How good is the Marantz SA-7S1?

I have read a couple of rave reviews of this Marantz SACD Player. I have seen very little about this player on Audiogon. I would like to read the reaction of people who have heard this player or own it. Any comparisons would be helpful to other digital equipment that you have heard as well.
I tried once using other people's SA7S1. Seems has difficulty to read CD-R, which I use for testing equipment and works flawlessly with many other CD, SACD players.
Go to positive issue 35, for a recent review of the SA-7. I have had the opportunity to hear this unit in my system and agree completely with the reviewers assessment. Could not afford the 7 but did buy the 11s2 which IMHO was noticable upgrade over the 11s1. Don't know why there has not been very many comments here on either player but do know that both have been backordered for several months now.
It's excellent. I changed from an Ack dAck 2.0 with hi-res cap option and Metronome CDP used as a transport to a SA-7S1 about 4 months ago. I think its best attribute is that it does everything well.

It doesn't have any sonic weakness. It may not be the "best" in any single attribute, but taken as a whole, it's an "All-Star" player (no steroids needed). SACD playback capability is a bonus.

I would be going from an excellent Bluenote Stibbert 2007 with additional Sound Fusion suspension to the Marantz. Has anyone had the privilidge of comparing these fine players? Bob
i heard the marantz player today. well.... i am tempted to buy it, but.... , it lacks bloom. i mean it seems to be closer to truth than beauty, but doesn't seem to have any excesses. i fear that the player will not forgive poor recordings. it is expensive and a classic-tube sounding dac or cd player may be a better choice. if you are looking for a straigh-forward player, you won't be disappointed. an example of such a combination is the zanden separates, or perhaps, the amr player, both of which are more expensive than the marantz.

the question is, can you get this performance for less ??

who knows ?
My friend has one, and he loaned it to me for a while. I’ve owned Meitner, Esoteric, Accuphase, Metronome, Goldmund, and a few other heavy hitters, and the SA-7S1 is the most complete and enjoyable player I’ve heard in my system. It may not be the absolute best at everything, but it has no serious flaws, IMO, and has an uncanny way of bringing out the best in every recording, but without sugarcoating or restricting anything. It’s quite a tricky balancing act that few players in my experience can pull off. It’s certainly not cheap, objectively speaking, but by high-end standards it’s an absolute steal. Economy of scale is a wonderful thing! :) BTW, Dr. Sardonicus got it dead-on in PFO. He nailed the essence of the player.
Hooper, do you prefer the SA-7S1 to the RAM modified X-01 you reviewed
some time ago?

I still have my modded X-01, and love it. The SA-7S1 is a completely different machine—not quite as transparent, but as involving a player as I’ve heard. Music just seems to flow very organically and continuously, and it simply sounds “right,” in a way that a live performance does. My Esoteric does the same thing, and perhaps a bit more, but it’s also considerably more expensive.
Can you describe a little further the differences between your modded
X-01 and the SA-7S1? You say the latter "is a completely different machine".
Can you elaborate? Would you still have purchased the modded X-01 after
hearing the Marantz?

When I said that the Marantz was “a completely different machine,” perhaps I misspoke. It’s a far cry presentation-wise from stock Esoterics I’ve owned or heard, but it’s rather similar to my modded X-01. Both are VERY fluid and organic, with the X-01 perhaps getting the nod in the transparency/resolution department. But the Marantz, for some strange reason, encouraged longer listening sessions. Perhaps it’s low distortion, perhaps something else, but the SA-7S1 is one of the best “music-makers” I’ve heard. You just get swallowed by the music and completely forget all the audiophile BS that most of us get so wrapped up in. In that sense, and not in an audiophile way, it’s stunningly transparent: all the typical audiophile descriptors melt away, leaving just the music.

