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Marantz Reference Series SA-11S3

Stereo SACD/CD player/DAC

Great sound quality and great savings
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  • Marantz Reference Series SA-11S3

    Front

  • Marantz Reference Series SA-11S3

    Analog output jacks, close-up detail

  • Marantz Reference Series SA-11S3

    Back

  • Marantz Reference Series SA-11S3

    Custom Marantz disc transport

  • Marantz Reference Series SA-11S3

    Interior view

  • Marantz Reference Series SA-11S3

    Remote

  • Marantz Reference Series SA-11S3

    Shielded toroidal power transformer

 

Our take on the Marantz Reference Series SA-11S3

by Dave Bar
Marantz


High-res audio

Reference quality sound for your discs and other digital music sources

The Marantz SA-11S3 CD/Super Audio CD player is impressive in every way — looks, construction, and most importantly, sound. Featuring carefully matched internal components in a rock-solid copper-plated chassis, it delivers the kind of clean, detailed stereo sound that lives up to Marantz's reputation among audiophiles. This SACD player follows in the footsteps of its highly regarded predecessors, and incorporates new features and technologies for even better sonic performance. As an added bonus, this outstanding player also does double duty as a reference-quality DAC. It boasts numerous digital audio inputs for your computer, networked music streamer, or even a portable player that will enhance your entire digital music listening experience.

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Marantz SA11S3 cd sacd player interior

Beautifully built inside and out to deliver exceptional sound quality.

Solid, vibration- and interference-fighting construction

The SA-11S3's custom optical disc drive features a dual-layer stainless steel/steel top plate. The entire mechanism is securely anchored to a dual-layer base plate via a solid metal sub-chassis, ensuring virtually no vibration for absolute accuracy while reading your discs. A specially designed transformer inside a copper-shielded case provides ample power to the player without generating performance-robbing interference. The heavy copper-plated chassis, solid aluminum top cover, and double-layered bottom plate help ensure peak performance by combating vibration, noise, and outside interference. All of these careful steps let your music spring to life from a dead-silent background with explosive force and dynamics. You'll clearly hear every thrilling note — from a deep, powerful run on an electric bass guitar, to the delicate, woody overtones of a marimba, to the natural brassy ring and slow decay of a crash cymbal.

High-end circuitry for no-holds-barred performance

This player's precision circuitry includes a premium-quality digital-to-analog converter designed to extract every bit detail available on your CDs and SACDs. The fully differential analog output stages feature Marantz's exclusive HDAM SA2 and HDAM technologies, which do away with noisy, current-limiting IC op-amp chips in favor of pure discrete circuit elements for the most accurate and musically honest reproduction. The SA-11S3 also utilizes the same fully discrete HDAM circuitry for its built-in, high-quality headphone amplifier to give you the best in private listening. Multiple selectable digital filters let you tailor the sound to your liking.

Enjoy the best sound possible from all your digital music sources

The versatile SA-11S3 provides multiple digital audio inputs to play your digital source components through its built-in reference quality DAC:

  • coaxial digital input: ideal for connecting a Blu-ray or DVD player, Logitech Squeezebox™ Touch, Sonos® Connect, or any other digital audio component with coax out, and taking advantage of the SA-11S3's high-performance processor for better sound.
  • one optical digital input: ready to take on a set-top box, HDTV, game console, or other digital source with optical digital output, and feed a high-quality audio signal into your stereo system.
  • Type B USB jack feeds digital audio from your computer into the SA-11S3's onboard digital-to-analog converter, bypassing your computer's sound card to yield much clearer sound with stored music files and Internet radio.
  • Type A USB jack accepts direct digital signal from an iPod®, iPhone®, or iPad®, bypassing their built-in DAC and analog audio output circuitry for superior sound through your headphones or home audio system.

Highlights:

