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Marantz Delux Disc

Only a few audio-video companies have braved the challenge of making a high-end Blu-ray Disc player. Marantz’s UD-9004 strikes us as one of the most elegant and accomplished of this rare breed. The UD-9004 plays Blu-ray Discs, DVDs, Super Audio CDs (SACD), DVD-Audio, and CDs, all with exceptional audio and video fidelity. The player’s audio circuitry is adapted from Marantz’s top SACD player. Two digital audio processors—double the computing power found in most surround-sound receivers—provide decoding of all surround-sound formats from Dolby and DTS. The video processor includes a vertical stretch mode that achieves ultra-widescreen images with video projectors that lack such processing. Ethernet connection provides full BD-Live interactive capabilities when playing compatible Blu-ray Discs—a feature that has unfortunately been left off of many high-end Blu-ray players. A heavy chassis, rigid internal bracing, and machined copper feet help enhance CD playback by minimizing vibration. We find the understated look of the UD-9004 a refreshing change of pace from the flashy visual aesthetics of some of its competitors. (201.762.6500, www.marantz.com)

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