Marantz SA8001 owners unite!
Nov 16, 2008 at 5:03 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 35

shellylh

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I just got a "preloved" SA8001 from the USPS today! All I can say is WOW, this player is really great. I haven't been able to compare it to my Stello DA100 yet but I hope to soon. I am just having a great time listening to some of my favorite CDs right now. Unfortunately, I don't have any SACDs yet but it sounds very musical with my CDs! I love it!!!!

Many would probably like to know the answer to the following question:

"How does its built-in headphone amp compare to ..."?

Well, I can say that it is very good. I listened with my AD2000s, Senn 650s and K701s. It doesn't really compare to the Singlepower Extreme with my 650s and K701s but it probably should not given that the Extreme costs more for just the headphone amp. It is also not as good as the GS-1 but comes closer than it did to the Extreme. But, I can say that I was not bored listening to the K701s as I have been with other amps. It really has a nice tone. Also, the AD2000s sounds great with the SA8001's headphone out (I haven't really done any ABing with the GS-1 with this pair yet but I have high hopes for the SA8001).

If I hadn't already become accustomed to my Extreme, I would be very happy with SA8001's headphone out (especially with some ATs).


Disclaimer: As I found out recently at the Houston head-fi meet, I seem to listen to music at a lower volume than some others so your impressions may be different than mine. Also, I have only spent a few hours with the player so my views may change over time.

If I were a budding head-fier, this is how I would build my first home rig. First, if you don't have a lot of cash, sell your portable amp. Then, I would buy a good headphone if you don't already have one: Senn 650, K701, or whatever floats your boat. Then, I would buy a used (I mean preloved) SA8001 on audiogon or ebay from a reputable seller. This way, you have a great source and pair of cans. Then I would save up for a great amp. You'll have to decide what you want: solid state or tubes and what company to go with. [By the way, you may have to wait a while to save up for a great amp. If you buy mediocre amp, you may not be satisfied with the difference. Your other choice: become a DIYer and build yourself a great amp.] In the mean time, you will have a great source and nice headphone amp on it to listen to.

You can see that I am smitten with this source. I hope it is not just the "new toy" syndrome because I was hoping to keep this for quite a while.
dt880smile.png


It seems like there are a few threads about the SA8001 but they seem to be strewn all over the site. So I thought I would try and start an SA8001 "appreciation thread." There seems to be a few owners of the SA8001 on this site. If you are one of those lucky people, please show yourself. If you don't own one and just want to say "hi," that is ok too.... just be nice.
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Now, it's back to the music!


[By the way, if there is already a SA 8001 appreciation thread started that I couldn't find, the moderators are welcome to delete this thread.]
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 3:38 PM Post #2 of 35

Orcin

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It's always nice to chase something, finally get it at a good price, and have it exceed your expectations. You should savor this victory!
k701smile.gif


I am very surprised at the quality of the onboard amp. I assume it is an opamp design? If it drives the AKG 701's well, it would certainly be good enough to power a starter system as you suggest.

I'm looking forward to hearing a comparison of the SA8001's DAC to the DA100. I am still trying to get started on a computer audio library. But if I didn't want USB, I would be wondering if a high-end CD player with a good DAC (such as the SA8001) would have been a better purchase than a DAC + transport. Or if a USB converter to the SA8001's digital input might be preferable to a USB DAC such as the Paradisea?

Lots of questions to explore at the next Houston meet.
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Nov 16, 2008 at 5:29 PM Post #3 of 35

shellylh

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Well, unfortunately there is no digital input on the SA8001. You would have to go for something like the Azur 840c.

I usually use my CDP for listening to music. The mp3s on my computer are anywhere from 128kbps to 320kbps. All my lossless (I only have about 1/8 of my CD collection burned to lossless so far) is on an 160GB external drive that is a bit noisy (it is about 5 years old). I will have to get a new 500GB or 1TB drive that is quieter. I also prefer to listen to CDs since I find myself putting the songs on "shuffle" when on the computer and it is not the same as listening to a full album. I also find the quality to sound better when played from a CDP but maybe it is psychological.

As for the headphone output on the SA8001, I think it is good. You could certainly be happy with it until you got a good hp amp. I am listening Raphael Fays' "Django and Classic" on my K701s. I did some ABing between the SP Extreme, GS-1, Hornet, SA8001 hp output (all with the SA8001 as source). This is how I would order them (based on my preference):

Extreme >> GS-1 >> SA8001 hp output > Hornet

There is more separation of instruments and a bit more bass impact when going from Hornet -> SA8001. When you move to the GS-1, it is a bigger jump (and then again, I just love the Extreme with my K701s
biggrin.gif
). However, if you were just starting out, I think you could be happy with the HP output. By the way, I think the Woo Audio 6SE and SA8001 would be a great combination!!! That would probably be my setup if I were starting from scratch and didn't need/want a computer based setup (SA8001 -> WA 6SE -> 650 and K701), a killer setup!

I am pretty sure that SA8001 has an opamp based output but someone correct me if I am wrong.

I seem to be the only person who wants to be in my SA8001 club right now.
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Nov 16, 2008 at 9:01 PM Post #4 of 35

Uncle Erik

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Orcin /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It's always nice to chase something, finally get it at a good price, and have it exceed your expectations. You should savor this victory!
k701smile.gif


I am very surprised at the quality of the onboard amp. I assume it is an opamp design? If it drives the AKG 701's well, it would certainly be good enough to power a starter system as you suggest.

