Breakin of Marantz SA8260 SACD player

I just took delivery this past Wednesday of the Marantz 8260 player for use in my dedicated 2-channel music system which consists of Maggie 3.5s, ARC LS-3B preamp, Bryston 4B-SST power amp,Grado PH-1 phono preamp and Linn Axis table. How long does it take to break in this player and is there any advantage to leaving it on all the time, so that the DACs stay warmed-up? This player sounds a little louder than the DEnon 2910 I was using. I checked the output specs and found that the Marantz is 2.2v while the Denon is 2v. Should this produce an audible difference in loudness, assuming the preamp is set at the same level?
What's everyone's opinion of this unit? Stereophile rates it Class A, but the review that rating stems from isn't what I'd call a full-fledged review. Thanks.
Its a good idea to leave it on all the time. Digital sources take 48 hours to get to thier prime after being turned off.
I bought mine used, so I can't comment on break-in, but for what it's worth, I have tried leaving the Marantz on for a week straight, and have tried listening to it stone cold, and can personally hear no difference whatsoever. I do leave my amp on all the time, however, and do hear a difference between continuously on and "just-turned on". This may be why I don't hear a difference in the player, as I personally have found amps to sound better when left on, as opposed to CD players. I'm sure it depends on the player and your system. You'll probably get lots of opinions from both camps, so just judge by your own ears. As for the sound of the Marantz, I can only compare it to what I've had in my modest setup. To me, it was more refined, detailed and spacious than a Rotel 991, Denon 1650, and a few $1500 DVD/CD players. It also had better resolution than a Music Hall CD25 and a Rega Planet 2000. The soundstage is very wide and it sounds very balanced throughout the frequency spectrum. A few of the DVD/CD players had more apparent bass weight, but the Marantz bass is very articulate and blends well with the midrage and treble. It's possible that the Marantz bass is more accurate of what's on the disc. It's certainly not a lean player in my system. I heard little difference when using it as a transport verses the other machines. I agree that the review in Stereophile is not really a review, but I do agree with the statement that it really does a nice job with redbook. A lot of SACD players sound good on SACD, but the Marantz was a significant improvement over my previous player on redbook. I've been playing discs that I had written off as unlistenable a while ago, and they are tolerable now. The downside is that it can be a very slow disc reader, and there are tons of them out there, so there's no uniqueness to owning one (if that's important to your ownership pride). I'm sure there's better out there, but for the money, I couldn't be happier.
Ej: Thanks for the info. I'm just in the early stages of "break-in" and so far, the player seems a little "thick" in the bass, but perhaps this will ameliorate over time. I was using a Denon 2910 for audio payback which doesn't sound too shabby for the money, but I was seeking just an audio-only player for my music system which doesn't have any video circuitry to mess with.
Thanks again for the help and if you have any more thoughts, let me know.
I leave mine in "Standby" all the time. I don't see much difference between OFF/ON on this player. But 1 thing I noticed was that it now sounds much better than what it was brand-new.
Opinions on this unit - this is a superb unit. I have compared it with RBCD players costing upto $2500 and exchanged mails with fellow audiogoners/asylum-inmates who have done similar comparison. This player sometimes outperforms those players or gets very very close to their sound. Some hardcore audiophiles rate the RBCD playback ability of this unit as Class B because there are other CD players in the range of > $10,000 whose RBCD playback is awesome. For me - considering the price I paid - I rate the Marantz SA8260 as Class A. But thats me.
Wierd to ask for opinions after you actually made a purchase. But anyways, to answer your 1st question, I would think 100 hours would be a good amount of time to let this player give you an idea of how it sounds. Just leave it spinning a disc on repeat, at least overnight, until you reach or get close to 100 hours. To answer your 2nd question, I would think that Marantz could seem to sound louder because it probably is more detailed than the Denon, but there could also be difference in sound between 2v and 2.2v output. I am not sure if it would be that audible, but it's possible. Anyhow, it's a decent player for the money. There are of course better units for $1000, sure, especially considering the used players and used stand alone DACs. Good luck.
Audphile1 - I only ask this out of genuine curiousity becasue it doesn't look like you presently own this unit. Have you owned the Marantz in the past or demoed it against other players to come to the conclusion that there is better for the money? Can you list a few of the players or player/DA combos that you found were better than the Marantz, and in what ways you've found them to be superior? Also, are you referring to used players that cost $1000 or players that were $1000 new, and are being sold in the $600 range, like the Marantz's current value. I would be curious to try some of your winners in my own system to see how they stack up. Thanks.
Good Morning All,

