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Marantz 8802a vs.Emotiva XMC-1 5.1 analog (Kal Rubinson?)?

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Posted on December 17, 2016 at 08:15:59
Jim Pearce
Audiophile

Posts: 20810
Joined: January 4, 2002
I'm looking forward to updating my system to accommodate a new 55" LG poled B6 to be installed early in the new year and the upcoming Oppo BDP-205. Among 4K ready current processors (I've looked at) only the Marantz and the Emotiva seem to accommodate the direct analog 5.1 inputs I use both for multichannel playback and 2.1 stereo (which I stubbornly continue to extract using the unused low quality L,R 5.1 analog outputs from the Oppo through an Outlaw Audio ICBM and thence to the sub input on the processor).

Long preamble, but my question is a simple one: my biggest concern with Marantz is that it will have that warm, full house sound which I don't like. For example I really didn't like the SA-14 when I owned it. Reading Kal's notes from his reviews of these two processors it seems to me that the Emotiva will be closer to the neutral sound I'm seeking - and my old Anthem AVM 20 delivers. Too bad if so because the Marantz really suits the basic black look of my Sanus rack, Paradigm SST amps, Oppo and Paradigm speakers. (I'd have difficulty explaining the Emotiva's garish glowing blue to my wife.)

 

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RE: Marantz 8802a vs.Emotiva XMC-1 5.1 analog (Kal Rubinson?)?, posted on December 17, 2016 at 16:53:49
Kal Rubinson
Reviewer

Posts: 10594
Location: New York
Joined: June 5, 2002
I bought and kept the Marantz and, via the Monitor Silvers, it is not warm in any absolute sense. Relative to other prepros, perhaps.

 

RE: Marantz 8802a vs.Emotiva XMC-1 5.1 analog (Kal Rubinson?)?, posted on December 18, 2016 at 10:10:08
Jim Pearce
Audiophile

Posts: 20810
Joined: January 4, 2002
Indeed, colourations like this are so system specific that these decisions can be hell for those of us who aren't professional reviewers. I listened to the SA-14 a couple of times on some Meadowlark speakers in the shop and liked it very much. I brought it home and it immediately sounded warm and even murky in the upper bass/lower mids. Perhaps very much a consequence of my Studio 100 v3s, but there it is.

 

Probably., posted on December 18, 2016 at 11:50:13
Kal Rubinson
Reviewer

Posts: 10594
Location: New York
Joined: June 5, 2002
The Meadowlarks and Paradigms are different birds.

 

RE: Marantz 8802a vs.Emotiva XMC-1 5.1 analog (Kal Rubinson?)?, posted on December 18, 2016 at 12:00:53
Ivan303
Audiophile

Posts: 35568
Location: Cadiere d'azur FRANCE - San Francisco
Joined: February 26, 2001

"Mr. Pearce, Marantz products not have 'that warm, full house sound'. Marantz products have perfect 'Marantz house sound'."





 

impossible..., posted on December 18, 2016 at 12:28:19
Jim Pearce
Audiophile

Posts: 20810
Joined: January 4, 2002
After six weeks of listening, JA said this in 2006:

"I haven't said anything about coloration. That's because, despite the variety of program material I auditioned on the Studio/100s, I was never made aware of any persistent problem in this area. This is one neutral speaker."
Read more at http://www.stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/105paradigm/index.html#Wove4q7DTvzZjrO9.99

9 years later KR let this slip about the Marantz AVM8802a:

"My only quibble was that the AV8802A delivered the same gracious, rounded sound as Marantz's esteemed Reference-series components—some may prefer a more prismatic clarity."
Read more at http://www.stereophile.com/content/music-round-75#h3KC0KCbdFwMTzws.99

So there you go - this f###in' pre-pro would sound as bad as the SA-14 did in my system, and it can't be Paradigm's fault!

 

Fault?, posted on December 18, 2016 at 13:36:04
Kal Rubinson
Reviewer

Posts: 10594
Location: New York
Joined: June 5, 2002
It ain't a question of fault. There is a contribution from the room, the speaker and the prepro and one wants the result to be right. I lived with Paradigm Studio 60s for a decade but, eventually, became sensitized to a somewhat withdrawn upper midrange with a tipped-up high treble. This was with a passing parade of prepros.

The Monitor Silvers seemed more flat (see those measurements, too) with the Marantz and they do so with an Arcam I have in house now. You might prefer the Emotiva with the Paradigms.

