Marantz SA-10

I currently own a Modwright Marantz SA-8005. Its has some upgrades including a WyWires umbilical and SR Purple fuse. Its a great player but I'm considering some system upgrades and the Modwright outboard PS will be an issue. The plan was to move to either an Esoteric/Luxman unit but after doing some research another possible candidate might be a Marantz SA-10. Has anyone had a chance to compare the SA-10 with the Modwright SA-8005? Would the SA-10 be and upgrade or just a sideways move? As always your feedback is appreciated.




Is there an aspect that you do not enjoy with the Modwright SA-8005?


Happy Listening!


Overall I'm very pleased with the Modwright. Its takes some effort to get the best ouf of it but get it right and you'll be rewarded. Its more the logistics, the extra power cord, power supply and umbilical take away precious real estate. I'd like to reclaim that for other possible upgrades.

I have come to enjoy the Marantz house sound and that's what sparked my interest in the SA-10. I'd like to know if its a significant upgrade over my Modwright sonically.

@cmach I am in the same boat.  My Modwright Marantz 8005 has served me very well and the Marantz SA-10, Esoteric K-03XD and Luxman D-10x are on my potential upgrade list.  I would be interested in your journey.  An outside entry would be the PS audio transport and dac when it becomes available.



Thank you for the quick reply to my query. Any comparison between those 2 Marantz players would be very interesting. Also of interest, would be Dan's position when he chose to offer his modifications to an already very good (performance/price-point) SA-8005. Another thought, it would be pretty cool if Marantz obtained a modded-SA8005, then, built /designed the newer SA-10 Reference player.  Not many of you guys own a Modwright 8005. I wonder how many Dan built? Are mods/repairs still available via Dan?


I have a staked interest as well because I own a Marantz SA-11S2 Reference player.  No doubt an Esoteric or Luxman spinner would offer stiff competition.

Luxman is in full comeback mode, although, this company does discontinue their players a little too fast for my disposition.


At this level, it all comes down to preference or brand taste. Staying tuned...


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I’m not a fan of the Marantz house sound.  I used to own the (unmodded) 8005, sold it because imho the treble was m.i.a.  Fwiw when I heard the SA-10 at a dealer a few years ago it sounded like the 8005 with more expensive casework.

I put my bias about Marantz out there so you can contextualize my opinion.  I would at least try to explore some competitors, hopefully in your own system, before pulling the trigger

I don’t know about your Modwright player but I own a Marantz SA 10 and my previous player was an Esoteric KO1. The Marantz is better in about every perameter which really surprised me. A great value for the $.

I had Marantz SA-7003 which I don’t like. It uses similar D/A converter (CS4398) and output stage like the SA-8005. Now I have 2 units of Marantz SA-10 in different systems.

SA-10 is not SA-8005 with expensive case. There is no D/A converter from other makers. Instead, Marantz developed their own FC-PGA based Marantz Musical Mastering (MMM) which up samples all signals to DSD 4x and sent to analog output stage after passive filters. The designer, the late Ken Ishiwata, said DSD 4x is already an analog signal.

The SA-8005 Modwright mods do not change the D/A inside.

After having SA-10 for few months, I stopped using my analog rig which costs 4x of SA-10. SA-10 can also be used as a DAC. It’s XMOS-based USB audio interface implementation is very good and has USB ground galvanic isolation.

SA-10 can compete with much more expensive SACD players. SA-10 excels with SACD/DSD files. To the poster, I suggest you give a try. There is no need to modify the SA-10. However, please take note the SA-10 needs long time to break in.



Thank You for the SA-10 vs. Esoteric KO1 comparison. I have not auditioned the SA-10 (on my short-list), but have spent time with the Esoteric DV-50/DV-60 players and enjoyed their SACD playback only.


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Thank You for the follow up on the SA-10. I know that you were an early adopter of this Reference spinner. Impressive, in that, you own 2 now. I own a Marantz SA-11S2 reference player 1 generation back. I can only imagine how good the newer SA-10 sounds.


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I have owned and listened to a Marantz SA-8260 from 2003 to 2020. All the Marantz entry level players were about the same up to and including the SA-8005. They all benefitted from a new analogue output stage. I had my own unique design gathered from diyaudio, and it was very very good. Dan's output stage features a bit of the tube sound and is also very very good.

In July 2020 I bought a Marantz SA KI Ruby player. It took about 3 seconds to determine that this player right out of the box was a huge improvement over the SA-8260. And then it got better the more it played.

I am an sacd guy with 3/4th's of my 2000 disc collection being sacd. And most of those are high rez recordings, not reissues. All of the new generation Marantz players are worth every penny.

So, if you can afford the SA-10 and feel you need the fully balanced output stage, go for it. Otherwise the SACD N30 player offers the same package with a single ended output stage, at a far reduced cost. 


I own the Marantz SA 10 for a year now, Ruby sacd player maybe 3 months now, Marantz 8005 sacd player for 8yrs now, if you can afford it get the SA10, the Ruby is superb but even on single ended rca the SA 10 is way better, On balance the SA 10 is untouchable.No it’s not true that SA10 is a 8005 Marantz sacd player put in a nice case that’s total misinformation.

Anwar when Iam playing Esoteric sacd disc or Venus sacd disc, the Marantz SA 10 sounds like my SME 10 turntable and Icon phono pre.i agree with you , At times I play it more than my vynil set up.


That is quite the assortment of players there.

FWIW, I wouldn't mind having an SA-10 as I now have a fully balanced amplifier. It's just that where I live, Australia, the SA-10 is 11K AUD and unaffordable for me.


After a bit of thought...................

The SA-10 output stage would be like the SA-11 output stage and run everything through the balanced output stage and then sum the + and - legs for the single ended rca's. The Ruby would be like the 8005 and have a differential summing of the + and - legs and then a single ended output stage.

