break-in for Marantz SA-7S1

I just bought a new Marantz SA-7S1. It has 60 hours of break-in on it at this point. So far it's not bad, but it's not all that captivating either. I've heard it takes awhile to break in. I'd like to hear from other owners how long theirs took to break in, and more importantly what the difference was once is was broken in. Thanks!
Heard a marantz SA7S1 at RMAF.. . from the time it had 0 hours and was just pulled from the box, to when it had about 100 hours on it. Remarkably good sound for a brand new unit and kept improving all the way. . . I would expect that complete break in would take about 1,000 hours. Be patient and do not succumb to Premature Upgraditis Furiosa. G.
my friend owns a 7s1. i own an 11s2. i was advised to allow at least 500 hours before serious evaluation.

i think both players need an upgrade. both players are too focused and unantural in their presentation of timbre.
perhaps, a tube buffer stage would be advisable and/or a replacement of capacitors.
Upgrade? Given the cost of these units, just dump them and buy something 'out of the box' perfect.
Mrtennis, You seemed to have listened to a lot of different CD players ( from your posts ) can you comment on which one's may have been your favorite to date and perhaps what you liked about them? Thanks.
My sa7s1 sounded good right away and just got better with more hours. Some of the best midrange I have heard from a cd player. Cables made a huge impact on the sound in my system. Be patient.
My SA-7S1 also sounded good from the beginning and has just gotten better over time. I disagree with the comment that timbre or focus is a problem. As another lister suggested, power cord and interconnects are very important. I'm using a Shunyata Taipan VX Helix power cord and Stereovox Reference interconnects. I have two friends who love their 7S1 in systems very different from mine. A recent critical listener said this was the first player he had heard that was free of the digital qualities he found so bothersome in other players. Break-in has improved soundstaging and resulted in a more open quality. In my player detail and dynamics are great while being very musically involving at the same time. FWIW, I still listen to my analogue system much of the time. I enjoy both.
Hi Jake18, have you thought of trying the Alpha variant of your Shunyata cord on your SA71S? VX cords contain a filtering compound that tends to blend away low level detail. . . it's a little like caramelizing the music. . . The Marantz does not have any digital screetchies that need outside 'taming'. IMO.
at this time my favorite cd player is the audionote cd2. i thought i liked the original lector 7, the two chassis version.

i also liked the first zanden dac, not the current version,the sony scd 1, the cal tempest and first aria player.

these are the players that come to mind. most players i audition do not impress me. i find that they annoy me because of errors in reproducing timbre and an analytical presentation.

in fact most stereo systems sound more focused than live music.
i find the marantz 7s1 and 11s2 balanced in its frequency response. however, it exhibits a level of clarity that is not heard when in the presence of live unamplified music.

these players are ruthless in their revelation of flaws in a recording. unless one listens to cds which have no "problems", the assault on one's ears may cause one to turn off either player, after a short while, or make sure it feeds a preamp and amp which is subtractive in its coloration. fortunately, i own such a preamp.
"it exhibits a level of clarity that is not heard when in the presence of live unamplified music. these players are ruthless in their revelation of flaws in a recording. . ."

I agree with you this time MRT, that's one of the very reasons why I enjoy SA7S1, my own X-01 LE, MPS-5, and a few other players. . . . but it is not so much that they exhibit a level of clarity greater than live unamplified music. . . it is that to hear the same level of detail you would need to place yourself in socially unacceptable proximity to the performer or the instrument. . . ah, marvels of technology! G
In the mod process I've always aimed for increased resolution and transparency(clarity) for RBCD. I've found that what is described as "ruthless" or "analytic" clarity is invariably some deficiency in the engineering of the CDP that when resolved, obtains both higher resolution AND increased sense of warmth, liquidity, smoothness, refinement, relaxation, and realism. The effect is to make both well-recorded and less well-recorded RBCD more realistic & listenable-- not to exaggerate the "flaws" of RBCD. In fact, things have evolved to the point that treble of RBCD is more resolving and sweeter than vinyl in my system.