 

I was more or less joking with Ivan Kal..., posted on December 18, 2016 at 13:56:29
Jim Pearce
Audiophile

Posts: 20810
Joined: January 4, 2002
I'd really rather go with anything but Emotiva, budget be damned. But if the pre-pro doesn't have 5.1 analog inputs I need it to process pure DSD from the Oppo, and then do a better job with the sound than the Oppo does. So far I'm completely stuck except for older and high-priced components that don't do the latest codecs like Atmos and DTS:X and the stuff my new 4k oled will want like hdmi 2.0 and hdcp 2.2.

 

But wasn't he joking?, posted on December 18, 2016 at 14:09:46
Kal Rubinson
Reviewer

Posts: 10594
Location: New York
Joined: June 5, 2002


 

RE: impossible..., posted on December 18, 2016 at 14:41:35
Ivan303
Audiophile

Posts: 35568
Location: Cadiere d'azur FRANCE - San Francisco
Joined: February 26, 2001

"Mr Pearce, natural 'Marantz house sound' so good it even remove harsh metallic glare from the multiple metal diaphragm drivers in these Mordaunt-Short Performance 6 Limited Edition loudspeakers."



 

RE: Marantz 8802a vs.Emotiva XMC-1 5.1 analog (Kal Rubinson?)?, posted on December 19, 2016 at 06:44:24
Dave_K
Audiophile

Posts: 1063
Joined: September 30, 2014
Contributor
  Since:
December 0, 0000
Marantz 8801 owner here

I've owned Marantz SACD and universal players before. The 8801 does have some of that Marantz house sound, but it's not overtly colored. Laid back is the term I would use. With some music I would prefer a more forward, attacking presentation. Other times it's just right.

Selecting the analog input and pure direct modes provides the most transparency. When fed an HDMI input from my Oppo, transparency drops a notch compared to analog via my Linn DS player. For example, when comparing a SACD or DVD-A rip played by the Linn vs. playing the disc in the Oppo and using HDMI to the Marantz, the former is better in most regards.

 

thanks Dave..., posted on December 19, 2016 at 10:01:58
Jim Pearce
Audiophile

Posts: 20810
Joined: January 4, 2002
My understanding is that the 8802a is more transparent due to the elimination of op amps in favour of HDAMs. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Marantz does a DSD to PCM conversion on a DSD bitstream. I'm thinking in terms of playing the Oppo bdp-95 (later 205) through the analog outs - Pure Direct in Marantz's parlance. For some reason it sounds as good in my system as my Esoteric DV-50 did, and much better than the SA-14 did.

 

RE: thanks Dave..., posted on December 19, 2016 at 11:09:12
Dave_K
Audiophile

Posts: 1063
Joined: September 30, 2014
Contributor
  Since:
December 0, 0000
The 8801 had a full bank of HDAMs too, an older iteration though. I believe the 8801 and 8802 share the same basic design but the analog path has been improved with parts upgrades trickled down from the PM-11. I've read conflicting information about whether DSD is converted to PCM in pure direct mode, but it certainly is converted to PCM in other modes because the bass management and Audyssey work in PCM.

With the 8801, I am confident you can get better sound using analog outs of Oppo 95/105/205 with the Marantz in pure direct mode vs. using the DACs in the Marantz. I suspect the same may be true with the 8802. If you don't need all the bells & whistles the Marantz offers, you might look for a used Bryston SP3. There's a couple of them on Audiogon right now, asking 4450 USD and 4900 USD.

 

the Marantz is "only" $4800 CDN..., posted on December 19, 2016 at 11:59:16
Jim Pearce
Audiophile

Posts: 20810
Joined: January 4, 2002
It's actually a good deal, nice looking, well-built and they have a service center about 20 minutes drive from where I live. I might just go 5.1.2 Atmos for fun, and the 4K upscaling might come in handy depending on the job the Oppo bdp-205 does - and my new LG 55" B6 oled TV which is going in the first week of January.

If I went without the bells and whistles there's an open box Anthem AVM 50v available locally for $5500 CDN that would reduce my sonic risk to near zero. Then again, I could stay with what I have because my AVM 20 is in perfect condition - I could even add the DDRC-88A at $999 U.S. to bring it up to speed with Dirac live for movies (although a pair of .5 m. Cardas Neutral Reference and four Linn Analog interconnects to wire it would cost a few hundred more). But my tendency is to keep the analog path as short as possible, and movies sound pretty good with what I've got.

 

YES!, posted on December 23, 2016 at 17:34:35
Ivan303
Audiophile

Posts: 35568
Location: Cadiere d'azur FRANCE - San Francisco
Joined: February 26, 2001
But Jim deserves it just a bit as I haven't seen much of him here since 'Outside' closed down.





 

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