I'm looking forward to hearing a comparison of the SA8001's DAC to the DA100. I am still trying to get started on a computer audio library. But if I didn't want USB, I would be wondering if a high-end CD player with a good DAC (such as the SA8001) would have been a better purchase than a DAC + transport. Or if a USB converter to the SA8001's digital input might be preferable to a USB DAC such as the Paradisea?

Lots of questions to explore at the next Houston meet.
icon10.gif



I think there's a USB input on the new SA8003.

But I'm still very happy with my SA8001. I've had it for nearly two years and it's never let me down and always sounds good. A few times I've been tempted to upgrade to a higher model, but the measurements Stereophile published are awfully good and I can't find any faults with the sound. I might upgrade when this one breaks down, but can't see getting rid of it any time soon.

Hmm... now that's it's discontinued, I might have to keep an eye out for closeout sales. If I can get another one cheap, I might have to put one away.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 9:27 PM Post #5 of 35

shellylh

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Erik /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I think there's a USB input on the new SA8003.


Yes, the SA8003 supports USB (in some ways) and I was told it does support lossless. However, I was told that you have to control the hardrive from the player. At least, if you plug in an ipod, I was told that you can't choose the songs from the ipod, rather you choose them with the player. Hence, you could connect an external harddrive with 500 CDs of lossless music and the SA8003 would play it. It seems like it would be difficult to find what music you are looking for though. I guess shuffling through all your music would work but...

Anyway, I am glad to hear from another happy SA8001 owner! Also, thanks for the recommendations for SACDs on the other thread.
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 1:46 AM Post #6 of 35

shellylh

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I just picked up a copy of Elton John's "Elton John" on SACD and played it on SA8001 -> Extreme -> K701 and all I can say is WOW! There really is a difference between the CD and SACD versions. The SA8001 sounds really wonderful in both modes (CD and SACD) but at least for this particular release, the SACD outsparkles the CD. It sounds so good it really seems like you are there. I am really loving this player. (Of course, I haven't heard another SACD player so I can't really compare it to others
k701smile.gif
).
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 3:15 PM Post #7 of 35

RogerB

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Another sa8001 owner/lover here!! I've only had mine about 4 months but it was a huge upgrade from the Sony ce595 I used for years. I bought it new and a few weeks later bought a used Marantz pm7001 integrated amp to go with it.

These are the first real "quality" audio components I've ever owned and I'm thrilled that I took the plunge! I didn't know what I was missing.
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 7:26 PM Post #8 of 35

Orcin

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Quote:

Originally Posted by shellylh /img/forum/go_quote.gif
By the way, I think the Woo Audio 6SE and SA8001 would be a great combination!!! That would probably be my setup if I were starting from scratch and didn't need/want a computer based setup (SA8001 -> WA 6SE -> 650 and K701), a killer setup!



Quote:

Originally Posted by RogerB /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Another sa8001 owner/lover here!! I've only had mine about 4 months but it was a huge upgrade from the Sony ce595 I used for years.




Ok, that's it. I need to stop reading this thread.
biggrin.gif
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 7:32 PM Post #9 of 35

Gradofan2

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The SA8001 is definitely a "best buy" that performs as well as much more costly sources - in many respects, it sounds virtually as good as my Monarchy M24, which the reviewers say rivals $17,000 CDP/DACs.

At the price I got mine - $625 - its a "no brainer." Just get one and "be done." You can be satisfied you've got "one of the best available," relative to its sound quality.
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 7:55 PM Post #11 of 35

shellylh

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Orcin /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Ok, that's it. I need to stop reading this thread.
biggrin.gif



You probably need to stop reading head-fi! (j/k)
atsmile.gif


I will bring the SA8001 to our "mini-mini" meet (whenever that might be) and you can hear for yourself!

I am now torn. I was planning to use the SA8001 in my bedroom setup (SA8001->GS-1). However, now a am liking the SA8001 so much (and it sounds so great with my Extreme), I want to have it in my main rig. Right now I have a CC4001 (cd changer) or Macbook pro -> Stello DA100 -> Extreme. I like the convenience of the cd changer and also streaming from my computer but I also like the sound of the SA8001 (and being able to play SACDs). I mostly only use the connection to my computer when I play video games or when we have a party or dinner party (using some party "playlist."). I do all my critical listening with CDs. So I could use the DA100 in my bedroom rig and either (1) get a small, "cheap" USB/optical DAC to use when I have a party/are playing computer games (2) build a small DAC or (3) use line out/headphone out of my Macbook Pro - I am guessing this is not going to be a good choice. Sigh.
 
Dec 2, 2008 at 11:02 PM Post #12 of 35

jclaytonsound

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Just purchased an 8001 from Audiogon...waiting excitedly!
 
Dec 2, 2008 at 11:33 PM Post #13 of 35

shellylh

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Excellent choice! You will love it (I hope).
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Dec 3, 2008 at 2:31 AM Post #15 of 35

KevinR70

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SA8001 is a great player for the money. The sound quality of the built in amp was a nice surprise. I compared with my Stello DA100 and honestly can't tell the difference between the two DACs.
 

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