Best SACD player for the money - Marantz SA-11S1

My sense is that the Ed Meitner unit is the best SACD together with the Esoteric DV-50. However, after a lot of research on the net my sense is that there is a new player that is in the same top notch category for a lot less. This is the Marantz SA-11S1. Two channel - Great. I am not interested in five channels. My sense is that it is a great value for about $ 3,000. Looking for folks that have the player and hear their experience compared to the other top notch players. I currently have a Sony SCD-C555ES and think the Marantz will be a lot better than a Modified Sony unit. Thanks for responding.
You should also include the new Denon DVD-5910 on your list. It has received several exceptional reviews that have lauded both its video and audio performance.
If you mod a Denon 3910 by one of the modders like Modwright or Apl you will get a far superior sound to the stock Marantz. It also has top notch video.
for the $3k for the marantz you could purchase a used scd-1 and have the full vse mods done,for a total of close to $3k, and have a player my opinion...would be much better on both redbook discs and sacds. i have both the kern mods and vse mods on my scd-1 and the only player that sounds better..again the meitner combo.just a thought....
Or, you could buy the Marantz SA-11, break it in and enjoy it, then send it to Tube Research Labs for their mod, at a modest $550.

I, too, have heard great things about the SA-11.
I have seen however a few misses with this Marantz SA-11 in its stock form. I spoke to someone who sold it for the reason that its too digital sounding although it packs in detail like the top players. Its not for everyone and a midas touch is needed to make it enjoyable.
I have yet to see a review of the SA11 vs. the SA14 (with the $200 Neuance platform). The latter may be the biggest bang for the buck.

I hope to do a side by side comparison with a modified SA11 against my SA14/neuance.

Is it compatible with BETAMAX?
If you got the TRL mod route, Paul @ TRL feels that the modded SA11 sounds better than the SA14 but not by much. Given that a used SA14 is about half the price of a used SA11, the SA14 would be more cost effective -- you could spend part of the savings on tweaks like a good platform or even buy a very good power conditioner or a pack of room treatments.

I've been told that the SA11 sounds more detailed than the SA14 but can be less warm and musical. I have not listened to either, I am just passing on what I have been told.
I've been using the SA-11S1 for the past three months. Prior to that, I used the SA-1 for 1.5 years, and briefly, an Esoteric DV-50. My sense is that the SA-11S1 is the best sounding player of these three. With well recorded SACD's, the SA-11S1 sounds simply stunning. My only complaint is that the transport is louder than necessary when the machine plays SACD's. (The transport sounds like a quiet computer when playing SACD's and dead quiet when playing CD's.) With CD's, the SA-11S1 sounds more detailed, dynamic, and I suspect, more accurate that the SA-1, which sounds relatively euphonic. On some CD's, I have found the SA-11S1 to be too agressive sounding, but this characteristic can be largely mitigated by leaving the digital output ON and the noise shaping filter OFF. These settings give the player a more laid back sound. If you want to hear the absolute best dynamics and detail that the player has to offer, then reverse these settings. I haven't totally decided on which of the three digital filters I prefer, but I've gravitated towards filter #2 of late. Yes, lots of settings to plow through, but this flexibility let's you customize the sound of the player to your liking once you get used to what does what. Overall, I think Marantz has done a great job on this player in giving die-hard, 2-channel audiophiles a reference quality player at a reasonable cost. The player is absolutely gorgeous as well. I hope this info helps.
Thanks everyone. Very much appreciate people jumping in. Message seems consistent from those that have the player that it is a top notch one. I am sure it beats my Sony SCD-C555ES "as is" and after the potential Mods. It is still a 2001 player and lots has happened since then including availability of decent software to separate good from bad players. Sincere, Thanks.
do u have any comments on new marantz SA-15-S1 (SACD/CD Player)
Dcaudio, you forget that your 555ES is a much cheaper player than all of the players that have been mentioned. A lot has happened since 2001, but that has nothing to do with how good the 555ES is. There isn't a stock player that goes for the same price as the 555ES did back then that beats the 555ES in every aspect. The 555ES has one of the best transports available on changers. You won't find the level of build quality then nor now for the same price. It was a good value back then and still is a good value now. But most people bought the 555ES either because they wanted a changer or they couldn't afford/didn't think it's worth the difference for the XA777ES. And even back then we were talking about a couple hundred dollars more.
Howie, Are you saying that say a mod like SACDmods or Tube Research to my SCD-C555ES will take me very close to the Marantz level? Remember this is $ 600 to $ 700. versus selling it for $ 500 and buying a new Marantz SACD player. I guess spending $ 700 versus at least $ 2500 additional to get the Marantz. Thanks

