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Marantz SA-11S1 SACD player




The Marantz SA-11S1 is a very good SACD player, I have compared it with my Marantz SA8400 SACD player and the SA-11S1 has the following major improvements :

  • Better musical instruments separation, deeper sound stage and more pin point stereo imaging, you can easily locate different instruments in an orchestra.
  • More details and texture
  • Deeper and more punchy bass
  • Much improved Redbook CD playback performance, however the SA11 is really excel in SACD playback

 

The Marantz SA-11S1 received good reviews, below are the review links:

 

 

 

My Marantz SA11 photo gallery:

 

The back panel of the SA11 is copper plated.

The inside of the Marantz SA11, you can see a clean layout with copper plated chassis. The SA11 feels heavy and very solidly built.

The transformer is copper shielded.

A nice looking CD transport with stabilizer plate.

Analog output section

Digital coaxial and optical output section. The circuit is shielded by a copper box.

Analog audio power supply section

Digital power supply section

Main audio board, from right to left :

  • Audio DSP

  • NPC SM5866AS DAC

  • HDAM I/V converter

  • HDAM LPF

  • HDAM Buffer Amp.

  • Balanced and unbalanced output

2 NPC SM5866AS DAC chips are used, one per channel.

You can select several audio options via the remote control, this allow you to fine tune the sound characteristics you prefer:

  • Noise Shaper (CD only)

    • Noise shaping is a type of digital feedback used in the algorithms for oversampling. This digital feedback enables improved linearity for low levels (-70 to -90 dB) and better noise characteristics in the audible band.
  • DC Filter (CD only)

    • The DC filter is effective when the speakers vibrate abnormally for discs with recorded audio having extremely low noise characteristics. (The cutoff frequency is set to 1.7Hz.)
  • CD Filters

    • Filter 1 - This is an original filter using short FIR with asymmetric preecho and postecho in the impulse response. The analog characteristics exhibit slow roll-off. This creates a sound venue with richness, smoothness, and depth consistent with the image of analog record performances.
    • Filter 2 - This is a filter without preecho or postecho in the impulse response. It is a special short coefficient FIR filter which gives priority to fs (original sample data). With analog characteristics, it acts as a slow roll-off filter to improve sound quality by faithfully reproducing music signals from deep bass to midrange.
    • Filter 3 - This is a long coefficient FIR filter with symmetric preecho and postecho in the impulse response. With analog characteristics, it acts as a standard sharp roll-off filter. It copies the SAA7220PB coefficient of 4fs operation that Marantz adopted in the past with the CD-94, CD-95, CD-95SE and others as a referential digital filter for audio CD, but then boosts operation 8-fold.
  • SACD Filters

    • Filter 1 - This is a direct mode that does not perform any filtering on the DSD data. The original source data is reproduced without any alteration.
    • Filter 2 - This filter attenuates sections of the DSD data that exceed 100kHz. In the DAC, operation is also asymmetric for giving priority to DAC resolution and raising the multilevel performance to approximately 40 levels.
    • Filter 3 - This filter attenuates sections of the DSD data that exceed 100kHz. In the DAC, it provides fully symmetric operation for 23 levels.

To get a better understanding about the CD filter options, I did some measurement using my EMU sound card. I created an audio CD with white noise, which should give a flat frequency spectrum within the audio range. Then I play it back from the SA-11 using different CD filter settings, and record the output using the Adobe Audition software. After the sound is recorded, I do a FFT spectrum analysis :

From the above plot, you can see Filter 2 is a very gentle filter, while Filter 3 is a "brick wall" filter. Filter 1 is somewhat in between. I have came across a thread in Audioasylum that someone has used a oscilloscope to capture the output wave form of a 1kHz Square wave and a 20kHz sine wave of the 3 filters :

There is a trade off for using different filter slope. A steeper filter give a flatter in-band frequency response, but it gives more "ringing" or "Time smear" to an impulse. A gentle slope filter give better impulse response (i.e. less "ringing"), but there are frequency roll off near the top end of the in-band frequency.

 

There are people suggested that a gentle slope FIR filter would give better soundstage imaging and a smoother high frequency sound. I tend to agree with that after listened to all 3 filters.

The blue ambient light grow nicely when your dim your room light.

 

 

 

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