New Marantz SA-KI Ruby SACD/CD player

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by bruce2, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. jusbe

    jusbe Modern Melomaniac

    Location:
    Auckland, NZ.
    Doesn't PS Audio include an extra DSD to PCM step? Marantz doesn't use any D to A conversion and simply reads the DSD as 'analogue' using an analogue filter with a very high number of taps.
     
  2. TBsheets

    TBsheets Active Member

    Location:
    Netherlands
    I have connected a Lumïn U2 mini to the Ruby, and it is marvellous. I used a Lumïn D2 streaming DAC with sBooster power supply, which I was very happy with, it sounded delicious. But after a power failure the D2 needed a very expensive repair (replacement of the main board), so I decided not to repair but upgrade to a Lumïn U2 mini streamer (so no DAC on board), which again I combined with an sBooster power supply. I use a Marantz SA-KI Ruby as external DAC with the D2 and the U2 mini, the D2 (which has no USB output) connected via coax and the U2 mini via the USB DAC input. To my surprise the U2 mini/Ruby combination sounds much, much better than the D2/Ruby combination (or the D2 used as stand alone streaming DAC). Voices sound even more delicious, there are so many more details, the soundstage is so much better defined than with the D2. I am very, very impressed by the Lumïn U2 mini and Ruby combination. It is so much fun to listen to!
     
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  3. saturdayboy

    saturdayboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    Lumin streamers are fantastic. I would have had the same setup but I got rid of my Ruby when I switched from an integrated to an amp. I really miss the Ruby, but didn’t want to add a preamp.
     
  4. ti-triodes

    ti-triodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    FWIW, a recent email from MD said stock was getting low. Anyone thinking of hoarding some $3K players better move fast. :)
     
    Bill Mac likes this.
  5. Bill Mac

    Bill Mac Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    An "Oppo" like buying frenzy ;)? I tend to doubt it but one never knows.
     
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  6. DancingSea

    DancingSea Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maui, Hawaii
    While not exactly the comparison you’re asking for, but I’ve owned the DSJ and currently own the 30n. It depends what you’re looking for. Ted Smith is of the “transparency, ever lower noise” mindset while Marantz is more in the musical camp.

    With each new DSJ update, another swath of my collection became unlistenable because of the increased transparency. I discussed the matter with Ted, and he basically said the same thing happened to him. But for him, it was a positive.

    It was pushing me further and further up an “only high quality recording” flagpole. I determined Ted’s philosophy did not jibe with my goals and jumped ship.

    For me, Marantz strikes a much better balance between high res and forgiving, which greatly expands upon the listenable audio universe.

    I’ll never purchase another PS Audio dac again. Which is not a sleight against PS Audio, but a recognition that my goals were different. For the aligned customer, the DirectStream can be tremendous.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2022
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  7. SocProf

    SocProf Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Can you please give us some examples of what types of recordings became unlistenable?
     
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  8. DancingSea

    DancingSea Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maui, Hawaii
    The DirectStream played A+ audiophile recordings extremely well. Magically. Ted’s ever lower noise programming did a fantastic job of revealing new levels of wonderment in those super recordings. SACDs of Come Away With Me, Nat King Cole “After Midnight”, Kind of Blue, Time Out, Kenny Burrell’s “Midnight Blue”, Girl In The Other Room, Garcia & Grisman, etc were amazing.

    Here’s an example. I love many of the Putumayo releases. With the DirectStream, they were set aside because they simply sounded poor. With the 30n, those same recordings mostly sound terrific. I could compile a list of all the causalities, but it was essentially anything that wasn’t enshrined in the audiophile hall of fame. Sting, Thievery Corporation, Lyle Lovett, Tommy Emmanuel, Michael Hedges, Bob Marley, Melody Gardot, Grateful Dead live shows - most popular music. Playing a random pre-made Quboz or Tidal playlist was a high risk affair. I love audiophile jazz recordings, just not all the time.

    By the end of my time with the DSJ, I had this one playlist on Roon of about 150 audiophile ordained tracks. Most of my time was spent there. Most of the music that I had loved across my entire life had become too SQ tawdry. Like in the Hotel California, I started running for the door - this was not the type of music enthusiast I wanted to be.

    Marantz has been a much welcomed breath of fresh air. CDs that have been with me most of my life are back in regular rotation - and sound great.
     
  9. BDC

    BDC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tacoma
    Send photo from I phone to email and download.....hassle but that's how I do it.
     
  10. Fractured

    Fractured Forum Resident

    Regarding Marantz, that's the vibe I've been getting from reviews and the comments here. And that aligns well with my goals, too, as I listen to a lot of different music and a great deal of it is far from audiophile.

    On the DS side, I was reading a lot about how it sounded "so analog", which I took to mean something fairly similar -- coherent and musical, not analytical. I'm just trying to square that with your experience. Did the revisions perhaps move the DS away from that earlier signature? Or could it be that the Jr. had a different sound than the "papa"?
     
  11. Fractured

    Fractured Forum Resident

    From my understanding, the Directstream has the same final step, running a 10x or 20x DSD bitstream through an analogue filter -- no traditional DAC step.

    And like the Marantz, PCM input is converted to DSD (though at an even higher rate).

    In between, they do some manipulation that I can't speak to, but the start and end of the process seems to be quite similar. Hence my curiousity.
     
