We are delighted to announce we are one of the 10 selected dealers in the UK to have the latest Marantz 10 Series on demo. The pinnacle of Marantz's range, with over 70 years of design knowledge, the PM-10 and SA-10 are superb reference products.
The Premium 10 series, comprising the SA-10 SACD/CD player/DAC and PM-10 amplifier, features
groundbreaking Marantz audio technology designed to deliver the best possible sound from highresolution
audio formats and CD alike.
Marantz SA-10: the biggest advance in digital audio since the CD
The idea for the Marantz SA-10 was simple: build the best disc player/DAC the company has ever made. And that meant going back to basics in every area, from the disc transport itself to the way the digital signals are processed, as well as ensuring the design was entirely future-proof by providing an asynchronous USB-B input for the connection of a computer.
To play SACD, CD, DVD-R/RW and CD-R/RW discs, the Marantz team avoided the usual route taken in players of this kind, using an ‘off-the-shelf’ DVD-ROM drive of the kind commonly found in computers. Instead, and in their quest for ultimate sound quality, they built their own: the new SACD-M3, the latest in an acclaimed range of disc mechanisms built for Marantz players, is unique to the SA-10, and can play not just CDs and SACDs, but also high-resolution audio stored on either CD or DVD recordable media.
Marantz Brand Ambassador Ken Ishiwata explains that ‘From the time of CD players the transport was one of our strengths, and with SACD it’s the same. Of course doing things this way is expensive, but if we want something special we have to do it. And besides, there aren’t many SACD mechanisms available today.
‘However, there really is no way of making this kind of mechanism cheaply, so it’s limited to our top-of-the-range model.’
The digital-to-analogue conversion process, available to both discs and external sources connected to the player’s digital inputs – which include asynchronous USB for the connection of a computer –, is equally painstaking and innovative. Rather than down-converting ultra-high-resolution files to suit a conventional digital to analogue converter, as happens in some rival designs, the SA-10 upconverts everything to DSD256, in a process known as Marantz Musical Mastering – Conversion.
Two dedicated master clocks are used to ensure all digital signals are upsampled directly to DSD 256 – or four times the SACD standard – without any need for sample rate conversion, and there’s a choice of two filter settings to allow the listener to shape the sound.
But why do this? Well, the other half of the Marantz Musical Mastering package – MMM-Stream – is what prepares this DSD256 signal for analogue output to an amplifier. Based on technology going all the way back to early days of Bitstream conversion, this enables an ultra-simple conversion process.
Senior Electronics Engineer Rainer Finck has been working on Marantz Reference CD players for two decades, and was central to the SA-10 project: he says that, ‘As I was one of the Philips engineers way back in the late 80s, and worked on the company’s Bitstream converters – the last one was the DAC-7 – we could draw on all this knowledge to build our own bitstream converter for the SA-10.’
The output from the MMM-Conversion process is, in effect, already an analogue signal, being a very high-frequency stream of single pulses. With all the hard digital work done, this stream needs nothing more than a very high-quality low-pass filter to deliver the purest possible analogue audio output. For all its apparent complexity, this is actually a very simple, very elegant solution to digital processing – and it’s unique to the Marantz SA-10. That’s why we say it’s the first player/USB converter without a DAC – it doesn’t need one!