Dave’s Faves – Marantz SA-8005

Marantz SA-8005 SACD Player $1200

Marantz SA-8005 SACD Player

Marantz’s new SA-8005 SACD & Red Book disc player is absolutely ridiculously good for the price! There is so much about this fine source component for the money that you really should just trust me and buy it. Don’t even bother to read the rest of this wisdom before you pull out your Visa card.

For those of you who haven’t already jumped in the car to buy it… here’s what you’ll want to know. First and foremost, SA-8005 plays SACD’s (stereo) and Red Book (regular) CD’s. I hear a little rustling from the back row. A few people are saying, “Aren’t silver discs obsolete?” Emphatically “NO!”

There is no doubt that a portion of audio hobbyists are totally in love with their computers. The idea of housing all their music on the computer and then calling up songs on an i-Pad or phone makes them giddy. I’ll grant you, it’s fun scrolling through songs that you can call up quickly. For those folks who are bound and determined to do this, go nuts. Listening to music is a great hobby and if it keeps the TV off- it’s fine by me. Butt… some of us play albums, or multi-movement classical works which ARE NOT SONGS!

I saved about 3000 CDs to my iTunes library in AIFF. It took a long time and it wasn’t that much fun. Now that the music is there, I found a few surprises.

First of all, I can’t find a pile of my discs. Where ever they are, by artist or album… it will take a sleuth to find them. By the way, I didn’t even that know Beethoven and Mozart were artists. I have many BOXES of complete piano music of Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Brahms etc. I went to find LVB’s piano sonata #15 by Steven Kovacevich and… there are about a dozen discs whose readouts begin similarly and the info doesn’t go far enough to let you know precisely WHICH COMPOSITION you’re choosing. Some of the music appears in Chinese or Japanese characters. Some appears as just a stream of numbers. Do I have any appetite to dive in and manually straighten all this out?

Which quality of sound card is in YOUR computer? How much computer hooey is going on to compromise the sound?

Ya know what, it’s really not so tough grabbing the CDs and playing them. This is what I’ve been doing forever and it works. My CDs are organized alphabetically by composer. In fact, it isn’t half bad exercise doing a “sit up” to get off my tail to go get the silver disc. Oh, now that I have it, I think I’ll read the notes while I’m listening. Every time I read album notes, I learn something new.

Computer geeks are saying, yeah, but you’re missing out on hi-res. NOPE! Do you remember 1999? That’s when SACDs were introduced. THEY are hi-res. Hi-res didn’t start just recently with downloads. By the way, if you check out the truth behind most of those hi-res downloads on HD Tracks and other sites, many of them are 16 bit anyway.

If you want to start a fist fight, get a handful of computer audiophiles together and start discussing the best way to save your music to the computer. No two will agree on the best method.

I know a lot of people will ignore this and go ape with the computer- that won’t bother me a bit. But for me… I’m playing my huge library of discs. If you’re like me and not willing to waste more time with the computer, consider the absurdly good value that is the Marantz SA-8005.

For openers, I’m not suggesting you purchase your whole collection of music in SACD. But why not buy the PEARLS of your collection in SACD? For the music you really love and play repeatedly, SACD is worth that expense. Arthur Rubinstein playing Chopin Ballades & Scherzos- to die for!
You play it just like a regular CD. You just need the proper player to handshake with it.

The SA-8005 is made in Marantz’s top factory in Japan- along with the Marantz Reference Line. The SA-11S3 ($4000) is Marantz’s state of the art player. If you can swing $4k for a player, it’s as good as anything out there! What’s great about SA-8005 is that it is competitive and runs just $1200.

In addition to a solidly built and reliable transport, SA-8005 has a very warm, smooth sound. It sounds great on Red Book CDs and SACDs. It has a nice on board DAC which you can access via coax or optical input. The front panel allows you to connect an iPhone, iPod, iPad or usb stick/drive for portable music. Rear panel allows usb from a computer. Files playable: MP3/WMA/WAV/AAC. File format: PCM up to 192kHz/24bit, DSD 2.8 & 5.6 Mhz. The warranty is three years parts and labor. Marantz has a handful of top notch service centers around the US.

If you can part with $4k, by all means, buy the top dog, SA11S3. If you’re not in that strata, don’t sweat it. SA-8005 will float your boat for just over a grand!

SA-8005 can be the source of an edge of the art system or a companion for the matching PM-8005 ($1200, 70×2) integrated amp. As you evaluate putting together a music system, since speakers have more to do with your end result than anything, using this Marantz $2400 front end is very tough to beat as a first step!

Marantz SA-8005 rear