Marantz announce their new HiFi and System ranges
Network streaming, high res audio and 30 years of Special Editions
Marantz are currently celebrating their 60th anniversary, so where better to hold the party than amid the glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo.At the recent launch for Marantz's new lineup in Monaco there were displays showing key products from the 1950s all the way up the the present. But what about the future? Well there's no doubt that network streaming and high resolution audio are where the industry is headed and Marantz had a number of products on show demonstrating that, just because you're streaming audio, it doesn't mean you have to compromise on quality. Digital music may have started out as a convenient way of listening to your favourite songs, and for many that's still the main factor, but these days digital music has so much more potential.
The way that memory costs have plummeted has meant that storing hundreds or thousands of lossless and high resolution tracks is no longer an issue and everyone essentially has a high quality audio source already in their home. Marantz hope to strengthen their premium audio brand image by providing quality solutions for design conscious customers. Marantz feel that they can deliver products that draw on their decades of audio engineering experience to combine convenience and design with audiophile performance.
Leading the way into this brave new world is Marantz HD-AMP1 high definition amplifier and DAC, which will is pictured at the top of this article and will be released in January at an as yet unspecified price. The HD-AMP1 is designed to sit at the centre of your digital world, connecting with your high res audio sources with your speakers or headphones. It manages to squeeze a real Marantz HiFi amplifier into its diminutive chassis and incorporates their Musical Mastering technology, which applies customised filters to deliver the best audio performance. Much of the technology is derived from premium Marantz amplifiers like the NA-11S1 and there are also brass machined RCA terminals, high quality speaker terminals and aluminium die cast feet.
The HD-AMP1 includes 2 x 70W of digital amplification and a dual clock design, it also has a USB-B input for computers that supports 384kHz.32-bit and DSD (2.8/5.6/11.2 MHz) and a USB-A that can handle MFi, WMA, MP3, AAC, FLAC 192/24, WAV 192/24, ALAC 96/24 and DSD 2.8/5.6. There are two optical inputs and one coaxial digital input, an RCA input and a HDAM headphone amp with gain control. You also get a pre-out, a subwoofer output, a porthole display and remote control. If all you want is the digital to analogue conversion capabilities, then Marantz also off the HD-DAC1, with similar features but no built-in amplification.Marantz celebrated 30 years of Special Editions with their latest SACD player and stereo amplifier.Marantz's 60 years in the audio business wasn't the only anniversary being celebrated. It's almost 30 years since Marantz first launched the CD45 Special Edition CD player way back in 1996 and audio legend Ken Ishiwata was on hand to talk about that first Special Edition player and to demonstrated the latest additions to the Special Edition series. Ken explained that the original Special Edition CD45 came about because Marantz had unsold units that they were going scrap. Instead Ken changed some of the components, tuned the performance and released it as a limited run of 2,000 units. They sold out within a week and the rest is history.
This time the candidate for the Special Edition treatment is the 14 Series with the PM-14S1 SE stereo amplifier and the SA-14S1 SE networked SACD player both of which are pictured above. The obvious modifications include a heavy top lid of 5mm aluminium, high rigid feet, chassis dampening, short plugs for phono in (PM) and digital in (SA), a copper cop on power transistors in the PM and a number of secret refinements. Ken demonstrated the PM and SA together, playing us a number of lossless and high resolution recordings and the performance was impressive. The PM-14S1 SE and SA-14S1 SE will be released in August at an as yet undisclosed price.
In terms of more lifestyle oriented products, Marantz also launched their new Melody Range. This comprises of the M-CR611 Media Network CD Receiver System and the M-CR511 Stream Network Music System, which is picture above. The former includes 2 x 60W or 4 x 30W if you're bi-amping, along with a built-in CD player, built-in WiFi and Bluetooth with NFC. There's also a built-in FM/DAB radio, AirPlay, gapless playback and Spotify Connect. The M-CR611 includes two USB inputs and two optical digital inputs and can handle WAV, FLAC AIFF 192kHz/24-bit and ALAC, along with DSD at 2.8MHz. The M-CR611 will be available in black or mint green, it's released in August and will cost £499.The new Melody Range brings network streaming and built-in amplification to a lifestyle product.If you don't want the built-in amplification and are just interested in streaming your music then there's also the M-CR511 Stream Network Music System. This drops the built-in amplification, FM/DAB radio and CD player but does include built-in WiFi and Bluetooth with NFC. There's also support for AirPlay, gapless playback and Spotify Connect. The M-CR511 includes two USB inputs and an optical digital input and can handle WAV, FLAC AIFF 192kHz/24-bit and ALAC, along with DSD at 2.8MHz. The M-CR511 will also be available in black or mint green, it's released in August and will cost £329.
Despite all the current emphasis on network streaming and lifestyle products, Marantz are still a premium audio company and as such they have an extensive line-up of full size audio products. Of course, just because these are full size separates, that doesn't mean that network streaming is still an important feature. As such there were a number of network players on display including the high-end NA-11S1 premium network player that is available in both black and gold. It offers a huge selection of features including a high current audiophile DAC and a high-end algorithm. There's also a rigid copper-plated chassis with 5mm thick aluminum top cover to minimise vibration and interference. The USB-B port works in asynchronous mode and supports not only 192kHz/24bits but also DSD 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz. You can play FLAC HD 192/24 files, WAV 192/24 files, Internet Radio, Streaming Services and AirPlay.
Along with the premium NA-11S1 there was also the NA6005 network audio player, which is available in black or silver-gold. It includes built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, along with AirPlay, internet radio and Spotify Connect. The NA6005 uses premium grade DACs, audiophile components and advanced jitter reduction. There's a standby recharging system, multiple control options and extensive file support up to 192kHz/24bits and DSD 2.8/5.6MHz. Marantz were also showing the NA8005 network audio player which is also available in black or silver-gold. It includes AirPlay, internet radio, Spotify Connect, multiple control options and extensive file support up to 192kHz/24bits and DSD 2.8/5.6MHz.Marantz also had plenty of high-end audio products on show including their NA-11S1 Network Audio Player.Although network streaming is becoming ever more popular, Marantz also still make plenty of old-school disc players. So there's the high-end SA-11S3 SACD and CD player, which is the third generation of this player and features a brand new SACD two-disc mechanism, a new high current audiophile DAC and his-res audio support. Marantz were also showing the non-Special Edition version of the SA-14S1 SACD and CD player and the SA8005 SACD and CD player, both of which also support high-res audio. Finally there's even the CD6005 CD player, for those who still enjoy spinning their disc collection. Which brings us full circle and back to the CD45 from 30 years ago. The times may be changing but no matter what the technology involved, it's ultimately about delivering the artist's intentions as faithfully as possible. So here's to Marantz and another 60 years of making audiophile products that do just that.Video Report.
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