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All the FLAC files I streamed, regardless of sample rate, via Ethernet gave me the impression I was hearing deeper into the mix than almost any other of my in-house source components. Perhaps the only other file player that competes with the NA-11S1 is the Bryston BDP-1. Although at the time I had the BDP-1 in house, it accepted directly connected storage, but now can act as a network player. The Marantz is a different animal, however, with an onboard DAC, digital inputs and outputs, a headphone jack, and DSD capability.
Speaking of DSD, I did listen to DSD files via an HP Laptop running Windows 7 and Jriver 19. I connected the computer to the NA-11S1's rear USB input with a KingRex USB cable. I listened to a variety of DSD albums from High Definition Tape Transfers, Oppo, Blue Coast Records, and non commercially released recordings. The results were astonishingly good. I have gone on record in saying that DSD is the best digital has to offer. The only issue is the relatively paltry number of DSD titles available for purchase. None the less, the Marantz really shined with DSD.
I took care to test virtually all the features the NA-11S1 has in its arsenal, including plugging in a thumb drives and high capacity portable hard drives into the front USB input. The front panel input accepts FLAC, WAV, ALAC, WMA, and MP3 up to 96 Khz. It worked perfectly with quick file access, and also sounded excellent. The front panel USB input actually sounded better to my ears than using my Squeezebox Touch to stream the same files optically to the NA-11S1.
Plugging in and using both an iPad and iPod as a source was a snap. With ALAC files loaded up, the sound was in no way compromised. Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia's terrific solo album, Reflections, sounded wonderful, and the track "It Must Have Been The Roses" was as good as I had heard it on a number of excellent CD players. The Marantz engineering team seems to have covered every base as far as connectivity. The NA-11S1 also features AirPlay, which specifically allows one to stream their iTunes library wirelessly.
Internet radio and Pandora was very fun and easy to navigate. You need a basic Pandora account to use the feature, and Spotify requires a premium account. I used Pandora and had a blast. The Internet radio stations available are infinite, and allow you to tap into an untold world of radio broadcasts around the world.
Very few products can be all things to all people. However, the Marantz NA-11S1 comes very, very close. It handles every commercially available digital file format at every sample rate, streams from a NAS or remote computer, accepts removable storage and iDevices, and has multiple digital inputs. Oh, and the kicker is it sounds fantastic. Perhaps the only "missing" features that some might note are the lack of WiFi capability, aside from AirPlay. But Marantz clearly feels Ethernet is more stable and superior sounding to wireless.
The Marantz app is very simple and easy to use with no glitches. NA-11S1 is built like a tank and is firmware upgradeable, essentially making it future proof. At $3500, it is essentially a no holds barred digital hub. I can strongly recommend an audition for those who prefer a headache free, streamlined, and nicely engineered solution. The Marantz NA-11S1 is a success in my book.
100 Corporate Drive,
Mahwah, NJ 07430-2041
Digital inputs: 1 S/PDIF on coax, 1 S/PDIF on TosLink, 1 USB 2.0 on USB type B connector on rear panel, 1 USB 2.0 on USB type A connector on front panel; CAT5 network connector. Digital outputs: 1 S/PDIF on coax, 1 S/PDIF on TosLink.
Analog outputs: 1 pair balanced on XLRs, 1 pair unbalanced on RCAs, 1 headphone output
Dimensions: 17.33" (440mm) W by 5" (127mm) H by 15.75" (400mm) D. Weight: 23.3 lbs (10.6kg) net, 32 lbs 3oz (14.6kg) shipping.
CD Transport: Marantz SA-14S1 SACD player
Server: Squeezebox Touch
DAC: SIM Neo 308D
Headphone Amp: Pro-Ject Head Box II
Headphones: Grado SR60
Preamp: Channel Islands Audio PLC-1 MkII
Amplifier: Audio Research VS55, Rogue ST 100
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
CD Player: Onkyo C7000R
Music Server: Squeezebox Touch via Ethernet to, Oppo BDP-105
MAC Mini w/ Western Digital & Seagate external drives.
DAC: Musical Fidelity A90m
Integrated Amplifier: McIntosh MA6600, Rogue Sphinx
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Speaker: Harbeth Compact 7ES3, Genesis G7c
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