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Marantz DV-8300 in the house


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#1 of 35 OFFLINE   Scott Pierson

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Posted September 10 2002 - 04:50 PM

Picked it up on Sunday, installed it last night, and let it burn in overnight.

Very initial impressions are very favorable. Keep in mind that I have yet to have time to do some side by side comparisons with the Sony 555ES, and probably will not have a chance for a while, but my impression is that the Marantz is very similar in sound on SACD. I did not find any trace of harshness as someone wrote in another thread.

Again, these are admittedly after a limited listening session to one disc (Telarc's Symphonie Fantastique--one of the best sounding SACDs I've heard (I have about 40)--and something that I had also just listened to on the 555ES the day before I hooked up the Marantz). I did, however, listen to the disc twice, at a pretty decent level, and details I remember from before (I'm pretty familiar with this disc), seem at least as vivid, if not more so. I'm talking about fine details, such as the texture of the timpani and string sound, and the amazing dynamics in the finale (What brass!).

Based on this single SACD listening, I don't feel I am missing anything by not using the 555ES (so far), and if I am, then it is at such a subtle level that the convenience of a single player outweighs the loss.

I did listen to a couple of tracks from one of the few DVD-A's I own--John Williams' AI. Again, very nice, but this was harder to judge, since I listened to the surround tracks, and I am only familiar with the stereo CD. Also, this was my first DVD-Audio experience.

Loading discs happened pretty quickly, about 8-10 seconds to close the tray, figure out what kind of disc is playing and start the sound.

I watched a bit of a DVD with my 18 mo. old son (Baby Bach)--not exactly demonstration quality video (the disc, I mean), but even on a brief run, it was obvious that the video performance is definitely superior to my Sony carousel. Surface textures on the toys and balloons in the video were more detailed and three-dimensional. There did seem to be some red push and blooming on extremely bright colors (Red and Blue especially) that was not there before, but it may be the disc or it may be that I should probably recalibrate the TV with the new player.

About the only drawback I can find so far is that there seems to be no way to display the text information on SACD like the Sony players do. The display control only cycles through elapsed and remaining time.

I will let it burn in some more and listen more closely in a couple of days. So far I am one happy camper.

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#2 of 35 OFFLINE   Doug_B

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Posted September 11 2002 - 09:26 AM

Scott,

Thanks for your initial impressions. Do keep us up to date as you compare the two units further, if it's not too much trouble. BTW, what are your other system components, i.e., controller, amp, speakers, cables, etc?

Doug

#3 of 35 OFFLINE   Scott Pierson

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Posted September 11 2002 - 04:37 PM

My system consists of a B&K Ref 30, ATI 1505 amp, Vandersteen 2ce's (front), VCC-1 (Center), VSM-1 (Surounds), V2W sub, Audioquest speaker cables (Type F-14). Also, the Marantz (and the 555ES previously) goes to the Outlaw ICBM with their Outlaw cables, and then to the 6 channel input on the B&K with Monster (I don't remember the specific model but they run about $75/ 1 meter pair at Good Guys).

This is a terrific sounding system. We are building a dedicated room above the garage with a front projector (Runco vx1000c and Stewart greyhawk screen), but we are keeping all the existing audio components except: trading the VCC-1 fr the VCC-5 center speaker, bought the Marantz to replace my older Sony DVD carousel, and trading up to Audioquest type 6 for all speakers (front 3 will be biwired).

Eventually, I plan to have Vandersteen 3A signatures in the front, and four 2Wq' s for the fronts and surrounds to run full range, and use the V2W as the dedicated LFE. I may trade the ATI for a 2505, and I'm eager to learn about trade-in options for the B&K Ref 50.

Hope that helps.

Scott

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#4 of 35 OFFLINE   WarrenCo

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Posted September 12 2002 - 01:17 AM

Scott,

Congatulations on your new purchase.

I was the one who thought the 8300 sounded harsh on SACD and DVD -Audio.

I was wondering how think it sounds compared to the 555 now (after having the unit for a little while).

Best Wishes

Warren

#5 of 35 OFFLINE   Scott Pierson

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Posted September 12 2002 - 02:24 PM

Hi, Warren,

I still haven't had time to do any more listening. It is burning in even as we speak. I was a little nervous that it would be disappointing after I read your post. My system leans towards a warm, darker sound anyway, so I was relieved when I did not hear the harshness that you did.

I will listen more this weekend.

Take care,
Scott

#6 of 35 OFFLINE   Scott Pierson

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Posted September 15 2002 - 01:27 PM

Well, it has been on perpetual burn-in all week, and I finally got a chance to do some serious listening and side by side comparisons with my 555ES.

My feellings on its performance are definitely mixed at this point. Usually, it sounds great, and on most passages I can not really hear a difference between the two units. However, on solo voices, solo piano, and high trumpets, the 555ES definitely sounds better.

