Marantz SACD players

Alex P79

Active Member
Hi. I know that some of you on here own Marantz SACD players and I am seeking your advice/experience on the different models. To cut a long story short I am thinking of getting one for my 81 year old father as a gift. It would not be new (unless there is a fantastic deal going) but I would like as good a machine as possible. He has a 25 year old Sony CDP-XE300 (made in France) which, other than needing a new draw belt, has been utterly reliable. I have considered a used Sony but they are all getting quite old now, the good ones are really expensive and I question repairs/support as the net is full of stories of laser failure/lack of parts etc.

Unfortunately my father has very poor eyesight and it not 'computer literate' so a universal player which could cause confusion is out - no Oppos etc. My father listens to classical music on vinyl (has a Rega dec) and CD. I know SACD is a very limited format but there does seem to be a lot of classical music available in the format - he already owns a few hybrid discs. I did consider foregoing SACD and getting a Rega Apollo but his eyes would not let him cope with the toploading system - my mum puts his records on for him but he likes using the CD player himself.

So with all that in mind, what do owners/former owners think of the Japanese made models? I am thinking SA8004, SA8005 and the SA-11 etc. TBH the model numbers for the high end models are a little confusing - is a 15 higher or lower than a 10? As well as sound quality, what are usability/reliability/parts availability/service backup like? Are there any major issues to be aware of? What sort of prices do the 8004/8005 fetch used? Would circa £500 get a good one bearing in mind they were less than £1,000 new?

The rest of his system is an Arcam Alpha 7 amp and Tannoy Mercury M2 speakers - all owned from new, in great condition and he won't be changing them. TBH the SA8004/8005 will probably be more than enough. Other options I am looking at are Arcam CD37 and Denon DCD-1600NE if I can find one, though the Marantz and the Arcam might suit his ears/system more from what I have read. The later Arcams aren't really of interest as streaming is not an option.

Any thoughts/experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Alex
 

DT79

Well-known Member
The CD37 is a lovely sounding machine. Best CD player I ever had. Should never have sold it. Unfortunately they still seem to fetch quite a high price second hand. I think you’d be lucky to get one for £500. I wouldn’t discount the later Arcams though; streaming aside they aren‘t necessarily more expensive than a CD37.

A Marantz SA8005 should come within budget - there are a couple on Ebay at the moment. Haven’t heard one myself.
 

Alex P79

Active Member
The CD37 is a lovely sounding machine. Best CD player I ever had. Should never have sold it. Unfortunately they still seem to fetch quite a high price second hand. I think you’d be lucky to get one for £500. I wouldn’t discount the later Arcams though; streaming aside they aren‘t necessarily more expensive than a CD37.

A Marantz SA8005 should come within budget - there are a couple on Ebay at the moment. Haven’t heard one myself.

Yes thanks, I do keep looking at the CD37. They seem to go between £400 to £600 on the bay. From what I understand, the player keeps SACD (DSD) native instead of 'downgrading' it to PCM as the later players do. I worry that the later players may be too complicated for my father to operate, e.g. if he presses the wrong button and it ends up in network mode he would be stumped and still wished he had the Sony.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I have a Marantz sa8005 and a Denon DCD 2500NE, so can fairly sum up how Marantz sound against the Denon, the 1600 NE is not going to be that different. The Marantz has the lovely warm sound so intrinsic to the name. It's very quite in operation and simple to use. Redbooks fair very well on and SACD playback is very good. All the controls, except for the open/close commands are on the nicely laid out remote. The only way to open the tray is to push the reject button on the left of the fascia. It's fairly easy to lift the disc out of the tray. Can safely be left in standby.

The Denon is a more clinical sound, somewhat brighter than the Marantz and exceptionally detailed. It can bring well recorded redbooks almost up to SACD standard. The SACD playback is wonderful. There is a no doubt in my mind that the Denon (2500 NE) is a better player than the Marantz. The Denons tray is so well engineered, it's very robust and closes with a whisper. Because it is bigger than the Marantz tray the disc sits well within it and can be a little awkward to get the disc out as the edge of the disc sits about 10mm inside of the tray unlike the Marantz which just overlaps the interior of the tray. The tray itself just shouts quality engineering. Like the Marantz you have to open the tray by pushing a button on the fascia, this time to the lower right of the tray and if you're not careful the tray can open against your arm. The remote (on the 2500) has a lovely feel about it and finished in a metalic design.

The sa8005 does seem to be holding it's price on evil bay and I've seen some going for more than I paid brand new. A Denon 1600 will cost around the £1000 mark. As for your Dad buying classical SACDs then they are plentiful new and sell for around the price of a standard redbook.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Yes thanks, I do keep looking at the CD37. They seem to go between £400 to £600 on the bay. From what I understand, the player keeps SACD (DSD) native instead of 'downgrading' it to PCM as the later players do. I worry that the later players may be too complicated for my father to operate, e.g. if he presses the wrong button and it ends up in network mode he would be stumped and still wished he had the Sony.
The sa8005 and both the Denon models I have mentioned are pure players with nothing else involved. Simple press and play on both remotes. No network modes on either. They are all native DSD to analogue or DSD via digital out.
 

