HELP: how to compensate too laid-back source

Recently I have upgraded my NAD C541i to Marantz 8400. In spite of the fact that it's not broken-in at all yet, I was amazed by added liquidity and musicality, especially on string quartets and symphonic orchestras. Piano, guitar are also sound so good that it causes me to close eyes and relax (never felt such a thing with NAD). And, the BASS. Comparing to Marantz, NAD didn't have it at all.
On the other hand, sometimes it (ex: Reveries from Reference Recordings) sounds too laid back; and percussions on my world music don't sound as natural as they did on NAD.
I don't want to give it up and go back since Marantz, in overall, sounds richer, and couses me to listen to a music, not a sound, but... Can proper interconnects compensate its laid-back sound, make it some closer?

Source: Marantz 8400 (new animal in my stable)
Interconnects: yet old Moster $30 ones (haven't determinated what to replace it with)
Amp: Moon i-5 (fast and neutral or a little on a bright side)
Speaker cable: AZ Satori (love 'em)
Speakers: Revel M20 (fast and neutral or a little on a bright side)
Make sure your CD player is not on a maple shelf, or sorbothane, as this will mellow it out. Points/Rollers will add detail but might make it thin depending on the type used.

Try some other interconnects the Monster is your weak link, but might not provide the fix you want.
If you like the Acoustic Zen speaker cables, You may want to try their line of interconnects.

Replace Laid back source with "Lean Forward Source"
I would try swaping out your interconnects. Might even try some with silver in them. That seems to be a glaring weak point.
Marigo dots on the walls will provide more dynamics and detail if you think these are things you are in need of. I went from a NAD 514 to a Marantz SA-14 and I know exactly how you feel, I think. I loved the tonality of the 514, but resolution was lacking. The SA-14 had greater resolution and smoothness, but lacked the wonderful tonal balance of the NAD. Interconnects are an obvious place to start as well, XLO might be a good place to look.
For 100.00 you can get an Audioquest Opal 1M on here. You can spend 500.00 on Interconnects and do worse. You can do better for 500 also but point is for 100.00 they are a fab bang for your buck.
My speakers were a tad laid back. I thought I needed to buy new speakers. Instead, I changed cables and the dynamic envelope was hugely improved.
Definitely your I/C is your weakest link. Since you already have AZ Satori, why not go for AZ interconnect? You will be pleasantly surprised.
Since Philips builds Marantz, some of the things that i've found to work well on my SACD 1000 may also apply to your unit.

With that in mind, you might want to try a Chris VH "flavour 2" power cord and dig up a set of Magnan III interconnects ( or something similar ). This really seemed to open the top end up while retaining all of the warmth and midrange liquidity that the machine was capable of producing. I'm sure that there are other combo's that will do something similar, but that is what i had handy and obtained good results with. If buying used, both of these would set you back under $150. What type of footer you use will depend on the type of rack the equipment is resting on. Sean
i have the sa8260 in a all solid state system.

you might want to give it 3-4 weeks to break in (leave it on all the time) and have it on a very stable platform.

btw, you cant make a comparsion with your interconnects......dont get me wrong, i use monster 2.4s with my alon II's ( it is their only decent cable), but you dont know what you are missing with those PIS interconnects.

as far as interconnects i have had very good results with wireworld eclipse 5(unbalanced) between the 8260 and my audio research ls-12 and xlo signiture II's( seconds from fatwyre) running balanced to pse studio v mono blocks.

both are pretty amazing cables and are synergistic in my system in that combination. the xlo is the most neutral cable i have heard to date with incredible bottom end-imaging and grain free. the wireworld eclispe 5 does amazing things in the midrange and plummets the depths of bass. again that is MY system and my taste....

i have tried different cardas models (from golden cross to neural reference) and wasnt a good fit, differnt taras, transparent ( very cohearent cable but too rolled off), and coincident, harmonic,zen...etc looking for sonic nirvana..

if you want to run all the same kind....i would have to reccomend the wireworld eclipse is revealing, detailed, but without being bright.

hope that helps !!!

