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Marantz SA14S1- is it gonna be an overkill as the source of my headphone rig?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

Not too long ago, I have received my LCD-3. But unfortunately my current Sony UDA-1 USB DAC although sounding good; I personally think it does not bring the best out of the LCD-3 (I have relocated the UDA-1 in my office set up). After doing some research,  I have made up my mind to purchase the Pathos Aurium headphone amp (in the pipeline), it seems to be one of the best match for the LCD-3.

 

Leaving me, with my sources as the weakest link. My current main sources are a laptop or DAPs (Sony NW ZX1 and AK100) running through Sony PHA-2 or TEAC UD H01 DACs (coming soon).

 

Nevertheless, I have also been itching to complete my "end game" home headphone rig, I have been thinking of purchasing the Marantz SA14S1 (SACD player with integrated USB DAC) as the last piece of the puzzle: 

 

http://us.marantz.com/us/Products/Pages/ProductDetails.aspx?CatId=ReferenceSeries&SubCatId=0&ProductId=SA14S1

 

A friend of mine suggested me, to instead buy the Oppo bdp 105 (the swiss knife media player capable of playing SACDs with an integrated DAC and etc.) for half the price of the SA14S1, 

 

Do you think paying $2,500 for the SA14S1 is an overkill for a headphone rig? Considering that, the Oppo bdp 105 has more functionality at half the price.

 

Thanks 

 

Regards

Simon T.

post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 

I thought it might be good to include a couple of reviews I found online:

 

1. by Andre Marc - audiovideo Revolution:

 

Conclusion

The Marantz SA-14S1 SACD player and DSD DAC impressed me to no end. On optical discs, it was a remarkable SACD and CD player. As a PCM DAC and file player, it was up to the standard I have come to expect from Marantz. As a DSD DAC, it was simply a superb performer. It worked flawlessly and was a pleasure to use all around.

The SA-14S1 is built as solid as you would expect from Marantz, and its ability to play from any source may have set a new standard at this price point. The only feature not available is network streaming, which is the domain of the NA-11S1. However, plug your Squeezebox, Sonos, or equivalent, and off you go. Excellent playback from SACDs, CDs, iPods, hi rez PCM, and DSD for $2500 earns the SA-14S1 an AVrev.com Best Value Award.

 

http://www.avrev.com/home-theater-audio-sources/dvd-audio-sacd-players/marantz-sa-14s1-sacd-player-dsd-dac.html

 

2. by Roy Harris -  Audiophilia

 

Conclusion

The Marantz SA-14S1 was balanced in frequency response, highly resolving, very dimensional, capable of reproducing a very wide dynamic range, very focused, revealing of instrumental texture, and presenting the natural sound of instruments, whenever a recording maintained timbral integrity.

 

The player is very sensitive to recording quality, and is suited to stereo systems that are balanced in frequency response, and relatively free of other distortions, as it can reveal flaws intrinsic to other components. The player does not produce euphonic coloration, liquidity or bloom. Considering the beauty/truth continuum, I believe it lies close to the truth. I could not detect any flaws, so I would consider it virtually neutral.

Its level of clarity and focus have been unsurpassed by any digital hardware that I have heard both from my own stereo system and at audio shows.

 

I cannot imagine any other CD player, or transport and DAC combination attaining any more music from a recording, without inducing imbalances in frequency response, especially excess treble energy. I think Marantz has pushed the envelope by creating a balance between high levels of resolution and a lack of audible coloration.

 

When listening to the higher sampling rate formats, bypassing Marantz’s transport and feeding a signal directly to the DAC, there was a similarity in the changes in sound that ensued from each format, as described below:

 

Greater fullness, greater bass extension, greater dynamic range, greater instrumental texture, and greater space between instruments (SACD only).

 

At its price point it should satisfy the preferences of many potential purchasers who value resolution, and are willing to forego liquidity and bloom—characteristics of some tubed DACs and CD players.

