Completing the Puzzle

It was my dad who taught me to have long-range saving goals (nothing new to most of you, I think). In our family, we call ’em “pots”. I have a pot for household appliances going down the drain, for emergency expenditures, etc. As much as possible, each one is, on paper, in mind or via account, kept separate from the other and shouldn’t be touched until the shit hits the fan or, in this case, until opportunity arises. As a follower of this tiny blog of mine, you know by now that opportunity has raised its (ugly/) expensive head several times this year, but I was prepared.

Today, by pure accident, while searching for a small Royal Copenhagen “Blåkant” part to replace a broken one on eBay, I came across the one single HiFi component that I had saved up for all these years (9 years, to be exact). Until today, the prices I had encountered regularly exceeded my “pot” that I had amassed for it, but the offer I discovered this morning fell within its limits down to (almost) the last cent, including shipping.

It’s simple, really. My last CD player I bought in the 1990s. It started to show wear and tear and it needed to be replaced, especially because, having gone digital or not, the main focus of my collection was/is still on physical products, CDs (and a few SACDs). So, to have a future-proof solution, for the past years I have been following the continuing evolution of Marantz CD/SACD players. Ages ago I decided that Marantz, coupled with everything else I have thrown at their components, was the best solution for my collection, which also includes a large number of jazz and other reissues that aren’t mastered to perfection, to say the least. On top of that, the Marantz components I do have are true work horses and have showed longevity.

So, I didn’t get with the program, I decided to stay with the program.
A subtle – but important – difference.

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The Marantz SA-14S1 SACD player and DSD DAC impressed me to no end. On optical discs, it was a remarkable SACD and CD player. As a PCM DAC and file player, it was up to the standard I have come to expect from Marantz. As a DSD DAC, it was simply a superb performer. It worked flawlessly and was a pleasure to use all around. The SA-14S1 is built as solid as you would expect from Marantz, and its ability to play from any source may have set a new standard at this price point. Excellent playback from SACDs, CDs, iPods, hi rez PCM, and DSD for $2500 earns the SA-14S1 an AVrev.com Best Value Award.” – avrev.com

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I cannot imagine any other CD player, or transport and DAC combination attaining any more music from a recording, without inducing imbalances in frequency response, especially excess treble energy. I think Marantz has pushed the envelope by creating a balance between high levels of resolution and a lack of audible coloration. When listening to the higher sampling rate formats, bypassing Marantz’s transport and feeding a signal directly to the DAC, there was a similarity in the changes in sound that ensued from each format, as described below: Greater fullness, greater bass extension, greater dynamic range, greater instrumental texture, and greater space between instruments (SACD only). At its price point it should satisfy the preferences of many potential purchasers who value resolution, and are willing to forego liquidity and bloom—characteristics of some tubed DACs and CD players.” – audiophilia.com

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Don’t expect any more new electronics to show up here these next months.
I’m done.
Until the accompanying amp becomes available within an acceptable price range.
Hell, there’s a pot for that somewhere, as far as I recall.
🙂

 

 

Posted by Volkher Hofmann

Volkher Hofmann (deus62) has been blogging on and off since the 1990s and deus62.com is all that is left. He loves music, literature, drumming and, most of all, real life. He thinks the open web is much more important than social networks, closed-in ecosystems and other severely commercialized online endeavors.

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