Marantz SA-15S2b, thoughts & opinions

Hey there everyone.
I'm on the fence on purchasing a new Marantz SA-15S2b SACD player and would like a little feedback. I'm not interested in PC, streaming or downloads so please keep the chatter on the SACD player :-)

I've heard the previous version just last week and was really impressed with it. That was with CDs only and CDs will be my primary source of music. After seeing the price of SACDs out there and the wide range of opinion on the sonics, I'll tread lightly if and when I buy any.

Any criticisms or raves are appreciated and please don't be put out if I don't respond to any or all responses as I just need opinions. Alternate suggestions need not apply since I really don't see myself buying another RB CDP. My tastes currently run to world jazz, vocals and acoustic, including small piece chamber music. My amp is a Burson integrated that mostly runs in Class A and my speakers are Tonian Labs TL-D1s with all cabling by Mapleshade and I listen in the nearfield. That should sum up all parameters and help narrow down any responses. And, I definitely will replace all fuses with HiFi Tuning ones or better which will improve sonics and allow me to hear further into recordings.

After talking to Marantz headquarters over in NJ and picking their brains, it appears this unit came out in June/July of 2011 and will be current for the next few years and there will be no discounts given at years end but I may have an authorized online dealer willing to negotiate a bit, but it's a long shot.

Thanks, in advance,
As you know, I'm sure, the Marantz players get excellent reviews in the magazines and from owners. The problems I see are that digital players are improving rapidly and downloads could put the brakes on new SACD releases at any time.

If you're not easily swayed by the latest and the greatest reviews, the Marantz might work for you.

Music Direct has a 30 day return policy but their website sounds as if they're getting a little tired of the try it and return it type of customers. You could talk to them and see if they are willing to take a chance on you.
Thanks Tomcy6.
It is indeed eating at me that progress is rapidly outpacing the time slots that models usually occupy but most of it seems geared towards streaming and such. The only caveat is the huge amount of data that DSD takes up, requiring lots of storage and managing that storage. I just like spinning those discs.

This is not an inexpensive player but one that I hope will satisfy for the long run as I plan on continuing to buy CDs and now that I've checked out some SACD sites, trying them out as well. Both formats are said to sound wonderful on this player.

It sounds like I'm just looking for confirmation for what I'm about to do.
Thanks for the gentle push.

All the best,
Just ordered the Marantz SA-15S2b through Music Direct and got a great deal on a demo. They don't come up that often as just last week the one they had already sold. Timing is everything.

A big selling point was the assurance that if I don't like it, I can return it, no problem. Full warranty and a patient, knowledgeable and understanding agent made this an easy choice. Great company to deal with.

Can't wait :-)

All the best,
Congratulations Nonoise. Please post your listening experience with the new player. Do you plan to use the Optical/Co-ax INs for HiRez music?
Thanks Milpai.

Expect to hear me gushing about it in a week or two. :-)

For the present time, I won't be streaming any HiRez. I plan on immersing myself in all that those shiny discs have to offer. After all, it's the original form of DSD that everyones going ga ga over with their PCs and streaming.

I may plan on getting a iMac or PC notebook sometime far off in the future or maybe an Airplay and stream what I do have through the Opt/Coax when funding comes back to somewhat normal levels.

This is a fun hobby.

All the best,
While I am generally not a huge SACD fan for reasons that are not important right now, if you have any interest in acoustic music, I suggest you pick up the Yo Yo Ma "Solo" SACD. Once in a while they get it right and this one has incredible "in the room" presence, along with excellent performance of course. Enjoy your new player.
Thanks for the recommendation! I didn't know Yo Yo Ma did a solo performance. I already have "Dialoghi" with Elinor Frey and love her playing as well as the sonics.

And the price is right!

All the best,
Congratulations NoNoise! I hope you enjoy the Marantz. I think you will. Let us know in any case.

I'm a disc spinner myself. I like having something physical to keep and I like to have the art and liner notes, even if I need a magnifying glass to read them.

I like the sound of the SACD format too. My SACDs are mostly rock and jazz and I'm away from home right now, but I could probably come up with a few recommendations if you're interested in those genres.

Thanks for the nod. It's nice to know that there's still some of us who like to spin those discs. Suggestions are appreciated as I find it time consuming going over the reviews, prices and trying to find a site besides Amazon that allows one to hear samples. Jazz is so broad in taste as is Rock but anything that can steer me in the general direction is welcome.

Right now I'm waiting for Yamamoto's "Midnight Sugar", Brubeck's "Time Out" and Norah Jones "Feels Like Home" to start things hopefully this weekend. I'm also planning on getting Sinatra's "Where Are You?" and "No One Cares" along with Jacintha's "Best of Jacintha".

Boy, these things add up.

