Marantz SA-11S2 Stereo CD Player
Despite its relatively modest price, the SA-11S2 features a silky-smooth aluminum SACDM-1 transport designed and built by Marantz, a fully balanced analog audio stage utilizing Marantz's HDAM SA2 amplification modules, a pair of "high-accuracy" Seiko NPC monophonic SM5866A5 Super Audio D/A converters, Marantz's phase-error-compensation PEC777f2 digital filter, a "high precision" quartz clock with linear voltage regulation, and a copper-shielded toroidal transformer. Rounding out an attractive-looking package that looks and feels as if it costs far more than the asking price are a copper-plated chassis with a double-layered bottom, a heavy, vibration-resistant top plate, and a thick, attractively sculpted front panel.
The SA-11S2 has three selectable digital filters, as well as a selectable Noise Shaper, DC filter (with a corner frequency of 1.7Hz), and Phase Inversion (Polarity). The filters differ in how they manage the trade-off between ultrasonic rolloff and timing precision. They also differ in how they manage CD and SACD playback. Filter 1 in both cases is the most traditional; for CDs it provides linear-phase behavior and a sharp rolloff above 20kHz; for SACDs, it provides the widest ultrasonic bandwidth. Filter 2 results in an asymmetrical impulse response with CDs, with the bulk of the energy occurring after the impulse, which is more like an analog system; with SACDs, it provides a sharper rolloff above 100kHz and is optimized for resolution. Filter 3 rolls off the CD's top octave in favor of a shorter impulse response; for SACDs it balances resolution against time-domain performance.
The Marantz player is unusual, particularly at this price, in that it can accept an external master clock running at 44.1kHz, 88.2kHz, or 176.4kHz; this is via a BNC input on the rear panel, which also has balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs and coaxial and TosLink digital outputs.
- stereo playback for SACDs, audio CDs, CD-Rs and CD-RWs
- SACD Text
- NPC multi-system (DSD/PCM) digital-to-analog converter
- aluminum disc mechanism
- fully balanced audio output stage with HDAM® SA2
- selectable digital filters for fine-tuning sound
- phase delay correction circuitry
- digital phase inversion for balanced output
- high-precision quartz clock with linear voltage regulation
- oversized toroidal power transformer with copper-shielded case
- copper-plated chassis with double-layered bottom plate
- solid aluminum top cover
- stereo RCA and balanced 3-pin XLR outputs
- optical and coaxial digital outputs for CD
- external clock input
- SACD specs:
- signal-to-noise ratio: 112 dB
- dynamic range: 114 dB
- CD specs:
- signal-to-noise ratio: 115 dB
- dynamic range: 100 dB
- remote control
- detachable power cord
- weight: 36.4 lbs
- 17-9/16"W x 4-15/16"H x 17-3/4"D
Using the SA-11S2 was a pleasure. The LCD display is of generous size, the front-panel button layout is efficient, the disc drawer functions with Teflon smoothness, and the full-function remote control is ergonomically efficient (though not backlit).
Fearless, dynamic performance
The Marantz gives voices plenty of verve and expression, and unites the frequency range cleanly. Prokofiev's vigorous dynamic shifts are handled without alarms, the orchestra occupies a large and convincing soundstage, and the overall tonality of horns, strings and crashing percussion is admirably judged.
A switch to SACD brings gains in the already-impressive levels of drive and attack, as well improved detail retrieval. The format may be moribund, but there's no doubting its audio credentials.
What problems the Marantz has lurk at the bottom end. Low frequencies lack ultimate definition, and the relatively vague entry into and exit from bass notes can cause tempos to plod a little – low-end stuff could be a little more textured, too.
But if it's a grown-up, considered and mildly tempestuous sound you're after, cock an ear this way.
It doesn’t matter if you’re playing redbook CDs or SACDs, the SA-11S2 sounds very nice. It has a warm sound with more than adequate detail. In many ways, it reminded me of the sound of Marantz’s original SA-1 SACD player, which is a generally warm, but still detailed, and transparent presentation; simply put, a beautiful-sounding source. For the SA-11S2, the sound was also solid, full-bodied, with well-textured images on a relatively compact and cohesive soundstage. Initial attack seemed a bit soft and decay was there but a little hidden in the warm tonal balance. Still, the SA-11S2 has a very inviting sound that draws you into the music better than most digital sources at the price range and delivers much of the emotion of the performance.
Treble and Midrange
The midrange of the Marantz SA-11S2 was simply beautiful. There is no doubt about it in my mind that this is a sound that a lot of people mean when they say a digital source has an analogue sound. Still, there will be some who will want more, inner detail, transparency, and PRaT.
This beautiful midrange is very smooth. The foundation for this sound is provided by the rich, harmonic mid-bass. It allowed the sound to be fairly detailed, yet still warm and seductive-sounding at the same time. It’s this combination that many will find quite intoxicating. Whether it’s more beautiful than the real thing is a much more difficult question. Voices sounded natural and very realistic, if not quite as right in the room with you as they do with the most transparent sources. The top-end was also very beautiful. It was well extended and silky smooth.
he bass was very impressive with the solidity and power. It provides a foundation in the bass and mid-bass that gives recorded music substance, and a powerful drive that lends a lifelike quality to the recordings. The bass sounds big and powerful, but it is always well integrated with the music. The weight of the bass was very natural; just listen to the sound of a live upright bass or the bass on a really good piano recording.
Soundstage and Imaging
I found the imaging very realistic and never detracting from the music, but for those who find imaging to be one of the most important parts of sound reproduction, they may want a little more precise imaging. The same could be said of the SA-11S2’s soundstaging ability. It is very coherent and more than adequate to recreate a live event, but again there will be those who want to hear things way outside the speakers or way behind the speakers. I do not find this a fault, but some will.
Buy Marantz SA-11S2 Stereo CD Player Jamsticks along with other collection of Floorstanding Speakers, Bookshelf Speakers, Amplifiers & Subwoofers
All eligible company warranty and service support is being provided on Marantz SA-11S2 Stereo CD Player