Marantz SA-12SE Special Edition Super Audio CD Player with DAC
Marantz was in at the start of CD, launching its first player — the original CD-63 — in 1982. In the following years, Marantz became well known as the CD-Player specialist. Drawing on the development process for the flagship SA-10, and designed by the same team, the SA-12 Special Edition was created to celebrate the love of music and exalt the mastery and emotion of music.
Marantz Musical Mastering technology defines new standards in the digital and analogue audio processing. A disc mechanism built purely for audio, the “SACDM-3” is able to play SACDs, CDs, and compilations on CD-ROM or DVD-ROM. It also has an asynchronous USB input, able to handle formats all the way up to PCM/DXD 384kHz/32bit and DSD11.2MHz. The Marantz Musical Mastering Stream transforms all PCM file formats to DSD format, using advanced filtering and proprietary processing before the Marantz Musical Mastering Conversion converts the 1-bit data stream directly into an analogue signal without the use of a conventional D/A converter.
The Marantz engineering team created this player to deliver the kind of sound able to bring you closer than ever to your favourite music. The reason is simple, and central to everything Marantz does — because music matters.
Marantz Special Edition
Extensive and painstaking tuning by sound masters is what powers the exquisite sonic signature of any Marantz product. No component leaves the hands of Marantz Sound Masters until it passes rigorous testing. Only the finest products, thoroughly tested and tenderly handled, make it to your home. Marantz Special Editions are the Marantz way to celebrate the love of music that runs deep in the veins of Marantz sound masters and engineers, exhibited in the artistry and craftsmanship of those special components. Sound Masters will occasionally identify a product with a higher potential than expected and master it with extra unwavering attention to detail, component selection and listening sessions. The original SA-12 was solely created for the Japanese market, and quickly proved to be the next chosen one. European sound engineers combined it with achievements made developing the famous SA-KI Ruby, and thus the SA-12 Special Edition was born.
At the heart of the SA-12SE is an innovative SACDM-3 transport mechanism, engineered solely for the best possible performance when playing SA-CDs, CDs and music stored on data discs. This new mechanism promises exceptional sound quality from conventional CD and SA-CD discs and allows listeners to create their own high-resolution audio compilation discs using a computer DVD burner. The SA-12SE supports FLAC files from 44.1kHz to 192kHz and up to 24-bit resolution, DSD2.8MHz and DSD 5.6MHz, ALAC (Apple Lossless), AIFF and MP3 files. Creating and playing hi-res disc compilations is as simple as it is enjoyable.
CDs, SA-CDs and Beyond
The SA-12SE is a fully functional digital-to-analogue converter for music stored on a home computer via USB-B and features optical and coaxial digital inputs for existing source components. These inputs support files up to 192kHz/24bit. The USB-B asynchronous input for direct connection with a computer is compatible with PCM and DXD music files at up to 384kHz/32bit, as well as DSD2.8MHz, DSD5.6MHz and DSD11.2MHz.
Marantz HDAM Technology
Marantz developed its own discrete circuit boards called Hyper-Dynamic Amplifier Modules, or HDAMs, to replace the chip-based amps used elsewhere. Using discrete surface mount components with short mirror-image left and right signal paths, HDAMs outperform the regular integrated Op-amps dramatically in Slew Rate and noise level. The result is much more dynamic, accurate and detailed sound. Over the years, Marantz has developed different HDAMs to fit the requirements of players and amplifiers. The SA-12SE uses the latest high-grade SA3 version. Combined with optimized circuit design layout and carefully selected components, the SA-12SE provides exceptional sound quality and performance.
Marantz Musical Mastering: MMM-Stream and MMM-Conversion
Marantz Musical Mastering is at the heart of digital audio in the SA-12SE lies DSD. PCM signals are up-converted to DSD at 11.2MHz using the proprietary MMM-Stream converter within the player. The high-frequency signal produced is processed by the unique MMM-Conversion stage, used in place of a conventional DAC, to produce the analogue output. The MMM-Stream section of the process replaces the oversampling filters normally used in digital to analogue conversion and allows the implementation of the Marantz Musical Mastering filtering. Two system clocks of 44.1kHz and 48kHz ensure the most accurate up-conversion of the incoming signal, whether it is from disc or the digital inputs. All available digital signal formats are a multiple of either 44.1 or 48, hence any processing is done without rounding, preventing the loss of important information or creating failures. Sigma Delta Modulation allows a pure DSD-standard signal, a 1-bit stream, to be passed to the conversion section in the form of a very high-frequency stream of pulses. The design of the DSD-to-analogue filter feeds the audio signal into the familiar Marantz HDAM (Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Modules) in the output stage for optimal sound quality.
High Current Power Supply
The power supply of the SA-12SE features a large high current toroidal power transformer with OFC (oxygen-free copper) secondary wires, along with high speed, high current Schottky Barrier Diodes in the rectifier stage for the purest DC voltage output. There are independent power supplies for the analogue and digital circuitry to reduce interference to a minimum.
System Remote Control
The elegant aluminum top remote control features an intuitive ergonomic layout and is equipped with amplifier control functions to operate both the SA-12SE and the complementary PM-12SE reference class integrated stereo amplifier. Use the integrated remote control input and output jacks to connect the SA-12SE to other compatible Marantz components. An internal/external switch on the rear panel provides additional system control flexibility.
Low Noise Fluorescent Display
The deluxe low noise LC display features clear, easy to read alpha-numeric characters and is compatible with CD Text encoded music discs. Display can be turned off via the display control button on the remote. For enhanced user experience, bit depth of the input signal is now available on the front display of the SA-12SE.
Dedicated Headphone Output
Connect your favourite headphones directly to the SA-12SE via the convenient front panel headphone jack, which also features its own selectable gain control. The headphone circuit is compatible with the widest range of headphone types and lower impedance headphones.
Built to Perform
Like the complementary PM-12SE integrated amplifier, the SA-12SE Super Audio CD player is constructed to the highest standards, with a front panel made from thick, heavy, non-magnetic aluminum to eliminate interference. Single layer nickel-plated matching copper RCA terminals in the SA-12SE outperform the terminals of competitors and offer an exemplary listening experience.