Marantz SA7S1

I just read the review in absolute sound and must say it is totally uninformative as to how the player sounds. I did see the full page ad Marantz took out a few pages earlier, so I am guessing the vague "this is a great player" review is why we saw that. With that said, does anyone have real world experience and comparisons of this player or is it just a 50 pound expensive enigma?
FYI, there is another review in Positive Feedback online in the current "issue". It was a positive review, though the reviewer showed a preference for modded players. You would think with a statement product the companies would do it right the first time, but I know there are others who will readily disagree. So be it!
My friend and I both own one. It beat out the SONY SCD-1, Accuphase 77, Mac201, Esoteric XO-3, Cary 306, Krell SACD, Ayre, and Levinson seperates that we compared it to. It has great tonal balance, a wide and deep soundstage; an extended yet sweet top end and the best vocal reproduction that I have heard. Make sure you hear one that is well broken in as it changes quite a bit in the first few weeks.
Thank you for your replies!
Hi, I'm the author of the new Positive Feedback review. I think you will find it more descriptive of the sound.

My experience is limited to a lot of the better Sony models of the past several years (333ES, 555ES, XA9000ES), and I've had them all modified. I've also owned a stock Krell SACD Standard which frankly underwhelmed me.

I do not have experience with any of the better current stock models like the better Esoterics, etc. But I am convinced of the efficacy of aftermarket modifications having heard the before and after now 3 times over.

I bought the Marantz with the specific intent of having it modified before I had even heard it, as it is an excellent platform for tweaking (great transport, excellent digital section). This is not necessarily to assert the stock unit is "wrong" or "bad"-- far from it (please see the review).

I've had enough players modified that I am well familiar now with these mods do, and I really appreciate the difference. IMO, it's the least expensive way to get the best sound out of digital.

The stock player is a real winner, but I can't compare it to any similarly priced players so I can't tell you exactly where it stands in that regard. It compares quite well indeed against my heavily modified Sony XA9000ES (not a "cheap" stock player to begin with). But there were areas I thought could be improved with mods, so I sent it off. I wouldn't have bothered throwing good money after bad if the stock player hadn't pretty much knocked my socks off. I fully expect the modified player to mop the floor with my Sony, but that remains to be seen.

My review of the modified SA-7S1 will follow on Positive Feedback in the future.

If anyone here is considering buying this player, I suggest you contact Underwood Hi-Fi. I would not hesitate to do busines with Walter again, he's a bona-fide authorized dealer, and I think you will be quite pleased with the price he offers, too.
For me it's down to the Ayre C5xe and the new Marantz. I've heard the Ayre and generally liked what it does compared to a Linn Unidisk (although the Ayre could sound a tad thin in the mid-bass region, I appreciated the detail and natural portrayal). I own a Marantz SA-11s1. It's a decent player, but frankly I am looking for more.

I'm wondering whether the SA-7 is the substantial leap forward that the few reviews out there suggest, especially compared to the Ayre. They are essentially the same price. Enough so to buy it without audition?
Has anyone compared it to the Marantz SA-11? I own the SA-11 and was wondering what the extra $3000 buys you in terms of sound. Sometimes $3000 buys you a lot and sometimes it doesn't. Also, did anyone else notice the picture in the TAS review is not of the player but of a Marantz preamp?
The Absolute Sound article was totally worthless, as Tpk123 stated. The multiple filter settings that were the focus of the "review" are old hat for Marantz (same as SA-11) and barely warrant a side note. It was as if an article needed to be published to warrant the Marantz ad that refers to "the review in this issue" - I suspect its a clever move by Marantz - we'll pay you for the ad if you run a blurb on our player (no matter how shallow). The incorrect photo of the pre-amp (SC-7 I believe) supports that this was a total rush job to get something in print at the last moment.

If the SA-7 is simply a modest improvement over the SA-11, it's not worth it for me. A comparison review would be great!
The PF review is also just about worthless IMO. The reviewer did not reference any of the specific recordings he used in his "review" and all the listening was done via headphones. The evaluation was focused on how the Marantz compared to the modded Sony and not how the player reproduces real acoustic instruments. The review did not help me at all understand if this Marantz is a good player. Please read it for yourself and see what you think.

Just for clarity, could you be more specific on how the Marantz compared with the Ayre? Was it the C-5xe?

Thank you!
Yes. The Ayre was good, but not in the Marantz's league.