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Marantz SA-10si Reviewed

88.97.21.18

Posted on February 11, 2017 at 04:01:00
PAR
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For those interested (see thread below) the latest issue of HI-Fi News (March 2017) reviews the SA-10 player. It gets a very positive hearing. In their (somewhat inexplicable*) scoring system it attains 89% which, from memory, is amongst the highest scores that I have seen for any product. Their lab report also shows some pretty impeccable numbers.

5999 gbp (including VAT @20%) over here which is expensive but not unreasonable given the price of alternatives in this market sector.

* Inexplicable and redundant if you actually read the accompanying article. Anyway the score is not absolute I understand but is with reference to the product's performance in its price class. So a considerably more expensive product of a similar type may score less (say 87%) but still be better in absolute terms. Over the years I just take it that anything scoring over 80% is a good product and nearly 90% means a very good product indeed.

 

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RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 11, 2017 at 05:16:20
hiredfox
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Thanks for that. I'll pop out and buy a copy.

 

Upsampling everything to DSD. , posted on February 11, 2017 at 05:56:31
akltam
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Any chances the SA-10 using AK4137 to upsample everything to DSD 256 ?

 

RE: Upsampling everything to DSD. , posted on February 11, 2017 at 06:23:36
PAR
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According to the review the SA-10 upsamples all inputs to DSD 256. However whether or not it uses the device that you cite to do it is not revealed.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 11, 2017 at 23:33:13
fmak
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Scores are one thing, but understanding the taste of the reviewers in relation to your own is important. There is no substitute for a home audition, which is possible in UK over a weekend (and return).

I have been disappointed by high scoring and Stereophile Class A components.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 15, 2017 at 05:49:54
fantja
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Thanks! for sharing- PAR

are you going to demo this player?

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 15, 2017 at 06:03:13
PAR
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No, I am in a somewhat different place for my digital replay requirements.

I may get to hear it at the Munich show in May but I wouldn't count that as a serious audition. That is especially as Marantz tend to have a huge display area at the show which isn't conducive to anything but very casual listening.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 15, 2017 at 15:22:38
fantja
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if/when you get a demo- post your listening thoughts and impressions here.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 15, 2017 at 16:58:57
PAR
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I will but don't get your hopes up. At that price and expecting that the number of pieces destined for the UK can be counted on one hand I expect that it is only likely to be available on special order to customers who have already made up their mind.

I had an experience of buying the top of range Marantz CD player twenty years ago when I bought the CD-7 ( not available in the USA). I just had to grit my teeth and spend the money. Receiving the player was fun as Marantz actually sent a Japanese engineer to oversee my installation! Now that was what I call service ( albeit not under the current ownership).

So if I get what will be no more than a sniff of it at Munich I will report ( I am thinking of posting a Munich Show report anyway if I can find a way of linking to photos with captions bearing in mind that I can't do HTML markup).

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 16, 2017 at 05:53:38
fantja
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Excellent! PAR

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 16, 2017 at 11:05:41
hiredfox
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Only the February issue of HFN is in the shops at the moment. Do you have special access?

The HFN scoring system is absolute codswallop and worst than useless as an aid for potential buyers.
SQ is SQ, how close the sound approaches the real thing (apologies to quad), it has nothing to do with "best in class". Sure there will be a best in each class but the best in any class will still have a SQ relative to reality. There are not different criteria for each class.... and, and what about the influence of the all he connected bits and bobs? The best sounding SACD player (highest SQ) could come from any class, depending on the system set-up. The cost must equal quality notion is crackpot!

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 16, 2017 at 12:36:05
PAR
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" Only the February issue of HFN is in the shops at the moment. Do you have special access?"

Yes, but only to the extent that I am a subscriber ( print and digital) and if Royal Mail is on its toes.

Yep, that scoring system is pretty impenetrable and, as I have said, just reading the copy makes it redundant. Of course a magazine editor will tell you that some kind of rating system attracts readers who have neither the inclination nor knowledge to read the whole piece.