I bought my 8260 last month. I had many different players over the years, Quad CD-P (very nice), Audio Refinement, Sony 20ES, McIntosh MVP-841.

I bought the 8260 so I could listen to the SACD's I am collecting. So far the 8260 sounds much more refined, detailed and analog like with the 'redbook' CD's I played on the other machines. On 2 CD's I was very familiar with I heard new things my Quad did not reproduce.

It's SACD performance is superb. Listening to the old Mercury Living Presence and Living Stereo reissues is phenomenal.

Mine smoothed out with about 1 weeks continual use. I never turn mine off, so it is powered up all the time. What really suprised me was the high quality headphone amplifier. I plug in at night with my GRADO's and get wonderful sound.

Great Machine for the money. The concern of slow loading and reading does not bother me at all, in fact I really don't notice it.

Happy Listening,
This is good news. I posted on audioasylum about the SA8260's capability to drive headphones. Which Grados are you using? I am thinking of Sennheiser 555.
Ejresch, my friend, I did not mean to upset anybody I was just answering a question. My friend had this player for a while and I had it in my system and listened to it enough in both his and my system to fairly judge it. Like I said, it is a decent player for $1000 new, but what I was trying to say, and if I didn't make it clear here I appologize, is that on the used market $1000 will get you a better digital front end. For example a used Sony S7700(from $150 to $200) with used Bel Canto DAC2(anywhere from $700 to $800) beats the SA8260 even when the latter has an SACD of the same recording playing. Example #2 is Audio Mirror dac(new about $500) with the same Sony S7700 as a transport also bests the SA8260. I am very familiar with the sound of the system I heard it in to come to this conclusion and we did compare the Bel Canto DAC2 directly to this player in the same system running with the same interconnects connected to a different pre-amp input with SA8260 being utilized as a transport. SA8260 is pretty good for $1000 but you can definately do better if you invest the $1000 to get a good used digital playback system. I am not trying to express that the SA8260 is a POS. In no way it is, and for $1000 new, I have not heard a brand new player in this price range that will easily beat the SA8260 when it comes to overall sound, top to bottom, soundstage, imaging included, although I have not heard every single CD player in this price range, so take this with a grain of salt. Another issue with the SA8260, and this is what stopped me from buying it initially, is that it has problems reading some CDs. It is very finicky when it comes to playing less than perfect discs. I observed it on more than 1 of these players. Anyway, you like it and that's what matters the most. Everyone has different taste when it comes to the sound of their systems, so what I like may not be exactly what you like. Besides, it is entirely possible that the same component may have different sound characteristics in different systems. By the way, before you purchased the SA8260, what did you compare it to?
Audphile1 - Thanks. That was what I was looking for. Your initial response did not upset me in any way whatsoever. Maybe since I asked so many questions right in a row, it may have sounded like I was upset. Not the case at all. I actually owned a Denon 1650, demoed a Music Hall CD25 and a friend of mine had a Planet 2000, so I did some comparisons after I purchased the Marantz. I had heard the Marantz DV 8400 before in a different system, so I took a leap of faith that the 8260 would be at least as good, given that it is audio only and shared some critical parts and design. I also tried a few DVD players as transports, a Pioneer PD-65 as a spinner, as well as a DIP Upsampler, MSB Link III with P1000 power supply, and a Monarchy 20 Bit D/A (can't remember the model). I preferred the sound of the Marantz to all the other one-box players. The sound of the player D/A combos was very good, but not quite as smooth from top to bottom as the Marantz. The difference in sound between the 8260 and the one-box players was enough to make a choice easy. The difference between the 8260 and the D/A combos was subtle (except for the MSB, which I thought was grainy in the treble, but had excellent bass). Given the price and sound of the Marantz verses the extra rack space, cost of extra cables, etc., I decided on the Marantz. I have heard good things about the Bel Canto, and the S7700 has a reputation as a very good transport. I agree that the Marantz likes discs that are clean and scratch-free. One last question. What specifically did you prefer in the sound of the Bel Canto and Audio Mirror over the Marantz, and what speakers/amp/pre were you using? --ok that was technically two questions disguised as one. Cheers!
