Marantz SA-7S1 Vs Cary 306 and Esoteric X-03SE

Is there anyone that has Auditioned or currently owns the new Marantz SA-7S1 SACD Player? Can anyone tell us how does it compare to the Cary Audio 306 SACD player or the Esoteric X-03.


I recently bought the Marantz after owning a SONY SCD-1. The Marantz is in a different league. If you get to listen to one make sure it is well broken in as the sound changes quite dramatically after the first two weeks of use. It really is a first class component. Talk to PhillyB he has owned all three you are asking about and he currently owns the Marantz. He has very good knowledge of all three. Good luck!
I own the Marantz SA-7S1, and couldn't be happier. It's a player that will be easy to live with for a long time to come. As it has broken in it has disappeared from the system, and what is left is lovely, warm, rich music that floats in the front of the room. There's no sense at all of a player producing music, or calling attention to itself or any particular aspect of the music. This might sound almost boring, but for the fact that the resolution is so good. I hear new things in my recordings every day, but not in that hi-fi way. It's just there effortlessly (a clear finger snap off to the right in the background you never noticed before, in it's own space, complete with reverb) without being in your face. The adjustable filters are actually useful, and vary the sound very subtly but perceptibly, making it more or less detailed (more attention to detail, less continuous overall). If your system is fat and syrupy and you need something bright and hyper-detailed to cut through the haze this CDP might be a bad choice, otherwise it's a sweet player.

From what I've read, the Cary might have better bass. I stayed away from it due to bad quality in past (I believe it was not their fault, they sourced an unreliable drive unit from Philips, but Marantz uses their own drive which seems better built). I've read that the Esoteric is more in the hyper-detailed camp, and I wanted smoothness as my top priority.
I owned them all and they are were sold. The Marantz SA7-S1 is till in my system after 2 years.
If I had the dough, the Marantz would be my first choice. Purely based on user feed back and reviews of these 3 units. Here is a comparison between the Marantz and Cary:
I wish Marantz players had HDCD decoding capability.
I envy you guys!!