Reference Series gears on display for demo.

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still impressed?

commsysman, Are you still impressed with the Marantz SA-10? I'm interested but have been deterred by lack of full-scale reviews.
I know from another thread that Mr. Fant found this quite satisfactory.

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Marantz UD7007

commsysman,

A few days ago I had a friend come over with his Marantz UD7007. With CD's, it sounded OK - not better than my run-of-the-mill 15 years old CD Player (Teac CD-P3450SE). My expectations were high for SACD playback. WOW, what a disappointment! The sound was dead, obtuse, lacking any air around instruments and vocalists. I asked my friend if he was sure he played the SACD layer. If you are in the market for a SACD player, don't buy this unit.

David Harper
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CDP

I had a marantz UD 7007. It's performance was mediocre in every respect. I now have an OPPO UDP 203. It blows away the Marantz player. I suspect the CD/SACD player referenced in the OP is just as mediocre.

caphill
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Marantz SA-10 Reference Series CD/SACD player

The Marantz SA-10 cd/sacd player is Marantz's latest and flagship cd/sacd player from its reference series line. Build quality and audio performance are much superior to the UD7007 or other Marantz regular entry level series lineup. Besides, the UD-7007 is a universal bluray disc player and its dedicated cd/sacd player would perform or sound better than the UD-7007.
The SA-10 player is in different league. Sounded excellent.

commsysman
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CD SOUND
yuvalg9 wrote:

commsysman,

A few days ago I had a friend come over with his Marantz UD7007. With CD's, it sounded OK - not better than my run-of-the-mill 15 years old CD Player (Teac CD-P3450SE). My expectations were high for SACD playback. WOW, what a disappointment! The sound was dead, obtuse, lacking any air around instruments and vocalists. I asked my friend if he was sure he played the SACD layer. If you are in the market for a SACD player, don't buy this unit.

In addition to the SA-10, I have the Marantz UD7007 and the new OPPO UDP-205.

Until recently, before I got the 205, I had the OPPO BDP-95.

I was doing some critical listening comparisons, using the OPUS3 Test Disc #1, which I have found over the years to be excellent for that purpose. It has quite a variety of music, all flawlessly recorded.

I found the SA-10 to be pretty much flawless, and the UDP-7007 to be pretty good, if not quite in the same class. Your criticism of the UDP-7007 does not agree with what I was hearing; it was quite good, both for SACD and CD.

If it does not sound better to you than some average 15-year-old player, I would wonder what sort of associated gear you were using. I would also wonder if you were not using the unbalanced (RCA) connections rather than the balanced outputs, which can definitely make a difference.

The OPPO BDP-95, which I had owned for a number of years, was clearly not sounding as good as the other two, by a long shot (the BDP-105 has the identical audio circuits, so this should apply to it also).

All tests were done with balanced connections to my Audio research LS-26 preamp, by the way, and Vandersteen Treo speakers driven by a Musical Fidelity M6PRX amp.

Anyway, I was curious how the OPPO UDP-205 would sound, so I ordered one. I find it to be a little bit better than the 7007, but still not in the class of the SA-10. It is a big improvement over the OPPO 95/105, though; pretty nice-sounding.

If one does not want to spend the $7000 for the SA-10, the UDP-205 is good enough that most people would find it quite listenable with most music.

For $1300, I doubt that one can find anything that sounds as good.

David Harper
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Oppo

for half the price the Oppo 203 probably sounds just as good

commsysman
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OPPO 203
David Harper wrote:

for half the price the Oppo 203 probably sounds just as good

The audio circuits in the 205 are far superior to those in the 203, IMO.

I listened to a 203, and while it was not too bad, I would not recommend it particularly.

David Harper
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false

the majority will listen to music via the HDMI outputs from the OPPO, and in that case the sound will be identical. And even in the case of the analog outputs the difference in sq could hardly be described as "far superior". It would be more accurate to describe it as "subject to the placebo effect". And nothing could be less important than what you would recommend.

bierfeldt
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HDMI

HDMI is a digital output and would bypass the internal DAC of the blu-ray player, the exact circuitry in question. In that scenario it should sound exactly the same or very, very close to another device connected via HDMI since it would be processed via the DAC in the receiver or TV, not the player. Certainly would explain why you can't hear a difference between the UD7007 and another player or why you would think it sounded mediocre if you had it connected via HDMI.

In an AB test listening to the same song, you can hear a difference between DACs with decent equipment. I could hear clear differences between a Sony CD player and my Marantz NA7004 DAC. I tested CD and electronic FLAC files ripped from the same CD, playing into two different inputs and used the remote to switch between inputs. Difference were obvious. Not placebo. It can objectively be heard. There are details that come out with a better DAC. The Sony sounded muddy in the bass and literally, some details were just missing. I have done it. I have demonstrated it to others who could absolutely hear the difference and described the same differences I was hearing across several songs.