Ejresch, I just wanted to mention this upfront - this is not a review of any of these components. Just my observation and my opinion on how these components performed in my own system. Will they sound the same in any other system? I have no idea. But, to briefly describe the differences, in my system, between S7700/Bel Canto or S7700/Audio Mirror combos vs the SA8260, I can say that the separates have fuller sound, smoother highs and deeper, tighter bass. Voices sound fuller. Better imaging, better stage. These differences are not night and day, but still are noticable enough. Of course it also depends on how revealing the rest of the system is. I just think that in the context of a revealing system, SA8260 would most likely sound digital, thin and hyper-detailed.
Audio Mirror D2, for the price, is a very smooth sounding dac. I don't think it has the resolution of the Bel Canto but in certain systems that are on the bright side, I think this dac may just be the ticket. Overall, both the Bel Canto and Audio Mirror sounded, at least to me, smoother than SA8260. The dacs sounded also more involving. However, neither of these digital sources pretend to be state of the art, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. Each of these components is good in its own way. Especially for the price.
If you click on the (System) next to my ID you'll see in what context these components were evaluated.
Again, as I said before, the most important thing is that you like it. That's all that matters. Take care.
I was pretty suprised when I was listening to this player yesterday. I've been in the market for a new cdp, so I have been looking at various options. I took my ancient 1988 Kyocera DA-510cx to a local shop and the only / best cdp they had was the marantz. We were able to do some a/b listening between the two. The marantz had a more spacious soundstage and a bit better mid range detail (listening to kodo SBM recording of taiko drumming). However, for a state of the art $1k CD player, you had to listen pretty hard to hear the differences.
I was pretty suprised when I was listening to this player yesterday. I've been in the market for a new cdp, so I have been looking at various options. I took my ancient 1988 Kyocera DA-510cx to a local shop and the only / best cdp they had was the marantz. We were able to do some a/b listening between the two. The marantz had a more spacious soundstage and a bit better mid range detail (listening to kodo SBM recording of taiko drumming). However, for a state of the art $1k CD player, you had to listen pretty hard to hear the differences.
If you read Stereophile recommended components, they mention in the beginning of the CD player section that all SACD and DVD-A players are recommended based on their ability to play their respected media, not the redbook cd. So, as far as redbook performance of SA8260...yes it's pretty good, but personally, I wouldn't give it a class A for it. Just my opinion.
Agree with Audphile1 generally about the class 'A' designation (I had the 8260 for about a year now and have and have had much more expensive CD/SACD players as well). But additionally I think it is important to note that it is a great player, and to get better sound you really have to go well up the spectrum in price.
imo, the marantz is "class a" @ $1000..there are also class a at $2k,$3k, $4k,$5k,$6k..

the unit does really good when isloated and a upgraded power cord (audience makes a really good power cord)..
Mike, what do you mean it's class "a" @ $1000?
I believe Mike was trying to stress that at that price point it is the king - no other CD/SACD player comes close to it's sound quality in it's class. I have personally compared to CD only players costing upto $2500 and it would be very very difficult to justify the $1500 price difference.

I personally don't look at Stereophile's rating to make my buying decision. But this player is damn so good that despite some of it's known flaws, I luv it. I will have to spend a lot more to get an SACD player 1 notch up.