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  12. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco

    I mean the Japanese practically invented digital.
    How could the Marantz not be wonderful?

    most of us including me search for that perfection. And rightfully so in this hobby.
    But sometimes it takes a Japanese engineer to not think about it too much and make a super musical converter

    I just wish they made a stand alone DAC with that technology as I don’t need the rest of the SACD etc.
     
    DancingSea likes this.
  13. DancingSea

    DancingSea Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maui, Hawaii
    Yes, I’m familiar with those types of reviews. They are one of the reasons I got the DSJ. And it’s true, the DS/DSJ (according to Ted, the DSJ is 85% of the DS, same sound signature) do sound very analog. Sounding “analog” is not the nearly the same is making every recording sound analog. For those A+ recordings, sure, very vinyl like - no question. But for the pile of musical casualties, it made them sound more digital than ever, in a terrible way.

    The more revealing nature exposed flaws in those lesser recordings that were pleasantly hidden before.

    The DS is a one trick pony. It only knows how to cast a very revealing light. But does so in an indiscriminate manner. The Marantz Musical Mastering is more clever. Yes, it can’t go as high up the ladder as the DS, but it’s “scope of goodness” is far broader.

    It’s important to grasp the core idea that, per Ted Smith, the DS/DSJ is in no way designed to make all recordings sound great. It is designed to get that extra gear out of A+ material, which it does quite well, but at the expense of lesser quality recordings. As mentioned, Ted experienced the same with his own collection, but their ideology is geared towards finding Mount Olympus in high quality recordings.

    My first move post PS Audio was the Border Patrol DAC. It was great. But I missed DSD, hence the move to Marantz.

    The DirectStream is incapable of turning your entire digital collection into vinyl rec
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2022
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  14. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco

    How is the soundstage of the Marantz and the way it creates space between instruments?
    Oh and is it punchy or slower?

    thanks
     
    Ivand likes this.
  15. SocProf

    SocProf Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Interesting. Thanks for sharing! I have the 30n. I guess I should quit while I'm ahead. :)

    As you've probably heard, there is a Mark II Direct Stream coming out. The folks on the PS discussion forum who beta tested it were all impressed. But presumably these folks accept the philosophy of "the more revealing the better".
     
  16. nutsfortubes

    nutsfortubes I never met a transistor I liked.

    Location:
    New Jersey
    PCM was invented by Bell Labs.
    Bell Utilizes PCM Multiplexing
     
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  17. Fractured

    Fractured Forum Resident

    Thank you for elaborating, @DancingSea! I see what you're saying now. It's a fine line, isn't it? Even with the Ruby, folks here are saying that it's a little more "revealing", which can be good or bad, depending on the recording. But I think I'm going to give it a go, as I can probably always trade for a 30n if I find it too much.
     
    DancingSea likes this.
  18. DancingSea

    DancingSea Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maui, Hawaii
    To my understanding, the differences between the Ruby and 30n are small. Without comparing side by side, it’s unlikely you’d find the Ruby too revealing. The Ruby is a great deal!
     
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  19. DancingSea

    DancingSea Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maui, Hawaii
    Yes, I’m sure it will be a great DAC. It’s worth noting that many on the PS Audio forum would disagree with my assessment of the DirectStream, and have done so. There are thousands of very happy PS Audio owners out there. Just depends on one’s goals.

    For me, the DirectStream reveals the truth of a recording better. Marantz plays music better.

    Another point is build quality. These Japan made Marantz pieces are in a completely different league than PS Audio.
     
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  20. DancingSea

    DancingSea Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maui, Hawaii
    I’m not familiar with those specific terms as it relates to soundstage. I certainly like the Marantz soundstage. If space is in the recording, to presents it well. If I were on a desert island and soundstage was the #1 goal, DirectStream is the way to go.
     
  21. Fractured

    Fractured Forum Resident

    Argh! I finally decide to go with the SA-KI and I find I can't get one! Music Direct won't ship Marantz to Canada (territorial restrictions), and I can't find a dealer in Canada that has or could order one (even at the higher, list price). :cry:

    I've started looking into package forwarding services, but there seem to be complaints about all of them, and there would be a fair bit of risk with something this expensive, as it seems things do go "missing" a little too often.

    I can get the 30n (and the SA-10, but at $10,000 Canadian, it's a bit out of my budget), but there is an appeal to the SA-KI being one of the last pieces that Ken Ishiwata worked on, one that was supposedly "his favorite player". on top of the slightly improved sound, of course. Hmm... decisions...
     
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  22. Blair G.

    Blair G. Senior Member

    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Can you have it shipped to a US address, in Maine?
    Out here in BC we have lots of parcel pick up companies in Washington State. They accept the shipment on your behalf (for a small fee), you go and pick it up. Maybe you get whacked for taxes and duty, maybe not.
    I agree about freight forwarders, would be hesitant.
     
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  23. Fractured

    Fractured Forum Resident

    Thought about that. It's a 5 hour drive (each way) to the nearest crossing; doable, I guess. But the one I found (Kinek) isn't open on weekends, which would present a challenge for me. (One car; spouse needs it for work.) Also, I wasn't really sure these receivers were any more reputable. I'll research it some more, but if anyone has stories or info, please PM me.
     
  24. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I’m really dying to try the ruby or SACD 30n just for the DAC.

    lol

    I know I’m nuts
     
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  25. DanG

    DanG On Green Dolphin Street

    Location:
    Florida
    What about Safe and Sound (in Massachusetts?)
    Marantz SA-KI RUBY Super Audio CD Player with DAC

    You will probably need to call them to confirm shipping to Canada.
    Ordering Info
     
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