Wow, I sure can stimulate discussion...
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Winoguy, I can't contribute this thread with anything straight on-topic (never heard the SC-11S1), but I can say that another similar topic I've started (concerning bigger Marantz preamp SC-7S2) remains without any input so far (three days).
It seems that Marantz preamps don't exist too much in listening rooms out there...
Btw, SC-11S1 looks truly sturdy device, based on net pictures of course. Power supply seems to be excelent - two shielded toroidals (even not for dual mono but one for digital and another for analog section) and higher quality parts everywhere. Aesthetics is first rate, 16 kilos net weight smells pretty convincing etc.
Something that bother me is the inverted plarity of XLR connections... Entire Marantz Premium Series (integrades, preamps, power amps, CDPs) use an awkward pattern: pin 1 is ground (OK), pin 2 is "cold" (inverse to standard - usually pin 2 is "hot") and pin 3 is "hot" (usually pin 3 is "cold"). This aberation is clearly declared in their user guides... That means altogether that those components should be carefully connected via XLR to another brand components, since major part of other manufacturers uses the standatd pattern (2 "hot" and 3 "cold").
Well, this is easy to resolve with suitable (awkward) XLR interconnect, diy of course.
So far,I'm impressed. It isnt broken in yet, but i'm really impressed with the amount of fine detail it presents. It does not sound "solid state", tho it is a little "drier" than my tube pre. The soundstage is not as wide,but again, it is still breaking in. The unit is gorgeous to look at and built like the proverbial brick shit house! It seems "quicker " than my other pre, and really does a great job of presenting the leading edge of sounds and separating instruments without being cold or clinical. In a nut shell, I am quite impressed so far,and having been using tube pre's the last 20 years, I must admit that I am surprised by what I have heard so far. I' will update in the future if you would like.
Twang, the phono stage is excellent. At least the MM section that I am using is,have not tried the MC. This was not a mere add- on,it is quiet, fast and dynamic. On the new Neil Young re-issue there is a drum stroke in one song (cant remember offhand which song,only played it once so far)that literally made me jump up in my seat,sounded like it was right in front of me. An APO pressing of Count Basie had everyone in the house swinging, my son even came out of his room to check out the album and sat down and listened intently for awhile before remarking how "cool" it was. I am very happy with this pre so far.
Zear, I no longer own it. Though I still think it is an excellnt pre amp, after a year and a half with it I found it lacking the tube magic I had become accustomed to for the prior 20 years, so I sold it and went back to a tubed pre. The phono section in the Marantz I found to be excellent, and the unit as a whole was clean, fast and dead quiet.I could live with it happily if need be, but I guess that I will always prefer a tubed unit.
I have had a fondness for Marantz equipment in the past---and had essentially lusted after the build quality and appearance of these newer components---And of course I do realize that one can get caught up in the "lust" factor.. and that should not be the primary reason . I almost bought one and was reconsidering yet again due to one coming up for sale currently. The following message is what I received from Jena Labs owner--- and can't remember her name at the moment.
"If you have a real balanced source in correct polarity and a real balanced power amp. the preamp in stock condition will simply pass the signal thru, regardless of the being in or out of absolute polarity.
The problem arises when you have a single ended RCA in, and want to use balanced XLR out. In stock condition, a POSITIVE going waveform on an RCA input will produce a NEGATIVE going output waveform on pin 2 of the XLR, which is an inversion.
The other problem is when using an XLR input, and single ended RCA output, where a positive going wave on Pin 2 input will result in a NEGATIVE going signal on the RCA center.
Moving, exchanging the position, of the wires on Pins 2 and 3 on both the input and the output XLRs corrects the problem.
There is also a problem with Marantz source equipment, SACD'CD players and DACs where a positive going digital command will create a negative going wave on Pin 2 of the XLR out, also an inversion. RCA is correct with a POSITIVE on the center pin.
If using RCA to RCA in the Marantz preamp, or from a Marantz digital source, the polarity is fine in stock form. It is ONLY the balanced XLR connections that are inverted.
Non of this is to be confused with the fact that some equipment will invert polarity, due to the nature of the circuits involved, and wanting to minimize complexity by not running yet another stage to re-invert the inverted signal, which would result in a non-inverted throughput. Single gain-stage tube pre-amps are typical examples of inverting components.
I do not recall the exact date the USA joined the world standard, but was long ago. In 1969 I met a sound engineer here in Portland Oregon that was still doing conversion work in theaters and arena sound systems, usually only when a component needed service or replacement and he was there performing other work. "
Apparently , I lost a part of the message as the owner of Jena Labs told me that she contacted Marantz about this but nothing came of it. They had no interest.