First, nice review!
I’ve eyed this unit a few times, as currently I’m running all discrete components—a Zen Stream network streamer, a Topping D90se DAC, and an Oppo UDP-203 SACD player that I’ve modded to a transport (in that I added an IIS hardware mod that bypasses Oppo’s internal DAC and passes the digital stream on to my Topping to decode).
And although an integrated option would be a bit tidier, the Marantz is equally limited to 2 channels, doesn’t allow you to rip your physical media, downsamples the SACD signal when attached to external DACs (per Sony’s DRM licensing restrictions), and isn’t Roon Ready like the ZS (which costs $399 and supports native DSD up to 256). It’s “Roon Tested”, which is ok, but if it doesn’t support Roon’s RAAT transport protocol that would be less than ideal. Perhaps someone owns one on here and can comment further on that.
I get what niche Marantz is targeting here, as combo streamer/DAC/SACD option. But the thing is that my setup is working great at a considerably lower price, and at least as my Topping DAC is concerned, with superior measurements. Even if I use my less inexpensive Sony SACD player and an HDMI audio extractor to pass on the digital stream to my Topping via coax, I’m not sure the SACD playback quality would be any less than what Marantz offers here—I can play back my SACDs at PCM 176.4 on my Topping this way and it sounds fantastic. Perhaps I should submit one of these extractors to @amirm
to put my claims to the test?