You may want to email Paul at TRL and see what he thinks about your upgrade or mod path with the 555ES.
I am sure a place like TRL or SACD mods could improve the stock player. The question is whether the technology used on the 555ES has been passed up by a newer (and maybe cheaper unit).

Something like the Sony ES2000 unit may have more upside after a mod than a 555ES. I know it sounds kind of odd, but the Sony CE595 (a $150 unit) that I had modded by TRL was a monster. The best digital I have had in my system. The ES2000 is a believed to be notch above the 595 by those that have heard both modded and it is about $150 more stock.

Now certainly initial build quality has a co-relation to the outcome of a modded unit, but maybe not quite as much as one might think.

I guess all I am saying is that the newer technology may offer some other alternatives for you.
Good Luck.
DCaudio, I'm not necessarily saying that the mods would be better. In fact, it depends on how much you believe in the work of the individual modders. If say the TRL mods are as good as some people like Lkdog claims it is, then modding your 555ES will surely bring you close to the Marantz if not better. I was close to trying out TRL but have not since I haven't bought into the raves yet. Everyone who has modded their players seems to think their modded players are pretty much the very best. I myself am looking for a player in the midrange as well but have so far been sitting on the fence.

Lkdog, I've talked to Paul in the past about my 555ES. It's not that I don't trust his work, but at first he told me that he knows the 555ES and that the 595 would be better, which I find it hard to believe since presumably the same mods are done and I know for a fact that the 555 has superior transport. What is left is whether the chips are better in the 595 or whether the way the 555 is configured inside makes it not a good player to mod. He couldn't tell me. All he could say is that the 595 is really good. After a few days of questioning he backtracks and tells me he just modded a 555ES and that was by far the best player he's ever heard because it has a superior transport. Now I'm not sure if it was the 555ES he modded but rather the 2000ES. All I know is that if he's recommending a player, it's because it's widely available and probably not a bad value. Then again, he probably has had a lot more players that have come around since then so he might have better knowledge now than before.

I know that some players are simply not good candidates for modding. But that aside, it's hard to believe that the same modder can't possibly be capable of doing more with a better built player unless there are specific reasons for it. TRL to me offers the best price and probably the best value, but he's the only modder I know who pays very little attention/have very little belief in the importance of a better transport. When he was pushing the 595, Paul was claiming that that's pretty much the best player you can get. He tells you that even if you sent him a better player with a better transport it would come short of the 595. I just can't accept that and think that it's simply because he has had success with the 595.
Howie - I am not sure I am understanding your post very well.
I am making no claims that anything is the best to mod, or is the best player when modded. The only point I was making was that units with newer chipsets might offer better potential than some slightly older units. I am sure many other factors in the build quality of a unit contribute to the sound and also if it is a good platform for modding.

As far as Paul's view on the 555es- I have no idea but I do know that they evaluate units carefully like any other modder and do pay close attention to transports. One of the reasons they got better results from the Sony 595 over the Sony 775, for example, was that they liked the transport in the 595 better.
They do look at players that are readily available as popular options, but they do really like the Marantz reference players which are not all that easy to come by actually.

They mod many units from the modest 595 to the very expensive; i.e. Esoterics, etc.
They are always evaluating units as they come in and have opinions and options based upon what someone may want to spend on the stock units.

I have to agree with Lkdog, if TRL was pushing a unit just because of availability, why have I, at their recommendation, been waiting for the past 3 weeks (and an additional 2 to 3 weeks) for the TRL/Marantz SA-11?

I agree with LK's newer chipset analogy, it makes sense that a newer chipset may be much better, after all, technology does advance. Hell, a new computer is out dated within 6 months, so maybe a 5 year old DAC chip has been improved upon?