Alex P79

Active Member
The sa8005 and both the Denon models I have mentioned are pure players with nothing else involved. Simple press and play on both remotes. No network modes on either. They are all native DSD to analogue or DSD via digital out.
Many thanks for the reply Gibbsy. This is a major reason I am considering these players over the alternatives because of how they process DSD and that they are also pure disc players. If one has a limitless budget, then there are many SACD options from DCS, Macintosh, T+A, Esoteric et al but in the 'real world' Marantz, Denon, Yamaha and Pioneer seem to be the best options for SACD - no surprise really as the format is still 'big in Japan'. The aforementioned Arcam CD37 is the other one.

Unlike many early machines, recent good quality SACD players also seem to be very good with redbook CD and this is really important. What you say about prices is interesting. Indeed the price of Sony players has gone through the roof recently with many being priced for the same as, or even more than they were new 10+ years ago! There are a couple of Marantz SA8005s that I am watching at the moment - will be interesting to see where they end pricing wise. If much above £600 it makes more sense to purchase a new Denon 1600 IMO with all the advantages of warranty etc.

Your feedback ref the Marantz vs the Denon 2500 is very interesting. It sounds like the Denons have a more detailed and 'sharper' sound whereas the Marantz will be a bit warmer and smoother. I suppose price wise the SA8005 is a 1600 competitor whereas the 2500 is a KI Ruby/SA-14S1 competitor. The Yamahas are also worth considering but trying to find a used one at much less than new is very difficult!

Thanks also for sharing your experience of their operation - this is really important. My main player is a Naim CD5SI which I really like but it would be no good for dad with the awkward rear panel power switch, CD puck and needing to be switched on well before the time of intended use to sound at its best. As said before, the player needs to be as easy to use as possible with no 'quirks' that could confuse someone who can't really see! This is where the existing Sony works well. The AMS jog dial is a great feature but alas no other manufacturer has followed suite. My dad does not use the remote - he finds them too fiddly. Can the main functions such as play, stop and track forward/back be set from buttons on the machine itself? This is probably a deal breaker for a particular model if not! I assume both machines select the layer from hybrid discs automatically - he will not be interested in A-B tests of red book/SACD layers - he will just want it to operate the best it can automatically!

Many thanks

Alex
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Both players can be worked from the fascia from powering on and off to starting and stopping the disc. I sit right by my main player in an armchair and all it's controls is just a push of the finger away and that is how I mainly use the units as I listen on headphones. For listening on speakers then the remote is the easiest.

The main difference between the Marantz and the Denon is powering on from standby. You can power up the Marantz from standby with a press of the main power button. However on the Denon power up from standby has to be done from the remote.

I bought my DCD 2500 from HiFi Corner and negotiated a very good deal with them. Worth a telephone call perhaps?

 

Ascotbilly

Active Member
A few years back I bought a Denon "Universal Player" DCD 2011 0r 2012. Very similar design to Gibbsys DCD1600 above. . I used it as a Blu Ray Player but it could take practically every disc going including SADC's.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
A few years back I bought a Denon "Universal Player" DCD 2011 0r 2012. Very similar design to Gibbsys DCD1600 above. . I used it as a Blu Ray Player but it could take practically every disc going including SADC's.
That would have been the DBP 2012. I had one that had to be replaced under warranty for the DBT 3313 and that was the last blu ray or universal player that Denon made. Biggest drawback with the 3313 was the fact that it was a transport only and any stereo audio had to go through a decoder via HDMI so not that great for music. I bought a Pioneer LX58 for the analogue output and preferred the overall sound quality of the Pioneer especially for multi channel music.

Still got the 3313 tucked up in my cupboard as a just in case player as it was easier to sell on the LX58 when I bought the LX500. Denon have stated that there will be no new universal or 4K players made by the company and that includes sister company Marantz. Universal players do seem to be a shrinking market with the loss of Oppo as well and Panasonic not supporting SACD.
 

LampPost

Banned
Depends on your budget, below £1k the DCD-1600NE is the best choice, and superior to the SA8005. If you have a larger budget the Marantz SA-KI Ruby is magnitudes better then the DCD-2500NE. I have owned both, the custom DAC chip on the Ruby is a work of art, nearly at Dave level sonically for far less money.
 

Alex P79

Active Member
Thanks for all the replies and food for thought. The Marantz sounds like it might be easier to use which is a major factor. I will keep an eye on that Denon LampPost - it is a bargain at the current price but may have some way to go! Has anyone had issues with disc reading with any of the Marantz or Denon options?
 

k-spin

Active Member
I’ve got an SA8005 and have only had issues with one CD. I am sure it was the disc though. It would play fine in my Blu-ray players and my PC but both of my “hi-fi” CD players struggled with it. Reading the reviews it seemed to be a common problem with that particular disc as the record label crammed too much music on it or something :)

Aside from that though, I haven’t had any issues.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
No issues with either the Denon or the Marantz reading any discs. Not tried CDR though.
 

