Marantz currently offers a full line of stereo and home theater components, but in the 1950s, the company was one of America's most prestigious hi-fi brands. Early Marantz products were designed and built by Saul B. Marantz in his home in Kew Gardens, New York. Those hand-built components now fetch huge dollars on the used market.
So naturally, I was interested in what Home Entertainment magazine's Richard Ames had to say about the Marantz UD9004 "universal" player. The $6,000 machine spins Blu-ray, SACD, DVD-Audio, and CDs.
It certainly looks the part: the Marantz UD9004's copper-plated chassis, thick aluminum/resin front panel, and aluminum-and-zinc die-cast parts are many steps above the build quality of mainstream Blu-ray players. The UD9004 tips the scales at a hefty 42.3 pounds, more than many receivers.
The rear panel hosts two HDMI outputs, so you can send the audio to the receiver without having to route them to the TV. On the analog side, you get XLR balanced outputs for the main left/right, and eight channels of RCA outputs for surround.
Inside, there are 32-bit Analog Devices SHARC processors for the HD audio decoding and up to 192 kHz/32-bit digital-to-audio conversion on all channels.
The luxury feel of the disc drawer, and the way it silently slides in and out, doesn't happen with most Blu-ray players.
Ames found the sound to be "incredibly lifelike; you can hear the notes reverberate though the recording space, not just the initial notes."
Some may quibble about the "need" for a $6,000 Blu-ray player, but the same guilt trip could be laid on any number of luxury products. No one needs a $122,000 Porsche Panamera 4S to drive to work, or a $7,000 Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III digital SLR camera to take a picture. But some people who can afford the best buy it, and the Marantz UD9004 is for them.