Marantz UD9004 Review Saint John NB
Saint John, NB
Marantz UD9004 Review
December 3, 2009 By Richard Ames
Blu-Ray AND DVD-Audio and SACD
Despite getting a very favorable review a few months ago, the Pioneer BDP-09FD was missing one key aspect that was disapointing: no DVD-Audio and SACD support.
Sure these are dead formats at this point, but many still have large collections, and it's great to have one player to play everything. Enter the Marantz UD9004.
Marantz has come out with a bevy of high end products recently, notably the Reference series. Gary reviewed the SC-7S2 Control Amplifier, MA-9S2 Monoblocks, and SA-7S1 SACD player . While not officially part of the Reference series, the UD9004 is still referred to by Marantz as a flagship product, and is certainly not lacking in the build quality or parts department. Starting with the weight.
The copper plated chassis, aluminum/resin front panel, aluminum and zinc die-cast parts, all add up to a hefty 42.3 pounds, more than many receivers.
There are dual HDMI outputs, so you can send the audio to the receiver without having to then route to the TV. On the analog side, you get XLR balanced outputs for the main left/right, and eight channels of unbalanced outputs.
Inside, of course, is where the real magic happens. There are 32-bit Analog Devices SHARC processors for the HD audio decoding (all the current formats, of course), and 192 kHz/32-bit AK4399 DACs for digital to audio conversion on all channels.
On the video side, the UD9004 uses the REALTA HQV chipset and a 14-bit Analog Devices DAC and the Anchor Bay Technology ABT2010 and ABT1012 for the component output.
If your projector doesn't have the feature, the UD9004 has the ability to vertically stretch 2.35:1 movies, presuming you have the lens to stretch it back out to fill a 2.35:1 screen.
The remote is fairly plain, but has a weighty feel, and is topped with aluminum. A small thing, for sure, but it feels like something that should come with a high-end product, which often isn't the case with remotes. Sadly, it is not back lit, so finding the right buttons in the dark is a challenge.
Mechanically, from the way the disc drawer silently slides in and out, to the click of the front panel buttons, the UD9004 has a feel of quality, something else that's rarely found in a Blu-ray player.
Start up, from off to when you see an image, is about on par with other high-end BD players. That is to say it’s slower than the new cheap models, but not egregiously so.
One of the coolest features, found on this and a few other BD players, is the ability to play back DVDs at 24p. Press the Resolution button on the remote and just select 1080p/24. If you have one of the growing number of displays that will duplicate frames in a multiple of 24, the loss of the 3:2 judder on your older discs will be welcome.
Although it says on the on-screen menu that it outputs 1080p over component, it is just 1080i. Not a big deal as most displays can’t accept 1080p over component anyway.