Reference System

Home of the worlds greatest Marantz SA-11S2! – possibly the greatest Marantz too!

Here are details of Brent’s system that is sometimes used to assess possible upgrades and comprises of the following:

2 Channel section

AV Section

System Overview

Marantz SA-11S2


The Marantz SA-11S2 was chosen for it’s ability to respond well to upgrades. It may be the little brother to the SA-7S1 but shares all of its internals (apart from transformer which is slightly smaller). With the upgrades applied to this player we have yet to hear anything below £20K better it!

View list of modifications

ATC CA2 MK2 Signature Pre Amplifier (L/R)


This Pre Amplifier holds nothing back and is capable of driving long cable runs, perfect for the ATC SCM-40AT. The upgraded version with bespoke psu and internal rewiring lifts this pre amp many levels higher.

ATC SCM-40AT Active Tower loudspeakers


These terrific speakers were chosen for their ability to reveal changes upstream as their sound is very transparent, dynamic, revealing and analogue.

  • Drivers: HF ATC 25mm dual suspension Tweeter, Mid 75mm ATC Soft Dome, LF ATC 164mm SC
  • Matched Response: ±0.5dB
  • Frequency Response (-6dB): 48Hz-22kHz
  • Dispersion: ±80° Coherent Horizontal, ±10° Coherent Vertical
  • Max SPL: 112dB
  • Crossover Frequencies: 380Hz & 3.5kHz
  • Connectors: Male XLR
  • Input sensitivity : 1V
  • Filters : 4th Order critically damped with phase compensation
  • Amplifier Output: 150W LF, 60W MF, 32W HF

ATC C1 SUB - 2 Channel

Adding the C1 SUB allows for a seemless integration with the SCM40A. You don't even know as sub is on but the music is capable of going as low as 20Hz

ATC P1 Centre Channel Amp


This power amp is basically the same as the SIA2-150 with the pre amp section removed. Sonically and power wise they are the same. This amp is used to drive the ATC C3C centre speaker with the Left channel driving the bass and the Right channel the treble. The scale of impact the centre speaker now offers is superb.

Output Power:

8 ohm. Both channels driven. 150W (Class A up to 100W then AB to 150W)
4 ohm. Both channels driven. 200W

ATC C3C with Fidelity Audio NN Z


Weighing in at 30Kg this superb speaker was chosen for its ability to produce terrific bass and remarkable transparency, revealing fantastc detail to on screen dialogue. The speaker is wired using a bi-amped setup with the L channel for bass/mid and R channel for the treble. Movies spring to life with very low distortion across the sound spectrum. Extremely neutral and enjoyable. Connected with Kimber 8TC. Adding the 2x NN Z RFI devices allowed greater seperation of vocal and instruments.

Lexicon MC10 Pre Amp (11.2 channel Processor)


AV Surround sound processing is performed by the Lexicon MC10 feeding the 2 ATC and 2 modded Marantz MA-500 mono blocks. The MC10 sound stage is explicit, large and three-dimensional, a sense of effortlessness and system resolution is ever-present. Also the MC10 is dynamically impeccable and capable of agile subtlety. Fed by Russ Andrews Reference mains lead.

2x Marantz MA-500 THX Monoblock Power Amps (rear channel)


These amplifiers have been added to the system to offer more in the way of slam and dynamics. A few tweaks have been made which include an complete rewire of the mains internally by ripping out approx 2m of cheap cable and adding 15″ of Kimber cable + adding an IEC socket. The main smoothing capacitors have been improved to offer more grip and control. Signal input has been improved by adding a Mundorf Supreme capacitor, silver wire and CMC Ag Cu RCA socket. Idle bias has been increase using multi turn pots. Each fed by Russ Andrews Reference mains lead.

Output Power:

8 ohm. 125W
4 ohm. 180W

ATC SCM-40 MK1 with Fidelity Audio NN Z (rear channel)


These speakers have been chosen for the rear channel to work perfectly with the front channels. We now have detail, ambiance, dynamics and slam. Lower bass frequencies match the ATC front 3 superbly. Powered by the Marantz MA500 mono blocks. Adding the 2x NN Z RFI devices allowed greater seperation of vocals, instruments and aided stereo width delving deeper into the recordings of movies.

Fidelity Audio NNU X Reference Mains Purifier


Fidelity Audio mains filters (NNU X REF & NNU X PRO) used to reject mains born noise and spikes, you hear a more three dimensional and rich sound with a really low noise floor. Good quality mains leads (Russ Andrews Reference cord – with fuses shorted using copper rods) added to lower the mains impedance and reject air born noise. The mains block is the Fidelity Audio NEXUS mains block made from oak and fitted with a No Noise Ultra mains filter for added space and dimensionality.


Fidelity Audio NNU HF SE High Frequency Mains Purifier

The Fidelity Audio NNU X HF SE Mains Filter is designed with 64 filter points (2x 32) along with 3000 Amp spike protection all housed in a EMI /RFI shielded case. This is achieved by adding an extra HF circuit in the case.

Cable and Accessories


The CD to amp interconnect is a top quality custom made Russ Andrews Kimber 8Ag silver interconnect with silver WBT nextgen plugs and Cryo treatment. The centre channel uses a Russ Andrews Crystal-Ag on bullets with a Kimber Hero on the rear channel all providing optimum signal coupling for a fully detailed and balanced sound.The custom oak and Torlyte rack helps to minimise time-smear caused by acoustic feedback and reveals every tiny detail on the recording. The sense of precise, musical timing is aided by using a light and stiff rack such as this.