Here are the discs I listened to back-to-back:

Bach: Goldberg variations (Perahia): opening aria and variation 1. This is where I first noticed a difference. On the 555ES, this is one of the best recorded piano sounds I have ever heard. On the Marantz, the sound is a little thinner, and the bass is not as robust in the first variation.

Mahler: Symphony #5: 1st movement (approximately the first two minutes) (Zander on Telarc). On the Marantz the opening trumpet solo was a little brittle and the player's tone was perilously close to cracking as he went higher. On the Sony, you could still hear some problems with the tone, but they were not as obvious, and the trumpet sound was a little more full-bodied.

Orff: Carmina Burana (the new Runnicles recording on Telarc): Most big passages sounded very similar, however, two passsages clearly demonstrated the 555ES's advantage. On track 10, the high trumpet fanfares were unfocused and sounded brittle (even harsh), whereas on the Sony they were just brilliant and very focused. Also, the tenor solo on track 13, the sound of the high tenor voice was thin and rough around the edges on the Marantz, but well-focused on the Sony (even though this passage is supposed to be satirical and pretty raw, the Sony let the singer project the character without adding any added artificacts.)

Each section was listened to twice on each player with three or four rotations: Marantz-Sony-Marantz-Sony. (In other words twice on the marantz, twice on the Sony-twice on the Marantz and twice again on the Sony).

Frustrating, since bigger passages sound pretty identical, and each has a nice solid presentation. But on certain types of music, the Marantz definitely defers to the Sony.

I guess this one's going back. (sigh)



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#7 of 35 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted September 15 2002 - 02:01 PM

Scott, thanks for the comments. Sorry to hear that the '8300 didn't work out for you since it gave you DVD-Audio. The 'C555ES is a great component, so I expect it to be tough to beat in its price range (it originally retailed for $1700). Will you seek a different DVD-Audio player?
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#8 of 35 OFFLINE   Doug_B

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Posted September 15 2002 - 03:00 PM

Scott,

Interesting comparison, thanks. I assume the selections you mention are SACDs, correct? If so, have you had a chance to compare redbook CD playback? Just curious.

Doug

#9 of 35 OFFLINE   Scott Pierson

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Posted September 15 2002 - 03:24 PM

Keith--
The Sony is a great component--I got it before the price drop, but I still got a great deal at $800 back in December. The Marantz, however, is retailing for $1500 now, so I am a little disappointed that the audio was not up to par in all areas. Don't get me wrong, the differences were not exactly night and day. If I didn't already have and love the Sony, I would be very happy with the Marantz.

The DVD-Audio issue is also disappointing, in that it would be great to have a player that does both. But I only have four DVD-A's so it's not that big a deal at this point. Much more of the music I buy is coming out on SACD at this point.

Bottom line is if the audio performance on SACD had been at least as good as the Sony, I would have kept the player, with or without the chroma bug (I haven't seen it---yet), and used this as an audio source and gotten another player for DVD-video if the chroma bug became a problem for me.

Doug--Yes, SACDs (the Bach is 2 channel, the others were 5.1 channels). I did not really compare redbook CDs. At this point I still prefer the sound of my B&K dacs on CDs, plus I get better bass management running the digital in on the B&K, so I do that for CDs anyway. In my setup I actually use a Rotel RDD-980 transport for CD listening (it loads fast and sounds great).

#10 of 35 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted September 16 2002 - 02:14 AM

Scott said:

Quote:
The Sony is a great component--I got it before the price drop, but I still got a great deal at $800 back in December.


Actually, you got it after the first of two price drops. The original retail price for the 'C555ES was $1700 (when released in April 2001). Back then, you could get it by mail for around $1050. Last October, Sony dropped the retail price from $1700 to $1200, and the player was available for $800 by mail. Then in March, Sony dropped the retail price from $1200 to $800, and the 'C555ES became available for $600. I bought my first 'C555ES last November for $800 and the second one in April for $600. Posted Image

You need not live without DVD-Audio. For $450-500, you might want to look at the Denon DVD-1600. It has gotten a lot of good press here for both its DVD-Video and DVD-Audio capabilities. It does not show the chroma bug and it is considered a good audio component. It may not stack up with the Marantz DV-8300, but the '1600 is much cheaper and is still capable. Something to consider. See www.crutchfield.com for more information on the '1600.
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#11 of 35 OFFLINE   WarrenCo

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Posted September 16 2002 - 02:22 AM

Scott,

Sorry the 8300 didn't work out for you. When I got mine home I wanted to like so bad and was very dissapointed when I didn't. I really do love the 555 though. If it makes you feel any better I thought the DVD-Audio performance on my RP-91 was much better than the 8300 as well.

Keep us posted on what you do.

Warren

#12 of 35 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted September 16 2002 - 02:35 AM

Warren said:

Quote:
If it makes you feel any better I thought the DVD-Audio performance on my RP-91 was much better than the 8300 as well.