  • stereo playback for SACDs, audio CDs, CD-Rs and CD-RWs (including MP-3 and WMA discs)
  • front-panel USB input (type A) for USB flash drive, iPod®, iPhone®, or iPad®
  • rear-panel asynchronous USB input (type B) for audio playback of stored computer or streaming music files, including high-res files up to 24-bit/192 kHz (requires free driver download from Marantz website prior to computer audio playback)
  • premium Burr-Brown DSD1792A digital-to-analog converter delivers 7X higher current output than the DAC used in previous models for greater dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio
  • custom SACDM-2 optical drive mechanism for accurate disc readout
  • fully balanced audio output stage with HDAM® SA2 discrete-circuit op-amps for greater accuracy and musicality
  • selectable digital filters for fine-tuning sound
  • custom-wound OFC toroidal power transformer with copper-shielded case
  • copper-plated chassis with double-layered bottom plate
  • solid 5mm thick aluminum top cover
  • stereo RCA and balanced XLR outputs
  • optical and coaxial digital audio inputs for use in DAC mode
  • optical and coaxial digital audio outputs for CD
  • full-size headphone output with volume control
  • high-quality headphone amplifier featuring HDAM SA2 and HDAM full discrete opamp output
  • SACD specs:
    • signal-to-noise ratio: 109 dB (audible range)
    • dynamic range: 109 dB (audible range)
  • CD specs:
    • signal-to-noise ratio: 110 dB
    • dynamic range: 100 dB
  • remote control
  • detachable power cord
  • weight: 37.5 lbs
  • 17-5/16"W x 5"H x 18-1/4"D
  • warranty: 5 years parts and labor (3 years parts for optical mechanism)
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
General
Disc Capacity 1
Disc Exchange N/A
Track Programming 20
Random Play Single Disc
Disc Naming No
Direct Track Access Remote
Direct Disc Access N/A
Remote Included
Display Color White
Multiple CD Player Control ---
Parts Warranty 5 Years (3 yrs. optical)
Labor Warranty 5 Years (3 yrs. optical)
Compatibility
CD-R Playback Yes
CD-RW Playback Yes
MP3 Playback Yes
SACD Playback 2-Channel
Specifications
CD Frequency Response 2-20k Hz
Signal to Noise Ratio 110 dB
SACD Frequency Response 2-50k Hz
SACD Dynamic Range 109 dB
SACD THD 0.0009 %
Outputs
Digital Optical Output 1
Digital Coaxial Output 1
Headphone Standard
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Super Audio CD player
  • Wireless remote (RC001PMSA)
  • 2 "AAA" batteries
  • 6' AC power cord
  • 5' Stereo RCA cable
  • 29" Mono-RCA cable
  • User Guide (En/Fre)
  • US Limited Warranty
  • Canada Limited Warranty

Scratch & Dent items may be missing non-essential accessories. In some cases the manufacturer's accessories have been replaced with generic equivalents.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features
Connections
Controls

Features

Disc Compatibility: The Marantz SA-11S3 Super Audio CD player can play single layer Super Audio CDs, dual layer Super Audio CDs, Hybrid-layer Super Audio CDs, and conventional audio CDs. The player also supports playback of MP3 (32-320kbps; 44.1kHz) and WMA(48-192kbps/44.1kHz) music files recorded onto CD-R and CD-RW discs in ISO9660 Level 1/2, Juliet, or Romeo format. Both 12cm and 8cm discs are compatible.

Direct Stream Digital (DSD) Encoding: The Super Audio CD standard is based on Direct Stream Digital (DSD) technology. The DSD format is a 1-bit system that has a digital sampling frequency 64 times that of conventional audio CD, 2,822,400 samples per second. The result is spectacular: a frequency response of over 100k Hz and a 120 dB dynamic range over the entire audible spectrum. Mixed with as many of the original frequencies as possible, the audio information audible for human ears sounds much more natural.

Note: The HD layer of a Super Audio CD can only be output via this player's balanced or unbalanced analog outputs (not digital outputs).

SACDM2 Optical Drive Mechanism: For optimum disc readout accuracy, the SA-11S3 is equipped with Marantz's latest generation SACDM2 optical disc drive mechanism, which provides solid rotational accuracy with both CDs and SACDs, and features a dual layer stainless steel/steel top plate, and the whole mechanism is securely anchored to the dual layer base plate via its own solid metal sub-chassis. For maximum shielding from RF interference, the chassis is copper-plated throughout.

Premium DAC & DSP Processor: New for the SA-11S3 is the inclusion of the top-line Burr-Brown DSD1792A D/A converter chip, which features both PCM and DSD decoding, and provides a high current output that is substantially larger (7X more) than the DAC chip used in previous models, for greater dynamic range and improved signal to noise characteristics. Coupled to the Marantz-designed latest generation PEC777f3 24 bit DSP processor/digital filter, the combination provides unparalleled sound quality from both PCM (CD, LPCM, WAV) sources and Super Audio CD DSD bitstreams. With multi-channel SACDs, the SA-11S3 also provides stereo (2 channel) down-mixing.

Rugged Durable Construction: Weighing in at a substantial 37 pounds, the SA-11S3 features a rugged chassis that includes a newly designed 5mm thick aluminum top cover that allows stacking, even with heavy components.

Toroidal Transformer: This unit features a toroidal transformer that produces less vibration and magnetic leakage flux compared to conventional power transformers. The materials and manufacturing process of the ring-shaped core are strictly controlled to reduce vibration, while the short-ring attached to the perimeter of the transformer reduce magnetic leakage flux.

Ultra-Low Noise LCD: The front-panel includes a full alphanumeric display with ultra low noise LCD technology, which provides detailed operational information along with SACD text.

Connections

Analog + Digital Outputs: The sophisticated fully differential analog output stages feature Marantz's exclusive HDAM SA2 and HDAM technologies, which dispense with the traditional IC op amp chips in favor of pure discrete circuit elements for the most accurate and musically honest reproduction. Both balanced (XLR) and unbalanced outputs are provided, and the unbalanced (RCA) jacks feature high purity solid copper cores that are gold-plated for optimum signal transfer. The SACD player is also fitted with an optical (toslink) digital output and coaxial (RCA) digital output.

Reference Quality DAC w/ Digital Inputs: Digital versatility is the hallmark of the SA-11S3, as the player does double duty as a reference quality DAC and is equipped with numerous digital interfaces to accept a wide variety of formats.

