The Marantz HD-DAC1 Premium Headphone Amplifier Ships This October - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 
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post #1 of 4 Old 09-23-14, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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The Marantz HD-DAC1 Premium Headphone Amplifier Ships This October

The name Marantz screams quality all on its own, born from the finer touches the company applies to its spectrum of AV gear. Recently it unveiled yet another tasty delight, the gorgeous HD-DAC1 headphone amplifier. Much like hi-fi speakers that sing with juice flowing from a quality power amplifier, good headphones also benefit from a good source. Weíve seen quite a few audiophile grade headphone amplifier DACs (Digital to Analog Converter) hit the streets in recent years, with Marantz now joining the ranks of manufacturers offering a specialized (and pricey) product to feed our ears with better, more nuanced, resolution and detail.



Marantz's new HD-DAC1 Headphone Amplifier.

While small in stature (9.8-inches W x 10.6 D x 3.5 H), the physical features of the HD-DAC1 arenít too surprising. Its smooth aluminum faceplate features a glass porthole and attractive curved wood paneling graces its sides. Keeping the design simple, Marantz provides front twin input/volume selectors, a headphone jack, USB connectivity, and a power button. Simple. Clean.

The guts of the unit certainly arenít lacking. Marantz says it has included Current Feedback amp technologies from its Premium 11 Series of amplifiers. Its power section can drive high-impedance headphones (up to 600 ohm) and smaller active speakers. The HD-DAC1ís high current audiophile grade CS4398 DAC converts music digital music fed through the provided optical, coaxial, and USB inputs (which allows direct connections from PC and MAC sources through a shielded USB-B port to eliminate computer generated frequency noise). Further sound enhancement comes at the hands of a jitter remover and Dual Clock. The unit also has RCA outputs.



The HD-DAC1 offers multiple connectivity options.

The HD-DAC1 has an asynchronous mode to support 192kHz/24bit hi-res audio files, but also 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz DSD (Digital Stream Digital) files.

The HD-DAC1 is expensive (priced at $800), but moderately priced when compared to some of its competition that sit north of the $1,000-mark. Look for the unit to ship sometime this October.

Image Credits: Marantz
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post #2 of 4 Old 09-24-14, 05:55 AM
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Re: The Marantz HD-DAC1 Premium Headphone Amplifier Ships This October

That looks pretty awesome. According to the official UK site and specs pdf it's power output is 800mW @ 32ohm so it's not quite as powerful as the Schiit Magni or the Monoprice Headphone amp so it'll probably struggle a little bit with the planars like the HiFiMan and Mad/Alpha Dogs. I'm gonna have to keep an eye out for this but at $800 MSRP seems to be a bit steep, I guess we'll have to see about street prices or maybe Accessories4Less will get some refurbs in! Next year I'll be going out on the headphone rig as my home theater rig is mostly complete.
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post #3 of 4 Old 09-24-14, 03:13 PM
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Re: The Marantz HD-DAC1 Premium Headphone Amplifier Ships This October

This is an interesting product announcement. I had always thought that there was room between the $499 Headphone-DACs and the $1000-$1300 products in the market place, but there had been few products with a really nice feature set. This one seems to fit the bill, and the big surprise is that it's coming from a Marantz product. Previously if you wanted a Marantz DAC, you had to pay $3499 for the NA-1151. Now, the HD-DAC1 is missing a few things from it's lofty big brother, most noticeably balanced outputs, RS-232 control for control systems, and it's not a networked DAC (the NA-1151 has Airplay, DLNA support and app control from an iPhone). I'd also be willing to guess that the audio circuitry is probably a little better in the more expensive product.

But if you don't need all of that, it's a nice sweet spot to be in. My two channel listening rig has a Audible Illusions Modulus 3 tube pre-amp without balanced connections, so that feature would go unused by me. The Oppo HA-1 in comparison has those extra features and an AES/EBU input (but no RS-233 connection). One puzzling omission is an external 12v amp trigger.

I'm looking forward to hearing some reviews on this product when it ships.
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post #4 of 4 Old 10-01-14, 01:48 PM
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Re: The Marantz HD-DAC1 Premium Headphone Amplifier Ships This October

Looks like it could be the centrepiece of a nice little 2 channel rig, if paired with a decent amp for external speaker duties. It would also work well in my HT setup, providing a nice DAC/pre-amp for two channel listening with or without headphones. Not in my immediate future (have other things that require funding first) but if I come into some "found money", I might well take the plunge.
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