DacMagic v. Marantz SA7001-KI - there can be only one!

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manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
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the record spot:I did try out the DM & the S370 together, but not a good combination in my setup. Made for a very harsh, lightweight and brash sound that didn't improve on the 370 on its own. In fact, it probably made it the worse for wear, which surprised me.

I'm not surprised, cos watching movies in stereo on the 370 sounds stunning. CDs less so, which tells me its transport is the weak link and not the DAC.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Agreed - via HDMI to the TV, brilliant. No issues at all. For music, on its own, again, no issues, in fact a good choice. But, as a transport, with the DM - avoid. Not good.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
That's interesting. I run the BDP S370 through my DAC, and it doesn't sound much different from streaming/lossless.

I'm running HDMI to the TV then coax to the v-dac, and had expected some degradation but there doesn't seem to be any.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
same here, s370 to v dac sounds as good to me as lossless files from laptop to v dac via airport and as good as my previous cd6003.
 

Gerrardasnails

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Sep 6, 2007
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the record spot:I did try out the DM & the S370 together, but not a good combination in my setup. Made for a very harsh, lightweight and brash sound that didn't improve on the 370 on its own. In fact, it probably made it the worse for wear, which surprised me.

I have the older Sony BD player (S550) and I tried it a few times with cds but it's not in the same league as lossless files from my Popcorn Hour. I also bought and sold some older cd players a while back - one was the Arcam Alpha 8 SE (so half decent) and these did not compare with lossless files either.
 

Craig M.

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Mar 20, 2008
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Grottyash:
That's interesting. I run the BDP S370 through my DAC, and it doesn't sound much different from streaming/lossless.

same here. sounds the same as the cdp's i've used as transports, as well.
 

Gerrardasnails

Well-known member
Sep 6, 2007
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Craig M.:Grottyash:
That's interesting. I run the BDP S370 through my DAC, and it doesn't sound much different from streaming/lossless.

same here. sounds the same as the cdp's i've used as transports, as well.

Ah, but your DAC/machine/beast does lots of funky things before churning out it's results...
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Gerrardasnails:the record spot:I did try out the DM & the S370 together, but not a good combination in my setup. Made for a very harsh, lightweight and brash sound that didn't improve on the 370 on its own. In fact, it probably made it the worse for wear, which surprised me.

I have the older Sony BD player (S550) and I tried it a few times with cds but it's not in the same league as lossless files from my Popcorn Hour. I also bought and sold some older cd players a while back - one was the Arcam Alpha 8 SE (so half decent) and these did not compare with lossless files either.

Fair enough, but I'm using a 2007 CDP which was pretty well rated (not by WHF who didn't have one for review at the time) while most of the reviews seem to indicate that the DM will work well with older players. Side by side, I'll take the Marantz. Should have a better opportunity next week to sit down with some lossless files.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Grottyash:
That's interesting. I run the BDP S370 through my DAC, and it doesn't sound much different from streaming/lossless.

I'm running HDMI to the TV then coax to the v-dac, and had expected some degradation but there doesn't seem to be any.

Ah, different again - I tried both. Played a CD using Optical from S370, to DM, then into the amp - not so good. Via HDMI to TV, then to DM using Optical from the TV and onto the amp - much better. Almost as good as the Marantz, but not quite. I need to do a matrix....!
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Just spent some time comparing my existing CDP against some WAV files off the HDD/laptop through to the DM. I used some CDs I know well which give me enough breadth in the music to make easy comparisons and I had WAV files to hand. Off we went.

In the end, it was perhaps no surprise; the CDP was a comfortable winner. Just more "life" to the music - greater dynamics, more body, a better soundstage. The DM/WAV option has it "all" too, but it doesn't seem to know how to make the most of the content. If I think of one word in terms of criticism, it's probably that it's a tad superficial compared to the 7001-KI.

The Marantz obviously has a lot going on under the lid, but while it is "only" a CD player, it's USP is a pretty special one and it does it with some style. I think I'll hang on to the DM for a few days into the week, but there is a chance it might go back to Richer Sounds in the end.

