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Marantz SA805 vs Sony SCD555es

My beloved Sony SCD 555es will no longer play my Hybrid SACD disks. From the online research and phone conversation with Sony this is the beginning of the end of the player. Luckily single layer SACDs and Red book disk still play and I am able to compare the two directly. The Marantz SA8005 was burned in for 25 hours using Stereophile’s test CD 3- track 20; left on repeat. Additionally, a variety of other CDs and SACD’s were played through the system. Red Book: I thought the Sony was better on the standard playback, until I began to play certain disks such as George Benson’s -Songs and Stories , Ray Charles –Genius Loves company by monster music and the Eagles –hell freezes over and Sting’s- The soul Cages. The Marantz SA8005 is unforgiving of poorly mastered music. Period. The music sounded as if someone put a heavy weight blanket over my SL3s. On well-mastered music such as above it sings. Fine details not noticed on the Sony become noticeable. The Denon CDR-W1500, I have as part of my system to record my albums that I want to listen to in my car, has too much of a bass emphasis for critical or natural listen It is awesome for all out loud, party stomping, dance throw down. The Marantz wins over all for telling the truth. SACD: This was virtually a tie. On the single layer disks I was able to compare Peter Gabriel - 3 and 4 and Natalie Cole – Ask a woman who knows I could not hear much of a difference. Both decks were also auditioned through their headphone jacks via my Sennheiser HD580 and again I couldn’t hear much if any difference. Any slight difference I would equate to a slight difference in volume that I could get perfectly matched. Overall the SA8005 is a tiny bit warmer in the bottom end like +.001 and this is not a complaint. I expected the Marantz to whoop the Sony based on the advancements in technology but this is not the case. I will miss the multichannel capability of the Sony, but I am more than satisfied with the performance of the SA8005. Associated Equipment: Rotel rc1590 connected to Krell Kav 2250 via Cardas Quad link interconnect, Martin Logan SL3 and Depth i, Monster Reference 2 interconnect and Audioquest Mont Blanc speaker cable, Denon CDR-W1500.

- Michael A, MA