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Going for gold – Marantz unveils the SA-7S1 CD player

test 18 May 2007

A week after establishing a new division to serve the AV and CI markets, Marantz has unveiled what is described as its most refined CD player to date, the SA-7S1. Featuring a tank-like metal chassis, implementing state-of-the-art engineering, and using the finest materials to an unprecedented level of craftsmanship, the SA-7S1 is, according to the company, worth its colossal 22kg weight in audio gold.

Following in the footsteps of the SA-1 (1999-2002), the SA-7S1 is claimed to deliver a sound so pure it redefines compact disc’s audio capabilities.

The full-metal chassis employs a double-layer bottom plate and substantial shock-absorbing feet to virtually eliminate sound-degrading vibration. The case is even completely copper-plated to guard against electrical interference, and thanks to unique engineering no screws are visible. The result is a model delivering clean, minimalist lines to match its pure sound.

The attention to detail continues with the copper shielding of all key internal components, a segmented power supply that includes a high-capacity Super Ring toroidal transformer entirely shielded by an aluminium shorting ring and a copper-plated case. There is also rectification by Shottky barrier diodes, oversized storage capacitors custom made to exacting Marantz specifications, and a low-noise LCD display that can be turned off.

Even the disc drawer on the SA-7S1 is special: the mechanism sits in a 10mm case of extruded aluminium while the die-cast metal tray uses micro precision metals to guarantee the best and cleanest data read-out. The tray is coated with a non-reflecting material to prevent light reflection, which can trouble the laser. And thanks to the rock-solid build there’s no chance of vibration influence: only a supreme, pure digital signal will feed the digital filters and the D/A converters.

These converters take in a pair of mono DACs – each comprising four separate processors – for both DSD and 24-bit PCM audio playback. The DACs work in tandem with Marantz’s latest HDAMs – High Definition Amplifier Modules. These Marantz-designed devices, placed at I/V and low pass filter sections, replace the single chip, ‘off-the-shelf’ Op-Amps many other manufacturers use. The output buffer amps are HDAM-SA2 modules chosen for their outstanding speed and timbral accuracy.

To achieve the best possible sonic performance, circuit topology is short, direct and fully balanced dual-differential, to provide superb stereo image by ensuring symmetry between the right and left channels.

Unique to Marantz, is the CD player’s full and complete separation of digital and analogue sections. This not only separates the digital and analogue power supplies, but also divides them at ground level. The outcome is an analogue signal totally free from digital interference.

Completing the SA-7S1 package is its superior digital filtering option. The standard filter used in normal CD players has a very high attenuation, but is slow in the reaction to the signal. In filter One mode Marantz offers a symmetrical filter with a short pre and after ringing. It’s fast in reaction, good in attenuation and has no phase shift in the higher frequencies.

Filter Two mode delivers is a slight phase-shifting in higher frequencies, making this selection sound ‘analogue’. Filter Three is very fast and offers a high dynamic and high resolution, at the same time slightly attenuating the higher frequencies.

The SA-7S1 will be available from June 2007.

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