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Marantz NA-11S1 Network Audio Player & DAC Print E-mail
Monday, 20 January 2014
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Marantz NA-11S1 Network Audio Player & DAC
Set Up and Listening

There are also S/PDIF digital outputs, RCA and XLR analog outputs, and a headphone jack. A very nice metal remote control is included, but as the NA-11S1’s display is not readable from across the room, you will be using the Marantz app to control the experience. It is a very good app. I found it a pleasure to use, and it proved glitch-free. It is available for both iOS and Android. 

Set Up

Using the NA-11S1 as a network player is essentially plug and play, assuming a short list of prerequisites are in place. Having a stable Ethernet network is first and most obvious. Secondly you must have server software on the host computer or NAS. I used both Twonky and the freeware MiniMServer, both installed on my Mac Mini. It will also work with Jriver Media Center and others. Once the NA-11S1 finds your files, you are ready to go. Install the free app on your smart device connected your network on WiFi, and you can browse media instantly. It must be noted the Marantz does not have WiFi connectivity for music streaming, but your smart device locates the NA-11S1 on the network. Marantz feels Ethernet is the preferred connection method.

I set the NA-11S1 up on Symposium Acoustics Rollerblock Jr.'s, with a Shakti Stone placed on top, with an Element Cable Red Storm AC cord, and Stager Silver Solid RCA interconnects. I used high quality CAT7 Ethernet Cable. Once setup, nothing was changed for the several months it was in the system. It never once dropped from the network, and there was a firmware update in during this time, which took less than 15 minutes to download and install. Once all your ducks are in a row, you can select between two digital audio filters and a DC filter.

Marantz NA-11S1

From the very first album I selected to stream, it was clear the NA-11S1 was going to deliver what I have come to expect from Marantz digital source components. Engaging, natural, and dynamic rendering of source material with superbly quiet backgrounds and focus. The presentation was neither forward nor laidback, neither bright nor dark. It was balanced correctly to these ears.

Mark Lanegan’s recent Imitations, an album of very interesting cover songs, sounded beautifully dimensional through the NA-11S1. The arrangements are very sparse, and almost retro in an AM radio kind of way. Tracks like "Autumn Leaves" and "You Only Live Twice" are revealed to be melancholy ballads in Lanegan’s hands, with his voice sounding as palpable as I can remember.

Pearl Jam’s late 2013 release, Lightning Bolt, is surprisingly well recorded in these days of overly compressed, metallic sounding digital productions. The band sounds energized, and the power ballad "Sirens" is a real goosebum- inducing song. Eddie Vedder’s voice is close-miked and seemed to hover between the speakers. The crunchy guitars, and the pummeling bass and drums on the harder edged songs were simply riveting.

Classic Blue Note Jazz 96 and 192 Khz remasters showed the NA-11S1 was equally adept at handling high resolution files. Hank Mobley's Soul Station was simply ravishing, with the presentation easily crossing over into "this could be analog" territory. The same goes for John Coltrane’s monumental My Favorite Things, with the band interplay and Coltrane’s horn rendered with such grace and sophistication.


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