This is the new and shining star of the Multi player arena, after the Denon 2900/3910 and 3930 and the Matantz 9600. Alhough the Marantz UD9004 and its Denon sister are performance wise better, these players are more affordable and deinately more value for money.
After the necessary hours it was time to start listening to the new player. After some direct comparisons with the Denon 3930 and the Philips BDP-3000 (yes!) It is time for a review.
The Marantz UD8004 is the first "affordable" universal player that both Blu-ray, SACD, DVD-A and CD can play and can internally decode the audio via the 7.1 analog output. It is important to me because I own a Rotel RSP-1098 surround preamplifier without HDMI and also without HD decoding.
The player comes in a box and is very generous in terms of composition and beautiful finish. The units are built in Japan by Marantz, which at this time quite unique.
Internal already shown a similar difference with his "Denon 4010UD" sister. Marantz has opted for a separate power supply for the analog audio board and a different structure. The drive, power supply and video board seem the same.
But the Marantz is using the ABT2015 and the Denon ABT2010. To date, the difference is unclear to me.
The back has a 7.1 analog output, component / composite output, one HDMI and a remote control output. Also of course a network connection for BD-Live support.
De 220v socket is removable and in my case with a cable Supra. There is also a separate stereo output, where bass management is not applicable. This is the 2 channel CD output.
After an appropriate warming up time it is time for the Denon 3930 and Marantz 8004 to compare. The CD "October" by Blof disappears into the tray. This CD is an exceptional recording quality in a "semi" live environment with lots of depth. It immediately shows the difference between the Marantz and Denon. The Marantz is much more spacious and the layer is stronger with more body. The bass on track 10 delicious rolls into the room. The Denon lags behind in this area.
The SACD of Pink flyod is next. The difference in spatial representation by the 5.1 mix is less clear. switching to the stereo mix of the album Duke by Genesis The difference in spatial representation back. Although the difference with this SACD less.
Although Denon is a very good player, the Maranz is the clear leader when it comes to 2 and 7.1 channel ananalogue audio. The need to have a separate CD player in the class up to 800 Euros is in my view unnecessary.
It started with the "Batman dark knight" blu ray on my HD80 Them beamer. The Imax opening at the beginning The film leaves a lot of amazing detail. The Dolby-HD track is very deep with tremendous momentum. The adjustment of the speaker level required some attention, after which followed a very fine balanced sound. By default, the Marantz less cool than the Philips. Also pans were more fluid and the picture has more pop. The blu ray playback is of a very high level with tremendous depth.
The opening scene of James Bond Casino Royal shows a very pretty picture. The colors of the splash screen, black is very dark. this is where the limit in terms of shadow detail on my HD80 starts to show.
I played some DVDs and noted that the level of upscaling was comparable to the Denon. I will if I have time once to run the HQV test, but I do not expect problems. Well-recorded DVD's like Genesis Live in Rome show a beautiful picture.
First I want to answer a common question. The fan behind the Marantz is fortunately very quiet and not audible. The turnover rate seems quite low and it blows very little air. The device is also barely warm. The menu structure is logically, I have only a few features witch I had to look up in the manual. It remains a device with many functions and some need some explaining. The menu has a bit of online help, the paper guide may also help.
However the player is slower than the Philips. There are some standby modes, but unfortunately this also ups the power consumption.
Default startup: 33 sec
Standard power usage: 7 watts
Quick startup: 3 sec
Quick startup power usage 35 watts
the dark night to charging WB logo: 15 sec
casino royal load time 21 sec
CD load time 16 sec
SACD Genesis duke loading 16 sec
It is not a very quick player, for blu ray average, but the Denon 3930 was also very slow.
In order to run you BD-live discs, you need to insert a 2Gb SD card in the slot, to accomodate the downloaded files. The remote has a reasonable layout and build quality. Unfortunately it is has no illuniated keys, witch is unnacceptable at this price range.
A minor point I would like to mention is the fact that the player can play AVCHD files. However only from disk and not fro a SD card. Now this is a bit of a shame. As I would have liked to be able to insert by SD card from my Canon HD-100 AVCHD camcorer. And be able to play the files on it. Without having to connect the camera to the LCD TV.
The Marantz UD8004 has turned out to be a great player who has exceeded my expectations. The CD / SACD playback is of a high level and rises above the previous king of the midrange universal player, the Denon 3930. The image is of a high level and shows what blu-ray really is capable of. The build quality and finish are of a very high level and shows that Marantz had made a real effort to make a remarkable player.
The only downside is the long startup times. Once the disk is read, the operation is smoothly, however. Also the remote could have been better. And the inability to read AVCHD from SD cards (only from disk) is slight dissapointment.
Other that that it is an excellent player, that will stay in my Hifi cabinet for a very long time
© Eelco van Vliet, 2010