Alex P79

Active Member
When searching the net for reviews I cam across a couple of posts/threads of people having issues with their SA8005 reading some discs and them being repaired/replaced under warranty. Hopefully just a few glitchy units. One on the bay at the moment mentions being returned by the previous top bidder but only one issue with all of the vendor's CDs. Everything else looks good about it. Worth a punt or run a mile? It is probably less of an issue if long term I know that it could be repaired. What are Marantz UK like for support/parts availability?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I'm listening at the moment to a Joni Mitchell album Court and Spark CD at the moment on the Denon through my Oppo headphones. You won't beat the way an SACD player reads redbooks.
 

Ascotbilly

Active Member
That would have been the DBP 2012

Correct @gibbsy Ive just dug it out of storage. Ironically I bought it at the time for AV as I thought it would be futureproof as it takes practiacally all discs. Then along come downloaded films... you can’t win 🤣🤣
Any thoughts on its quality as a CD Player?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Correct @gibbsy Ive just dug it out of storage. Ironically I bought it at the time for AV as I thought it would be futureproof as it takes practiacally all discs. Then along come downloaded films... you can’t win 🤣🤣
Any thoughts on its quality as a CD Player?
It was all I had to play CDs which had to through my Denon 2310 receiver. The player was pretty good if I remember correctly. Didn't have SACDs in those days as I was not really in love with music because the Denon just didn't sound as good as my old Technics separates which I bitterly regret giving to a friend of my son.

Unfortunately it didn't last long and curled up and died. SSaV exchanged it for a 3313.
 

nomore landings

Standard Member
Hi Alex,

Lots of good advice. You might find a SA14S1se. Bought as a pair with the PM amp to replace PM/SA8005, a step up and the DAC inputs are excellent up to 24/192. Breathed on by KI and the last of old school Marantz before switch to upsampling PCM to high speed 1 bit DSD and Nord Hypex class D amps
 

Alex P79

Active Member
This maybe of interest:-

It sold for £760 in the end which seems a fair price considering HiFi corner are advertising them new for £1500, which in turn makes the 1600NE seem less good value at £999.
 

Alex P79

Active Member
Hi Alex,

Lots of good advice. You might find a SA14S1se. Bought as a pair with the PM amp to replace PM/SA8005, a step up and the DAC inputs are excellent up to 24/192. Breathed on by KI and the last of old school Marantz before switch to upsampling PCM to high speed 1 bit DSD and Nord Hypex class D amps
Thanks - I am currently watching two SA8005s on the bay, one which might be a bit iffy reading some discs. Will see what they go for. I was going to contact Marantz tomorrow to see what sort of support they still offered for the SA8005 if/when they have issues reading discs but I then remembered it is bank holiday tomorrow...If genuine new lasers are available and can be fitted for sensible money then possibly worth a punt, if not, then it would be no use, though its DAC function could be of use to someone.
 

Alex P79

Active Member
Well, one of the SA8005s sold for £685 - supposed to be as new/never used. The other one ends tonight but, as I said before, has a potential issue reading discs. Gibbsy, I noticed in a previous thread that you had an issue with your SA8005 - can you shed light on what it was?

From what I can find out, the SA8005 uses the MZ Mecha transport mechanism as used in several D and M players including the 1600NE. Does anyone know if this is still available as a part? This would make the difference as to whether the one for sale is worth getting (at its current price) or not. Again, on a previous thread from last year, Henry Honda stated that the transport mechanism can be purchased from the official U.K. repair agent, based in Norfolk, for about £140 + fitting.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Well, one of the SA8005s sold for £685 - supposed to be as new/never used. The other one ends tonight but, as I said before, has a potential issue reading discs. Gibbsy, I noticed in a previous thread that you had an issue with your SA8005 - can you shed light on what it was?

From what I can find out, the SA8005 uses the MZ Mecha transport mechanism as used in several D and M players including the 1600NE. Does anyone know if this is still available as a part? This would make the difference as to whether the one for sale is worth getting (at its current price) or not. Again, on a previous thread from last year, Henry Honda stated that the transport mechanism can be purchased from the official U.K. repair agent, based in Norfolk, for about £140 + fitting.
Drive mechanism failed. Replaced under warranty, was away less than a week. Fantastic service from Marantz customer services via Sounds United the parent company. Been playing perfect ever since.

Bought it online from a company that went belly up and I contacted Marantz directly. The Sounds United company organised the repair drop off at my local AudioT.

 

JohnnyNapalm

Active Member
I believe your Dad will be happy with the sound coming from a Marantz player. I have had Phillips, Technics, Sony, Pioneer and Marantz In the past and have stayed with Marantz. I still have my CD-17 ki sig in the bedroom setup and a SA-14S1 SE in my main system. This will only be replaced by a SA-10 if I ever save up enough. Reading reviews from owners is that the SA8005 is a decent player with the ‘in house Marantz sound’. Good luck and let us know what your Dad thinks. Cheers.
 

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