High End 2013

The distinctive figure of Ken Ishiwata is a familiar one at audio shows around the world, even if he’d rather be back in the listening room, but at High End he had Marantz’s first serious streamer to show off. The NA-11S1 is a 3500 network audio player with full UPnP, Airplay, net radio and DSD capabilities. It has a totally isolated USB receiver so that noise from the computer cannot get into the audio circuitry via the positive or negative side of the 5V connection. Ken is a big DSD fan and was using JRiver to play files of Billie Holiday through the NA-11S1 -- mono recordings from the '50s, an era when the supertweeter wasn’t a glint in anyone’s eye. That’s not the point, however; what Ken loves is the analog sound quality the format produces, and his demo made a very strong case for his view. The NA-11S1 will support DSD up to 5.6Mhz and has both flavors of USB port as well as apps for both iOS and Android. In fact, all in all it’s a rather tempting package.

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