The TRL guys mod everything from SACD players to big CRT projectors, I know, the modified my over 200 pound Sony VPH-1272 3 gun CRT projector with great results. They've also modified a few line doubler/scalers for me, of which were greatly improved and saved me thousands of dollars that would have been required to get my video to the performance level I now have.

Considering their modest price ($550), it might be possible that they have seen more units than the more expensive mod shops ...
I am a bit suspicious of TRL. I asked if they could mod my Sony unit a few months back they said yes that the could mod the single disk SCD-C555ES. They did not know that it is a changer!! I told them and they said 'Yes, we can mod anything". When I go to a mod place, I want someone that knows my player, not someone that does everything under the sun and figures out what they do as they receive orders. I am not sure this is the case with TRL. I have never had them do work for me. Just sharing that the mistake of not knowing my unit made me hold off any mod action.
"I am a bit suspicious of TRL"

It looks like you have been debating doing a mod for over a year with anyone.
There are many choices out there.
Good luck. I am guessing almost anybody you choose can improve the unit in some way.
Whether you are satisfied is another story. Maybe you just are a vinyl guy.
Good luck.
Just as a counter point to your thought.
I have a McCormack UDP-1 which really is a fine sounding unit. Being the possessed, audio nut that I am, I pursued another modder who advertises mods here on Agon regularly. That modder WOULD do a mod on the UDP-1. I also asked Paul at TRL if he would mod the unit, mostly because of the cost of his mods, and the apparent results he gets with them. Paul said "NO". Paul will not mod anything out there. I just got an SA14 modded by TRL - It's still burning in. Based on my dealings with Paul - he is worth a try, to say the least.
Of course, you have to make up your own mind, and feel comfortable with your decision.

Good luck
I would like to hear more comments on the stock performance of the SA-11s1 from those who have lived with it for a while.
DCaudio there was a single disc 555ES in europe. Maybe that was part of the confusion?

I had the player for about a month and a half before sending it off for modding. Based on the performance I heard, compared to my modded Denon 3910, I was questioning whether the mod was necessary for this unit. Ever the audio adventurer though, I sent it in for the evalution. I'd heard good things about the mod outfit that had agreed to attempt the effort. They are not going to be able to put a superclock 3 in her though, as it turned out that the players clock speed is almost double that of even the Superclock 3. They are working on an upgrade to the SC3 that could handle the Marantz player's speed, so it'll be a two part mod. Upgrade power supply, caps and critical parts now, and later the upgraded super clock.
Thanks, John_beavers. That is the kind of feedback I am looking for. The TAS review of the SA11s1 suggested it was at least as good as the Sony XA9000ES, which is saying something. I am considering a stand alone SACD/CD player and want a good one, but am not interested in mods at this point.
DCaudio, that's EXACTLY what I am talking about. Again, I do not doubt TRL's abilities or Paul's knowledge. Nor do I doubt the value of his mods. Perhaps Paul doesn't mod every player but he can/will mod many players, especially Sony models. Like I said, outside of something that completely makes the model not a good unit to mod, TRL can mod it and improve it.

What threw me off is that he told me he can mod my the 555ES yet didn't know it was a changer. When told that it was a changer he simply said "yes right". My idea is that he doesn't really know the exact unit that I'm talking about, but that's probably because it wouldn't matter to him because he would be able to mod it and improve it anyways. The question is in terms of absolute performance, what would be the best player to mod? It can't possibly be the 595 as he would have me believe before he found the Marantz. So my concern is that he initially told me the 595 would end up being better, which meant I might as well sell my player. But later when he told me that no he just modded a 555ES and was the best he has heard, I have to start wondering.

My belief is that TRL has had a lot of players come their way, and has learned a lot since the past few months. The thing is that TRL unlike many respected modders out there, is not selective. Which is great for us who want to keep their units but want to improve its performance for a modest price. But for those looking to rank players based on price, you won't get the type of answers that buyers generally seek out of TRL.
You have a way of making things quite complicated.
No real secrets about how TRL ranks different units at this point:
The 595 is likely the best value at this point for price/performance. For a $150 stock unit plus the $550 mod you get one helluva player.
For a little more money, they can mod the Sony es2000 and you can get even a bit more performance according to those who have both machines.
Both the 595 and 2000 are highly regarded and the 595 has professional reviews-not just hacks like you and me yammering on our keyboard.