All the best,
Well Nonoise i also will be getting a SA-15s2b next week,while i am on my vacation. Going to pick it up at a local marantz dealer In Massachusetts. Right now using a marantz SA-8004 and like it alot for redbooking cds. also going to listen to the new marantz 11-s3 but a little costly for me right now. Like you i enjoy spinning discs as well with a good machine. well let ya know how i like the sound of the SA-15s2b. Also IMHO i think cables and speaker wires do make a difference in sound in ones system to create a overall synergy,but thats another topic. Looking to see your reply,on your cd player after you have used it for Awhile. Happy Listening Bigbird.
Hey Bigbird, our flock seems to be growing :-)

I originally thought of trying out the SA-8004 myself as it and the PM-8004 have gotten some really good press. Then I read where Absolute Sound ranked it and my TEAC PD-H600 (along with some others) as great buys under $2000 so that led me to audition the SA-15S2 and it did so well that I had to take a chance.

If I'm not mistaken, the K1 Pearl was an upgrade from the SA-15S2 and the SA-15S2b is a distillation of the K1 Pearl, made more affordable. Every step is appreciated.

Yes, cables are very important and can limit the potential of a component if not properly matched and evaluated. Can't wait to hear it and let you know what I think of it as well as hearing what your impressions are.

All the best,
I am a disc spinner as well. I will look at the Marantz SA-11S3 when the time comes. I only hope that Marantz comes up with a firmware update on their USB capable SACD players so that they are able to play DSD via USB. I know that their latest Network player (NA-11S1) is able to do DSD using USB - and it uses the the same DAC as the 11-S3. They should also come up with a firmware for making the 15-S2B DSD capable, provided the CS4398 can handle DSD stream via USB.
If Oppo can do it, why can't (or will not) Marantz do it?
That SA-11S3 is quite the player. I don't know if it does DSD via USB but if I could afford it, I'd seriously consider getting it. I've corresponded with an online reviewer who's listened to and reviewed both units and although he loves the SA-11S3, he got the SA-15S2b as he feels it's got the best price to performance aspect going for it. YMMV.
The DACs in the SA-11S3 are DSD capable so it should stand to reason it could be done. That would make it a great hub for all your needs.

All the best,
Nonoise remember this.TEAC PD-H600 CD PLAYER HOWS IT SOUND we have converse before and thats when i started with the marantz cd-6004 and been going up the ladder since. I order one of the teac PD-h600 from one call,but had to send it back cause it didnt work,so never got to hear what that player sounded like. have really liked the warm or signature sound of the marantzs since. i have had a cambridge 740c a couple years back and the sound of that was little bright,but a overall ok player. before that the music hall cd25.2 nice stock cd player and also had a sony xa-20es,which i had that for about 8 years before i started trying more cd players. boy that sony really had a nice transport in it. well really got to love this audio hobby and hope to hear you review on the new marantz. The bird.
"Question of Balance" by the Moody Blues is a really good sounding SACD. Shelby Lynne's "Just a Little Lovin'" is too if very laid back covers of Dusty Springfield songs might interest you. The Dave Brubeck you got is a good one.

Give me some time, I'll think of more.
I thought I'd post an update on the Marantz SA-15S2b which I ended up buying.

I'm keeping it.

It has that classic Marantz house sound without going retro. Simply put, it carries a lot of weight and gravitas yet still lets the details (more than I have been hearing, actually) shine through. Mellifluous and beguiling without the bloat or smear.

I burned it in by running it for 7 days straight. Out of the box it was quite a letdown but after 5 hours it started to reveal itself. At the 10 hr mark it made another leap up in resolution and continues to impress me. I've had a few CDPs and a couple of DACs and I've never had one fail to impress upon first hearing, only to get incrementally better. This Marantz will confound anyone who won't take the time to let it mature.

One word of advice: careful cable matching is paramount with this, more so than any other device I've had. I used to use and love Mapleshade Ribbon ICs and when first hooked up, I had unbelievable mids and bass. It didn't take long to realize I had too much, at the expense of detail, micro dynamics, and nuance. Nothing I had on hand seemed to work so I settled on a pair of Darwin Silver ICs and everything came into focus beautifully. This pairing of SACD player and ICs are just about the perfect match, for me. Coherence is the best way to describe it. That, and serendipity.

I think Marantz has a hit on its hands and I'm seriously considering going deeper into debt with the matching integrated and calling it quits for many a year to come. As much as I like detail, nuance, subtle shading, and texture, I also love (and have missed without realizing it) the Marantz take on musicality: slightly warm, engaging, and comforting. Just a rich and full presentation that I can, and do, listen to for hours at a stretch.

The soundstage seems bigger and deeper. It's like I got a bigger amp or somehow grew another driver on my speakers. Intelligibility is greatly increased and now it's much easier to follow lyrics (which has always been a problem for me). What really gets me is how much more bottom end info I can follow. It used to be just a kind of noise, suggesting something going on down there but now it's just as defined as the rest of the spectrum.

