Marantz SA8004 Super Audio CD/CD Player
Sporting the well-known Marantz house sound, the new SA8004 delivers an improved version of the same smooth, relaxing signature that the fist top-shelf CD player known to the world, the Marantz CD-63, used to captivate the attention of audiophiles who had never heard any music source even begin to approach the quality of vinyl. CDs have since become known as the second most authentic method of reproducing recorded music, after vinyl, of course, and are perhaps the most popular source material for modern audiophiles.
Unlike most of the products mentioned here, the SA8004 is not the flagship model in Marantzs lineup; while a $1,000 for a CD player might seem like its already too much for a CD player to some, Marantz has models running all the way up to $4000 MSRP. The SA8004, however, represents the sweet-spot in Marantzs lineup for music lovers seeking quality sound without breaking the bank, and despite its $999 MSRP, the SA8004 can easily be had for less than $700 on ebay or through online dealers, making it perhaps the best bang-for-buck offering listed here. Its warm, easy-going sound is less dynamic and fun than the RCD-1570, and not as spacious or detailed as the Cambridge, but lovers of a smooth, relaxing signature will be very pleased with the SA8004. For the headphone lovers out there, Marantz products, with their warmer sound, tend to compliment brighter, less bassy headphones like those from Grado and AKG. On balance, though, the SA8004 is a stellar all-around player and has an easy-to-like sound that is not extremely picky about source material, and will sound great with most systems.