MARANTZ NA8005 - THE EVERYMAN'S HI-RES STREAMER
History Of Hi-Res Streaming
Digital music brought with it the ability to store thousands of tracks on portable players and a new era of convenience. This came at the expense of quality and required tracks to be heavily compressed.
With the advance of internet connection speeds and cheap hard drives, it was then possible to hold uncompressed CD quality files on your computer, but often the computer and the Hi-Fi were not in the same room.
Enter the network streamer. What used to cost $10,000 from the audiophile name brands can now be bought for under $2000 from companies such as Marantz. These devices allow you to store all your uncompressed music on a hard drive and then stream it to your stereo system. No need for CD players or iPod docking stations.
Certain audiophile websites now also sell better-than-CD-quality music files. The new generation of network streamers such as the Marantz NA8005 can stream these too which opens a whole new dimension of sound quality for your digital music.
This article focuses on the Marantz NA8005 -- the most affordable pure hi-res streamer. It is well built, features an exceptionally good DAC and has a great interface. We’ll tell you how you can get into the world of hi-res with this complete walkthrough on setting up and enjoying the NA8005
Marantz NA8005 Tech Specs
1. High Quality 24 bit / 192 Khz PCM DAC - The digital-to-analogue converter inside Marantz supports high resolution audio files, up to 4x better than CD quality.
2. DSD Support - The alternate format to PCM. DSD decoding is suitable for the highest quality commercially available music files up to master tape quality or beyond.
3. Remote Control Via App - Dedicated apps for Android and iOS can control all functions of the streamer, with easy browsing from Network Attached hard disc drives.
4. Built-in Airplay support for direct playback from iOS devices or iTunes. Super simple.
5. Improve the sound of your other digital components.
6. Utilize the DAC inside the streamer for amazing sound quality from other external devised such as TVs, gaming consoles, computers and anything with a digital audio output.
7. If you already have a very expensive DAC you can use the Marantz as only the receiver and pass the digital stream to your existing DAC.
Add the NA8005 to your existing Network
The NA8005 is a network device so it must be connected by Ethernet or via a wi-fi bridge such as Airport express so that it can see the rest of the devices on your network, as well as the internet. The best connection will be with your router.
Setup step by step
Connect an ethernet cable to the Marantz and the other end to a spare output on your router
With a set of RCA cables connect to the, ‘Audio Out’ on the Marantz to a spare input on your amplifier/receiver. Plug in the AC cable and power the unit on.
The unit will display, ‘Initialized’ and begin the setup
Select your language by navigating with the arrow keys
The, ‘Quick Setup’ will begin automatically. During this stage it will display, ‘Wait for the Network to Connect’. Once finished it will show, ‘Setup Complete’ and be ready for use.
Accessing your Music
After the NA8005 is connected to your network, you should think about how you want to set up your music storage.
By far the easiest way to store large volumes of music is using a Network Attached Storage drive, aka a NAS drive. Unlike a standard hard drive that you would plug into your computer with a USB cable, a NAS drive attaches to your router with an Ethernet cable. This type of hard drive acts as a client for your storage and so contains a small amount of computing power, think of it like a ‘smart’ hard drive. The big advantage if this type of drive is that there doesn’t need to be a computer attached to it for other devices (on the same network) to read content from it. Music streamers such as the Marantz NA8005 will allow you to stream your music from a NAS drive with only a network connection to your router.
You can use a NAS drive just the same as a normal USB type hard drive. Once setup it appears on your computer as an external disc. On Windows you would find it in the, ‘My Computer’ section and Mac under, ‘Finder’. From here you can set it up to be the default storage location for your iTunes music library, the same as you can do in other music software. This way whenever you rip or download music it will store on the NAS drive. Alternatively you can migrate your library or drop-and-drag it to this new storage location. Another big advantage of these types of hard drives is that in some cases they can house more than one physical disc, you can use this the expand the storage or set it to automatically mirror the other so that you have a backup in case of failure. It is best to let your primary music software organize your library, in iTunes you can do this by checking, ‘keep iTunes media folder organized’, most other common software will also do this.
Using the Marantz Control App
Open the app and select the device. Select source/sign into music service
If playing back from NAS drive select device name from, ‘Servers’ list. Navigate via preferred view, ‘All Music’, ‘Artist Album’, ‘By Album’ etc and select track/album
The view will change to the playback menu where you can conduct all the usual controls such as pause, skip, etc. You can organize the playlist in the, 'Queue' tab.
Built into the Marantz is native support for Airplay. As soon as the streamer is connected to the network, it will appear like any other Airplay device, selectable under the Airplay tab in iTunes or in ‘Remote’ app on iOS.
By default it will be called, ‘Marnatz NA8005’. If the box is checked Airplay will override anything being played and prioritize streaming over Airplay.
Playing direct from an iOS device
For simple playback from music stored on your iOS device, select, ‘this iPhone’ from the input select option in the top left of the app. From this menu you can select Albums, Artists or Songs and navigate by letter and view album artwork alongside album/artist/song name.
The NA8005 provides bit-accurate transfer of all your music files. In this way, it is every bit as good as the best or most expensive streamer on the market. The built-in DAC is also superb and sounds as good as any standalone DAC up to $1000 and will best many brands up to $3000. That's an incredible value in one box and offers a convenient hi-res audiophile solution. There is also a complement of digital inputs which will allow you to upgrade the sound of any of your other digital devices such as CD players or DVD players. If you are looking to improve upon the built in DAC, the NA8005 can also act as a pure streaming transport and can be connected to an external DAC. This way there is no limit to the audio fidelity that can be achieved. To provide a significant upgrade we would recommend one of the North Star DACs. These have a very natural and lifelike sound with plenty of dynamics and you can still enjoy all the convenience of the Marantz network streamer.
Long Term Value
Because network streamers are essentially computers, and the formats and interfaces are likely to change, we have selected the Marantz NA8005 for some key reasons. First of all, the low cost and high functionality means that even if it is superseded in the future, you haven't wasted $10,000 on your investment. Secondly, the specification is already so high, that through simple conversion of your music files, it will likely be useful as-is for many years to come. Finally, Marantz is a large and responsive company and has the resources to update the firmware, and app software over time to add features and improve the interface. Considering all these things, we are recommending the NA8005 as the first Planet of Sound approved streamer.