I have absolutely no regrets buying my X-01. That said, had the Marantz been available back then, would I have gotten it instead? Hard to say for sure, but one you’ve heard it, and if you’ve listened to enough live music to know what it’s doing right, it’s awfully tough to resist. YMMV, of course.
I am wondering how power cord sensitive is the Marantz? Does the power cord make a huge difference on this machine?
Well I pulled the trigger on the used one that was being sold on Audiogon. I should have it either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. I will give my own impressions of the Marantz as soon as they are formed. Bob
I was wondering how long does it take for these units to break-in?
I ordered one last week. They are backordered currently at Marantz. It should ship in 1-2 weeks, and I will post my impressions. I am listening to a Mcintosh demo mcd201,(mcd301 is the new replacement from Mcintosh), Wow, it sounds good. Really warm and great body - hope the Marantz sa7s1 is not to sterile for my system.
I sold my overweight overpriced in the U.K. SA-7S1 as I found my 20 year old modified CD94 sounded just as good if not better both on RB & SACD. The SA-7S1 should have been a multi-channel player which I hear Marantz will shortly launch.
can anyone compare with other marantz players like sa14- recent models? any differences?
Does the SA-7S1 still have the issues ppl were writing about ?
Just for the sake of picking only red apples here. I heard
the Esoteric X01 D2 last week , and was very impressed. My
priority was hearing the amp in the system at the time, but
I have since been looking in to the Esoteric's. I would like to know how the X03 at $7800 would compare to the
Marantz SA-7S1 in the same price range. I know the SA-7S1
is a major player, so this is a good fit in this thread.
I would still appreciate to hear of any opinions on
Esoteric Vs. Marantz in general.
For long term fatigue free listening Marantz is still the best Esoteric is just another overpriced machine. I am fortunate in having a modified Marantz CD94 if I did not have the CD94 I would have stayed with the SA-7S1 which needs a 1000 hour burn in to reach its full potential.
i heard the marantz today. the qssociated gear included, levinson pre and amp, totem man 2 speakers and cardas interconnect (balanced) and speaker cable.

although not my own stereo system, i would say the player is towrad the neutral, balanced in frequency response and definitely not euphonic. since it is not perfect, as no cd player is, i would suggest it is a teeny bit on the warm side.

i can't assess is value at $7000, relative to other players.
I have the Sa-7 now and it is a very good player. I must say that it sometimes sounds a bit flat compared to the Bluenote. The Bluenote can sound more live in the room than the Marantz. What the Marantz has going for it is a bit more tonally complete presentation and has a bit better resolution. I sometimes wonder if it is a bit on the warm side of neutral. The Marantz seems to have a more mid-hall to rear hall presentation. With the Bluenote, I am upfront and it can sound so good but without the ultimate resolution of the Marantz. It really is a difficult decision picking between the two players. It is maddening because in a perfect world I want the best of both machines.

So, what is your verdict on the Marantz? Did the Stibbert ultimately win out?
this is a very interesting question that you posed. I have the Marantz for sale here but I may be pulling the ad tomorrow. I felt that my system was good with refurbished Apogee Scintillas and a pair of Conrad Johnson Evolution 2000's with the ASL Flora preamp (alternating with the Supratek Chenin) and the weak link was the speaker cables. Anyway, as I said in an earlier post the Marantz sounded flat compared to the Stibbert even though it was more resolving. My friend Teajay (from Audiogon and author of the reference Dac thread who has a wonderful system) today allowed me to audition his Acoustic Zen speaker cables while he was auditioning some even higher resolving Stealth cables. It is a good thing that he likes the Stealth cables because he isn't getting these back! Anyway, with the new speaker cables the Marantz is a completely different player. While the Bluenote still sounds more front row and a bit more live, the flatness of image that I wrote about before in the Marantz disappeared! The Marantz does not sound distant or remote like I experienced just yesterday. The higher resolution of the Marantz can be stunning. As of tonight, the Marantz seems tranformed as hard as it is to believe. I will listen more over the weekend but if forced to make a decision right now I think that I would keep the Marantz. Tonight the Marantz just made music for the first time.
I think that the reason that one sees a number of these players available on audiogon may be that the systems they were heard in were just not resolving enough for the Marantz's qualities to be heard. It could also be that the players didn't synergize well in those individual's systems. This points out how difficult it is take a components measure without fully exploring all avenues of your own system. I feel quite stunned and hope I didn't lead anyone astray. Bob


Thanks for your thorough--and very insightful--response. I completely agree with you about keeping components until, a) you are sure they are fully broken in, and b) you have done your best to find the right cables, meaning ALL cables, including speaker cables, interconnects, and power cords. Of course, this is problematic for many of us, particularly if we are auditioning a component under a fairly brief time limit. However, I think you are spot on in your observation that many people may give up on a component before they have heard what it can really do, under the right circumstances, when that elusive "synergy" is finally realized.

I'm glad the Marantz is working for you now. I hope to hear one someday.