Mrtennis, we are not too far apart geographically. If you ever feel the urge to test your paradigm about coloration, feel free to bring either Marantz player by for a comparison. I have both modded and stock versions of SCD-1/777ES on hand, and it's easy to compare them to each other and to Marantz and also to swap from active to passive analog sections on the fly in the modded unit, in order to demonstrate how much is lost when you soften the treble and bass by switching out active SS buffers to reveal the "purer" signal path of passive transformer outputs. A demonstration such as this decisively shows the importance of PRAT in making RBCD convincing. I made a direct comparision awhile back to an SA-1, and determined that what was most missing with that Marantz was a sense of dynamic sweep and macrodynamic scale. It's a listenable but merely polite player. I have not heard the SA7S1.
hi dgarretson:

i would welcome the opportunity to compare cd players. i own a stock 11s2. i live in nassau county. how far are you from manhattan ?


i agree that subtraction = loss. however, a slightly out-of-focus presentation sounds more like the real thing, as compared to most stereo systems.
I emailed you.
"A slightly out-of-focus presentation sounds more like the "real thing, as compared to most stereo systems."

Once again I agree with you MRT, that's why I suggest that our hobby is about the creation of a desirable 'hyperreality', not so much a replication of physical reality.

In the interest if not disparaging this lovely player unfairly, my first comments were after an inappropriately short break-in period. I left it alone for awhile, and listened again today after about 200 hours burn-in, and it is much enjoyable. I’d describe it as opening up, where it was ‘tight’ before (credit to a fellow audiogoner for finding this way to describe what I was originally hearing). Now it’s not calling attention to itself at all in that something special is happening, it’s just sounds balanced with no flaws. You can get into listening for new details if you want, or just kick back and enjoy the music. I’m listening to Filter #1 for CD (I haven’t listened to SACD yet but have a few first SACD’s on order), which seems to have the widest soundstage and be the least etched. It’s still not entirely seductive, but I believe my Krell KCT preamp is somewhat responsible for that (I replaced my ARC LS26 to get better bass when used in conjunction with my Krell 400cx and a CAST connection, and now I have killer bass but a less involving overall sound). I hear you need 300+ hours before the SA-7S1 is broken in (and 1,000 hours to sound its best), so if it’s going to sound even better I will be a very happy guy. I can live with what I have at this point quite easily, and will report back after more break-in.
Not surprised at all Tinear1. . . let us know how things are when you reach the 500 hrs mark. . . then at the 1000 hrs mark. Happy listening! G.
Here's the report after 500 hours -
At 200 hours it got much smoother and easier to listen too - the slight brittleness was gone.
At 300 hours it relaxed, and the soundstage, frequency extremes, and dynamics expanded.
At 500 hours the music is now floating in the room, disembodied from the speakers, and is REALLY fun to listen to. There is no CDP, just lovely music. I'm loving this player now.

On another note (I'll post on this seperately as well), but I just listened to my first ever SACD. The difference was uncomfortably noticeable, especially going back to listen to a Redbook CD afterwards - the CD sounded pinched and grainy by comparison. I'm more a smooth and electric jazz listener, so there just aren't many SACD titles for me. Such a damn shame it's not taking off, it's really wonderful stuff.
Thank you Tinear1, excellent info. .. and congrats! I can only wonder if break in is now complete or if SA7S1 will still change. Let us know at about 750 hrs, then at 1,000 hrs. Guido
i have over 500 hours on my marantaz 11s2. i perceive hardness, a balanced frequency response and a very precise and focused presentation.

my player is currently advertised for sale on audiogon.
MRT, sorry to hear about your S2 woes. Have you thought about starting a dedicated SA7S2 thread? . . . this one was created to discuss aspects of the SA7S1 models instead. G.
G - there is no SA-7S2. The SA-7S1 is the most current model right now.
i am not alone in my perceptions of the marantz reference sacd players. there is one service which promises to eliminate the nasties by replacing the caps.

i think a tube power supply, rectifier and buffer stage would be helpful for these players.
Apologies MRT, Tinear1 is correct. . . I misread your original post on SA11-S2, and there is no such thing as a Marantz SA7S2. There is only an SA7-S1 which we are discussing here, and an SA11-S2, which you are offering on sale at:.
I have not heard the SA11-S2, but SA7-S1 may be a more sophisticated design. G.
Mrtennis, what specific Marantz players have you direct experience with. I find your comment that they have "nasties" completely baseless and wrong. I have an SA-11S2, and it has no nasties, is not overly forward and definitely not bright. It negotiates both definition and musicality without overdefining or adding any kind of sizzle to the sound. On top of this, I haven't but 40 hours on the machine.
hi kevziek:

i own a marantz 11s2. it is very focused, precise and hard sounding.
my experiences have been confirmed by other marantz owners, including one who is selling a marantz 11s1.

