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CD/SACD Players item created by ddadda, Apr 30, 2011
Pros - Great sound and resolution!
Cons - Not a $10K Meridian.. but who cares!
I will keep this short; after years of listening to the best equipment in the world being brought to the few CAN JAM events I had been able to attend. I had pretty much figured out the Meridian and Marantz players were to my ears the best of the bunch in their corresponding price ranges. Being under budget and already having tried several other CD players; I got a great price on an SA 8004 demo piece from Music Direct. To this day I do not regret my purchase, I have rediscovered my music collection; just from MP3s alone they sound revived... CDs just as good.. I cannot complain and I do not see the need to upgrade this player EVER as I am CONTENT. This is something hard for us hifi nuts to restrain from at times due to the marketing bull we are fed all the time about the biggest and best. I waited for years for a decent CD /DAC combo and I got it.. I'm happy.. they might have better machines but the music just sounds right and I do not feel incomplete in my setup.. I just need to find more music at this point.
For those wondering .. I have a pair of Grado GS1000 and 125s.. I have an Grado headphone amp, a Schiit Asgard, an Onkyo receiver..they all sound BETTER regardless of the source. Just note that you will want to find better recording as bad ones are an injustice to be played on the SA 8004.
Pros - CD, SACD, USB + iPod native playback
Cons - No airplay or networking. No CD text display
Not much to say.
This is firstly a high quality SACD player, with many aspects taken from Marantz's reference line.
It's my only SACD player ever, but I am impressed by the detailed reproduction of the SACDs that I own.
I highly recommend the Nine Inch Nails "The Downward Spiral Deluxe Edition" SACD layer, Bjork's "Medulla", and Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" as a starting point for anyone interested in modern music available on SACD.
Secondly it's a top rate redbook CD player. CD players I have owned several, from the old discman days, to computer CDROM drives, to Denon and Teac stand-alones. Again, super detailed clear playback for all of my CD collection.
Lastly, and the key selling point for me is that it is an audiophile grade 24bit USB DAC with direct digital connection to iDevices. My iPod full of ALACs took a huge boost in playback quality when played back through the SA8004. They all sound as detailed and clear as the CDs, where as line out of an iPod to an amp, leaves much to be desired.
24 bit FLACs from HDTracks played through Foobar to the Marantz out my laptop via USB really come alive. Metallica's "Black Album (Self Titled)" (which I believe is an authorized 2 channel rip and redistribution of the out of print 5.1 DVD-A version once available) really makes evident the value of high res music for me. An album I have known for 20 years, is showing me new aspects and previously unappreciated details and nuances.
The headphone line out is more than powerful enough for most headphones. It takes my Ultrasone Pro 900s and Denon AH D7000s into their strides of performance, leaving no lack of juice at all, and offering uncolored clear playback. It even does pretty well on the LCD2s, taking them to good listening volumes by 11 o´clock on the dial.
The build quality is good, but not spectacular, the front center panel, and top plate are black brushed metal, but the rest is some kind of dense black plastic composite. Sturdy, but not metal. Not uncommon in most stereo components today outside of the uber high end realm.
I personally like the aesthetics of the Marantz line, clean and simple, sharp but not eye grabbing.
The remote is a little disappointing, very light and cheap feeling, though it functions great, controls everything I need, and is a nice size.
The only other little bug is no CD text display, apparently they removed this feature when updating the previous SA8003 model, they should have kept it.
Conclusion, if you want a high quality 24bit 96khz USB DAC (or 192 through optical/coaxial connection) for your PC, laptop, or DAP... that is also a first rate CD/SACD player, you'll be elated with the SA8004. You really get a lot for your money with this deck.