Review: Marantz DV-8400 CD Player

Category: Digital

I recently picked up the new Marantz DV-8400. I had a Panasonic DMR-E20 DVD recorder as my DVD player, but it had begun making some weird noises recently.

A failing compontent is an chance, nay, a mandate to upgrade to something better. I also have a Wadia 20 as a redbook transport.

The Marantz will play virtually anything round and shiney, and boasts DVI output as well. I took it home and quickly swapped cables.

I popped in a familaiar CD. My initial impression was twofold, great bass definition, especially low bass, but the treble seemed very sterile and flat, lacking any trace of fluidity, even compared to the playback of the Panasonic.

OK, I figured that this was the fault of their output stage, so I ran the digital output into my SN tube DAC. Very strange, even using the 8400 as just a transport the same sound signature persisted.

I hadn't planned to use this for CD's anyway, so I popped in the SACD I bought on the way home. Same sound. At this point I was getting frustrated, and in no frame of mind to play this game. I switched in my burn in CD, and set the player to repeat. I left it for a week, like a bad child in the corner.

Yet another week later I am writing this review, some 400 or so hours of play on the unit, it has softened its sound considerably, and the bass has gotten so deep that it threatens my Wadia. The treble still doesn't sing and float the way the it should, but I have hopes that it will continue to improve.

To wrap it all up:

CD play: Not really good, but I didn't buy it for this

DVD play: best video I have seen to date, great bass on movies

SACD: tremendous definition, but somewhat sterile laid back upper range. Still really good.

Oh, as it comes boxed the DVI output is not activated. You can unlock it with the correct code from the remote, available from the Marantz webpage.

Region free mod on order from I'll review that ASAP

John C.

Associated gear
Canary 808 tube pre, Marchand tube crossover, Cary CAD50 monoblocks, Krell MDA300 monoblocks, Scott-Nixon Tube DAC, Goertz AG2 cables, VD Nite and Silent Source power cables, RGPC 400's
I just upgraded a DV8300 to the 8400 and after doing a A/B comparison with the Denon DV5900 I determined that the Denon excelled in the video arena but the 8400 was better in the bass delivery and a little less "schrill" in the top end than the Denon. I so far have found the 8400 to be more dimensional and producing a wider soundstage image than the 8300. At 1600 Marantz has delivered a fine product with few weaknesses. I still will use my Ikemi for redbook but untill a better all-in-one comes out I am happy with the 8400.
I don't disagree with these conclusions, but want to add that the Marantz's DVD-A playback is quite strong. The Esoteric Dv-50 is much better on CD and SACD, but the differences between the two on DVD-A are not nearly as great.
No mention of the interconnects that you are using anywhere. I would look at the cables between the Marantz and the preamp in that respect. You might also want to try some different power cords on the Marantz. I had very similar impressions with my Philips SACD 1000 and was able to resolve most of them by changing interconnects and power cord. Sean
I'm using all Goertz silver interconnects on everything. These actually have a tendancy to be a little bright and spicy.

The VD Nite and Silent Source power cords are both extremely transparent cords, which in other components have always opened up the dynamic range, but I agree that some components have a synergy for some cords. What cord did you finally end up with?