Marantz SA-7S1 SACD Player

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Marantz SA-7S1 SACD Player
Marantz SA-7S1 SACD Player

Given the cynics’ view of the DVDA/ SACD “format war” I can hear them asking themselves whether this is an SACD player that also plays CD – or a CD player that also happens to play SACD, last nod to a dying format whose protagonists won’t admit defeat? Well guys, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but not only is your original premise wrong but your cynicism is sadly misplaced. This is very much an SACD player, and even if you won’t find Lily Allen or Girls Aloud on the format, SACD releases are going very nicely thank you. But what’s really nice about the SA-7S1 is that it takes CD replay just as seriously. Clear high-end aspirations and a dedicated two-channel topology make this an audiophile player for all seasons – or should that be reasons?

Of course, Marantz started life as one of the founding fathers of the high-end, a fact reflected in the nomenclature of this latest range, the SA-7’s matching amps echoing the designations of the legendary Model 7 pre-amp and Model 9 mono-blocs. The brand might be solidly mainstream these days, but it has always maintained its membership of the high-end community, underlined by occasional forays into the likes of Class A amplification and more recently, serious disc players like the two-box CD-7.

When major Japanese companies decide to do “high-end” the results tend to divide between the laughable and the truly scary – at least as far as the established high-end boutique brands go. The combination of sheer numbers and a serious development budget can create a technological and constructional package that even the most respected specialist manufacturers can only dream about. Just witness TEAC’s Esoteric line if you want to see genuine cost no object engineering – with performance to match. Well, this Marantz is cast from a similar mould, albeit cut from slightly less extravagant cloth. The flagship SA-7S1 tops out the company’s range at a price of £5000, the same point at which the Esoterics start. But, as Marantz are keen to point out, competing players that match the SA-7’s sophistication are generally far more expensive…

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