The cost and quality aspect of the scoring apparently works like this ( as far as I have been able to glean from Paul Miller's explanation). Let's say that a component costs 750 gbp. The reviewer imagines what capabilities such a component at that price would have to exhibit in order to score 100% (in the light of their expertise and experience of similar products). Then he rates the component under review in relation to that concept e.g. this scores 85% of that ideal. So it isn't cost = quality nor is it an absolute measure but more a kind of the best available at that price rating. So an integrated amp from, say, Musical Fidelity costing 1700 gbp may score 83%. Another integrated amp from ,say, Luxman at 7000 gbp may score 85%. But that does't mean that the Luxman is only a negligible 2 points better than the MF which could otherwise be purchased as a cheaper substitute for the Luxman ( see the April 2016 edition for these two amps).

Of course I could have got it all mixed up ( but don't think so). However it is pretty much a rubbish idea to begin with and I think that PM inhertited it from the IMO less than satisfactory editor that preceded him. So there it is (so far as I understand). It could and should be dispensed with but I bow to the superior commercial instinct of the publisher and editor. NB: most other audio magazines do something along the same lines with stars out of five etc. Hurrah for Stereophile - you actually have to read it!

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 16, 2017 at 23:59:45
Disbeliever
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HF I agree with you ,but you should send your complaint re HFN scoring nonsense to Paul Miller, . Just read the so-called Musical Magic review of the SA-10 ,I can not understand why Marantz
still require 3 filters user adjustable when only one is required for best sound, for SACD it would appear this new expensive player will be no better than the Sony XA5400ES as it can not play mch where SACD sounds best, As already posted it will probably sound better for Red Book CD, I will have a listen for myself but doubt if I will be buying one. I find the music used in the review by Andrew Everard to put it mildly very strange, try buying any of the discs and see the result.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 18, 2017 at 04:43:34
fantja
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Agreed Disbeliever,

any spinner only requires (1) filter. Esoteric players uses multiple filters as well. Maybe there is some kind of competition between the (2) companies on upper tier CD/SACD players?

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 18, 2017 at 13:50:08
hiredfox
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Sadly, Andrew Everard's review of the SA-10S1 is brief and superficial, and disappoints as a result offering little useful guidance to experienced listeners. It's OK being first in line if you take full advantage of the head start that you have been given over your competitors by the supplier but this review just isn't good enough for a machine that has been years in development and boasts the long neglected single bit processing principles from end-to end.

Odd too that KK wasn't allocated the review, if anybody knows Marantz spinners Ken does and he would have offered far more insight.

Black mark Andrew, wonder who gets to have it next?

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 18, 2017 at 15:44:00
fantja
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Thanks! for sharing- hiredfox

it is all too common w/ the Audio press currently. I can remember a time when a review was informative and well-written.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 19, 2017 at 00:24:46
Disbeliever
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That was a long long time ago, there are no rewiewers today in UK who can match the very high calibre & professionalism
of Gordon J King, John Borwick Geoffrey Horn You could believe every word , without question, no political agenda .

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 19, 2017 at 05:22:24
fantja
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Right On! Disbeliever-

I have read some of those guys' writings. Very professional indeed.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 19, 2017 at 08:04:43
airheadair
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What about Martin Colloms? I was always impressed by his reviews in the past, which struck me as thoughtful, thorough, and honest, many years ago. I bought my old Van den Hul MC One based partly on his review many years ago. (Now I use a Van den Hul Frog.)

I think he is still writing, no?

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 19, 2017 at 12:01:01
Disbeliever
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Yes he is still writing has his own audio magazine subscription only Hi-Fi Critic, has a crazy system for rating components, he is an engineer but I much prefer the reviewers from long ago that I mentioned Gordon J.King (The Audio Handbook)
John Borwick, Geoffrey Horn.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 20, 2017 at 05:40:24
fantja
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Martin Colloms does a pretty good job- reviewing.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 20, 2017 at 10:23:13
hiredfox
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He is and has his own independent mag "Hi Fi Critic" although far too expensive to buy but that's the price you have to pay for having no advertisers and hopefully to not be their pockets so to speak.

I hope he does get his hands on the SA-10S1 in the UK before it goes too far around the hack block!

