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RE: Marantz SA10 Reviews

Let me try to contribute on this topic even without being able to write a review proper.

I have been the (happy) owner of a SA7 for over ten years. My first exposure to the new SA 10 was about one month ago when I first briefly auditioned it at an official presentation with a Marantz dealer here in Turin (Italy). My daughter had come along (always wise to have a lady to join: the other half of the world definitely "hear" better than we do). Neither of us was particularly impressed. For surethe location was far from an ideal one, with people strolling and chatting and the material used for spinning was the usual "sounds good everywhere" demo material.

A couple of weeks ago I arranged for some more meditated listening with my usual "pusher" of hi-fi gear (I mostly purchase prevoiusly owned material). The gentleman is a former amateur musician with a sound technical background and very discerning listening skills (all genres). We had arranged for at least minimal burn in of equipment and spent about three hours listening to a set of CDs-SACDs I currently used for evaluating equipment (this is just for fun: I have no professional interests whatsoever in sound reproduction equipment). None of these is of demonstration quality: these are just exemplary of the kind of material I currently listen to (mostly classical with some jazz and world, (mostly brazilian). Equipment used included recent Mc Intosh electronics driving a JBL Everest pair (no idea of the cabling). My final verdict was again lukewark: good player, maybe with some edge over SA 7, but not worth the investment.

Rather unexpectedly, when back home while working I started playing again on the SA7 the same discs I had just heard on the SA10. At that point the improvement became evident. So I arranged to carry the SA 10 home for further listening. I have now purchased the unit (while keeping the SA 7, of course) and cannot but congratulate Ken and Marantz on their achievement.

While listening experience so far is short (I also enjoyed doing some tampering with filter options: a current preferred setting is Filter 1 - Dither 1 - Noise Shaper 4th-0), I would mention the following points as points of marked improvement over the SA 7:

- bass line: this is always much present without being intrusive (say it provides current RBCD's with a bass line of comparable SACD quality); it thus gives a correct amount of "body" to piano recordings which may sound slightly too lean: most Pogorelich recordings for DG are exemplary of this;

- imaging: this is outstanding both at macroscopic level (soundstage and exact location of instruments, e.g. telling exactly where the viola and cello are on the right side of a string quartet) and at a microscopic level (e.g. Individually perceiving the two violins on the left side of a string quartet);

- definite absence of any "glare": recordings of historical string instruments are revelatory with gut strings when heard live having a very acute tonal balance which may sound somewhat sour, yet not shrill. The SA 10 renders such sound admirably. On the same line this the first time I hear the glorious Antiphonal Music Of Gabrieli (Sony SS 89173 - Single Layer SACD) with the full power of brass instruments with no shrillness (the spatial location is also just right).

To sum up: highly recommended. But do not trade in your SA 7: be wise enough to keep two Ferraris in your garage.

Very best.


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