The UD9004 is one of those rare Universal Blu-ray Players, capable of playing back Blu-ray, DVD, CD, Hi-resolution SACD and DVD-Audio. This high-end Blu-ray Player from Marantz is their flagship model. Loaded with video and audio features, and hi-tech circuitry, the UD9004 provides excellent images and sound. Audiophiles will certainly take notice of this impressive Blu-ray device.
Like other Marantz higher-end components, the UD9004 has a durable build, but with a touch of elegance as well. Using a brush metal design, it is made up of aluminum and it the largest player in Marantz lineup. Located on the left is the power button and standby light. The rest of the operating buttons can be found in the center of the player. Along with the disc loading tray and information display screen. Below the display screen is a panel that can be lowered to reveal more control buttons, such as HDMI Mode, Pure Direct and Sound Mode. The SD Card Slot is also located here. The overall design is a very good one; creating a solid, easily to use player.
VIDEO QUALITY: In terms of video connections, Marantz has given us a lot of options. There are dual HDMI Outputs, Component Video Outputs, S-Video Output and Composite Video Outputs. The dual HDMI outputs are very convenient. It allows you to connect two video displays at one time, or you can separate the A/V signal and have one going to a video display, while the other HDMI cable is going to an Audio/Video receiver. Like all Blu-ray DVD Players, having a HDMI connection will produce the best quality picture, in the form of 1080p video resolution. The UD9004 can support both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 output resolutions.
The UD9004 utilizes a Silicon Optix Realta HQV (Hollywood Quality Video) video processing chip to produce spectacular images. The Source Direct mode is used to output the native resolution from all discs. For Component Video Output, the player supports a 14bit/297-MHz Video DAC. Through the menu setup you can access A/V lip sync, noise reduction, brightness, contrast, gamma, Vertical Stretch mode, chroma, sharpness, and much more.
AUDIO QUALITY: Like the video connection, you are given many options for connecting the audio. Along with the HDMI Outputs, you have Digital Audio Outputs (Optical, Coaxial) and Analog Outputs (both 2-ch and 7.1-ch). The audio DACs for the UD9004 is 192 kHz/32-bit Audio DAC AK4399 for all channels. Hi-resolution audio formats, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, can be decoded by the player or can be sent in its native bitstream form to an A/V receiver to decode. Having 7.1 analog outputs are great for those with older A/V receivers without a HDMI input. By providing all these audio connections, Marantz makes sure you do not miss out on experiencing the stunning hi-def surround sound.
Marantz is one of the leaders when it comes to high-resolution audio from source like SACD and DVD-Audio. These formats can be used either by a HDMI connection or by the analog outputs. Other audio features include DPLIIx surround modes, DTS Neo:6, level, distance, and crossover frequency. The player is equipped with Pure Direct mode. This will close off unnecessary video circuitry to obtain a higher-level audio performance.
While the UD9004 is lacking Online Streaming Media Services, it does have an Ethernet Port for internet access. And being a Profile 2.0 player it can handle BD-Live content found on some Blu-ray discs. As well as easily downloading and updating firmware. There is limited on board memory, so a SD Card is required if you want to download content from the BD-Live function.
The following formats are supported by the UD9004: BD, DVD, DVD-Audio, SACD, CD audio, AVCHD, WAV, WMA, MP3, AAC, JPEG, and Divx. If you have content stored on a SD Card and want to play it back using the UD9004, it has to be either a JPEG, WAV, WMA, MP3, Divx or AAC file. Last, but certainly not lest, the UD9004 player has a RS-232 remote control port and IR in/out ports.
Overall the Marantz UD9004 is an exceptional universal Blu-ray DVD Player. Solidly built with the finest quality circuity that will provide you with the best possible pictures and sounds no matter what you are playing back.
THE PROS: The Marantz UD9004 has excellent video quality that supports 1080p/24 playback of Blu-ray Discs. It has the unique feature of dual HDMI outputs allowing you to transmit the Audio/Video signal to two different displays or different audio and video signals. Being a universal Blu-ray DVD Player it can handle playback of SACD, DVD-Audio, AVCHD, JPEG, MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, and DIVX. It has internal audio decoding of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio and can transfer these audio formats in bitstream form over HDMI. The player comes equipped with 7.1-channel analog audio outputs for older non-HDMI A/V receivers. Has balanced stereo audio outputs. The UD9004 player has a Silicon Optix Realta HQV processing chip that improves DVD up-scaling to a near perfect HD level. It has a Source Direct mode to output the native resolution from all discs. Finally it has RS-232 and IR ports and an exceptionally strong build quality.
THE CONS: This high-end Blu-ray Disc Player does not have any Online Streaming Media Services. It does have an Ethernet Port to connect to the internet, however no wireless option. On board memory is very limited (only 1MB of internal memory). A SD Card will be needed for downloading BD-Live data. The UD9004 Blu-ray Player does not have any USB Ports. Very costly, even for a High-end player.
THE FINAL WORD: The Marantz UD9004 has a price list of $5999.99. With that kind of price tag, this Blu-ray Player is clearly marketed for the high-end A/V enthusiast. Those looking to use the UD9004 as their essential playback unit for both High Definition video and High Resolution Audio. Overall it is quite an amazing Blu-ray Disc Player, that supports any type of Discs you throw at it, with optimal performance. -- Price you should look for when purchasing -- $5999.99