If you want to spend significantly more money, then the Marantz reference players are a favorite for TRL right now. According to people who have heard the TRL Marantz units, they do everything that the Sony's do and do it slightly better.

It is without a doubt a law of diminishing returns with incremental gains as you go up the food chain. Honestly, the 595/2000 modded players already get you in the major leagues. There are not huge leaps from there.

Other units do not have results that are quite as good as the reference Marantz units and they will gladly tell you.
They are not that crazy about universals, but can certainly improve them a great deal and have many happy customers of such machines who want to stick with what they have and just want it improved. They are not as impressed allegedly with Pioneers, for instance, as platforms as much as other brands- but again can improve them and make very happy customers.
They seem to prefer the newer Sony's due to their chipsets to slightly older Sony's but they can certainly improve them and have.

They are like any other modders-they have certain machines they think are better platforms than others. This also changes as they encounter different machines. He has a $10,000 retail stock unit somebody sent him this week. Who knows-maybe that will edge out those lowly Marantz $3500 reference units.

I guess I sort of am puzzled as to your comments that imply they are either confused about what they like and have tested-or that it changes from day to day.

Call him. Email him. You will get clear and honest answers. If you don't like what you hear-try somewhere else. Paul will not misrepresent information just to get your businees. He doesn't need to and he is just not that kind of guy. You forget that TRL has been around a long time and has a waiting list for SOTA preamps and amps they make.

There are many very competent modders out there and you can spend as little as a few hundred dollars or you can pay somebody to just use your case to fill with all new parts to build essentially a new machine for $5000. It is your money for sure.

I will say that I have never heard him report that the 555ES is "the best he has ever heard" as you now report. If that is the case, then sign me up. I think there is maybe some confusion there on your part, but you are best to email Paul for clarification.
I know all three men responsible for TRL's mods, Paul, his brother Brian (of Record Research Labs) and Brian's BIL, Joel Sherman. I've been on the phone with all three countless times over the past several months, (TRL has modified 3 SACD/CD players, 2 DVD video players, 2 line doublers and my 200 some pound Sony VPH-1272Q Data Grade CRT projector).

During these conversations, neither has ever called the 555ES "the best", if so I would have been told. So far, these guys have told me that they really like the Esoterics and Marantz players. The UX-1 and P70/D70 is out of reach for me currently, the SA-11 is not.

As Lkdog has mentioned, the 595 and 2000 Sony's offer bang for the buck. David Robinson (Editor of PFO) used to state that "SACD is master tapes for the masses". Well, I feel that TRL offers a great service to every pocketbook. $550 regardless of player. They spent 3 to 4 full days on my big Sony Data Grade projector, yet only wanted $550 for the mod. This when others charge thousands of dollars per unit. Maybe TRL should have followed the other Mod Shop guys out there and offered only one player, their "best" only. Instead, they are offering their mods on a wide variety of players ... anything from the $50 Toshiba 3960 to the $14K P70/D70 combo Esoteric. All at $550/unit.

BTW, Dcaudio, it looks as though you've been looking for a modifier for your 555 for over a year. Had a hard time deciding?
Let me clarify what I'm saying so you TRL fans don't attack me. I contacted Paul about 3 months ago, when they just finished the 595 mod. At that time, Paul considered the unit to be pretty much the best unit to mod. Like you said Lkdog, "the [595] modded players already get you in the major leagues. There are not huge leaps from there." From speaking to Paul, his idea is that the improvements in modding a better player than the 595 is supposedly so incremental (or didn't exist at that time), that he himself doesn't normally recommend it. We talk a lot about incremental improvements here on the board, but those increments are generally perceived as bigger than what you'll supposedly get by sending a few thousand dollars worth of a better player than the 595 to mod.

I guess I sort of am puzzled as to your comments that imply they are either confused about what they like and have tested-or that it changes from day to day.

