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Today's (Veritable) Audio Steal: Marantz HD Series Components
By Bes Nievera

At Music Direct, we seek out the audio best values whenever we can. Which inevitably leads us to the Marantz HD Series, a veritable steal at these prices.

At first glance, these components are quintessential Marantz: An integrated amplifier with a first-rate DAC capable of high-resolution audio playback via a streamer or other media; a CD player with excellent build quality (and a headphone amp, to boot); a headphone amplifier with a DSD DAC ideal for use with streamers. All showcasing a compact form factor, and all with unmistakable Marantz aesthetics. Look deeper, however, and these devices offer more than their fair share of music-loving cool.

HD-DAC1 DAC/Headphone Amplifier
With its generous options, Marantz's HD-DAC1 serves its listeners well. Neatly crammed in its classic casing is a potent 800mW per channel (into 32-ohm load) current-feedback amplifier with cues taken from the mighty 11 Series components. Its power feels even more responsive on headphones with impedances up to 600 ohms. Connected to your existing gear (via a fixed line output), HD-DAC proves an alluring personal-listening choice that doesn't impede with your home amplifier. And its sound with any high-quality headphone offers abundant micro-dynamics, detail, and tonality.

The real magic lies in its onboard DAC, a feature Marantz continues to proverbially master and command. Found in virtually every Marantz digital component on the market today, HDAM-SA2 Modules surround the Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC. The resultant sonics are matched only by the variety of native playback options, such as audio files up to 24-bit/192kHz and DSD up to 5.6MHz. Jitter remains at a standstill on HD-DAC1, and a dual clock provides accuracy to those 1s and 0s. An onboard USB-B input functions as a clear portal for audio from your computer via its asynchronous mode and has extended isolation to prevent unwanted noise. Finally, a front-panel USB input lets iPhone users play music with relative ease and excellent sonics.

HD-CD1 CD Player
For those who enjoy spinning CDs and desire a player that can (dare I say it) outperform some of its standard-size rivals, HD-CD1 also doubles as a first-rate transport when coupled with its HD-DAC1 or HD-AMP1 siblings – or to another high-grade DAC.

Under its case, the CJDKT690 transport keeps a stable grip on the disc for low vibrations at any revolution, while a Cirrus CS4398 chip takes digital listening to the next level. HDAM-SA2 circuitry is also here, delivering emotional playback everyone's come to expect from Marantz. And HD-CD1 really excels as a transport. SPDIF and Toslink options give the player new life when hooked up to an audiophile DAC, or as a trusted two-channel spinner to your home-theater rig. We dabbled with HD-CD1 connected to another fantastic bargain, the Arcam SR-250, and found the sonic improvements revelatory, with Arcam's Cirrus CS42528 DAC bringing extra richness to the audio signal. Imagine how HD-DAC1 would impact onboard DACs on your Denon or Yamaha AVR!

HD-AMP1 Integrated Amplifier/DAC
Marantz's compact HD-AMP1 seemingly begs the question, "Can a compact amp be as good or better than a full-size amp?" This unit fearlessly addresses such matters, starting with its Hypex UcD amplifier as the engine that revs its sweet sound. Delivering 35 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 70 watts per channel into 4, HD-AMP1 serves as an immediate match with virtually any speaker we offer, though you wouldn't want hook up a pair of ultra-low impedance drivers (big no-no, people). That said, this Class D unit swings with Wharfedale's Diamond and Anniversary models, ELAC's Debut Series, and even JBL's venerable 4312G. Its power handling feels effortless as you survey the music landscape.

HD-AMP1 also flexes its taut muscles through an ESS Sabre DAC, regarded by many manufacturers as the go-to DAC. The ES9010K2M chip embraces the device's HDAM-SA2 architecture for a sound that's distinctively Marantz, giving you native playback of WAV, ALAC, FLAC, and AIFF files as well as DSD 2.6/5.2/11.2MHz. Dual master clocks round out HD-AMP1's highlights, ensuring the file you own is the file you hear, and with clarity to boot. Couple HD-AMP1 with HD-CD1 as a bundle and you might call it day!

As always, your Music Direct Audio Consultant is ready to help get these stellar deals into your home for a risk-free audition. Yes, supplies are limited, and at these prices, you'll want to get yours right away!

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January 14, 2020

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