Nice to know that one can hear the difference.

Sharri , The Marantz 8005 sacd player is a very descent player, especially if you use good ic and power cable like audience power chord.Music Direct sometimes have them open box for $$5200 , on Audiogon they show up used as well.The SA 10 respond well with different pc even the Ruby, The High Fidelity ct2 pc will elevate the SA10 with huge improvements, even the Ruby loves the ct2, it’s pricey but High Fidelity at times they go on sale.

Sharri the Ruby is also a very very good player. With good power cable and ic it will compete with any sacd player out there . Right now Iam using high fidelity ct2 ic and audience power chord, On my SA10   Iam using ct2 pc and Nordost Tyr ic..

Just thought I would circle back and answer my own question. I pulled the trigger on a Marantz SA-10 from Music Direct last week. Its been breaking in since Thursday and it has about 30 hours on it. More time is needed but I can give some early impressions.

Compared to my Modwright this player is just in a whole other league. More resolution, transparency and dynamics combined with a very refined sound. Given the cost differences this is to be expected. The build quality is also at level commensurate with the cost. I'm really enjoying my time with the SA-10 and think it will be a significant upgrade to my system. 


Congratulations @cmach on the new acquisition! I have only read good to great reviews on this player. Hope you enjoy it for many many years.



Nice score! Good to read an update on the SA-10. One day, I will add this Reference player to my collection.

what other gear, including Cabling, rounds out your System?

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@cmach thanks for the circle back!  I still I have my Modwright and will be comparing it to the Luxman D-07x when it is is broken in.  My other thought was a Holo May KTE dac with a PS audio transport, but I'm trying to reduce my "boxes".  The true test is when I can bring the Luxman into my system for a direct A/B from the dealer.  Glad to hear your thoughts on the SA-10 and that is still in the mix.

Cmach congratulations make sure use the balance on SA10 ? It will shine more .

I had the PM-11s2/SA-11s2 combo and it is probably the best value in high end audio today.  Marantz doesn’t have the brand reputation that the esoteric brands like Accuphase or Luxman have, but they have economies of scale that Accuphase and Luxman lack as well.  So dollar for dollar, you are always getting more with Marantz!

I moved from the PM-11s2 to the PM-10 first.  What was tricky was that when measured into a resistor, the PM-11s2 outmeasured the PM-10 at low power and high frequencies.  Yet, when I listened, I liked the PM-10 more.  I thought it was sighted bias and seriously considered just sticking with the PM-11s2 but then I decided to try measuring the amplifiers with an actual speaker load instead of a resistor.  Now, the PM-10 out measured the PM-11s2 in critical midrange areas!  The PM-11s2 is so close to the PM-10 that it’s splitting hairs, but it does show that the PM-10 is a better sounding and better measuring unit but only when measured with an actual speaker load.

As a Class D design, the PM-10 actually has higher distortion for the ultrasonics.  I think this is what imparts the hybrid sound signature where it sounds clean but has a bit of warmth.

The SA-11s2 essentially measures flawlessly with its Seiko DAC when fed SACDs and I also really enjoy the red book CD.  I have purchased a SA-10 and I am not sure if the SA-10, which I have incoming next week will beat the SA-11s2 or not on the test bench, but it is insightful to hear that the the default Marantz settings are for the best sound as opposed to the best measurements.  Seeing what they did with the PM-10, I have high confidence in their work for the SA-10.

Last, the MA-9s1 is probably still the gold standard.   I recently saw an article which showed that the Marantz listening room when testing the B&W D4 was using the SA-10 with modified MA-9s1’s.  They were clear to point out that these weren’t factory units but instead units that had undergone additional modification by the Marantz sound master, Mr. Ogata.



Nice score! on the Luxman D-07x.  I am really looking forward in reading about the comparison with Modwright 8005.  What Cables/Cords do you endorse?


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Goose, congratulations on the D-07X! I think your going to be thrilled with it. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Luxman. Keep us updated please!

Jafant, my system consists of a Pass Labs XA30.8, Aric Audio Super 6SN7 (with upgrades done by Aric), Proac D-30R speakers, SR Power12 SE power conditioner, and a collection of WyWires and SR Galileo cables and power cords.

The addition of the SA-10 has been a revelation of sorts. I want to thank everyone for their input on this. I don't think I could have made this purchase with the same amount of confidence.


I ran some measurements of the SA-10 and got a SINAD to 108.7 dB.  

What is interesting is the comparison with the Topping D90.  While that had lower noise and gets higher SINAD into the -120 dB range, there are spikes that are higher on the Topping versus the SA-10.  

Likewise, the SA-10 is more truthful to the DSD master. When I take a DSD test tone, it has a theoretical perfect score of 91.5 dB SINAD.  The SA-11s2 got to 91.0 and the SA-10 gets to 91.4 dB.  The measurement of the Topping D90 is 92, which is impossible but it is probably doing some additional noise shaping on top of the actual source.

The SA-11s2 had a very quiet transport but the SA-10 is even a step up in performance.

Sound quality wise, it’s great.  I wonder if there is value is masking some distortion with noise versus having really low levels of distortion that peek above the noise floor.

As with the PM-10, I have solid state gear that is more clinical and tubes that make bad recordings sound better.  The PM-10 straddles the two somehow with some great bass and warmth in the highs.  The PM-10 had a ton of distortion in the high frequencies and I think this is beneficial to the overall sound.  The SA-10 seems to be the same.  I have a Panasonic UB9000, and Topping D90 MQA, but the SA-10 is more pleasant to listen to though it is hard to do the ABX comparisons.



Excellent! Good to read about another SA-10 fan and owner.


Happy Listening!