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 20, 2017 at 10:28:38
hiredfox
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He does have golden ears which helps enormously in assessments. At least his crackpot scoring system puts everything on one scale so you can get an idea of relative performance. On the downside he tends to be hooked on his PRT parameter, "forgetting" that it is the music that matters and controls these things.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 27, 2017 at 03:17:29
hiredfox
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Just to let you know that my SA-10S1 has arrived. It is still in its box as of now but with luck there will be a chance to install it during the week. Will post my first impressions soonest. Is this the final demise of my SA7-S1? If so there may be one for sale fairly soon... or not!

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 27, 2017 at 10:17:59
Disbeliever
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try & describe the difference between SA7 & SA10

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 27, 2017 at 10:45:21
milpai
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Congratulations on your new SACD player.
Would love to hear from you on this one. Would you be able to use this as a DAC? A mini review will be helpful to this community.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 28, 2017 at 02:41:26
hiredfox
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It will take a while to run in obviously but will post first impressions of general character of the sound asap. Definitive comparison with SA7 will take longer.

Initially will concentrate on disc player SA and RB before moving on to the DAC linked to a MacBook Pro running J River Media Suite. Downloads from Native DSD.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 28, 2017 at 04:19:23
Disbeliever
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I will be very suprised if the SA-10 SQ will be much of an improvement over the SA-7 but you never know.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on February 28, 2017 at 14:00:41
fantja
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I look forward to any review from you guys.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on March 2, 2017 at 05:09:30
fantja
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I read the review in HiFi News. More musical numbers cited would have been helpful.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on March 2, 2017 at 05:37:21
Disbeliever
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Yes just the personal opinion of the reviewer with strange music, long discovered you can never believe any review these days.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on March 3, 2017 at 13:02:45
fantja
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So true- there used to be a real "art" in writing for the Audio Press.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on March 13, 2017 at 00:51:42
fantja
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Anyone else seen or heard this player?

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on March 13, 2017 at 01:04:04
Disbeliever
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Being a SACD fan , Marantz SA-10si is STEREO only , I shall not be wasting my time & money. More interested in trying out the new Sony UBP-X800 universal player.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on March 13, 2017 at 01:34:29
fantja
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keep me posted.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on March 14, 2017 at 09:40:20
Felixer
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Disbeliever wrote:
"Being a SACD fan , Marantz SA-10si is STEREO only , I shall not be wasting my time & money."

Your comment, Disbeliever, makes no sense to me at all. Most SACDs produced and sold exist for hi-res stereo playback. Having the capability to play multi-channel is cool and a nice feature, but let's face it: MC SACD is a niche within a niche within a niche.

Being a SACD fan, it comes as no surprise to me that the Marantz SA-10 is STEREO only - just like almost all of the other hi-end Marantz players. What next - you want Ferrari to make their sport cars with 5 doors?

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on March 14, 2017 at 23:48:21
Disbeliever
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Felixer Industry Professional ? You do not seem to know that SACD sounds best in surround sound ,mch format, so again I would not waste my time or money with the Marantz SA-10 Si. Furthermore I would not buy any 2 door car. Problem with mch sound is that the idiotic so-called professionals insist that there should be five floorstanding same size speakers with the rear volume same as the front ones. No wonder that audiophiles are put off. This is what Ken Ishiwata demonstrated at a show I went to a few years ago. When I told him the sound was unacceptable, he blamed the speakers, then the room acoustics ,not the absurd setup also with unnecessary sub-woofers and too much sound emanating from the rear. I also told KI many years ago that his I bit Dac was poor sounding lacked bass etc. he did later revert to 16 bit. however I did not like the SA7-S1.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on March 17, 2017 at 00:02:01
fantja
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So true- Disbeliever.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on March 23, 2017 at 17:36:09
fantja
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Any of you guys get a demo on this spinner?

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on March 26, 2017 at 22:19:26
fantja
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I prefer 2-channel SACD.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on March 26, 2017 at 23:45:30
Disbeliever
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fantja Then the Marantz SA-10 si is a good choice for you, what is stopping you from buying one, price ? you can not take it with you.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on March 28, 2017 at 14:03:02
fantja
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A proper demo- any dealer/retailer suggestions?