there is nothing smooth about the marantz 11s2. further i have heard the 7s1 several times. it bears a strong family resemblance to the 11s2.

the marantz players have no tubes and are unforgiving of poor recordings.

i suppose it may be a case of dissonant perceptions and opinions of the same component. this phenomenon is very common among audiophiles.

if you like an analytical presentation, you will like the marantz players.

by the way, i did not say there was a frequency imbalance, rather, a hardness and unrelaxed presentation. after listening to the player for about a half hour, i feel like turning it off. currently, i have mine up for sale on audiogon. would you like to buy another one ?
It's interesting how one audiophile's 'analitical' player is often an other audiophile's 'musical' one. Conversely, one audiophile's 'musical' player, may be judged as overly 'warm' by someone else. 'Dissonant perception' or simply 'differing taste?' G.
I have had a couple of Marantz players. First came the CD7 and I replaced this with a RAM modified SA11S1. I did hear with the standard SA11S1 the same hardness Mr Tennis is complaining about and which was absent from the CD7 but also noted better PRAT and a sense that there was something pretty good there. I went for the RAM modification as something of a leap of faith but kept my CD7 until I was able to do an AB in my own system and decided I would sell whichever player came in second in my comparison. I also arranged with my very helpful local dealer to do an AB comparison between the modified and unmodified players after the RAM modified SA11S1 had over 500 hours on it.

My dealer was a big fan of the standard SA11S1 but I had noted in his demonstration system, which was highly revealing a certain glare, a hardness which did not make for a pleasurable listening experience long term. I thought some of this was the amplification but when we hooked up the RAM player it was clear that the hardness was coming from the standard SA11S1. The modified player was in a different league. It provided a much more refined presentation with instruments and voices much more clearly defined in the sound stage. It provided a significantly more realistic portrayal of the music and the slight edge I noted with the standard player was banished. The improvement was clear and unequivocal.

A couple of interesting observations were made during this comparison. Firstly, both modified and unmodified players sounded superior using the balanced outputs and the difference was not subtle. For comparative purposes the CD7 was pretty much the same in balanced or SE mode.

Secondly, both units sounded significantly better when placed on a SAP Relaxa support. I now use the Magix 2 supports for similar results. I would also endorse the comments of others who have found improvements with interconnects and PC's. I use Basis PSTT's to excellent effect.

I ended up selling my CD7 as you would have noted from my first paragrah. It was far higher in its quality of manufacture but in the end the sound is the most important thing and the modified SA11S1 was simply better in every way.

I would have preferred not to have to modify a machine but I am well satisfied with the results achieved in both RB and SACD mode. I now have excellent sound from both SACD(though not all are created equally) and CD.

To put all this into perspective, however neither medium comes close to my analog rig in connecting me with the musicians though admittedly I have invested a great deal more money in this area. Analog remains for me the ultimate expression of the art and science of sound reproduction. I wish digital could do it as it has so many positives from convenience and musical choice perspectives but it hasn't got there yet.
Phaser, the Marantz SA7S1 may represent exceptional value for the money, yet it does not pretend to be the ultimate digital front end. . . I have had the opportunity of A/Bing Marantz SA7-S1 with Playback Designs MPS-5, and the latter with TEAC P-03/D-03/G-03 combo. . . all magnificent players in their own right. Yet, as we moved up in the $$$ progression, so did I discover significantly increasing musicality, authority, refinement. Does even TEAC tristack constitute the ultimate digital front end? I doubt it, as even if it had the better G0Rb Rubidium clock, things are in so many ways matters of personal preference. Would the tristack equal your analog rig? Truly no idea. G.
I have a Marantz SA-7s1 and for the money it is very nice.
Is it in the same league as the other players that cost 3 to 4x the price? Of course not, but it's not to far off.

Place it on a good platform and use good components downstream and you will be rewarded. The player is balanced,smooth,detailed,and,neutral. It is definitely not hard sounding. Mrtennis pointed out bad recording still sound somewhat bad, and that's exactly how I want my source to be TRUTHFUL !

If I want a warmer sound I'll just change the tubes in my Pre-amp for some warmer ones. Do you want to see everything through rose colored glasses, I don't.

Whatever information you loss at the beginning of the chain you cannot get back downstream. Different strokes for different folks I guess.
To answer the question I think 200-300 hours or so should do it. Mine was a demo so I can't be sure but it's always sounded good.

