In the escalating product race between Denon and Marantz, both companies have introduced a range of high-grade disc players and amplifiers that have helped to push the boundaries of what’s commonly referred to as ‘state-of-the-art’ in the world of hi-fi.
The Marantz SA-7S1 is an excellent example of this. It’s a stereo-only model and is Marantz’ best CD/SACD player to date, from a range so far known as the Legendary Series.
It’s not a rehash of anything that came before either, and that includes its spiritual predecessor, the mighty SA1, which sold for around the same price, until it was discontinued in 2002, leaving a top-end gap. The external casework and general presentation owes much to the more recent CD-7, but with subtle changes. It has many of the same trademark features, including a copper-plated chassis and an unusually solid, low-resonance dual-layer base.
The mechanism is a new in-house design based on a disc tray fabricated from 10mm thick solid aluminium to reduce resonant behaviour and to inhibit internal noise radiation. Where other players use opto-couplers to provide ground plane separation between different functional areas of the circuit, the SA-7S1 uses digital isolators using Giant Magneto Resistive materials from Swiss company IsoLoop.
A key piece of the internal digital clockwork is the PEC777f2, which performs multiple roles, acting as a digital filter, DC filter, noise shaper and eight times oversampler.