Since they first finished modifying the 775, they now have a few other players that they consider to be even better. Now realistically, how long has it been since they first declared the 775 or even 595 to be the best to mod? How many units are now supposedly better? I am not implying that Paul is confused about what he likes, he is not. What I do believe is that he doesn't know many units out there (which is understandeable but yes his knowledge base is under constant improvement as he's exposed to more and more players) and so when he comes around to modding something better, he would declare that it is the about the best he's ever heard (afterall he modded it and even the 775 supposedly sounds like >22K). And I honestly don't see anything wrong with their opinions changing either as Paul did about the 555ES. Before he modified the unit he told me the 595 was the best. After he modified a 555ES, he told me his opinion changed and thinks the 555ES is the best. Now that they've modified other units, it's understandable that they're even better. Every unit that they mod is suppose to now be in the elite class of players. At with more players coming out, why am I the only one surprised that he would declare a player to be pretty much the best he's every heard, even if it's only for a day?

I don't mean to confuse at all. I was about to send my unit in and may still do so. I believe that for $550, there's nothing better. I was looking for something better than the 595 and was prepared to send in a more expensive player. But Paul discouraged it because at that time he didn't really have any idea what would be better than the 595. But if you are looking to have the best digital source and believe TRL does the best work, then why not send in the player with the very best chips (which are probably found in cheaper players) and the very best transport (which won't be found on cheaper players). That was my intention. I was going to pay $550 regardless, and I wanted to make sure I'm sending in the best player I can afford to mod. I had a hard time believing a $150 player was the best at that time. Honestly, how many people would be excited about sending a thousand dollar player when after the mods, it'll only be marginally better than the 595?

I like the idea of sending my player to someone who can make a $150 player sound like a $22K player. I don't like the idea of sending my player to someone who would turn my couple thousand dollar player into a $22,250 player when I could send him a $150 player and have him turn it into $22K player. That's what I'm trying to say.

Certainly I apologize if anything I said sounded like an attack as that was not my intention.

A few things:

I think TRL is a lot more experienced about a wide variety of units than you think as they actually are willing to mod more than just one unit. They have seen a ton of units go through their shop. Also, I think since they make custom built $30,000 digital processors that they can quickly and easily assess most commercial units with regards to transports, DACs, power supplies, transformers, materials, build quality,etc.

I do agree with you about modding units needing some careful thought, but I have a different take on this.

I don't see anyhting wrong with enhancing any unit-even expensive ones as they all have their weaknesses no matter how small.
What I do think is odd is paying several thousand dollars to replace all your parts (with new parts that cost very little by the way and don't let anyone tell you any different). But people pay for a lot of crazy things in audio.
There are people buying the $1300 turntable mats, and $400 on wooden knobs and varnish, etc.

Hope you find what you are looking for.
how is the marantz on red book cd? the generally comments I've heard is that great on sacd but not so on cd...
Fabulous on CD's
I made a quantum leap in CD playback when I went from a warm-sounding and very listenable NAD CD player to the SA-11S1. RB's sound fabulous on my SA-11S1. I enjoy listening to my archived CD collection more than my relatively new SACD's. My search is over for a CD/SACD player (for now!).


Just doing some comparison with the SA-11S1 and a Nottingham Dais with Shelter 901. The reason for the compare is to evaluate an A. Rhea with a BAT P5. Really looking at the P10SE but the dealer has to order. The P5 is a bit un-refined compared to the Rhea etc. They go into a Sonic Euphoria then into a BAT 6200. The Euphoria strips the grain and edge that I don't need. Transparent too. Dali MS4s. Plenty of dynamics and tight bass. I desire no more dynamics with the system. In fact, with the Rhea and a Sade lo-fi LP I got in some passages such transients I was essentually assulted. The transients were in the upper mids.

Acoustic room treatment has made a nice improvement in coherence, soundstage and palpability(image density).

Listening to the Marantz with Pat Barber, Split and Modern Cool CDs, I get a lush warm voice tho I hear the difference in recordings. The Split being brighter and less bass heavy. But brighter does not mean edge. Close piano recordings like MacDowell/Griffes- Toco on Gasparo sound dynamic, articulate and breathtakingly real. The Marantz player reflects accurately the slight brightness in this series, possibly consistent with close recordings. The Burmeister(sp?) 3 CD is shown off nicely with natural range of tonality and easy portrail of dynamics. Can't find any brightness that bothers me there and I don't like too much brightness/tip up. On Hugh's tract and recent CD the trumpet and sax are warm and lush. They must not have captured the piercing bite of a brass instruments as much as its overall character.

