CD Player of the Year
It wins our CD Player of the Year, but in fact it’s rather more than that. Indeed the CD mechanism gets a pretty brief description these days in Marantz literature next to all the other digital goodies, though it is of course a high-quality tray-loading transport mech with all the accuracy you’d expect from Marantz’s 30+ years of experience in control and stabilisation. It plays CDs and recordable CDs (and MP3, WMA and AAC files burned to CD, if you must), though we note no SACD compatibility here.
But it can also be used as a DAC, with two optical inputs, one coaxial input, a USB slot on the front for sticks or drives, and the essential USB-B socket on the back for playing direct from your computer.
There is also the choice of Ethernet or Wi-Fi networking, which then allows networking streaming as well. For all these the NA8006 can play high-res audio as well as CD quality and below, with slightly different top-outs depending on the input — you can play up to 24-bit/192kHz PCM and 2.8/5.6MHz DSD files from the optical, coaxial and USB slot inputs, or over the network, assuming your network speed supports it. From computer, however, this rises up to a thoroughly futureproofed 32-bit/384kHz maximum for PCM files (it seemed to accept 768kHz, indeed) and 2.8/5.6/11.2MHz DSD through the USB-B input.
And there’s more. With the network connected the ND8006 gains the ability to stream via Apple AirPlay, which also makes it accessible at CD quality to Roon software. There is Bluetooth, though it has no AAC or aptX so is limited to the base-level SBC codec. Hopefully you can avoid Bluetooth by downloading the HEOS app — because the ND8006 is one of the increasing number of products to include the HEOS streaming and multiroom platform, which now allows voice control from Alexa and Google smart devices.
Equally important, however, is the quality within — at $1990, this is no entry-level unit. It’s solid, and it’s heavy for a source, and within it’s all built with Marantz’s audiophile-grade design and componentry, including the company’s HDAM modules and ESS9016 Sabre DACs. So technically solid, and musically fine, playing beautifully into amplification of its own level or, indeed, significantly above.
Marantz refers to it as “a unique complete digital music source player”, and we think that’s a fair description, though rather too long for an awards category. More info: www.marantz.com.au
“More than a fine CD player, the ND8006 can be your DAC as well, and with HEOS onboard, also your network playback unit for all manner of online and local music — all delivered to a very high quality.
QualiFi’s Paul Astbury collects the Award.