Lab­o­ra­tory test re­port

Australian HIFI - - ON TEST -

The out­put volt­age from the SA-14SE was plenty high enough to drive any in­te­grated am­pli­fier, even high enough to drive a power am­pli­fier di­rectly if that’s your pre­ferred setup. As you can see from the tab­u­lated re­sults, New­port Test Labs mea­sured 2.37 volts on the left chan­nel, and 2.35 volts on the right, with the very slight dif­fer­ence mean­ing that there was a chan­nel im­bal­ance of 0.06dB. Not enough to be au­di­ble.

Chan­nel sep­a­ra­tion was im­pres­sively high, even up at 20kHz, where CD play­ers typ­i­cally find it tough to de­liver, at which fre­quency the SA-14SE’s re­sult was in triple dig­its (101dB). As you can see from the tab­u­lated fig­ures, sep­a­ra­tion im­proved to 125dB at 1kHz and 126dB at 20Hz. All these fig­ures are light-years more than will ever be re­quired to de­liver max­i­mal stereo per­for­mance.

Chan­nel phase er­rors were also low 0.53° at 20kHz, 0.02° at 1kHz and non-ex­is­tent down at 20Hz (0.00°).

Lin­ear­ity er­rors were very low, once more, as you can see from the tab­u­lated re­sults, vary­ing from non-ex­is­tent (at –60dB) to a max­i­mum of 0.09dB (at –80.70dB).

Over­all THD+N at 0dB was 0.05% and you can see the out­put spec­trum at the level (Graph 1) shows sec­ond and third har­monic dis­tor­tion com­po­nents at –108dB (0.00039%) and –105dB (0.00056%), plus a fifth at –115dB (0.00017%). Some other com­po­nents are present, but they’re all at or more than 125dB (0.00005%) down. These all ap­pear to be ana­logue com­po­nents caused by driv­ing the out­put stage to it max­i­mum level, which is never go­ing to be the case when play­ing mu­sic, which is recorded at much lower lev­els to en­sure there is no clip­ping on peaks. This would seem to be ev­i­denced by Graph 2, which shows out­put at –10dB recorded level, which is still quite high. On this graph, you can see there’s only a sin­gle har­monic dis­tor­tion com­po­nent (the sec­ond har­monic) at –114dB (0.00019%). Re­duc­ing the recorded sig­nal level a fur­ther 10dB, to –20dB (Graph 3) sees even this sin­gle com­po­nent drop fur­ther in level, to –126dB (0.00005%).

At –60dB (Graph 4) we be­gin to see arte­facts from the dig­i­tal-to-ana­logue con­verter in the noise floor, but all of these are more than 120dB down, or less than 0.0001%.

Dis­tor­tion per­for­mance at ex­tremely low recorded lev­els was ex­cep­tion­ally low, as you can see from Graph 5, which shows an un­dithered sine wave at a level of –91.24dB. There is a sec­ond har­monic at –108dB (0.00039%), fol­lowed by the next three higher-or­dered har­mon­ics at –118dB (0.00012%). All oth­ers are be­low –120dB (0.0001%). Although these are all low, they only oc­cur at all be­cause the test sig­nal is not dithered, whereas mu­sic is dithered. The re­sult with a dithered test sig­nal at al­most the same level is shown in Graph 6 and you can see there is no dis­tor­tion vis­i­ble in the out­put of the SA-14S1 at all—just the noise floor, and that’s at –140dB right across the au­dio band. This is a su­perbly low noise floor that’s 10dB to 20dB lower than I nor­mally see. To­tal over­all wide­band noise was 107dB un­weighted, im­prov­ing to 115dB A-weighted—both ex­cel­lent re­sults.

CCIF IMD was mea­sured for both set­tings of the Marantz’s two user-ad­justable low-pass fil­ters. The re­sult with Fil­ter 1 is shown in

Marantz’s SA14S1 SE re­turned out­stand­ing per­for­mance in all three of its op­er­at­ing modes...

Graph 7 and you can see high-level IMD com­po­nents at 24kHz and 25kHz, a re­gen­er­ated 1kHz sig­nal plus sig­nals at 14kHz and 16kHz. With Fil­ter 2 se­lected (Graph 8), both the high-level IMD com­po­nents and the in-band sig­nals dis­ap­peared com­pletely. Only the re­gen­er­ated 1kHz sig­nal re­mained, and this was down at –118dB (0.00012%).

The same gen­eral level of per­for­mance was demon­strated with a sin­gle 20kHz sine wave at max­i­mum recorded level (0dB), as you can see in Graphs 9 and 10. When us­ing Fil­ter 1 there is a high-level sig­nal at 24kHz as well as in-band com­po­nents, whereas when us­ing Fil­ter 2 these dis­ap­pear com­pletely.

You can see the ef­fect of the two fil­ters on the Marantz SA-14S1 SE’s fre­quency re­sponse in Graph 11, with Fil­ter 1 rolling the re­sponse off quite slowly, whereas Fil­ter 2 cuts it off in­cred­i­bly steeply. Nei­ther fil­ter’s ac­tion starts cut­ting in un­til above 14kHz. The Marantz’s fre­quency re­sponse is ruler flat from 2Hz up to 2kHz and only –0.1dB down at 14kHz. Over­all, with ei­ther fil­ter, the Marantz’s fre­quency re­sponse is 2Hz to 20kHz ±0.1dB.

The two dif­fer­ent fil­ter slopes are shown rather more graph­i­cally in Graphs 12 and 13, where you can clearly see the shal­low slope of Fil­ter 1 (Graph 12) vs the sharp cut-off of Fil­ter 2 (Graph 13).

New­port Test Labs also tested the Marantz SA-14S1 SE’s per­for­mance as a DAC, us­ing AES-17 stan­dard dig­i­tal test sig­nals (24-bit/48kHz). The tab­u­lated re­sults re­veal ex­cel­lent per­for­mance across all the stan­dard tests, with non-lin­ear in­ter­chan­nel crosstalk fig­ures in par­tic­u­lar be­ing com­mend­ably low. Chan­nel sep­a­ra­tion was, rather cu­ri­ously, just a lit­tle bit less than when us­ing 16-bit/44.1kHz test sig­nals, as you can see in Graph 14, with a lit­tle bit of vari­ance de­pend­ing on whether the mea­sure­ment was L–R or R–L, but ei­ther way, sep­a­ra­tion was greater than 100dB be­low 6kHz and bet­ter than 90dB at 20kHz. In­ter­chan­nel phase, on the other hand (Graph 15) was vir­tu­ally iden­ti­cal to the re­sults mea­sured by New­port Test Labs us­ing 16/44.1 test sig­nals.

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