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New Marantz SA-8004 - Page 3

post #31 of 205

Quoted from review of the SA 8003 unit by http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0109/marantz_sa8003.htm



 "The USB input is powered by an NEC uPD63901 microcontroller (designed for use in car audio head units), and it enables the SA8003 to play MP3, WAV, WMA and AAC files directly off a USB hard drive, pen drive, or iPod (it does not function as a USB DAC, as connecting a laptop to the Marantz with a USB cable does nothing). The uPD63901 does its own D/A conversion, so files read from the USB input completely bypass Marantz' CS4398-based digital section (and cannot be output via the Marantz digital outputs). The USB signal still benefits from going through the SA8003's discreet analog output stage, but overall the USB sound is not quite up to par with what the SA8003 does when playing a shiny disc. Of course, this hardly matters unless you are using full-resolution WAV files, the only lossless format playable on the Marantz.


A more significant misfire is the user interface. Devices connected to the SA8003 via USB can only be browsed one line at a time on the Marantz' front panel display. This works well enough for a flash-ROM based pen drive with a few files on it, but it all but eliminated the convenience and joy of using my 60GB iPod. Only about one-third full, my iPod has over 180 artists on it... listening to one near the middle of the list required as many as 90 clicks on one of the Marantz' "folder" buttons, a significantly more cumbersome process than the iPod's own interface, which is disabled when connected to the SA8003."


Hi Amham, just wondering if the SA8004's USBs have the same limitation as the SA8003.

post #32 of 205

OK, here is how the USB input works...you must make certain the file extension is one of the supported types (elementary!).  This may require you to convert from a CD (.cda) to WAV using i.e Media Monkey or whatever.  The 8004 then recognizes the file type and, interestingly, scrolls title text (which the standard CD/SACD does not).  It does work and I'm listening now.  I have no idea what the decode path is, maybe the same as stated by enjoythemusic.com.  It is very hard to compare/contrast the SQ with the CD decode as it sounds very good.  As an aging early boomer my ears do not have the finesse necessary to decern differences betweed good sounding players (as stated previously).  Now on to the internal DAC decode (will be very tough to beat my Benchmark USB, DacMagic or V-DAC...I do like my DAC's!).

post #33 of 205

Thx for the info Amham. 


I kinda regretted ripping my CDs using Apple's Lossless (.m4a) as most players doesn't support this format.


Anyhow, am looking forward to your further impressions on the player.



Having read the manual, I am quite sure the rear USB input (as well as optical/COAX) gets decoded by the DAC. Guess, if it all pans out, I will be clearing some space for it next to my Mac.

Edited by spidey - 10/16/10 at 6:37am
post #34 of 205

Very interesting. Keeping an eye out for this for sure. USB Dac with a CD player, brilliant!

post #35 of 205

I've had a chance to run the player continuously now for several days and am please to report it is making progress.  Although I have a limited memory for small SQ details between one player and another (I just do not have the room to set up the 8001 side by side with the 8004 for direct comparison) the SQ is damn good indeed, as good as the 8001 as I can recall.  The soundstage has opened up and I do hear fine details.   The "warmer" remark I made at first does not seem to continue. In fact, I believe I do hear as much if not more detail and was more than once startled on several familar CD's and SACD's with a sparkle that I don't recall with the 8001 (the APO CCR sacd's sounded more thin and more typical of their recording heritage than I remember on the 8001.  This would serve to make me believe the 8004 is closer to the truth). I'm not one for audio" snake oil"...not a strong believer in break-in that changes the character of a component and am VERY skeptical of the rediculous claims of interconnects (simply a product of reactance to color the sound).  At this point I'm pleased with the purchase and continue to audition.  I have several lauded sacd's on order and wait patiently for them (APO Nat King Cole series and others).    

post #36 of 205

Anyone know what the difference between x003 and x004 series is?

post #37 of 205

amham wrote:


Seems a little light weight for a grand but...


If you see an inside picture, that's because there's nothing inside but a few wires, a couple of boards and the laser setup.


Can't post a link as in the past, I Googled up an interior image and now can't find the link.  I do remember thinking about how anemic the interior was for the size of the case.  In shore, a lot of air.  But, it was this way when I opened up the case of a Denon CD player I had.


post #38 of 205

I've now moved on to the optical input to the 8004 from my Mac book optical out using lossless iTunes and a good quality glass interconnect.  Once again, a very pleasant, balanced representation with just the right mix across the spectrum, much the same as the CD,  Can I tell the difference between the USB and optical?  Most likely but I cannot definetively describe the differences.  Suffice it to say when your listening to any of the redbook inputs they sound fine.  Maybe not as descriptive a review as a professional or advanced hobbyist, but once again, any high quality source and the 8001/8004 is going to soud very good ideed.  When you are listening the purpose is to enjoy the music and not constantly analyze minute SQ differences.  I've learned this over many years and find, yes there are differences between components, source, etc. but in the end if you are pleased with what you are listening to, and I'm currenty very pleased, that is the deciding factor .  I'll leave the highly detailed review to those with more accute hearing, better systems and more descriptive skills.  Enjoy if you decide to purchase the 8004!  If you desire or require the additonal input features then the 8004 is a reasonable upgrade.  If there is no need for this functionality then stick with the 8001.  My sense is unless you spend megabucks ($5K++) you will not appreciably improve upon the SQ.  The law of diminishing returns went into effect at a much lower price point than the 8001/4.

post #39 of 205

Here is the reply from Marantz regarding the lack of text scrolling in CD/SACD playback:


"The drive in the SA8004 does not support text, true, but it is a better sounding
mechanism than the drive used in the 8001. In the 8004 we’re trying to increase
sound quality and feature set; all at a reasonable price. Some compromise is
inevitable in any design; still we regret that you miss the CD/SACD text feature
and make note of this exchange for consideration in future designs. "  

Still, the 8004 is a more than competitive player and I am satisfied with it's performance.

post #40 of 205

Thanks for the impression so far.


Was goggling around and notice a similar CDP/DAC from Audiolab.


For those who are interested http://www.audiolab.co.uk/

post #41 of 205

Anyone jump in and purchase?

Edited by amham - 10/29/10 at 10:39am
post #42 of 205
I just got one of these. Has maybe 8 hours on it and it's definitely changed in that period so it will need more time for full impressions but so far i'm pretty optimistic about it.
post #43 of 205

I just picked up this new SA8004 and right out of the box the redbook is better than the Onkyo DX7555 which was very good in its own right. I also like the SACD better than my DV6001 the biggest difference is this unit is very quiet and does not take long to load. Early impressions are very favorable and will not miss the Onkyp DX7555 although it was a magnificent player.

post #44 of 205

So is the SA-8004 a worthy improvement over the SA-8001?  I'm trying to decide whether to get a new SA-8004 or a used SA-8001 for half the price. 

post #45 of 205
Originally Posted by bflatfinesse View Post

So is the SA-8004 a worthy improvement over the SA-8001?  I'm trying to decide whether to get a new SA-8004 or a used SA-8001 for half the price. 

never owned the 8001 or heard it. The 8004 can also be used as a serperate Dac. It has USB and coaxial and optical and is designed to be a player or a dac. I love it

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