Marantz HD-DAC1 DAC

He might be among the very powerful presenters in the hifi business, but Marantz Brand Ambassador Ken Ishiwata can also be quite a good judge of character as it pertains to the attractiveness of the products of his firm. So that it absolutely was no surprise he seen me spending somewhat more in front of a single merchandise in a Marantz case that is recent, and instantly said 'Ah, I believed you had enjoy that one.'

Like those - products that are famous.

And feels it, too: those side-cheeks could be wood-effect instead of solid lumber, however they are attractively ended in strong shine, perfectly complementing the primary casework, which can be well constructed from metal, the fascia being a solid ball of aluminium, also it is underpinned using a vibration-reducing double layer foundation.

Therefore, it looks like a Marantz, Marantz feels like a it and it's that nearly intangible desirability just potential using a merchandise apparently carefully thought-through and engineered and constructed using a level of pride. However, what is the HD-DAC1 all about? And when the marketplace now appears awash with somewhat less pricey DAC/headphone amps, why spend £679?

Well, like other recent comings in the 'head fi' world, including the more expensive Oppo HA-1, the HD-DAC1 was made to sit down on the desk for closeup listening while in the computer, or fit to the hifi stand as an adjunct to, or in lieu of, a standard hi fi amplifier.

Such programs need of it a variety of characteristics: it has to manage a wide variety from the information-reduced MP3 all the way to DSD's lands, while it needs adequate amplifier muscle to drive cans that are recalcitrant. And needless to say it will incorporate nicely with existing audio systems. That last stage suggests maybe the only because it is not set up for use as a headphone amplifier for connecting with the amp lacking this type of facility failing of the HD-DAC1.

Each of the input signals to the back can manage content at up to 192kHz/24-bit, while the USB-B additionally permits the HD-DAC1 to take DSD2.8 and DSD5.6 from a pc running appropriate player software.

Marantz gives no special informative data on the low/ mid/high gain standings, beyond saying the DAC/amp comes with an output signal of 800mW into 32ohm, and 'can even drive audiophile high-impedance cans as high as 600ohm with entire ease'.

In the center of the digital section of the HD-DAC1 is the CS4398 DAC coupled using a double clock for precise treatment of a wide variety of sample speeds. Special attention was paid to the USB-B input signal, which can be isolated to stop the ingress of sound from a a computer that was connected. On the amplifier side, the Marantz uses the firm's well known HDAMs (Hyper -Dynamic Amplifier Modules) in place of more straightforward opamp ICs, in its latest HDAM SA2 variation as seen network audio players in its cd players, and amplifiers that are related.

Control is via a provided remote handset, which likewise enables the HD-DAC1 to 'drive a linked' iOS smartphone or tablet pc's music playback, and there is likewise an outside remote control input signal allowing a Marantz amplifier to control the DAC/amp via its handset.

Summing up the HD-DAC1's sound is quite straightforward: it is really Marantz. And thatis a great thing in the event you want the organization 's sonic touch that is evenhanded, uniting as it does an educational group an extended, but managed bass as well as a treble with the proper combination of detail and smoothness.

I listened in several settings to the Marantz, fed from Mac mini computers and my Apple MacBook Air, that no drivers are needed (Marantz supplies drivers for Windows users), running Audirvana Plus and hooked up with Chord USB Silver Plus Digital cable.

As a headphone amplifier I used it to drive versions such as the B&O H6, Focal Spirit Pro, the PM-1 of Oppo and PM-2.

Out of the tricks was some really classic Bowie, of 1967 in the shape of his eponymous record, accessible within The Deram Anthology 1966-68 [Deram 8447842], whole using its nuances of ambitious production values and Anthony Newley.

That distinguishing voice is front and center, and the theatrical musical arrangements get penetration and exceptional weight, the jaunty, almost circus-like backing of 'The Little Bombardier' juxtaposed with its astonishingly external subject matter to effect that is instead disturbing. Yes, the record's a period-piece, but listening to it using the penetration which some of good headphones as well as the Marantz HD-DAC1 can bring, it is astonishing how modern it seems.

But best of all, it manages to join that listen-in hi fi-ness by having an easygoing style that produces music exceptionally satisfying. Whether you just allow the music wash over you or listen, it is equally gratifying.

Also it is exactly the same with a high quality DSD record of musical powers that are smaller, including the Dena Piano Duo's Hommage A Grieg establish on Norway's 2L label.

A lot more remarkable is the 'line' output signals of the HD-DAC1 are much from an issue of box-ticking, and to that end it is worth noting the Marantz engineers determined to not give you a balanced choice since they believed this might have meant compromises elsewhere, so picked instead to optimise the single-ended output signals.

Whether employed as a DAC into standard amplification or carrying through preamp obligations via its quarter century-old stablemates, it delivers the equilibrium that is same as that heard via earphones. To put it differently, it is a sound with much to love on the hifi degree, but above all uses its skills to make sure that the listener is drawn to the music being played, as well as the performance being given - and yes, as in the best Marantz-driven systems, there's quite a real sense of 'performance' in regards to just how this small carton presents whatever it is fed.

Yes, a 'suitable' analogue input signal could happen to be great, and there'll be those who will bemoan the dearth of balanced output signals, but what Marantz has appear with here is an unexpectedly classy and cost effective alternative for the 'Macs and DACs and headphones' brigade, while in the exact same time offering some additional choices for people who are looking to create a high performance minimalist system.

Marantz HD-DAC1 DAC photo