Marantz NA8005 Network Player

Category: Digital

I just brought a unit home last week. At $1199 retail, it was worth a calculated risk since the first network player, the NA11S was well received by JA. The NA8005 piqued my interest for 2 reasons - one, it could play native dsd and hirez pcm files from a USB memory stick, and two, it has a coax digital output. 

Once unpacked, set-up was a breeze for my primary objective of playing hirez files from a USB flash drive. So, no more computer and usb cables. It was simply connecting the 8005 to my Esoteric K-01 player's coax input. 

Fresh out of the box(I don't know if a network player would benefit from break-in), the sound emanating from the usb memory stick plugged into the front panel input, was in a word, glorious. If I was previously happy with hi-rez via the Esoteric's own software for hi-rez audio called the HRA player, I must say I am completely floored by what I heard in the first few minutes. It was incredible! I had this sudden epiphany of what hi-rez is all about. So, this is indeed how hi-rez should really sound like. It is truly that jaw-dropping. All I can say is that with usb flash memory as source, coupled to the K-01's DAC section, there are gobs of detail, and yet, oh so silky smooth. Not only that, the soundstage opened up while notes floated effortlessly beyond the speaker boundaries in width, depth and height.

Bass is prodigious without being boomy, while highs are airier and more extended. As for the midrange, it's either "you are there" or "she is in your living room" sort of thing. Transients are as impactful as they should be while dynamic range between soft and loud passages is widened by quite a large margin. Finally, it all has to be musical and indeed it is as musical as it gets - the complete antithesis of "analytical". The 8005 is not partial to any genre, serving out classical, jazz, blues or rock in equal measure. As the cliché goes, it doesn't get any better than this. There is not an iota of dryness that might have been suggested of the K-01 in the past. 

For this minimalist set-up, no computer or software interface is needed. The player just reads off the data from the flash drive and the artist, album, track, file type and sampling rate info are all shown on the display. 
I do not intend to use the network/streaming function as that would entail the use of a computer with usb and ethernet cabling to the home broadband modem/router. Any of this along the signal path introduces jitter to some degree.

One huge plus in ditching the computer is the handheld remote that allows you to scroll through all your music folders and files instead of having to get off the chair and use the mouse to open them. Of course you can use the app on your smartphone or tablet to control the player but then you need a wireless connection to your computer for this. I personally prefer to turn off all wireless connections during playback. 

Caveats :-
Only usb drives formatted as FAT16 or FAT32 are supported. Unfortunately, NTFS formatted SSD/disk drives cannot be played by the NA8005. If you wish to play from an NAS or SSD/disk drive via your computer, you need to use the internal dac. All computer usb connections need to go through the internal dac and then via analog outputs to the preamp. To connect directly to your own dac, only usb flash drives plugged into the front or rear panel ports allow digital output.

To everyone into computer audio, try to bring an NA8005 home for an audition or, like me, just buy it. You can finally bid goodbye to computer interfaces, hard disk drives, background noise, etc.
Thanks for the review. I am trying to understand - you utilized the K-01's DAC by sending files through the Marantz. Most of the folks buying the Marantz would be to utilize it as a DAC - I am guessing. Were you able to compare the DACs in the K-01 and the Marantz? Price wise the 2 units are at other ends of the spectrum - but how do the DACs in them compare?
When I compared the Usb and coax inputs of the K-01, the coax was way ahead of the Usb by a wide margin. If I would like to know how capable the internal dac of the Marantz is, i would need to connect it to my pc with usb cabling. Once the coax path is found to be superior to usb, I simply ditched the pc with everything usb. It would be much to my chagrin if the internal usb-dac of the Marantz turned out to be better than that of the K-01. But I would not count too much on that. :)
As you said Jon2020, the K-01 is most likely superior to the Marantz. But many folks on this forum might not be able to afford the K-01. Forget K-01, even a K-03 is out of budget for many. So for generic folks the Marantz would be an all rounder DAC to go. If the Marantz is a good DAC, then I would probably buy that along with a good transport, like Oppo 105D and call it a day. The Oppo, I would use it to play the SACDs and decode the HDCDs. Total cost of the Oppo+Marantz would be less than $3.5K. The other option would be to invest in a $3-4k SACD player which can also act as a DAC.
But it looks like your needs are different than what I am looking for. So it makes sense that you are using the Marantz the way you do now. Congratulations on coming one more step closer to achieving your goal on the path to musical nirvana! Enjoy your music.
Your Oppo-Marantz plan sounds like a good one and I think given the overall quality of Marantz products, you probably would get excellent results with this combo. The NA8005 is also hi-rez ready whenever you. want it.

