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Marantz SA-14S1 SACD Player & DSD DAC Review Print E-mail
Friday, 21 February 2014
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Marantz SA-14S1 SACD Player & DSD DAC Review
Set Up and Listening

For the part of the review I was looking forward to the most, I used my HP Laptop with JRiver Media Center 19 installed, with a KinRex Y Craft USB cable connected to the SA-14S1 for the specific purpose of using the Marantz as a DSD DAC. The set up process was painless, and simply required downloading the Marantz driver, and selecting it as the output. I then connected a hard drive to the laptop with a decent number of DSD files and hit play.

The sound of these DSD files through the SA-14S1 was absolutely stunning -- beyond my expectations even -- and on par with the NA-11S1. I cued tracks from many different music genres, including classical, jazz, and singer songwriter. There was a mix of DSD-mastered analog recordings and, even better, native DSD recordings. These native DSD-format recordings yet again showed me that DSD is simply the closest thing to the analog ideal I have heard. I especially recommend recordings by singer/songwriter David Elias, by the way.

I also streamed a variety of PCM files, at all sample rates, using the SA-14S1’s USB input and the results were also up to par. Music emerged from totally quiet backgrounds, with dimension and body. And, again, even Redbook CD files were elevated in quality. The brand new remaster of Del Amitri’s Change Everything sounded as fresh and vibrant as did back in 1989.

For the final review phase, I plugged an iPad, filled with ALAC files, directly to the SA-14S1’s front USB input. As with the NA-11S1, the sound was beyond reproach. Terry Callier’s classic jazz folk masterpiece, I Just Can’t Help My Self, showed the front input was the equal of the other digital inputs. The track “Brown Eyed Lady” was an absolute joy, with surprising texture. You can also plug in removable storage, but the files, limited to 96 Khz, must be in mp3, WMA, AAC, or WAV format.

Marantz SA-14S1 SACD Player

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. The only feature not available is network streaming, which is the domain of the NA-11S1. However, plug your Squeezebox, Sonos, or equivalent, and off you go. Excellent playback from SACDs, CDs, iPods, hi rez PCM, and DSD for $2500 earns the SA-14S1 an Best Value Award.


Marantz SA-14S1 SACD player & DSD DAC: $2499

Dimensions (W x H x D):173/8” x 5” x 16.5”
Weight: 32 lbs, 14.5 kg

Disc Formats Playability:
• Super Audio CD
• Audio CD (Stereo)
• CD-R (Stereo), CD-RW (Stereo)

Analog audio output: RCA (Unbalanced) 1 pair, Phones: 1
Digital audio output: Optical 1, Coaxial 1
Digital audio input: Optical 1, Coaxial 1, USB-A (Front) 1, USB-B (Rear) 1

Review System 1

CD Transport: Musical Fidelity  M1 CDT
Server: Squeezebox Touch
DAC/Server:  SIM Neo 308D, Marantz NA-11s1
Headphone Amp: Pro-Ject Head Box II
Headphones: Grado SR60
Preamp: Channel Islands Audio PLC-1 MkII
Amplifier: Audio Research VS55, Pinius Hautonga, CLONES Audio 25I
Speaker: Thiel CS2.4
Cables:  Stager Silver Solids, Darwin Ascension (IC), Transparent  MM2 Super (IC), Transparent Plus (Speaker) Acoustic Zen Tsunami II (AC),Transparent (AC).Shunyata Venom (AC) Element Cable Red Storm (Digital AC), DH Labs TosLink, DH Labs AES/EBU, Audioquest, Forest, WireWorld Ultraviolet, DH Labs USB(USB) DH Labs (USB)
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks, Shakti Stone, Audience Adept Response aR6 power conditioner, Salamander rack

Review System 2

CD Player: Marantz CD5003
Music Server: Squeezebox Touch via Ethernet to, Oppo BDP-105
MAC Mini w/ Western Digital & Seagate external drives.
DAC: Musical Fidelity V-DAC II
Integrated Amplifier: McIntosh  MA6600, Rogue Sphinx
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Speaker: Harbeth Compact 7ES3, KEF R700
Cables: Darwin Cables Silver IC, Kimber Hero HB,  DH Labs White Lightning (IC),QED Transparent MusicWave (Speaker),PS Audio (AC), Mojo Audio (AC), DH Labs TosLink, Audioquest Forest USB, Wireworld Ultraviolet USB
Accessories:Cable Pro Noisetrapper, Sound Anchors Stands, Wiremold, KECES XPS


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