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on March 29, 2017 at 00:23:57
Disbeliever
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There are dealers demonstrating in the UK but I will not be wasting my time or money. Surely there are Marantz dealers in the US giving demos.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on March 30, 2017 at 06:04:30
fantja
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Sure hope so- Disbeliever.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on April 2, 2017 at 22:51:47
fantja
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a review is forthcoming by Frank I.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on April 3, 2017 at 01:40:30
Disbeliever
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I shall be more interested to learn from Hired Fox especially if the SA-10 is much better than the SA7-S1 which should not be too dificult, I expect it will be for CD but for SACD ? both of course are totally useless for me as I much prefer mch SACD which is considerably superior to STEREO, most SACDs include 5.0 surround sound.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on April 3, 2017 at 21:44:30
Felixer
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Disbeliever, you must find it very limiting only listening to multichannel recordings. I mean, if there are, --- and let us be kind, say 300 such recordings --- and a person generously likes say 20% of performances/artists, and say 20% of recordings, you would be down to a selection of 12 discs you would really like. Not much.

You could have a really hi-res SACD player for the thousands of other hi-rez stereo SACDs out there (and millions of CDs), and keep a cheap old Sony Playstation for your multi-channel fix, along with that curio of a Laservision player.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on April 4, 2017 at 00:01:29
Disbeliever
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All except one of my many SACDs are mch and as for CD I get excellent sound from my Str-Da5400ES AVR ( UK version with very low jitter HATS) & DA 5400ES SACD/CD player, I seem to be the only one on this forum with this excellent combo. I have never owned a playstation or Laservision player. Having owned and sold the obese stereo only Marantz SA7-S1 I cerainly would never consider buying the SA-10si.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on April 5, 2017 at 03:59:59
fantja
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No doubt that Sony can make a killer, state of the art product-whenever they wish.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on April 5, 2017 at 23:10:30
flood2
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"However it is pretty much a rubbish idea to begin with and I think that PM inhertited it from the IMO less than satisfactory editor that preceded him."

He got it from Martin Colloms IIRC. Back in the 80s Martin did most of the technical reviews for HFNRR and he introduced that scoring system. I agree it is stupid because you can't really gauge the progress made over time! It was his way of introducing a new reference and he even rescaled the values for old reviews if he referenced them in the context of the new reviews!
Regards Anthony

"Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty.." Keats

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on April 6, 2017 at 01:03:06
Disbeliever
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There have been several unsatisfactory editors of HFN & RR since John Crabbe.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on April 11, 2017 at 06:17:44
fantja
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we need more reviews of this spinner!

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on April 17, 2017 at 06:53:30
fantja
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Frank- is your review posted?

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on April 28, 2017 at 14:40:30
fantja
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Frank I- has a review forthcoming soon.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on April 28, 2017 at 22:50:17
Disbeliever
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Time Frank I review appears we will all be much older. No need to look beyond hiredfox's final comments posted April 19 , he has experience of most of the previous Marantz top spinners that other commentators most probably do not and this is essential.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on May 2, 2017 at 05:34:36
fantja
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I still want to read about Frank I 's impression(s).

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on May 2, 2017 at 06:03:29
Disbeliever
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all posts so far except hiredfox find SA10 CD to be very good, IMO only well recorded Classical music should be the used for assessing SQ. Pop & Rock can sound impressive but its usually studio enhanced and has no meaningful reference standard.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on May 7, 2017 at 18:46:12
fantja
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Classical & Jazz.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on May 13, 2017 at 23:26:06
fantja
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Hope to read more reviews on this player.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on May 14, 2017 at 06:08:58
Disbeliever
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fantja , you will be very unlikely to read a more revealing review than the one from hiredfox, Marantz SA-10 is only worth buying for those interested in stereo SACD and want to spend $6K or in UK 6K..

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on May 15, 2017 at 00:31:03
fantja
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Looking forward to Frank I's review.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on May 15, 2017 at 01:15:03
Disbeliever
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Does he listen on headphones or speakers ?