The Dalis seem so accurate and do not get bright and hyper detailed as an over all character. They more respond to the recording and can go from lush to detailed when called for. Placing the Marantz in my Cello Serafin setup with Dynaudio drivers I do get a smoother sound but colored and not as accurate. More for late nite listening to relax just before bedtime. I have actually nodded off with the Serafins, Marantz and the Sonic Euphonia. That is not to say the dynamics are lost or I am bored, just that the music washes away the day and clears my head of distractions. I don't play loud at those times and simply feel the caress of certain music.

So on the the real meat.

This is qualified by the fact that there may be a difference in medias. I have compared the 1991 Private Music CD of Jennifer Warne's FBR with the heavy pressing LP 180 gm Rock House/Private Music. I am limited in comparisons between the Marantz and Nottingham because of the limited amount of same recordings that I have. And I would always be risking different masterings. I do think the FBR is a bright recording, but now I can listen to it with the Sonic Euphoria. I had trouble with the recording with a prior Cello Palatte and cranked the midrange tone controls down. I even felt tired after listening to the CD in the past, but liked the performance. Now the brightness does not carry edge and grain. It is still over all one of the brightest recordings that I listen to however.

I was able to listen a few seconds apart btn the LP and CD with the flick of the input on the Sonic Euphoria.

I felt the over all tonality was very close and even got lost in identifying the input with the source. If I had to do an A/B/X, the way I would tell the two sources apart would be the better bass on the LP/Dais. Imaging and soundstage were too close. Tonal balance was too close to call, so if it is well documented that these two medias are vastly different, then throw this long post out. Don't forget the contributions of the Rhea that could be the equalizer. I am really looking for differences that are apparent enough to play into a decision on what equipment to live with for ever.

My conclusions are that the Marantz is staying since it compares favorably with the Rhea presentation. I think it holds its own on accuracy and tonal balance. However I am more interested in obtaining the BAT phono pre to acquire the midrange of the BAT. The Rhea may win on bass and accuracy/detail/soundstage. The BAT may not be as stark accurate as many other phono pres, but it may be more listenable. A little bit of BAT warmth may lead me to embrace the music just a bit more and feel its caress. Wow, was that a roller coaster the Rhea took me on during the break in. It may not be there yet after five days of constant on and use but it has to be close. That may be a small qualification also.

Myself, I enjoy classic rock, jazz, blues and classical music. Not too many rock recordings that tickle my audiophile fancy. I live in a rural area and don't get to listen to many other serious systems. I have been to a few Stereophile shows and walk out of most rooms saying "No". I walk out of most stereo dealer rooms with the same comment. I don't get as much time to listen as I would like since I put in many hours at work. And when I do listen, I may be tired and simply want to let the music wash away the day. Non critical enjoyment. I am quick to dispense with treble up/hyper detail since I want the music to present as an organic whole and not as so many individual pieces that I have to work to put together. The detail I get with the Sonic Euphoria and Dali combo was astounding but it still fits in the musical picture and does not hold my attention hostage. I do my most critical listening over rarer chunks of free time and when I am juggling system components. I have a little bit of time to follow the wonderful Audiogon forum.

BOSRT (Bridge of Sighs-Robin Trower)

I should add that I have the Shelter 901 at 47K on the Rhea and BAT P5.

Also, I have taken the Rhea straight into the 6200 and am happy with the Sonic Euphoria. Gives up nothing and adds volume control.

The purpose of the post is to state that the Marantz is good in my system. I am considering the BAT P10SE for a different presentation as compared to CD.
Did a few more comparisons.

Replaced the Rhea with the BAT P5 and found possibly a bit more warmth to the midrange body but a bit of edge to the leading edge of the midrange. Wee less refined on soundstage and detail. This is in comparison to the Marantz on quick switch.

Then I opened and cleaned my Pat Barber- Split LP and compared it to the CD. Alto LP pressing and Floyd-Chicago aluminum CD.

