First Impressions and Build Quality
If you’re an audio/video enthusiast then you probably have had an eye out on all the universal players that have been hitting the market over the last couple of years. Although many companies have released various universal players with steady price drops it is nice to know that there are still good high end products to fit the needs of the most discriminating AV enthusiasts. Marantz is one such company that has been in the high end industry since their inception in the 1950’s. The Marantz DV-9500 not only fits into the most premium home theaters but it also has features for those that are building a system one piece at a time. Even for the 2-channel audiophile who isn’t sure about home theater the DV-9500 has excellent stereo formats.
The first thing I grabbed out of the box was the user guide which initially scared me. It was 8 ½ by 11 inches and about 250 pages. Fortunately it was in 4 languages so it wasn’t quite as intimidating as I first thought. I realize that many people don’t like to read owner’s manuals but I do and recommend that you at least skim over them. There may be useful features that you were unaware of at the time of purchase. One of the things I liked about this one was that for every feature it listed which disk formats to which the feature applied.
Removing the player from the box I immediately felt the heft and solid construction of this unit which weighed in at nearly 19 pounds. I was extremely impressed with the layout of both the front and rear panels. The front face was very simple and uncluttered. The display located beneath the drawer contained all pertinent information for all playing modes. A small button on the left of the display was for dimming and a small button on the right side of the display was for controlling the headphone which will be covered later. The large power button on the left side of the unit completely shuts the power down to the unit. There is no standby button on the front panel, but as expected the unit will go into standby automatically. Pressing any of the other buttons will bring power back up. On the left side of the unit there are three large Play, Stop, and Pause buttons. Below these buttons were the smaller Open/Close, Index forward, and Index back buttons. All of the buttons had a very good, positive stop feel and could be found in low light.
The rear panel was equally simple and uncluttered. All of the connectors were fairly well grouped. The analog audio outputs were all across the top with plenty of spacing between them for ease of making connections. On the bottom left were all the digital outputs including coax, optical and HDMI. To the right of that group were the control connections for RS-232 and a hard-wired remote control. Just to the right of the middle were the analog video connections, component, S-video, and two composite videos. I’m sure it’s standard to have composite video but I can’t imagine any use for them. If anyone is buying a player of this magnitude why would it ever be hooked up to a display that didn’t at least have S-video? All analog connectors were RCA; there were no BNC connectors designed into this model. Finally, all the way to the right is where the power connector was placed.
Taking a look on the inside of the unit I saw some interesting things. The first thing I noticed was that the power supplies were separated and isolated from the video and audio circuits.
Notice that I said power supplies, meaning there are actually two of them. Marantz included a separate power supply dedicated to the audio circuit. From the picture you can see a power supply on the left with its wire bundle going up to the circuit board on the top left which is the audio circuit. On the right side power supply the wire bundle goes underneath the disk transport feeding the video and digital circuits. The DACs used were Cirrus Logic 4398 with some really cool features:
120 dB Dynamic Range
Low Clock Jitter Sensitivity
Separate DSD and PCM Inputs
Differential Analog Outputs
Take a quick look at the Block Diagram:
The filter circuitry after the DACs was made up of all single components as opposed to prefabricated filter integrated circuits. From the next picture you can clearly see the six separate audio circuits feeding the multi channel output RCA connectors. It appears that Marantz paid attention to all the right details when designing the DV-9500.