Summary: My 20 year old Denon CD player conked out about 3 years ago for one reason or another, so I have been using the Sony CD/DVD($179 @ Sears) that is usually hooked up to my TV to play CDs. I figured it was now time to updgrade so I started looking at some CD players to purchase. Since I'm Old-School I stuck with brands that were popular back in the 1980 and 90's. Denon, Teac, Yamaha, Pioneer, Marantz etc. The Marantz was getting great reviews, so I put it on my shortlist.
Summary: I know that many audiophiles have abandoned the idea of a standalone CD player in favor of a computer based playback solution. I did it myself. I previously owned a Cary Audio Design 303/300 CD player for a number of years. Wanting to try something different, I ripped my entire CD collection to an external drive and used JRiver Media for playback through a USB DAC. For reasons not relevant to this review I've recently decided to return to a standalone CD player.
Summary: This is not walkman quality item and it shows. I bought it to play SACD and it does that very well. However, Digital to Annalog Circuit (DAC) chipset is one of the best and it shows up well when playing Redbook CDs. This is a premium audio source. I recommend it.
Summary: Marantz worked afterhours to produce a very well constructed and engineered piece of equipment. You are immediately impressed with the sturdy chassis and polished finish. And sounds good, as well. Detailed and coherent. My only observation is about the bass: it sounds a bit restrained, a bit shy. It is there, but should need to be 3db louder. This is when I compare it with a CD player like a Primare CD31, which costs U$D 1295 more.
Summary: My old Proceed Madrigal CD player finally expired ... and I replaced it with the Marantz SA8003 - my first SACD player. Even as a plain CD player, the sound is wonderful - clean, pure and warm. Not shrill. But, the biggest thrill, by far, is the sound of the SACD ... SACD samples at 64 times higher than standard CD sampling - at 2822 kHz vs just 44.1 kHz for CD.
Summary: I think this is, for the money, probably the best CD/SACD player you can buy. I've been skeptical about buying "high end cd players", particularly since mass-market units have become more and more capable and since mass-market components have found their way into some high-end cd players. But the clarity, detail and fidelity of the SA8003 are exceptional. It is extremely "clean" and doesn't impose its own sound on tracks.
Summary: This product replaces the Marantz SA8001, a model with which I have been extremely pleased. Here's what I wrote about the SA8001 Marantz SA8001 - SACD player - black . "If you've been wondering whether to move up to SACD, hesitate no longer. Even on my 17-year-old Sony CD player, the Dunedin Consort's award-winning recording of "Messiah" was outstanding, but I couldn't help thinking that it would sound even better in its SACD incarnation.