Different masterings I would guess. Different tonal presentation readily apparent. CD was brighter with more air but no more edge or grain. LP was warmer with more midrange presense but less air. Gave the impression of a bit of mud in comparison. LP was easier to listen to but seemed less alive. The LP had less detail also. I would say Pat's voice was more caressing with the LP. I also think the LP was a little less defined in soundstage presentation.

What does this all highlight. Watch the media and masterings when one compares LP vs CD of course. And, in addition, different systems may give different results. So here is a put it together story.

But I think that when I compare the Marantz with a similar mastered recording on LP, the result is very close to what I can do with LP. Might be analogue war words tho. But again, watch the media format mastering. Can't wait for the P10SE.

I would like to do a comparison with the SACD presentation of the Marantz since this is the reason for this thread. However, I don't have any duplicate LPs for the SACDs I have. I have some duplicate CDs and SACDs but I would not have the benefit of quick switch. The comparisons would be less immediate. And, are the original master recordings different independent of the different digital processes?

I just sold my Sony 9000ES DVP because it didn't seem to make a sensible musical presentation (detail, soundstage and individual imaging) compared to the Marantz.

The Marantz seems broken in now with 4 days of continuous play mode, although I have had the Marantz for longer.

The overall picture here is the Marantz is a keeper.

Nice equipment and quite a statement about the SA11.
Great user name by the way. Bridge of Sighs one of the better blues rock LP's of all time.
This eve I compared the line out vs balanced on the Marantz SA-11S1. All evaluations posted prior were line out since my Sonic Euphoria has no balanced.

With one safe SACD, Ravel-Boulez Conducts Ravel on Sony I ran line vs balanced from the Marantz into the BAT 6200 amp. On the first tract I could go about 5-6 minutes before volume was a bit too loud. Levels aside the comparison was close enough that I would claim no distinction. Both allowed me to equally hear the noise in the right channel that is somewhat lower level information. This is
somewhat early on the Bolero cut, but not right from the start.

I wouldn't claim that this SACD was any more wonderful than a good red book CD.

Maybe next I will try a dual layer, of course stopping btn CD and SACD.

Right now as I type, and with the Marantz back into the pre-amp, the tympami are rumbling across the basement into my computer room as the piece ends.

Hi again;

Back from a mow in the snow. Actually sleet, but the grass was in need of a season first cutting.

More in line with the SACD theme of this thread, I just found one dual layer disc, Roxy Music- Avalon. Not a real sonic standout, yet that is what I had on hand. Line level outputs.

The Redbook was about 3 db higher in level thru the Rat Shack db meter, so I changed the preamp volume control on each switching to give a fair comparison.

After two back and forths with Redbook and SACD on the first three cuts I had a conclusion. I went back and forth many times thereafter.

The most telling difference was the SACD sounded a bit smoother and had a little less treble/upper midrange presence. The Redbook had more air and life, which struck me first as being brighter. However the highs were not glaring or with edge. In fact, the Redbook sounded more alive. The air seemed more wet and vibrant. SACD air was a bit dry and maybe less open. Kind of nice to have two presentations on one disc. SACD before bed for me.

Of course, this is only on one disc and who knows if the mastering of the original soundtract was different before the digital work.

I am going to surmise that if I compared the two formats substituting my old Cello Palatte for the Sonic Euphoria preamp I would prefer the SACD. I remember much more CD glare and much less air with that preamp. Glare rubs me wrong. Much more tone control work to try (not with great success) and remove glare and edge. Before I purchased the Marantz I was happy to replace the Palatte with the Sonic Euphoria, giving up glare, edge and grain for more air and transparency. Less fighting with the music now.

That's more of the picture I am seeing. Of course, it takes many brush strokes to make a painting.

I wore out three copies of BOS in the 70s. Had to listen to it every day for a while. Still resides in the center of my heart and all other music must answer to it!!!!!! Well maybe subconsciously?
I probably should have started a new thread, but I am just a newbie here.
Well, you may be a newbie but you sure have a lot of energy and passion for audio.
Welcome and have fun here!
Borst: Don't apologize for having passion, it's a pretty common thing here, you'll fit right in.

Congrats on the purchase of your SA-11. I'm still waiting on mine ...