Hello all - I have recently acquired the ND 8006. Disclaimer - I provide the following to assist any perspective listeners considering buying one - not to try and impress anyone or accomplish anything other than assist to listening community. I also stress that listening preferences and pleasures are as varied as there are listeners. While their is some obvious objective criteria in benchmarking a unit, beauty is - very much - in the ears of the beholder. My personal view is that ND 8006 is beautiful, in its execution, build quality and value.
I have several systems comprised of Levinson, Krell and McIntosh gear. However, I am running the ND 8006 through mostly Conrad Johnson equipment - LP70s amp, Art 2 pre-amp. Speakers on this systems is Vienna Acoustics Strauss. Cabling includes Siltech speaker cables, Cardas interconnects and Furutech power cords. I felt this set up would nicely complement the indigenous warmth usually associated with Marantz gear. And it did.
The detail in the mids on this $1200 player equaled, and, on some tracks, surpassed the Auralic Aries, Polaris and Berkley Alpha DAC streamers I auditioned. The AVM excelled, but at $15K, it should. And that is an unfair comparison in my view as the ND 806 has no channel amplification, plays SACD's (a noticeable deficiency on the ND 8006, but easily overlooked as it plays HQ DSD files) Those units cost hundred and, in some cases, thousands more. The Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ was a contender but without WiFi connectivity it was not an option for me. Yet, the ND 8006 had such exquisite detail, especially on voice, string and piano pieces of high resolution quality. My speakers are quite revealing so I really was able to perform critical listening.
Convenience is also - as far as I am concerned - an important consideration for the serious listener. The ND 8006 shines here, and the dual clock jitter reduction works exceedingly well, albeit Bluetooth playback loses coherence as it does on virtually every player I auditioned. That is why WiFi was important to me as there is no capacity for ethernet in that particular listening room.
The connectivity to a network and usage of the unit with Spotify and Tidal was so easy and intuitive that a caveman can do it (my apologies to appearing insensitive to cavemen) . The remote is at first overwhelming but I used it for all set up functions and survived. And no, it is not metal as most of my other remotes are, but that's okay by me.
Turning to the CD function, as far as I'm concerned this is a throw in and a nice one. I have thousand of CDs and while it is becoming more and more seldom, I might just fling one on and with this unit I can and the sound, up-sampled, is quite satisfying. I extracted my Sony SCD-1 SACD player from the system to make room for this unit (I also have the Marantz UP7007 connected so I can still play SACDs), but, to be honest, the Sony was the best SACD player I ever experienced at any price - yes that includes DCS Puccini and Esoteric. Just my ears folks. But I digress. The CD functionality of the ND 8006 is not an afterthought - it appears to be targeted at those getting into streaming Hi Rez and not willing to place their entire CD collection carefully amassed for years into the attic - or eBay. And it is quite nice on my tube based system.
Instrumental air, soundstages and spaciousness and separation of the instruments are boxes the ND 8006 checks quite well. Three year warranty is standard but this unit, made in Japan, seems solid and exudes reliability. Time will tell on that one.
To sum up, some will dismiss this unit out of hand and go for the more "audiophile" names some of which I discuss above. They would NEVER consider Marantz in an "audiophile" application. Same with the Cambridge units i.e. 851N (which are also excellent and attractive alternatives which should be auditioned). This comes from years of experience and, in some cases, overpaying for gear where I shouldn't have.
So, people have a choice - be a sound snob and focus on the nameplate (Saul Marantz was one of the audio pioneers who "invented" the high end BTW) , and exclusivity at inflated (sometimes grossly inflated) acquisition cost, or enjoy the sound. If you put more of a premium on quality of sound and convenience, value and sheer enjoyment of listening, then audition this unit!!!!
If you are the "other" kind of audiophile, then the more obvious choice to acquire a DAC/network/streamer is to hop in your Bentley and drop the first $5000.00++ as quick as you can.