Marantz SACD 30n Review
Marantz has officially launched the SACD 30n network player recently. The design has been completely refurbished, allowing Japanese models to have a higher level of soft texture. In addition to SACD/CD reading, it also has network streaming, USB digital input, and a digital-analogue decoding circuit. It is a fully corresponding modern digital player that can satisfy audiophiles.
Marantz released the first CD player CD-63 in 1982 and has since continued to innovate to improve sound quality. The core of SACD 30n is the innovative disc reading and the transport mechanism “SACD M-3L”, which was developed to read SACD/ CD and restored the music as accurately as possible. It can play CDs and SACDs with excellent sound quality and high resolution.
You can also turn off the mechanism to prevent noise and interference when the record is not playing. Marantz SACD 30n also has HEOS and supports online music streaming services, such as Amazon Music HD, AWA, Spotify, and SoundCloud online music services.
SACD 30n looks like a traditional SACD/CD turntable. In fact, it is an all-round digital player. Not only can it be wired/wireless connections, but it can also be output with variable gain. With SACD 30n, you only need a power amplifier and speaker or directly connect an active speaker. You can build a simple and nice audio system with it.
Let us first look at the appearance. Most of the traditional Marantz machines are champagne gold. By SACD 30n, the champagne gold has a lighter colour and looks more elegant. The central floating panel has a circular window, which retains the traditional Marantz design style. The wavy carved decorative panel at the rear and the LED atmosphere lights on both sides look beautiful.
In recent years, a high-end company like to add the atmosphere light design. Marantz has also caught up with this wave of luxury fashion trends. SACD 30n looks both elegant and modern.
Exclusive SACDM-3L Transport Mechanism
Inside the luxurious case of SACD 30n, there is a powerful digital music processing centre. Equipped with the SACDM-3L device developed and produced by Marantz, it can read SACD and CD and be compatible with CD-R and RW.
What does it mean? It means that you can burn Hi-Res digital music files with your computer, compose your own exclusive Hi-Res music album, and play it with SACD 30n. Also, when you do not use the SACDM-3L transport mechanism, change to digital streaming or only use the DAC, the transport mechanism’s power supply will be automatically turned off to prevent excess power supply noise from affecting the DAC operation.
Marantz Musical Mastering
If you don’t listen to SACD 30n as a traditional SACD/CD, you can use it as a DAC or digital streaming music centre. MarantzSACD 30n has two optical fibre and one coaxial S/PDIF input, plus a USB-B non-synchronized input terminal, and can also use RJ 45 network cable input. Regardless of whether it is connected to a turntable, a computer or a network, SACD 30n will do everything.
The DAC part of SACD 30n is quite powerful. Most digital decoding uses off-the-shelf DAC chips. Everyone has higher specifications or newer chips, but SACD 30n is not so simple.
It is equipped with an independently designed Marantz Musical Mastering (MMM) digital converter. The S/PDIF input can support up to 24 bit/192 kHz, and the USB input can support up to 32 bit/384 kHz PCM and the highest DSD 11.2 MHz. MMM is not a commercially available DAC chip but a digital conversion module developed by Marantz.
11.2 MHz DSD Decoding
MMM supports PCM and DSD at the same time, and the specifications have reached the current highest level. It consists of two parts, namely MMM-Stream and MMM-Conversion. MMM-Stream is digital signal sampling and upscaling. Regardless of whether the input music signal is PCM or DXD, all are resampled and upscaled to 11.2 MHz DSD signals and then handed over to MMM-Conversion for decoding.
MMM-Stream is not a traditional over-sampling module but a MMM up-sampling filter developed by Marantz. It uses two correction clocks to accurately up-scale and uses dual 32-bit floating-point arithmetic DSP processing instead of general single-chip up-scaling. It was then handed over to MMM-Conversion for decoding, converted into analogue music signals, and amplified by Marantz’s exclusive HDAM.
HDAM is a super dynamic amplifier module developed by Marantz for many years. Abandoning the common OP amplifier, Marantz builds its differential amplifier circuit and encapsulates it in a module. In the SACD 30n, MMM is equipped with HDAM and HDAM SA3.
The headphone amplifier uses an independent HDAM SA2 module. For users who play audio and headphones simultaneously, having SACD 30n is equivalent to having an extra dedicated headphone amplifier.
If MMM digital conversion is the brain of SACD 30n, then the hand that grabs music depends on HEOS integration. You can download the HEOS App. As long as it is set in the same local network, HEOS will automatically find SACD 30n.
How many ways are there to listen to digital streaming? Using the mobile phone’s Bluetooth connection, no problem. It also supports the latest Airplay 2, Amazon Prime Music, Pandora, and Spotify. Internet radio Tune In is also preset in HEOS, and then it is your local network NAS. HEOS will find it automatically.
Even the USB connection can be retrieved through HEOS. You can also switch the input of SACD 30n. In other words, HEOS is simply SACD 30n’s all-around remote control app.
And if you don’t even want to press the App remote control but only want to use voice input, SACD 30n is no problem. Which voice assistant do you want to use? Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple Siri? SACD 30n has excellent powers and supports from the three.
I believe that many users love to play digital streaming and are familiar with Roon. SACD 30n is also certified and can directly support Roon.
Because the functions of SACD 30n are too rich, the HEOS App is the most convenient to operate. But if you are an old-school audiophile, you have more opportunities to use SACD and CD. The traditional remote control is still better, but if you listen to NAS or digital streaming subscription Music service, then HEOS App remote control will be more convenient.
Marantz Sound Master
Next, I want to talk about the detailed tuning of SACD 30n. From Saul Marantz‘s establishment to Ken Ishiwata, the master-level tuning has always been a feature that Marantz emphasized.