Wow! Now that's saying a lot. Considering that Marantz has a strong tradition in audio (stronger than Matsushita) and that Marantz supposedly reworked the audio section of the Pioneer Elite DV-47A, I am surprised by your observations. Now, please don't think I am doubting you. I am just suprised.
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#13 of 35 OFFLINE   Duvall

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Posted September 16 2002 - 07:02 AM

Loving my DV8300. I have a PSAudio P300 Power Plant and Kimber PowerKord on mine, as well as an Outlaw ICBM external crossover. I think it's analog output is superior to the digital input of the Ref30, IMHO.

It's making fine music in SACD, DVD-Audio and Video, and CD here. The DV8300 replaced a CAL CL-20, which replaced a Muse transport/DAC system.

I highly recommend the ICBM unit over the internal crossovers in either the DV8300 or the Ref30.

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#14 of 35 OFFLINE   BobRoulier

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Posted September 16 2002 - 01:15 PM

I had the pioneer 47a and rp91 in my home for comparison for a couple of weeks and I found the dvda in the panasonic to be superior to the pioneer and the and the pic on the rp91 is also superior!


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#15 of 35 OFFLINE   WarrenCo

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Posted September 16 2002 - 01:26 PM

Keith,

I was also surprised that the RP-91 sounded better with DVD-Audio than the Marantz 8300 to me. It was more than subtle. (Atleast on the 2 discs I sampled).

I did like the redbook cd performance on the Marantz though.

Warren

#16 of 35 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted September 16 2002 - 01:38 PM

Warren, it is easy to make assumptions in this hobby. Most of the time, I am quite confident that Marantz will beat Panasonic and more expensive will beat less expensive, but there are always exceptions. That's why we must let our ears decide!
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#17 of 35 OFFLINE   Yee-Ming

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Posted September 16 2002 - 04:44 PM

does anyone here use a Marantz 8300 together with a Marantz receiver?

as many of you know, Marantz receivers have a nasty habit of "dropping" the digital-out signal and taking forever to pick it up again, leading to annoying silences during menu changes or even layer changes.

since the results seemed to differ slightly depending on the brand of player used, I'm wondering whether using this Marantz player gives better results, i.e. less drop-out?

#18 of 35 OFFLINE   Pete Jennings

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Posted September 17 2002 - 10:28 AM

Yee-Ming, I went from a JVC DVD player to a Marantz VD-6200. The audio dropout during layer changes or menu changes dropped at least by half. The DV-6200 is fed into a Marantz SR-8200 receiver. Drop-outs are a non issue for me now. Posted Image

I'm not sure how the DV-8300 would be, but I would guess it is similar or better.

Pete
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#19 of 35 OFFLINE   Scott Pierson

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Posted September 17 2002 - 02:16 PM

Holy Mackerel, stop the presses....!

(The saga continues.)

So, today, I'd been pondering this weird anomaly in the sound quality I posted about earlier, and wondering as to the difference in sound between big ensemble stuff, and solo voices or instruments, especially in the higher register.

One of the cool things about the Marantz is that one can set speaker distances for the analog outputs, to adjust for differences in one's setup. On my initial listening session (my first post), I had not figured out the menus to do that yet (and I reported that it sounded good). On my in-depth listening session, I had figured out the menu scheme, and had set the speaker distances the same as they are in the B&K (since the B&K analog bypass cannot accommodate different distances). and that's how I listened on Sunday.

So today, I move the settings back to equidistant in the Marantz, and lo and behold, all the weird sound things
I wrote about on Sunday were gone. I was again hard-pressed to discern any audible difference between the Marantz and the Sony on SACD 5.1 material (same program material as described above).

Puzzled, I dimly recalled something in the Outlaw manual, and dug it out. Sure enough, it says speaker distance settings that are different before the signals reach the Outlaw can introduce phasing anomalies in the crossover, stage resulting in some bass cancellations. Now I don't know if this could explain the fact that the passages I mentioned now no longer sounded thin (or even harsh), but I suspect it may. And I definitely hear a difference for the better in the sound compared to Sunday.

But wait--there's more....

Going back to the Marantz manual, it says the speaker distance settings don't apply to SACD. So now I'm stumped. Could it be that the manual is wrong? Seems unlikely, if the SACD signal path is different than the other formats.

All I know is I definitely do not hear the problems I wrote about on Sunday, and this is the only difference between the two sessions.

Maybe all the cable switching back and forth on Sunday was a factor--perhaps I didn't get a prime connection on the Marantz--but repeatedly? What're the chances of that?

Any ideas?

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#20 of 35 OFFLINE   Doug_B

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Posted September 17 2002 - 02:23 PM

Why don't you try the unit without the ICBM in the loop, both with the equal speaker distance settings and with the unequal distance settings.

Doug





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