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on May 15, 2017 at 08:41:44
Annapurna
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I look forward to Franks review too. I have a CD7 for many years and is thinking of replacing with a SA10. I am a analog fan most of the time but I hope SACD will come close in terms of sound quality when playing SACD.
(SME20/12 V12 arm, Clearaudio Titanium V2, Nagra BPS, Marantz CD7, Marantz NA11S1, Airtight ATC2, Passlabs XA100.8 mono pwr, Sonus Faber Amati Futura, Purepower 3000+, Yter, Kimber PK10 Palladian, Nordost Tyr)

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on May 15, 2017 at 10:15:04
Disbeliever
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Unless Frank has a CD7 his review will not help in comparing it with the SA-10 . hiredfox has said he prefers the CD7, whilst he says the SA-10 excels with stereo SACD. I have heard the CD7 and it is excellent, much better than the SA7-S1.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on May 16, 2017 at 07:54:42
hiredfox
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Posts: 48
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3 months in and delighted with the SA10-S1. By any measure this is an outstanding SACD player and has fully justified my gamble in buying without trying.

Using DSD recorded SACD as data source, the sound from this player is almost indescribably realistic. I can find no flaw in its presentation. Suddenly, all the hi fi characteristics that we have used to pinpoint the gains and shortfalls of all previous players are consigned to the bin. This player in this mode plays music as it should be heard.

The sense of presence is uncanny. Stereo only or not and we will argue that one until the cows come home, this system lights up the back wall of your listening room and the room itself in a way most of us have never experienced before. There is no sense that the sound you hear is coming from the boxes in front of you. In essence it creates its own hall ambience that renders mch almost unnecessary, it is truly difficult to imagine what else could be added by the 5-channel experience in a small room listening in the near field.

Musicians are arrayed in front of you, each player or section exactly in its place and firmly glued to the floor. You can literally listen to any section you choose or prefer and follow their tunes and this effect can be startling even if you think you know a piece of music well. Often you just do not appreciate all of the details that go to make the whole even in concert but boy does this player educate! Nothing is missing. This is musical heaven on Earth.

It is less accommodating on PCM recorded SACD even 'though the player reads a DSD signal from the disc. Sadly the damage has been done in the PCM mode with frequency cut offs at 48kHz and up depending on mode chosen by the recording engineers. The transcription into SACD for the Super Audio disc format cannot turn lead into gold. Images are far less precise and stable and the soundstage is always limited in width to between the speakers (at least on my system) although some DXD recordings approach the DSD standard but the latest DSD throughout recordings are simply sublime to hear.

This is the best SACD player yet in my experience and not by a small margin. It is head and shoulders above the SA7-S1 and all its high end offspring like the SA11-S3 and SA14 SE. Marantz have produced a real gem, a musical marvel that will satisfy even the most demanding of listeners.

This is no background music player by he way. You must really love sitting down, clearing your mind and listening to music for an hour or two without distraction. If you have that level of dedication then the 6K investment is well worth the candle. In fact that is only the same level of dedication needed to get off one's backside and go listen to a live performance!


 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on May 16, 2017 at 09:20:41
Disbeliever
Audiophile

Posts: 1592
Joined: June 1, 2012
Very interesting ,however IMO best SACD arrives in mch. virtually all SACDs have mch layer, why do they bother with it,if it is not better than stereo ?. How many are going to pay $6K/for a stereo only SACD player that fails to reach the CD performance of the Marantz CD7 according to your previous post.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on May 16, 2017 at 10:01:55
fantja
Audiophile

Posts: 10237
Location: Alabama
Joined: September 11, 2010
Thanks! for sharing- hiredfox

keep us posted as you continue to become acclimated w/ this spinner.
Hopefully, Frank I will release his review as well.

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on May 20, 2017 at 20:55:47
Annapurna
Audiophile

Posts: 8
Joined: July 13, 2001
Thanks for a wonderful review. When my Marantz SA10 arrive, I will make a comparison on CD playback with my CD7 and also with the DAC of my NA11S1. A comparison with my SME 20/12 will be interesting too pitting the best of analog with SACD.
(SME20/12 V12 arm, Clearaudio Titanium V2, Nagra BPS, Marantz CD7, Marantz NA11S1, Airtight ATC2, Passlabs XA100.8 mono pwr, Sonus Faber Amati Futura, Purepower 3000+, Yter, Kimber PK10 Palladian, Nordost Tyr)

 

RE: Marantz SA-10si Reviewed, posted on May 21, 2017 at 00:24:34
fantja
Audiophile

Posts: 10237
Location: Alabama
Joined: September 11, 2010
Looking forward to your review- Annapurna

 

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