If you can't hear a difference your system may not be capable of reproducing refined enough sound though that would surprise me because I did these tests on a system that cost less than $2K, not cheap but far from expensive by audiophile standards.

Additionally, I just ran a similar test comparing the DAC in a Marantz M-CR510 network receiver vs an external PS Audio Directstream DAC with BridgeII. Hardly a fair comparison as the Marantz receiver cost me $500 and the PSAudio retails at $6800 but again, the differences are obvious. In this case I am using identical files off of the same PC and differences are quite obvious. I am confident I can hear a difference and could correctly identify a difference.

Now it is debatable which one sounds "better". I have seen a blind test between an iPod playing 256k MP3 files vs. a Pono player player playing FLAC files. People were easily able to identify the difference in sound but consistently chose the iPod as better sounding. In the kind test, someone who owned a Pono even chose the iPod as better sounding in the blind test.

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HDMI vs Analog outs

I second Bierfeldt's advise above. If you're only using hdmi output of your univ bluray player there's no difference sonically between the Oppo 103 & 105 or between Oppo 203 & 205 or the Marantz UD7007 or the difference will be very subtle if any when used in a highly resolving or high end AV setup or system.

Oppo claims that the new Oppo 205 is equipped with low jitter reduction circuitry on one of its audio only hdmi output and thus will sound better than its other hdmi output or the 203 or 105/103 or other lower end players. Yes this is true if the receiving end on your AV receiver or pre pro isn't equipped with low jitter reduction circuitry. If you're using entry to mid level AV receivers or pre pro then there will beneficial from using the Oppo 205's audio only hdmi output which has low jitter reduction circuitry.

However, if you're using high end pre pro such as the Classe SSP 800, Meridian, Bryston SP3, Datasat, Theta etc you won't be able to discern the difference sonically between using the 205's audio only hdmi output and the other hdmi output or between the 205 & 203 or 105 & 103 etc since the jitter on the receiving end or the incoming hdmi input signal circuitry on these mentioned high end processors are almost non-existent.

I recently bought the Oppo 205 for my dedicated HT room that I use strictly for watching bluray movies and only use hdmi out connection of the Oppo to my Classe SSP 800 processor.
I previously was using the Oppo 105 but since I recently upgraded to a 4K TV set so I decided to purchase the new Oppo udp-205 4K bluray player to go with. I ran the audio only hdmi output of the new Oppo 205 to my Classe SSP 800 processor and the other hdmi output (video only) directly to my new 4K tv display since this video only hdmi out is equipped with hdcp 2.2 & HDR 4K signal. And I did compare the audio only hdmi out of the new Oppo 205, the one that has low jitter or jitter reduction circuitry, with the regular hdmi out of my older Oppo 105, the one that isn't equipped with low jitter circuitry, on my Classe SSP 800 processor and I could not discern the difference at all since the jitter on the receiving end on my Classe SSP 800 circuitry is already almost non-existent. I'm using the same hdmi cables when doing the comparisons. I was using Transparent Premium hdmi cables.

But if you're using entry to mid level processors such as Marantz, Onkyo/Integra, Yamaha, NAD, Rotel etc then it might be beneficial from using the Oppo 205's audio only hdmi output that has low jitter or jitter reduction circuitry.

But the big difference comes when using the players' analog audio outputs for listening to CD, SACD etc as you are using the players' internal DACs. You should be able to tell the difference sonically between using different DACs in decent quality setup or system.

However, you should be able to discern the difference between using cheap bluray players, the ones that cost around $100 to $250 and can be found at big box super stores, and those better made and designed and built bluray players from Oppo, Marantz, McIntosh etc eventhough you're using their hdmi outputs, assuming the same hdmi cable being used.

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Marantz

what I found unacceptable about my Marantz UD 7007 wasn't the sound quality(that was fine) but the mechanical quality. Sometimes it would buzz loudly after loading a disc. Sometimes it wouldn't load at all. The disc would go in, but then nothing happened. Finally it wouldn't eject the disc.

commsysman
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Hmmmmm
David Harper wrote:

what I found unacceptable about my Marantz UD 7007 wasn't the sound quality(that was fine) but the mechanical quality. Sometimes it would buzz loudly after loading a disc. Sometimes it wouldn't load at all. The disc would go in, but then nothing happened. Finally it wouldn't eject the disc.

This is obviously a defective unit.

I can't understand what a defective unit has to do with the relative sound quality.