I have played 24/88, and 24/96, 24/176, 24/192 files and they all sound superb compared to routing the signal out to the coaxial input of the Esoteric K-01 dac section.
Simply amazing - the Marantz dac is in no way embarrassed by the Esoteric dac.
Really nice on your part to mention that. Thank You for sharing your experience. Most folks with $$$ players might not come forward and say that their $2k DAC is pretty nice compared to their high end player.
But if I (or anyone else, I believe) were to win a lottery now, I think I would certainly pick the K-01. So thanks again for sharing. I will look into the NA8005 in the near future.
Well your review doesn't say enough. I just purchased one a few days ago and it doesn't read a memory stick above 4 or 8gig as it takes too long to load. Another reason I am perplexed is Marantz didn't include any of the pre/amp functions via the remote which is lame, making this unit work fine if you have other Marantz pieces but if you want to run it via the remote the volume/input and mute buttons much be used via the App. Also the App for using this unit needs to be highly upgraded and more user friendly. I also download a few HD Albums off of HD Tracks and the Marantz had issues reading them, it could have been it was on a larger SD memory stick. But, it looks like I need to reformat and try again as I didn't use FAT. So I will give it a go. I am tempted to go the 105D route and just buy some cables that run further to my music system.
I use a 128G usb memory stick and it works just fine. The loading takes just 1-2 minutes for about 50 hi-res albums which now occupy 2/3 of the capacity. I notice you mention SD memory cards. The Marantz does not have a slot for these. Only usb flash drives in FAT format are read through the front panel port.
So, to sum up, you paid $1,200 for a flash drive input?

Not really. I sorely needed a DSD dac for my DSD files and the Marantz decodes these and outputs via analog to my preamp, without the need for a usb input from a computer.
BTW, I have upgraded my preamp to the Ayre K-5xeMP and it trumps the Jeff Rowland Capri S2 in every way. This is a massive upgrade for the analog side of the chain, and indeed for my whole system.
I should have updated this review earlier but as always, better late than never.

After at least 200 hundred hours of burn-in for the Marantz hi-res dac, it trumps that of the K-01's in every way. The K-01's internal dac sadly has indeed seen better times.
My current set-up is as follows :-
1. Redbook CD's spinning in K-01 as transport alone -> Marantz dac -> preamp
2. Hi-res pcm/dsd files in usb memory stick -> Marantz dac -> preamp

I am in audio heaven.

Cheers! J.
Can you get to a NAS via USB or do you have to use the Ethernet connection
Yes, the ethernet connection is needed.
Can this Marantz be used with the Bryston B60 internal dac?
Yes, it can via its single-ended rca outputs to the B60's inputs.
Most welcome.
Keep us posted if you do decide to pair it with the Bryston.
Still deciding. There are so many digital and streaming options. Things were easier when I was younger. Get a Marantz amp and Advent speakers...go from there!
Decisions in audio are the worst ones to make in life.
You want it all in one box but you just can't.
I went with the Bryston BDP-2...could not resist.
Went with Bryston BDP-2!
Congrats, Lynroe. I have been eyeing the BDP-2 myself. I am sure it will outperform the Marantz for redbook and hi-res pcm. It does not do dsd which would not be an important point if you are not into that.
Hey Jon2020,

Yes, it seems to be a nice piece. Well made. Yet to get it connected...I will let you know!
Hey Jon2020,

Yes, it seems to be a nice piece. Well made. Yet to get it connected...I will let you know!
The BDP-2 does output DSD 64 through its AES, SPDIF and USB outputs now. It will also handle DSD128 through its USB output.
The new integrated audio device is also quite a step up. Well worth the upgrade if you have a previous version of the BDP-2.

Not sure about the DSD output via SPDIF/AES.
Not stated on the website.
The BDP-2 with current Manic Moose firmware updates, uses DOP protocol to utilize the SPDIF and AES outputs for DSD files. 
Sound is considerably better than running through the USB output in my opinion/experience. You can avoid the USB connection unless running DSD128 files as those will only play through USB output.
(Dealer disclaimer)

This is very good to know.
But if I am not wrong, there are no dac's on the market now that can accept dsd files via AES/SPDIF. Maybe only Bryston dac's can do this?
Virtually all high quality DACs that include an AES or SPDIF (BNC) input will play DSD using the DOP protocol. Basically it is using a 176.4 signal wrapper to pass the DSD signal. Bricasti, Auralic, Bryston and many others.

This is rather puzzling.

From the Brystyon website :-

"The most notable difference between the BDA-2 and BDA-3, in addition to PCM playback capable of 384kHz/32 bit resolution, is that the BDA-3 is fully DSD enabled. The BDA-3 can decode up to DSD-256, through asynchronous USB inputs, and accepts SACD input via HDMI."

From the BDA-3 manual :-

PCM - 96 / 24, 192 / 24, 384 / 32 ->  Toslink, RCA, RCA/BNC, AES/XLR 
DSD-64 ->  HDMI, USB 
DSD-256 -> USB
Post removed 
See link below:

I have been using AES output to play DSD files on our BDP-2 for a while now. You can certainly call or email Bryston as well.

Thanks for the heads up.
This is very good news to me. :)
Happy to help. :-)

Does anyone know how this compares to the NA-11S1?  Why does it cost so much more?