The SA7001 from Marantz is the successor of the SA8400. The 7001 is a cheaper follow-up of this player, to make SACD more attractive for a bigger public. Hence it can be bought for a considerably lower price than it's predecessor (in this case € 349,-). The housing is much simpler constructed, but considering the desired cost reduction this is understandable. Where the SA8400 is from Japanese origin, the 7001 is 'made in China'. This undoubtedly also has a lot to do with the costs.
On the outside the difference is obvious; the inside is much more interesting of course! And guess what: on the inside the two players are nearly identical. Marantz took the SA8400 as a starting-point, used the same transport-mechanism and an almost identical PCB and put a different housing around it. This is a good sign for the sound-quality that's to be expected and the possibilities for modifications.
SA7001 vs. SA8400
On the rear side a number of differences can be spotted. Like the filterswitch that's no longer present, for setting the low-pass filter. It is now permanently set to 'custom'. On the PCB the space for the switch is still present, but a jumper has been placed there now. The use of an adjustable filter was already a bit limited, and most equipment doesn't have any problems with the wider frequency range of Super Audio, so this saving is no big issue if the price benefits from it :-). For the analog outputs, cheap RCA connectors are used that are soldered on the PCB. A bit more distance has been kept between the two connectors, so they can easily be replaced by more decent types. Luckily no savings were made on the mains connection: the 7001 also has an IEC-socket mounted in the back panel.
On the inside it can be noticed that the PCB (still) looks very neat. There are no wire jumpers present on it anymore. These have been replaced by via's and PCB traces on the top-layer. This makes it more difficult to separate the power-supply for some sections. No screening covers have been placed over the HDAM-section and the digital output. With the exception of the (smaller...) Elna 'For Hi-Fi' in the analog supply and the Silmics in the analog output, standard electrolytics have been used everywhere. In the SA8400, in several places Cerafines can be seen. Also some electrolytics are significantly smaller. This list shows exactly what the differences are between the two boards. Considering most capacitors will be replaced during the modifications anyway, this is not a problem. But: a SA7001KI is also available, which unfortunately was not the case with the SA8400. Aside from a toroidal transformer and nicer electrolytics, the fancy RCA connectors are also used there.
The modifications list for the 7001 is quickly made. Practice has proven the modifications to the SA8400 turned out to be a good recipe. Since the electronics in both players are nearly identical, mostly all of this list can be copied. Only the filter switch doesn't need any alteration, Marantz already did that. If it seems that some more changes are necessary, then the list will be updated.