 

http://www.audiophilia.com/wp/?p=12627

 

Cheers

Simon T.

post #3 of 9

why not just the 103 and a Decoupler.  EITHER put out 16/44 out of anything but the hdmi.  I bought a decoupler for my panasonic dvd player ($300 even cheaper) and it works great...

post #4 of 9
I have a Marantz SA-14 and it has been terrific for me. Though not the same model as the one you asked about, I thought I would chime in that as an investment, if you keep it for 10 years like I have mine, then it might be worth it to you. If you see yourself changing out equipment a lot, then the Oppo is a solid choice and would save a lot of money.
post #5 of 9

Marantz makes great high-end gear in their Marantz Reference line. Although the SA-14S1 spinner is not Marantz's top-of-the-line SACD player (that would be the SA-11S3), this new unit seems like it's a great value.

 

If you are going to play a lot of CDs and SACDs in addition to using it as a DAC, then the SA-14S1 would fit your needs perfectly, perhaps for the next 10 years. However, if you're going to use it much more as a DAC than as a spinner, then you'd be better off with a lesser CD player, like maybe one of the Cambridge Audio or NAD units under $500, and then buy a better separate DAC.

 

If you want a Marantz Reference DAC, then I would recommend the NA-11S1, which is their streamer + DAC. Stereophile said it was outstanding.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorengineer64 View Post
 

why not just the 103 and a Decoupler.  EITHER put out 16/44 out of anything but the hdmi.  I bought a decoupler for my panasonic dvd player ($300 even cheaper) and it works great...

 

Thanks gatorengineer64,

 

I have thought of the combination of the Oppo bdp103 + the upcoming Oppo HA-1 DAC/Amp. But since the HA-1 is yet to be launched, I will have to wait.

 

Nevertheless, I am not too familiar with Decouplers, would you mind to educate me a little about what are the pros? and suggest a couple of units I can do further research on?

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muinarc View Post

I have a Marantz SA-14 and it has been terrific for me. Though not the same model as the one you asked about, I thought I would chime in that as an investment, if you keep it for 10 years like I have mine, then it might be worth it to you. If you see yourself changing out equipment a lot, then the Oppo is a solid choice and would save a lot of money.

 

Thanks Muinarc,

 

Very wise thoughts. Whether I will keep it for 10 years, it really depends on whether the digital hi-res audio albums will be more available in the future (as of now, I rip new albums from CDs).

 

Nevertheless, I would need to do some soul searching about your post last sentence.

 

I always wonder,  if there are compromises from the Oppo bdp 105 in terms of sound quality, due to its multi-functionality and never ending input/output internal circuits;  compared, to a dedicated SACD/CD player like the SA14S1. If yes, what are they? can they be quantified?

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shuttleboi View Post
 

Marantz makes great high-end gear in their Marantz Reference line. Although the SA-14S1 spinner is not Marantz's top-of-the-line SACD player (that would be the SA-11S3), this new unit seems like it's a great value.

 

If you are going to play a lot of CDs and SACDs in addition to using it as a DAC, then the SA-14S1 would fit your needs perfectly, perhaps for the next 10 years. However, if you're going to use it much more as a DAC than as a spinner, then you'd be better off with a lesser CD player, like maybe one of the Cambridge Audio or NAD units under $500, and then buy a better separate DAC.

 

If you want a Marantz Reference DAC, then I would recommend the NA-11S1, which is their streamer + DAC. Stereophile said it was outstanding.

 

Thanks shuttleboi,

 

Unfortunately, the SA-11S3 and NA-11S1 are out of my budget.

 

I did ask myself the same question, and to tell you the truth, I do not have a definite answer. I usually rip CDs for my portable needs, at home, I listen to both CDs through laptop or PCMs depending on moods (being lazy or not).

 

Nevertheless, appreciate your opinion.

post #9 of 9

http://everythingaudionetwork.blogspot.com/2013/04/audiophile-review-hdmi-de-embedder.html

 

This is where I learned about them.  I got the Kanex unit from B&H Photo.  Works great.  I use Bubble-up UPNP on a droid to stream to a $300 panasonic player with an Audio-gd NFB-11.32.  I think this is a pretty great bang for the buck system.  I think the OPPO is way overpriced for what it is.

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