Just don't get me wrong, I didn't intend to save on interconnects! :) I haven't yet chose which ones I need (I asked this question about my recent NAD, and as a result I sold the NAD, but didn't get the ICs :). I was thinking about AZ Matrix Ref mkII, but with Marantz I guess they are way too warm. My purpose now is to find IC that can open mid- and top-end without being bright or grain, and retain the beautiful midrange and amazing bass (never thought my Revels M20 can do THAT bass).
Just curious, how Nordost Blue Heaven would be there?
Dmitrydr, like the other poster here, I think a cable swap may be a good place to begin.

I'm using Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II, Matrix II and Hologram II in my system and enjoy the sound very much. The Silver Ref II and Matrix Ref II do sound very different, the Silver Ref II is leaner and more detailed because of its silver composition and the Matriz Ref II is fuller and rounder because of its copper design. But they share a signature AZ smoothness, and work well together in the same chain.

I used to own the Simaudio Moon I-5 as well, and am quite familiar with its sometimes thin, bright nature. Cardas Golden Cross helped to tame it to an extent, but I realize your problem is the opposite of what I experienced with the I-5 three years ago.

A recent thread commented on the differences between Cardas Golden Cross and Acoustic Zen Matrix Ref II interconnects. I never did a direct comparison, but the other posters did. They remarked that the Matrix shared the same smoothness and warmth of the Cardas, but with better extension on the top end along with a bigger soundstage.

While the Silver Ref II is by no means a bright cable, it is silver and will therefore be leaner than the Matrix Ref II. I think the Matrix Ref II may help you and will definitely be a big step above the Monster cable you're using. It's also half the cost of the Silver Ref II.

You should be able to snag a used Matrix Ref II for about $350.
I agree with Slappy, except that I think that you've already done it...backwards! I suspect that the Marantz has a much warmer presentation (and more perceived bass) simply because its top octaves are rolled compared to the more neutral NAD, and that has you cuddled up in its warm 'n cozy presentation...most of the time.
So try a fast, linear interconnect like a Blue Heaven or Pro Silway MkII. If still too laid back I'd return to the NAD or save some money and wait for the cheaper NAD 521BEE and maybe put a Harm Tech Truthlink on it like I probably will in November. Linear but not TOO wide open.
Probably easier to start by replacing the Monster with the Nordost or Harm Tech and maybe my PCK13Q+G power cord for a cleaner, linear presentation as well (RSVP), in the event that the culprits are just a cheap rolled off cables. If it's still too laid back for you then get another front end if necessary. The cables will still probably be fine for any CLEAN-topped CDP. Have fun. Ern
It's interesting what CD players have NAD's neutrality but significantly better resolution?
I'm quite confused: complex classical music was almost unlistenable on NAD, but a acoustic music from MA recordings sounded pretty good and natural, better then on Marantz. How to get both in one? I want smooth symphonic and chorals as well as naturally sounding drums from MA...

Ern, you may be right about a reason of "warm 'n cozy presentation... most of the time", but I think Marantz indeed produces much more bass... Well it's not an excuse for too laid-back sound :)
Before you do anything, including making judgments, let the CD player fully break in.
Years ago manufactures offered tubed buffers and other such gizmos to tame forward Cd players. Perhaps someone should create a solid state gizmo to add "presence" to overly laid back front ends? What comes around goes around, wait I'm getting dizzy.
Ern and Slappy, I think I'm taking taking your advise. From your and other posts I realized that my issue is not about a fine tuning of the system. It's about a sound character in general: Marantz has its own house sound, warm and laid-back, and if I like something very opposite (fast, neutral and some forward) any tweaks can just ruin Marantz strengths, but they won't help to get to its opposite. Even if I wait a full break in period. :)
Thanks to everyone responded!