The Marantz SA8400 is a very good SACD player in its price range. When playback SACD disc, this player has a smooth, natural and realistic sound. You will find it sounds less digital but more like analog. e.g. When playback Jazz music, the saxophone sometimes sounded harsh on the CD layer, but if you play the SACD layer, the saxophone will sound more natural and smooth, not harsh at all. When listen to CD, I will get tired after a couple hours. But when I listen to SACD, this player will make you relax and enjoy the music. For SACD playback, I am also totally satisfied with its smoothness, texture, details, and imaging. However the CD playback performance is not as good.
There is a more detailed review of the SA8400 by Home Cinema Choice. The SA8260 (a multi-channel version of SA8400) is rated class A in Stereophile Magazine's recommended components 2005 (April issue, 2005). The SA8400 is also rated best buy #2 in its class in the Japan's Stereo Sound Magazine (issue 149).
Since there are not many SA8400 photos on the web so I post some here :
At the back, there is a switch to choose to use standard or custome filter. Set the switch to standard will set the cut off at 20kHz. Set it to custom allow the frequency cut off at 50kHz. After listening comparision, the custome setting sounds smoother and more air.
On the main board you can clearly see each section is labeled. (Audio Supply, Digital Supply, DAC, LPF, HDAM, Current Amp, etc). Some components are shielded by copper box to block interference. The DAC chip is CS4397, located at the back of the main PCB. A lot of ELNA high grade audio capacitors are used.
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