Since its inception in 1999, the highly overlooked high resolution SA-CD format has remained the audiophiles experience. So, if youre reading this now, its probably because youre one of those select music lovers who demands nothing but the purest, cleanest audio reproduction. And were here to tell you, with its superior high-grade components, capacitors, and converters, Marantzs SA8004 SA-CD player will do everything but let you down. SACD single-disc player plays SACDs, audio CDs, CD-Rs & CD-RWs, and MP3 & WMA CDs,shielded toroidal transformer for reduced vibration and electronic interference
I really like my Marantz SA 8004 sacd player. Funny, I read some of the less enthusiastic reviews, then read the one from the Odyssey amp owner. Viola. He feels the same as me. Guess what, I own an Odyssey stratus extreme amp. Hmm, either the player matches well with the amp or some of the other reviewers equipment may not be up to snuff? Possibly I don't know what I'm talking about too, I guess? But, my ears say I do. Obviously, there are better cd players out there, such as Ayre, DC Puccini, etc. But for a heck of a lot more money and without the features that I wanted and Marantz does. I'm fussy but have no need to upgrade. This is good enough. I have one sacd it won't play but that's the only disc I've had troubIe with and I've tried hundreds. I suppose I should try that disc on my old OPPO to see if it's the disc. Anyway, I found what i was looking for and think Paul Sedor from Absolute Sound knew what he was talking about.
Model year is a 2012 SA8004 SACD. I had it for two weeks and it's already back to Marantz. Errors when reading disc. When it did, I found the SA8004SACD to be lacking in clarity and definition. Would not recommend. Marantz is sending me a new unit which I will sell before opening the box. I wish I could have heard it before I purchased it, however no dealers in my area had one on display. Now I know why.
I did not buy the SA8004 for its connectivity so i'm only commenting on the sound. My sample was not killer as some "pro" reviews seem to suggest. It was very good but not exceptional. Compared to players that I also have on hand such as Denon A100, Pioneer DV58, Emotiva ERC2, even Marantz' own SA8001 it was only midpack. The 8004 has fantastic bass and dynamics. The problem is the midrange. It is too full and a bit rough sounding - more so than the other players with the possible exception of Emotiva and Pioneer. Maybe my sample wasn't typical, but by contrast the Denon was much smoother, more neutral and transparent, and equally as ballsy on the low end. The Emotiva, though not any smoother than the 8004 and wasn't as full on the bottom, was more neutral overall. The surprise was the 8001 (an older version of the 8003/8004). Though a bit brighter on top (not hard - just more air) was smoother overall and closer to the sound of vinyl, like the Denon. There wasn't a single aspect of the sound that made it inferior to the 8004. It was better overall, actually. The only player the 8004 beat hands down was the Pioneer, it was not as dynamic but still very musical. I tried the the 8004 in several systems just to rule out a synergy issue, and it wasn't. It was not lack of break in either since I put at least 200 hrs on it. I would have to conclude that that's the way Marantz wants the machine to sound. I really wanted to like this machine but I ended up selling it. Don't buy the 8004 if you already have a mid biased or warm sounding system.
Marantz's latest SACD player is a really fantastic bargain. Mine replaced a Cambridge Audio Azur 740C. I was really happy with the latter, especially appreciating its digital inputs; indeed, I mostly used the Cambridge with a Wadia iTransport, usually playing back from an iPod Classic (my music's all stored in Apple lossless format). When my Cambridge started giving out (at around 4 years of age), I wanted to replace it with something that had digital inputs. In addition, I wanted a variable headphone jack, as I'd given up the ability to listen to headphones when I traded up from an NAD C370 to an Odyssey Cyclops Extreme amplifier. So I was very excited when I read Paul Seydor's really glowing review of the Marantz in the Absolute Sound (the March 3rd, 2011 issue).
Seydor effused only about the Marantz's sound, which he found (as I find) to be splendid; every bit as transparent as my Cambridge upsampling unit. But his enthusiastic recommendation didn't even take into account the outstanding features and flexibility of the SA8004. This has four digital inputs -- the main one for me being an iPod-matched USB input on the front, which lets the Marantz be used directly with an iPod. Like the Wadia iTransport, the Marantz circumvents the iPod's DAC, getting a bit-for-bit digital signal that's processed by the Marantz's outstanding DAC circuit. Not only, though, does the Marantz thus obviate the need for an iTransport, it also improves on the latter in many respects; e.g., an iPod connected to the SA8004 can be controlled directly by the Marantz's remote, and the track and other information appear directly in the Marantz's display -- very cool! The same input can also be used with a memory stick. In addition to this USB input, there's an asynchronous USB input on the back for connection to a computer, as well as optical and coaxial digital inputs for connection of pretty much any other kind of digital device one can imagine. Finally, the unit will play redbook CDs, SACDs, CD-R(WR)s, and discs with MP3s.
It's built like a tank, with a reinforced back plate so that inserting RCA connectors doesn't have the effect of flexing the back. And like all Marantz disc players, it has a 3-year warranty (uncommonly good for such electronics), and uses (I believe) Marantz's own SACD drive; the DAC chip (Cirrus Logic's CS4398) is the same as used in such players as Bryston's BCD-1, Classe's CDP-100, and McIntosh's MCD201 SACD player. That you get this kind of audiophile-directed design, along with features that make this a hugely flexible music source, for $1000 is just astonishing. I'm VERY happy with mine.