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Washline 10-01-2020 03:32 AM

Marantz SA-KI Ruby vs. SA-10 Using RCA
Hi Folks,

I'm interested in getting one of either of these two disc spinners, and I'm looking for feedback from anyone who may have compared them using the single ended outputs on both rather than simply the single ended Ruby vs. the balanced SA-10. The amp I'd be using them with is RCA only, so the extra features of the SA-10's balanced circuitry would be unnecessary. I've been offered a 1200 buck trade-in on an old Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 3D, which was a Stereophile product of the year award winner in 2001. That trade-in brings the total cost of the SA-10 (new) to within 1100 of the KI-Ruby used. If the difference is not significant between the two pieces in single ended, I'd opt for the Ruby and keep both machines for the time being. If the difference is more significant, then obviously I should opt for the SA-10.

I hope I'm being clear today and thanks in advance for your suggestions as always.

rnrmf1971 10-01-2020 09:57 AM

I haven't compared but with the price difference between the two as large as it is, I have to think there's some difference.

Looking at the inside of the units suggests the KI-Ruby doesn't omit very much, in terms of components, though.

Unless you might need the balanced outputs in the future, I'm not sure it makes sense to debate the merits.

If you want the best sound they make, don't need the Musical Fidelity, and have a good trade-in price, go for the SA-10.

A bigger question in Korea might be deciding if the newest SA-12SE is an option along with the KI-Ruby if you're staying single ended.

Washline 10-01-2020 06:59 PM

Thanks for the response, Christian. The SA-12 is available here as well for a decent price, but I think I'd prefer to go with the slightly older Ruby because of the copper chassis. It's also cheaper used.

I've read on some forums that the differences between the Ruby and the SA-10 are not so dramatic. I've also read that they are. I haven't, however, read about any direct comparisons. Some have speculated that the real advantage of the SA-10 is the balanced circuitry and that's where the extra three pounds of mass comes from as well as the copper covered power supply. My suspicion is that in single ended, they might be quite close, but I wanted to check here first to see if anyone had any direct experience.

Crumhorn 10-01-2020 10:36 PM

When my Esoteric X-05 SACD self-destructed this summer, I, too, looked into the Ruby vs the SA-10 (among others.) All my ICs are currently single-ended, as I like the ability to switch to my Hovland preamp sometimes, and it has no balanced connections. There seemed to be near-universal agreement that the SA-10 was better, but by how much varied person (& system) to person. I also asked Marantz America what the differences were. They said that in addition to the balanced circuitry & shielded transformer, select components in the signal path (caps, resistors, etc.) of the SA-10 were of a higher quality.

Here is the opinion someone voiced in response to this question on a different forum: "The SA-10 has the same sonic character as the Ruby. The SA-10 just offers a bit more of everything. Piano has more weight, soundstage is wider and deeper, everything is just a bit more real. I think the SA-10 is a really special piece and the Ruby isn’t far behind at significantly lower cost. It is a real value for how great it sounds. I use my SA-10 as a DAC through its digital inputs most of the time, but it really sounds best spinning discs. You can’t go wrong with either option."

I ended up ordering the SA-10 (at the end of July.) I was informed a few days ago that it had finally shipped from Japan. I can't wait. If a comparably-priced Luxman had been available, I would have considered that as well.

SOTA Cosmos TT (vacuum, Electronic Flywheel), SME V, Koetsu Rosewood Signature
Marantz SA-10 SACD player, Alesis ML-9600 mastering CD burner, Nakamichi 700 ZXE Cassette Deck
Pass Labs XP-15 phono stage
Pass Labs XP-30 (SS) & Hovland HP-100 (tube) preamps
Edge G8+ laser-biased monoblocks & Classé M-700 monoblocks
Rockport Atria & Infinity IRS Beta Speakers
Audience AU24 SX Phono cable, MIT Shotgun ICs, Shunyata Alpha SCs
Revelation Audio Labs 'Passage' CryoSilver Reference DualConduit DB-25 umbilical cables for Pass XP-30
Shunyata Denali 6000T power conditioner (on BBA platform), Shunyata Alpha NR, Delta NR, & Venom HC PCs. Also PS8 & 2 Venom Defenders.
Audio Magic Ultimate SHD Bees Wax Fuse, Synergistic Research Blue & Black fuses, Hi-Fi Tuning fuses
Klaudio LP200 ultrasonic RCM

Washline 10-01-2020 11:39 PM

Thanks Crumhorn. That's very helpful. I read that same opinion in the forum and figured that was the case but I didn't know if the distinguished characteristics also involved the use of balanced connections of the SA-10. However, your remark about the different caps and resistors provides an important additional bit of information.

Washline 10-01-2020 11:42 PM

They seem to be dumping the 10s where I live. Less than 3K US for each new at the audio vendors I frequent online.

Crumhorn 10-01-2020 11:51 PM

Wow! I paid the full $7,000 U.S. (minus Ivan's AA subscriber discount) for it in July! I did my best to find out if it was about to be replaced, but everyone thought it would have another few years at the top of the line...

Washline 10-02-2020 02:07 AM

There's a trade war going on now between Korea and Japan. I think that may be a big part of it.

Washline 10-02-2020 02:21 AM

About 3153 in today's exchange rate:

I generally use in my head 1000 to the dollar, as it's a bit closer the real buying power and probably the real exchange rate as well

bart 10-02-2020 07:25 AM

That's a real bargain price for such a wonderful unit!

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