  • Front-Panel USB Port: A USB mass storage class device can be connected to the USB (type-A) port located on the front-panel, allowing you to play various music files. The player supports MP3 (32-320kbps; 32-48kHz), WMA (48-320kbps;32-48kHz), AAC (8-320kbps; 32-48kHz), and Linear PCM (16-bit;32-48kHz) loaded onto a compatible USB mass storage class device formatted in FAT16/FAT32. Song/artist/album information (ID3-/WMA-/AAC-tags) is supported.
  • Computer Connection: There's also a USB (type-B) port on the rear-panel which is compatible with asynchronous data streams from your Windows (XP/Vista/7) PC running Windows Media Player or Mac (OSX 10.6.3+) computer running iTunes. This USB computer connection supports a wide range of digital audio formats, including up to 192kHz/24-bit. Before music files saved on your computer can be played on this unit, a dedicated driver must be downloaded from the Marantz website, and installed on your computer.
  • Optical/Coaxial Inputs: In addition, there are coaxial and optical digital input ports for connection to other digital audio sources. The coaxial and optical digital inputs support Linear PCM signals from 32kHz to 192kHz (Dolby Digital/DTS signals are not supported).

Made for iPod/iPhone: The Marantz SACD Player supports digital music playback from an iPod, iPhone, or iPad using its front-panel USB (type-A) port. Simply plug your compatible Apple device into the receiver's front-panel USB port, using the cable that came with your iPod/iPhone/iPad. Stored music and music apps from your connected Apple device can be played through the SACD player, bypassing the Apple device's D/A converter for better sound quality. The iPod/iPhone/iPad can be controlled by the included remote, or you can continue to use the Apple device's clickwheel or touchscreen. You can search for stored music on your iPod/iPhone/iPad by Playlist, Artist, Album, Song, Podcast, Genre, Composer, or Audiobook. Song/artist information from stored music and music apps on your iPod/iPhone/iPad will display on the player's front-panel LCD. The SA-11S3 is "made for iPod/iPhone" and supports the following iPod/iPhone model functions (as of 5/8/2013).

Apple Device Generation Tested Version Media Type Control Type Display Type Charge
Audio Video Remote iPod/iPhone Album Art Artist/Song Text Track Info
iPad 1 5.1.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y N
2 6.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y N
3 6.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y N
4 6.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y N
mini 6.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y N
iPhone 2G 3.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
3G 4.2.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
3GS 5.1.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
4 6.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
4S 6.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
5 6.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
touch 1st 2.2.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
2nd 4.2.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
3rd 5.1.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
4th 6.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
5th 6.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
nano 1st 1.3.1 Y N Y N N Y Y Y
2nd 1.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
3rd 1.1.3 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
4th 1.0.4 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
5th 1.0.2 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
6th 1.2PC Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
7th 1.02 PC Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
classic 80GB 1.1.2 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
120GB 2.0.1 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
160GB 2.0.4 Y N Y Y N Y Y Y
video 5th 1.3 Y N Y N N Y Y Y
Note: Apple iPod/iPhone software updates may change functionality results. If you download a newer software version, you may need to reset the receiver and your iPod/iPhone to regain functionality. If this doesn't work, you may need to wait until a newer software update is available.

Headphone Output: The Marantz SACD player features a front-panel 1/4" headphone output with independent volume control.

Controls

Remote Control: The newly designed IR remote control features hairline metallic finish and provides a full suite of commands compatible with the matching PM-11S3 Reference Series integrated amplifier for easy single remote system control

Digital Filters: When playing a CD or SACD, you can activate a variety of digital audio filters for even better sound quality.

  • Filter 1/Filter 2: Two digital filter options are provided for both PCM and DSD bitstreams. With PCM content Filter 1 has a symmetrical impulse response with extremely short pre- and post-echo characteristics and an absolutely linear phase response for a sound that is the most faithful to the original digital audio source, while the Filter 2 option provides a more analog-like signal that strikes the best balance of fine detail coupled with rich harmonics. With DSD content from SACD, Filter 1 provides a direct decoding function with no additional filtering, while the Filter 2 option attenuates any residuals above 100 kHz.
  • Noise Shaper/DC Filter: There are two additional digital filtering functions, one that includes noise shaping for improved in-band low level linearity as well as another one that provides effective filtering of extremely low frequency infrasonic signals (stop band is DC~1.7 Hz). All three digital filtering functions are controlled by dedicated buttons on the remote, with last memory function that retains the settings during disc changes and even when the player is powered down.

Playback & Search Functions: The Marantz SACD player offers various playback & search functions to help you find and enjoy your music.

  • Direct Search: You can specify a specific track using the numeric keypad on the SACD player's remote control.
  • Automatic Music Scan (AMS): This feature is convenient to search for an unknown track on a disc. During AMS, the SACD player moves to next track every 10 seconds.
  • Program Play: Up to 20 tracks can be programmed and played in any order. Not available for MP3/WMA music files.
  • Random Play: The SA-11S2 can play the tracks on the disc in random order.
  • Repeat Play: This unit can repeat the current track or all tracks.

Auto Standby: The unit will automatically enter standby mode when there is no input signal for approximately 30 minutes.

 
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