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I use a Bryston DAC-3: My

I use a Bryston DAC-3: My Oppo 105 outputs DSD from SACD over HDMI to the DAC. Total cost about $4000:00

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Oppo 203

I didn't know the audio only HDMI output had the jitter reduction deal. My AVR (Denon AVR X 1100 W) has an HDMI input called "media player" so maybe I'll connect the audio only output from the OPPO to it. And use the other HDMI output for watching movies. I suspect I won't hear any difference though. I've also got a Marantz reference integrated amp which is alleged to have better sq, but I've never really been able to hear the "huge improvements" that many on this forum describe.I guess I'm in the objectivist camp when it comes to all this audiophile stuff. I get annoyed when some reviewer describes the "vastly improved sound" or the "night and day difference" between a standard HDMI cord and an astronomically priced audiophile HDMI cord. Just doesn't make sense to anyone who has any understanding of digital data signals.

commsysman
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Not HDMI

If you use the HDMI output for audio on any of the high-quality players, you will get significantly lower sound quality than if you use the analog outputs direct to an analog input on a preamp or integrated amp.

I use only the balanced analog outputs from all of my players directly to my preamp.

I would NEVER use HDMI for audio.

mtymous1
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HDMI Jitter
commsysman wrote:

If you use the HDMI output for audio on any of the high-quality players, you will get significantly lower sound quality than if you use the analog outputs direct to an analog input on a preamp or integrated amp.

I use only the balanced analog outputs from all of my players directly to my preamp.

I would NEVER use HDMI for audio.

Copy that. HDMI has much higher jitter than optical or coax.

Allen Fant
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Anyone using this spinner or

Anyone using this spinner or a different Marantz w/ Anthem gear?

kerryharp1
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No, it doesn't...
David Harper wrote:

for half the price the Oppo 203 probably sounds just as good

From personal experience I believe it does not. I currently own a Marantz SA14-S1 and haven't been able to find anything remotely close in price that can compete with it, the Oppo line included. The Oppo is a fine unit and is great at video, but, falls short in the DAC and sound quality that the Marantz Reference series provides. I was a Marantz naysayer until I got ears on and learned what it offers. It's so good I'm looking to get a 10 as an upgrade, though, it will have to perform off the charts for me to upgrade at over twice the cost.

Blanket statements made from afar, without anything of substance to back it up, can be dangerous and unproductive.

David Harper
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comparison

re-read the thread. I wasn't comparing the 203 to your Marantz player. I was comparing it to the 205.

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Huh?
David Harper wrote:

I wasn't comparing the 203 to your Marantz player. I was comparing it to the 205.

yet on November 13th, David Harper wrote:

for half the price the Oppo 203 probably sounds just as good

David Harper
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mtymous1 wrote:
mtymous1 wrote:
David Harper wrote:

I wasn't comparing the 203 to your Marantz player. I was comparing it to the 205.

yet on November 13th, David Harper wrote:

for half the price the Oppo 203 probably sounds just as good

right. just as good as the 205. reread the thread.

mtymous1
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Audition
David Harper wrote:

I had a marantz UD 7007. It's performance was mediocre in every respect. I now have an OPPO UDP 203. It blows away the Marantz player. I suspect the CD/SACD player referenced in the OP is just as mediocre.

Have you actually auditioned the $7K Marantz SA-10 or are you arriving at a non sequitur based on your experience with a $1200 BluRay player from 6 years ago?

David Harper
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player

anyone who pays 7k for a cd player has shit for brains

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player

anyone who pays 7k for a cd player has shit for brains

mtymous1
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That's what I thought...
David Harper wrote:

anyone who pays 7k for a cd player has shit for brains

Maybe... Maybe not.

However, anyone who compares a $1,200 BluRay player to a $7K SACD/CD player -- without actually listening to it -- absolutely does.

Allen Fant
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Here's to hoping that

Here's to hoping that Stereophile tests/reviews the SA-10 in 2018!

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Home auditioned the SA-10 this past week. Buying one.

I had an opportunity to home audition the SA-10 this past week.
I started with using the optical Toslink to hear the DAC in the SA-10
It was much better sound than my previous DAC. Particularly treble clarity and lack of digital grung on top of the notes. Also improved clarity of vocals on less than perfect Rock music.
The actual SA=10 drive was about the same as the Toslink input in the five days I had it.
My main use of this player will be as a DAC, playing CDs from another machine.
Saving the actual SA-10 transport for critical listening.

One nice feature of the SA-10 is if the digital input is 'locked' the SA=10 will remain dark if the light of the front panel are turned off. (where if it is playing a disc, when the disc stops, the face of the player lights back up, even with it switched for the lights to be turned off. This staying off is very nice as I can leave the SA-10 on 24/7 without having the front panel lit up.
I have ordered one and am waiting on delivery.