It's a great piece of kit for all that however, good functionality and a nice design, but that alone isn't enough. On reflection, I think I am looking for more out of these things.
Initially, I wanted something to give me a good radio signal out of the TV and upsample it on the way to the amp. The TV does the signal bit, but the DM doesn't have enough body or weight to its sound. Some reviews have called it neutral, but I'd be more inclined to call it lean. That in itself is no bad thing, but my own setup normally gives me the depth I hear in music and film and my CDP and speakers themselves have sometimes also been described as lean which the Sansui amp cures, so I am surprised to find it lacking with the DM here.

I wouldn't probably give it the full five stars in the end. A solid four, a good product, but it didn't tick all of the boxes I'd like checked and it lost out on sound quality in the end.
 

Blackdawn

Well-known member
May 7, 2010
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Good review RS. Good to hear the CDP is not dead :)

Out of interest does any one know how the Dacmagic compares to the Firestone Spitfire MK2 version (now with USB)? The Spitfire looks to be a bit cheaper but how does it compare in sound quality? What HiFi say it is the pick of the affordable DACs and now it also has USB.
 

Craig M.

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Mar 20, 2008
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did you try the different filter settings, i thought it was best on 'min', iirc. whichever setting is the top one, linear i think, i found sounded how you're describing - too lean. i've never heard a marantz anything, but if it's a decent cdp i'm not astounded by your findings.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Hi guys - tried all three, never liked the Steep one, always preferred either Linear or Minimum. Ultimately, like I say, it's a good DAC, but in its own field. Partner it with better sources, especially, relatively recent disc spinners and its limitations are met. Of course, this is purely with my own kit, so this doesn't mean it necessarily bears out with other setups, but I'd be looking at stepping up a grade or two I think.

Craig - FYI - the SA7001-KI I use was £600 on release in 2006.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Blackdawn:
Good review RS. Good to hear the CDP is not dead :)

Out of interest does any one know how the Dacmagic compares to the Firestone Spitfire MK2 version (now with USB)? The Spitfire looks to be a bit cheaper but how does it compare in sound quality? What HiFi say it is the pick of the affordable DACs and now it also has USB.
I've only compared the first version with the v-dac without the power supply upgrade. It doesn't sound too dissimilar, and may even be a touch more detailed, but that hardness noted in the WHFSAV review is very, very noticeable, to the point where I couldn't live with it. The V-DAC with the upgrade is a class or two above.
 

Mr Morph

New member
Aug 16, 2010
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Interesting reading RS, and the result was what I expected. Your Siggy has done well, as there are those people on here that don't rate the Arcam CD192 above the current Dacmagic. Not surprising given the technology between the two. The Cirrus obviously has more tonal colour, and Mr Ishiwata has been good enough to provide it with a good power supply.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Mr Morph:Interesting reading RS, and the result was what I expected. Your Siggy has done well, as there are those people on here that don't rate the Arcam CD192 above the current Dacmagic. Not surprising given the technology between the two. The Cirrus obviously has more tonal colour, and Mr Ishiwata has been good enough to provide it with a good power supply.

I think I'm one of that group of listeners that likes a dab of colour - too neutral (and it may be that the DM is just that) and it's too much of a turn off for me. Neutral and accurate aren't the same bedfellows to my way of thinking. And yes indeed Mr. Morph, I think Ken Ishiwata did something pretty special with his KI gear for sure.

In the end, I took the DM back to Richer Sounds this morning - need to have a bit of a think but it might just be I'll stick with things as they are and do without an offboard DAC. The Apple Airport Express does the trick nicely with music and the Lemmy DVD currently blasting out the Missions doesn't sound too shabby - cracking soundtrack: recommended! - so I don't feel shortchanged here.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Bit off topic but i'll put it anyway.

Glad you got offered the 14 days, unfortunately this is not offered in all RS.

My local store, York (no demo room) will let you try stuff and return it less 20% in the case of the Dacmagic I bought thats about £25.

After some disscussion it was agreed that I could get a free home trial on a unit that had previously been returned as by my argument the 'b stock discount had already been applied.

IIRC I paid £230 odd for it in Oct 10.

Anyway, point being I think the policy should allow for free home demos from stores that don't have demo rooms.
 

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