I have posted extensively on my relatively recent purchase of the Marantz SA14-S1 on this site, an SACD/CD player that has been showered with accolades across the board. And a great player it is. I have always loved the Marantz take on things and this player with its high resolution capabilities, its wonderful sound and its rock-solid built is the jewel of my main listening system.
As most of my readers know, I have lots of CDs. Lots. And now that I have had the time to run more and more from that collection through the Marantz SA14-S1, one problem has begun to rear its ugly head: the SA14-S1 refuses to play some CDs, often CDs that both look and are as close to mint/new as you can get.
Let me give you an example. I have just about everything by Deep Purple and at some point in time I dished out all of 4 Euro for “Deep Purple. Deepest Purple – The Very Best of Deep Purple (30th Anniversary Edition, CD & DVD Video Collection), EMI, 2010 [50999-909329-2-2])” that was on sale somewhere. Ever since I bought it, it has been sitting on my shelf, shrink-wrapped.
Before I continue: I have altogether four (!) Marantz CD players, three of which are in use, the aforementioned SA14-S1, the CD6005 and the M-CR603 mini system. The fourth one is an old CD67mkIISE (OSE) which has some drive issues (it squeaks) but works as well as it did when I bought it.
Back to Deepest Purple. I unwrapped the CD, put it into the SA14-S1 and … nothing. The player attempted to read the disk and failed. No go. The other three Marantz players had absolutely no problem with the CD. So, before doing anything else, I went into town to the HiFi shop of my choice and attempted to play this CD on 16 different (some extremely expensive) players … with success. They also had a Marantz SA14-S1 standing there. Yep, you guessed it: no go!
So, to cut matters short, I have a premium product that will set you back Euro 2500.- (in most places) and that will not play certain CDs. And this one was the 8th one from my collection, 7 of which were as good as new.
Hitting the forums around the globe (the Internet is your friend) I connected with other people who had had similar problems with Marantz and other premium players which, apparently, adhere strictly to the Red Book standard (which just about every other music label nowadays ignores).
In short, every crappy $50 player will play this Deep Purple CD, but a premium player like the SA14-S1 will spit it right back into your face. I have no idea what the issue is, but I suspect that the CD, which holds music above the 79-minute mark, just doesn’t fit Marantz’ programmed idea of a CD. I will investigate the issue further, but I am quite sure that this is another case of a company guaranteeing to play Red Book Cds only and if you, the customer – the one who filled their pockets with thousands of Euros or Dollars – happens to have been insane enough to buy CDs that don’t quite adhere to said standard and which are sold by EMI, Sony and whatnot regularly, you are f*cked. Your problem.
So far, I have only read about Marantz sending out the same reply to inquiring customers which boils down to what I said above, but once I’ve gotten to the bottom of this issue, I’ll update you here.
And I will make sure to leave my dissatisfied footprint all over the Web for future customers.