Soundstage seems wider now, all the time, with proper height and weight. It's all upsides so far (except for that nagging urge to get the matching integrated). I'd be remiss for not mentioning the build quality. If you like vaults, tanks, and monoliths, you'll like this. It kind of grows on you (you really have no choice since it dominates the equipment rack). Buttons feel very solid and responsive and the drawer opens and closes very quietly.

With all the trending to PC audio I've found respite in disc spinner heaven with the Marantz. CDs take a great leap up in performance but bad recordings can, and do, sound worse with this player so be prepared to sell off the bad ones. I've only tried 3 SACDs and the step up in presentation is an eye opener. There is a greater sense of everything as long as the recording is good.

Call me a heretic, ban me from the audiophile club. I'll happily take my ball and go home and just listen to the music from now on. I haven't forsaken PC audio but have yet to latch onto it as I feel that it's got some ways to go before everything settles down so spinning discs it is for me.

Ken Ishiwata gets it. Now I do.

All the best,
I never say that I "quit" smoking, only that I haven't smoked in 10 years. I don't think an audiophile can ever say that they've quit upgrading, but hopefully, they can reach a sense of satisfaction by buying good equipment. I wish you several years of contentment with your new player. Really.
Thanks, Chayro.
Yes, I've "quit" smoking many years ago as well so point well taken.

All the best,
I am glad to hear that you love your new player. And than you for the un-audiophile review. Ultimately it is the musical satisfaction that matters than the price of the player. And that player is also a nice DAC. So you are covered on the PC audio side as well :-)
I just had to post that yesterday, somewhere around the 240 hr mark, the sound blossomed. Maybe bloomed. It's beyond words right now but it's almost intoxicating, like I'm drinking one song after the next. Supposedly it gets better up to the 400 mark so I'll be in need of a designated driver for the next two weeks or so. :-)

Oh, I liked the SACD player so much I went and ordered the matching integrated. Call me foolish, call me crazy, but just don't call me if I'm listening.

All the best,
Nonoise, congrats! It's the best when you finally a component that just sounds right to your ears. It really is such a high. Enjoy your new rig and I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts when you get the integrated.
Nonoise, if your seriously considering going with a all in one integrated unit then you should seriously check out the
CODA CSIb built in Sacramento. I have owned CODA gear in the past. Very smooth refined sound with outstanding detail
and transparency. The CSIb peaks at 300 amperes from both channel's.
Thats the highest reserve output I have seen so far from an integrated. Puts out 330 watts into 8ohms and 660 watts into 4ohms. There is currently a used one for sale on Gon for $4300.00 in brand new mint condition. Only has 100 hours of use. Comes with full warranty.
Tboooe, thanks for the pat on the back. I will get back to you after I've had it awhile.

Audiozen, thanks for the advice but the CODA is way out of my price range. I'm sure it sounds great and has all the output one can ask for but my room isn't that big and my speakers are 95db efficient and the Marantz I'm getting is just at the top of my price point (getting both at discount for being demos helped a lot).

If the Marantz comes anywhere near the performance (and from what I've learned, it does, and more) then I'll be one happy camper. Time will tell and I won't get it until the middle of next week so stay tuned for my next favorable outburst. :-)

All the best,
Nonoise..Since your now using the Darwin silver IC's that Andre holds in high regard, I'm considering jumping on the IC silver bandwagon. I'm undecided between Darwin and Cabledyne. Darwin uses a solid core circular wire through a hollow air tube and Cabledyne uses a solid core square wire that also uses an air tube called Hyflon MFA air tubing. Cabledyne uses a non-magnetic outer sheath made of Inconel chromium alloy which blocks out all magnetic interference. Darwin does not have a non-magnetic sheath. Both companies use cryogenic silver. Cabledyne prices are lower. Have you compared both brands?
Audiozen, no I haven't had the pleasure of trying the Cabledyne ICs but I'm really taken by the Darwins.

They seem to follow similar recipes of thin, solid core, cryo'd silver with a mostly air dielectric. The similarity ends with the terminations: Darwin doing away with the bronze barrel part of the termination, just concentrating on the actual connector and Calbedyne uses what appears to be a silver plated, bronze barrel termination. You'd have to pay extra for the Xhadow terminations to do away with the bronze barrel which, I'm told, really degrades the sound no matter how it's plated (or so goes the theory behind Darwins formula and the option to use the Xhadow terminations).

As for the non magnetic sheath, I have encountered no problems that I can detect with any kind of interference. Also, capacitance is 11.70pf and Cabledyne is 20pf, which is supposed to mean something but all I know is the lower the number, the better.

I know this doesn't really help as each cable will sound different in every system but from what I've experienced, I like the Darwins.

All the best,