• The SA8004's lack of text display means you'll have to do a bit of guessing when playing back discs embedded with text files/content.
• Despite the SA8004's audiophile focus there are no balanced analog outputs present.
• The SA8004 is limited to stereo only and cannot output a multi-channel soundtrack and it cannot output the SACD layer of a hybrid disc digitally.
Competition and Comparison
When it comes to high-end disc spinners the competition is as vast as the price points are varied. SACD players tend to command a higher premium than the Marantz reviewed here, evident in the high sticker prices of the Mark Levinson No 512 SACD player, McIntosh MCD500 SACD player and even Marantz's own SA-KI Pearl SACD player.
Of course if you're on the lookout for a true universal player, one that has plenty of audiophile and home theater credibility than one shouldn't overlook Oppo's BDP-95 Blu-ray player. For more on these players and others like them please visit Home Theater Review's Source Component page.
I had the opportunity to listen to the SA8004 in an unfamiliar system but was immediately impressed with the player's performance. The SA8004 kept with the Marantz tradition with its relaxed, natural and musical presentation. The SA8004 might not be the last word in detail or have the lowest noise floor but it performs better than one would expect for a product in this price class.
If you are looking for a SACD/CD player that does not break the bank for a high quality stereo system the SA8004 deserves your close attention. (If money is no object and you are shopping for a reference grade player, Marantz has some higher end units as well.) Likewise if you are looking for a DAC or USB DAC, the SA8004 deserves your close attention as well. If you are looking for both a player and a DAC, the above applies even more. At $999 the SA8004 is a steal. Just a couple years ago you would have paid a few hundred dollars simply to extract an iPod's digital signal. USB DACs and SACD players of this quality can each easily cost as much as the SA8004. With the SA8004 you get all of this capability in one box, which also saves you money on interconnects and saves preamplifier inputs for other sources.
• Read more source component reviews by the writers at Home Theater Review.
• Find a pair of Bookshelf Speakers or Floorstanding Speakers to pair with the SA8004.
• Explore receiver options in our AV Receiver Review section.