I'm not sure what CDs and associated equipment other people are listening to when they say a Marantz SA7S1 is "too focused", has "unnatural timbre", is "precise", is "hard sounding" or "analytical". Something else is really wrong. None of that is evident on a good system. I couldn't stand the sound of most CD players until I got this one and never bothered getting one until this came along.

I'd hit myself over the head hard with a tennis racquet before I'd try a tube buffer stage or anything else drastic on this unit. Note that every other piece of equipment in my system IS SERIOUSLY / INSANELY modified even all my Pass Labs stuff (although I may not quite as fanatical as Dave -- how about TX2575s everywhere next?).

This player is resolving but very musical, has a wide and deep soundstage and has almost perfect tonal balance. SACD is wonderful & CD can sound great with a good recording but is sometimes a bit less engaging and listenable. The one consistent failing is that deep bass lacks weight & impact (my subs are flat to below 20Hz). There might be just a smidge of transparency that's lost with this but I'm guessing.

If you own one of these you've made a good choice & should be very happy once it's broken in.
In response to Mrtennis, having heard an SA11S1 through my own system I would not have qualified opinion of that player. If you are hearing a hardness through your system, fair enough. I can tell you that there is nothing hard or glaring about my SA-7S1, and none of the reviewers have either. I have a Krell KCT preamp connected by CAST to a Krell 400cx. There is nothing in that chain that would forgive glare - on the contrary, it's incredible transparent, and a little on the sterile side. The SA-7S1 makes it sound lovely. If there's a weakness to the SA-7S1 is that it's so smooth and relaxed that I sometimes wish for a little more punch, but glare or hardness are not even remotely to be found.
as mr g has so eloquently stated, one person's perception of "hardness" is another 's perception of "smoothness".

i am never surprised when a component is described differently by more than one owner or listener.

such descriptions are not the truth. they are opinions based upon perception.
Tinear1, if you are enjoying CD's and SACD's like never before, go try the ultrabit platnium. It will be like it was when you first hit 500 hours of breakin-just as astounding.
I have a SA-7S1 for about 1 year.

It's a great & musical player but I have similar opinion as Tinear1's: "'s a bit too smooth and relaxed that I sometimes wish for a little more punch...".

This can be accomplished by utilizing its external clock input. After using an Apogee Big Ben external clock, there is significant improvement in dynamics/punchiness without causing any glare or hardness.
Interesting blog. I have had a SA7S1 since 2007, one of the first in Europe, +1000 hours of playing. It was good in my system but not magic. After I went for the preamp SC7S2, keeping my Denon POA 6600A as amps.Interesting but not magic. and 2 years ago I bought two MA9S2. So full marantz high end. Driving "simple" BW 805 Signature bi wired "vertically" + / - ; not treble/medium.
I know perpeptions are perceptions and I must say that the local has a HUGE impact, so we should compare SA7S1 more with 2 or 3 good headphone amps and Grado PS1000, HD 650/HD800, Stax and others...This SA7S1 may be not as best as multi elements ( drive, dac, clock etc) from DCS ( new one using VRDS drive) or off course Esoteric with extra clock, or Zanden (not exhaustive). SA7S1 is very neutral, may be too much. I have also 2 x300 B push pull (18W) , off course a very nice sound but not the subtility of MA9S2...Be just sure that SA7S1 can not be "accuse" to be too smooth. Piano bass are just unbelievable (remember my 805 Signature) and the "tension" on music can be just impressive. Marantz developp this full ensemble for driving at first BW nautilus as in Japan, Marantz imports B&W. cables, local and companions have a lot of impact on the perception of SA7S1, but - as a one element player- it is probably one of the best with Nagra, Ayre and some others I didn't listen.I can just say that with full Marantz and BW Nautilus, on classical music and jazz, SA7S1 provide sound very close to what you may heard in "reality". But off course full neutrality will never exists, it's just trying to be close too.I love Hovland amps and preamp, but it's true that for a long period the top end of Halcro is a bit better, but Hovland is a bit more convivial, friendly. Marantz full system is a good approach of music, very subtil and this subtility drive you too the fact that alfter long listening you are still surprising by a CD that you may know very well. For wine lover, it's close too a Burgandy Chardonnay Montrachet or a Burgandy Pinot noir Grand Echezeau 2006 from Domaine Romané-Conti. You may miss it at the first time , even the second time...Be patient...Eric from Paris France