It is expensive, but worth the upgrade, since I mainly listen to CDs as my sources.
The SA-10 converts the digital to DSD and decodes that.
One plus is the DSD decoding does NOT turn the CD sound into the sterile dross of usual SACD sound. All the background is still there. (unlike SACD discs playing, where with SACD there IS no room, just music floating in empty space.)
So the SA-10 as a DAC turns the usual CD into a SACD better sounding disc, but still has the pluses of CD, and not the downside of SACD discs!!!

I could not try the USB port, as I do not use USB in any form.
But perhaps one day..
Anyway, I wanted to add my two cents to the Marantz SA-10 discussion.
And it is a better player for those who actually own a better system one could hear the difference on.

(And perhaps my brains are shit? but at least it is really musical sounding shit. Which is a big advantage for an Audiophile.)

commsysman
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CD/SACD Players
David Harper wrote:

anyone who pays 7k for a cd player has shit for brains

...Spoken like someone who has (A) never heard the SA-10, and (B) is perhaps a bit jealous of those who actually have saved up the $7K to spend on something they love.

Allen Fant
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Thank You- ElizabethS

Thank You- ElizabethS
this player is quite elusive, not many owners and even fewer who have auditioned it.

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Beautiful player

I've owned the SA-10 for about 3 months and here are my thoughts -

Sound-wise, it stands head & tail over any other player I've heard (I demoed a good many players before choosing this one), it's insanely good.

The DAC is just brilliant. I purchased a USB cable to connect my laptop - this was a huge eye-opener in terms of just how good it makes my digital files collection sound. I've thrown just about everything at it file-wise and it copes extremely well with all but the oldest 128mbps MP3s in my collection (from my dial-up days). In fact, it does a reasonable job of decoding 192mbps and 320mbps MP3s, despite my preference being FLAC these days! Hi-def files such as FLAC/WAV sound expansive, realistic, widescreen and carry a lot of weight in the sound department. It's as if the DAC allows music to "breathe".

Getting the laptop to "talk" to the unit was simple; there's a free downloadable driver on Marantz's website which is easy to install, though you have to remember to tweak the settings so that it's able to process files up to 32-bit 192kHz. You then simply select the sound output on your PC to the 'Marantz Digital Audio Interface', set the input on the SA-10 to 'USB-DAC' and that's it - the sound then comes through your speakers. Suddenly everything from your laptop is redirected to your hi-fi, whether you're watching YouTube videos in your browser, using a music library app such as MusicBee or watching Netflix, the sound is directed to your hi-fi. Brilliant.

Most importantly - CDs sound amazing. I replaced a fairly ageing Marantz CD-63 Mk.II KI-Signature with the SA-10. First observations - there's much more depth to the sound, more clarity, music seems much more spacious. Other people have commented that the presentation feels like the band is playing live in the room; vocals project superbly and the instrumentation feels lifelike.

I only have around 8 SA-CD discs (as this is the first compatible player which I've owned), but I've loved hearing Talk Talk's 'Spirit Of Eden' and Dire Straits' 'Brothers In Arms' in full sonic glory.

There are a couple of features which the SA-10 is missing - firstly it's unable to play the extended pre-gap on CDs, so if like me you used to enjoy playing the hidden songs before the beginning of certain albums (e.g. 'White Ladder' by David Gray) and loved being able to rewind a disc to -2:00, despite being a feature of my old CD-63, it's not possible with the SA-10.

Additionally, I miss the feature on my CD-63 whereby it would display the number of tracks on a disc. I now have to pick up a CD case to check the number of tracks.

On the 'plus' side, the unit is VERY heavy, it's literally built like a tank. At over 18kg, it's no slouch in the weight department. The drawer mechanism really is a beautiful piece of engineering. The tray ejects smoother than I've ever seen. In recent years, I've seen a number of top-end CD players really let down by shoddy drawer mechanisms, but the SA-10 is definitely not one of them.

The vertical blue lights either side of the drawer make the unit look great in a lightly lit room and also give it real aesthetic appeal. There are a ton of configurable options including noise shaping filters and the option to bypass the headphone circuitry to enjoy an even purer sound. It also handily switches itself off if there's no sound passing through it for 30 minutes or more.

I've used the SA-10 practically every evening for most of the past 3 months and it's genuinely put a real smile on my face. Combined with the other components in my system, I now have a system which sounds absolutely incredible and will hopefully provide years of enjoyment.

Allen Fant
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Thank You - plc for the

Thank You - plc for the review. I am hoping to get some demo time this year.

Allen Fant
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Last seen: 2 months 4 days ago
Joined: Sep 12 2010 - 3:42pm
Anyone else rocking this

Anyone else rocking this spinner-

Allen Fant
Allen Fant's picture
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Last seen: 2 months 4 days ago
Joined: Sep 12 2010 - 3:42pm
As we start 2019, there are a

As we start 2019, there are a few more owners of this player since its debut.

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