However, in 2019, Ken Ishiwata passed away, and the master fell. Marantz switched to the team of Marantz Music Master to replace the heroism of the past. Although Yoshinori Ogata leads the current team, Marantz did not create a new tuning master but emphasized the exquisite work done by the Marantz sound master.
How to make fine-tuning? Start with customized electronic parts. For example, in the SACDM-3L transport mechanism, the filter capacitor is chosen from Elna, Japan. The customized MELF (Metal Electrode Leadless Face) leadless resistor, with a 44.1 kHz/ 48 kHz independent dual-correction clock, are also carefully selected. How to choose these electronic components? They all rely on Marantz sound masters to compare and listen to the decisions one by one and create the classic Marantz voice.
Two-stage Digital Filtering
Marantz SACD 30n also has an important function. That is, the digital filter can be switched. You can find the filter setting in the Audio option of the setting menu. Only Filter 1 and Filter 2 can be switched. The sound field of the first is broader and far-reaching, and the sound field of the second is closer, and the sound field is slightly narrower.
When listening to female voices or pop music, I like the setting of Filter 2, which sounds more intimate. When listening to classical music, I like the sound of Filter 1, which can make the sound field more open and let the speakers disappear into space naturally, showing a broad momentum.
Works well with Wilson Audio and Dynaudio Speaker
SACD 30n with Model 30 integrated amplifier is a perfect combination. Still, SACD 30n has two analogue outputs. One is fixed output, the other is variable volume output, which means SACD 30n can be used as a preamplifier. When I listen, I use Wilson Audio Alexia 2 and Dynaudio Contour 60 speaker to test the 30n’s performance.
The sound of SACD 30n is pure and transparent, sweet, and pleasantly soft and smooth. When I paired it with Wilson Audio Alexia 2, it showed a comfortable and audible sound. The sound is not tight, not overly stimulating, and pulls out beautiful and comfortable music lines. It is also a gentle and soft music line, and it is comfortable and not excessive. The stimulating tone, the high-frequency ending rhyme has a warm colour, you can hear the details in a low voice, and you are not afraid of losing control when you listen to it loud.
The sweet sound of SACD 30n begins with Lyn Stanley’s “London With A Twist: Live At Bernie’s” SACD. That is Lyn Stanley’s live recording at Bernie Grundman Studio in the United States in January 2019.
Listening to the jazz classic “Route 66”, Lyn Stanley’s unique voice charm, coupled with free and casual jazz singing, even if it is a jazz standard song, Lyn Stanley still sings with personality. The SACD 30n has a sweet voice, the undertone bass plucking, the grain is full and clear, and the magnetic voice is contrasted with each other, and the atmosphere of the live recording is quite strong.
Choose “The Best of Inger Marie Gunderson” and listen to the first track “, Kiteflyer’s Hill”. Audiophile recording’s momentum draws out a wide and thick sound field from the contrast between the strong low frequency and the far-reaching copper tube. Inger Marie Gunderson’s voice is equally magnetic, and the end rhyme of the song always has a sweet taste.
Listening to “A Star Is Born” movie soundtrack, and listen to the heroine’s debut “Shallow”. The intro of the acoustic guitar is crisp and lively. Accompanied by the live concert’s noise in the background of the movie, Bradly Cooper played the guitar to lead the song, bringing out Lady Gaga’s harmony with a clear and sweet voice. The chorus soars octave high, sings a passionate singing voice, male and female voices, SACD 30n sings in harmony and clarity. The jazz drums and electric bass gradually increase the intensity of the music. The low frequency of the SACD 30n has a comfortable strength, with a soft and comfortable elasticity.
Switch to classical music and listen to “Schubert: Abanjuni Sonata” by Andre Navarra. The piano’s opening’s decomposed chords lead to a dense cello, which emerges smoothly like a song. I can’t help but wonder if this is the so-called Marantz voice. Between the refreshing and rich, it seems to be the tuning of the voice of the master. Andre Navarra’s recording is relatively early. However, the sound field is still comfortable and open, and the instruments will not be mixed because it is an old recording. The SACD 30n allows the piano and cello to be presented clearly and smoothly.
Marantz SACD 30n is an all-round digital streaming player for the Internet era. It not only integrates complete functions but also catches up with Roon’s popular trend. It should not be out of date within a few years.
With the support of traditional SACD/CD, Veteran audiophiles can continue to enjoy the physical music collection at hand, and at the same time, can connect to the Internet to enjoy inexhaustible digital music subscription services. Most importantly, SACD 30n has assembled Marantz’s decades of know-how on sound. Marantz sound master tuned the exquisite tone, and at a very affordable and competitive price, head-on to the market.
SACD 30n uses Marantz’s exclusive high-end turntable-SACDM-3L. It has high signal reading accuracy and extremely low self-working noise and has an extremely stable working state. Even if used for a long time, it can maintain high reading and error correction capabilities. The specifications of the supported data discs are up to PCM192kHz and up to DSD5.6MHz. After the signal is read, Marantz uses its exclusive patented Marantz Musical Mastering digital decoding technology to improve the sound quality.
In addition to decoding and playing SACD/CDs, another highlight of SACD 30n is its USB DAC function. If you use an Apple system, you can directly connect to the machine through a USB cable. If it is a windows system, you need to install the driver (download from Marantz official website). SACD 30n can upscale. Its built-in Marantz Musical Mastering conversion and 1Bit decoding chip can upscale PCM encoding or DSD encoding to the level of DSD256 and then decode it in 1Bit mode. The entire upscaling and decoding process is completed within the MMM framework to ensure high-precision signal flow.
For anyone who wants to find a full-featured digital source, please listen to the Marantz SACD 30n before making a decision.