The SC-11s1 is a beautifully made preamp that Marantz introduced as a more “affordable” alternative to the $7,500 SC-7s2 reference preamp. So with the same $7,500 now, you can now assemble the SC-11s1 with the matching SM-11s1 for a complete pre and power combo. The SC-11s1 actually didn’t sound all that much far off from the SC-7s2 when paired with “like minded” power amps, like the SM-11s1. Sure if you were to use both preamps and pair it with the MA-9s2 monoblocks, the differences can be noticeable but when you pare down the “standard” of the power amp and use the SM-11s1 for example, the differences narrows down considerably. So the key here is where you want to start your system at. If you are assembling a mid-range system, the SC-11s1 is a hands down champ when budget is a critical factor. But if you are gunning for a reference standard system, than the SC-7s2 is a one of the best choices south of $10,000. Either way, the SC-11s1 has a beguiling transparency, clean details, melodious presentation that is deserving of a podium finish for sub-$5,000 preamps and in the sub-$10,000 category for the SC-7s2.
Built and finish is first class on the SC-11s1. Lots of premium materials/parts used throughout and the preamp feels far more substantial than other similarly priced $1,300 preamp now. Cosmetically, the preamp looks really good. Just minor scuff marks here and there from use but nothing major. We have the original remote and box and will be securely packed for safe shipping.