Marantz 10 Series

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Introducing the Marantz SA-10 SACD player/DAC and PM-10 amplifier – The New Reference series, built on groundbreaking audio technology.

We are delighted to announce that Harrow Audio is one of the select group of dealers in the UK to stock and demo the new Reference range from Marantz. The new SA-10 and PM-10 will be with us in early 2017 and available to audition in store. Expect to be amazed. 

The Premium 10 series: The New Reference

Bringing together everything Marantz engineers have learned, designed and developed over more than 70 years, the Premium 10 series is a groundbreaking combination of established audio practice and innovative thinking, meticulously built and designed to deliver superb performance and sets new standards. Above all, it remains true to the maxim that has guided Marantz for many years, and which is summed up in one very simple statement:

Because music matters

Eindhoven, December 5th, 2016 – Marantz, a world leader in advanced audio technologies, today launched its most advanced hi-fi combination to date. The Premium 10 series, comprising the SA-10 SACD/CD player/DAC and PM-10 amplifier, features groundbreaking Marantz audio technology designed to deliver the best possible sound from high-resolution audio formats and CD alike. Taking its place at the pinnacle of the range, the new duo is so advanced in both technology and performance that Marantz describes it simply as The New Reference.

The SA-10 replaces the SA-7, the previous Marantz Reference disc player. Although widely acclaimed, the SA-7 was purely a disc player, and with the changing audio landscape, with the rise of high-resolution audio and computer-stored music, change was inevitable. So, as well as being a superb disc player for CDs, SACDs and even high-resolution music burned on recordable media, the SA-10 is a state-of-the-art digital-to-analogue converter using unique technology to extract every last nuance from digital music files, using a combination of tried-and-tested Marantz audiophile practice and some highly innovative solutions developed specifically for this flagship product.

Today’s digital technology has made it possible to replace conventional digital-to-analogue conversion with something much more advanced, allowing the SA-10 to become the first player/USB-DAC that doesn’t actually have a DAC!  The secret is Marantz Musical Mastering, a brand-new approach to a problem almost 35 years old – making the most of music stored in digital form without introducing artefacts requiring extra processing after conversion. A two-stage process, MMM-Conversion and MMM-Stream, draws on Marantz expertise extending all the way back to the first days of CD, and brings into play the company’s commitment to, and experience in, both SACD and the DSD format behind it.

Partnering it is the PM-10, the best integrated amplifier Marantz has ever produced. Our previous Reference amplifier, the SC-7/MA-9, was a pre/power amplifier combination, but we wanted to deliver even better performance from an integrated amplifier. Only now has the technology allowed the Marantz engineers to achieve this, while retaining a purist all-analogue design, completely balanced throughout its signal path, and using a dual-mono construction with differential amplification delivering a massive 2x400W. Even the continued interest in vinyl has a place in this New Reference system, as it does in most Marantz amplifiers: the PM-10 has a meticulously designed all-discrete phono stage for both moving coil and moving magnet cartridges.

Marantz SA-10: the biggest advance in digital audio since the CD -

The idea for the Marantz SA-10 was simple: build the best disc player/DAC the company has ever made. And that meant going back to basics in every area, from the disc transport itself to the way the digital signals are processed, as well as ensuring the design was entirely future-proof by providing an asynchronous USB-B input for the connection of a computer.

To play SACD, CD, DVD-R/RW and CD-R/RW discs, the Marantz team avoided the usual route taken in players of this kind, using an ‘off-the-shelf’ DVD-ROM drive of the kind commonly found in computers. Instead, and in their quest for ultimate sound quality, they built their own: the new SACD-M3, the latest in an acclaimed range of disc mechanisms built for Marantz players, is unique to the SA-10, and can play not just CDs and SACDs, but also high-resolution audio stored on either CD or DVD recordable media.

Marantz Brand Ambassador Ken Ishiwata explains that ‘From the time of CD players the transport was one of our strengths, and with SACD it’s the same. Of course doing things this way is expensive, but if we want something special we have to do it. And besides, there aren’t many SACD mechanisms available today. 

‘However, there really is no way of making this kind of mechanism cheaply, so it’s limited to our top-of-the-range model.’

The digital-to-analogue conversion process, available to both discs and external sources connected to the player’s digital inputs – which include asynchronous USB for the connection of a computer –, is equally painstaking and innovative. Rather than down-converting ultra-high-resolution files to suit a conventional digital to analogue converter, as happens in some rival designs, the SA-10 upconverts everything to DSD256, in a process known as Marantz Musical Mastering – Conversion.

Two dedicated master clocks are used to ensure all digital signals are upsampled directly to DSD 256 – or four times the SACD standard – without any need for sample rate conversion, and there’s a choice of two filter settings to allow the listener to shape the sound.


But why do this? Well, the other half of the Marantz Musical Mastering package – MMM-Stream – is what prepares this DSD256 signal for analogue output to an amplifier. Based on technology going all the way back to early days of Bitstream conversion, this enables an ultra-simple conversion process.


Senior Electronics Engineer Rainer Finck has been working on Marantz Reference CD players for two decades, and was central to the SA-10 project: he says that, ‘As I was one of the Philips engineers way back in the late 80s, and worked on the company’s Bitstream converters – the last one was the DAC-7 – we could draw on all this knowledge to build our own bitstream converter for the SA-10.’


The output from the MMM-Conversion process is, in effect, already an analogue signal, being a very high-frequency stream of single pulses. With all the hard digital work done, this stream needs nothing more than a very high-quality low-pass filter to deliver the purest possible analogue audio output. For all its apparent complexity, this is actually a very simple, very elegant solution to digital processing – and it’s unique to the Marantz SA-10. That’s why we say it’s the first player/USB converter without a DAC – it doesn’t need one!



Marantz PM-10: the power to perform -

Marantz started as an amplifier company with its famous original Audio Consolette pre-amplifier back in the 1950s, and since then it has made many classic products, from the Model 7/8 preamp/power amp all the way through to the massive Project T1 valve amplifiers of the 1990s. So it was only fitting that the amplifier in this New Reference line should be something very special – the Marantz PM-10.

Effectively a preamplifier and a pair of monobloc power amps in a single unit, the PM-10 uses switching power amplification to deliver huge power – 200Wpc into 8ohms, and 400Wpc into 4ohms – to ensure it can drive a wide range of speakers, and instant high-current power supplies to ensure it can deliver the dynamics of even the most demanding music.

Talking of power supplies, the PM-10 has separate supplies for the preamplifier and each of the power amplifier channels, to ensure the delicate signals passing through the preamp aren’t affected by the demands of the high power output stages. There’s also a dedicated supply for the microprocessor controlling volume adjustment, input selection and so on, ensuring no noise from the control section finds its way in to the audio path.

The layout is fully balanced, from the input section all the way through to the final power amplifier section: it has two sets of balanced inputs, and also conventional unbalanced line-level inputs (plus a high-quality phono stage), the signal from these inputs being converted to balanced working before being passed through the amplifier. This ensures optimal signal purity and rejection of interference.

The preamp uses the famous Marantz Hyper-Dynamic Amplifier Modules (or HDAMs), which are tiny amplifiers in miniature, built from discrete components for the best possible sound quality, rather than using the ‘chip-amps’ found in rival designs.

To make the most of that purity of design, the PM-10 has also been designed with the option of working in ‘Purest Mode’: when engaged, this deactivates any superfluous circuits, giving the signal the cleanest possible path through the amplifier. There’s also a Power Amp Direct input, taking the signal straight from the input section to the power stage to allow the PM-10 to work as a pure power amplifier.

Like the SA-10, the PM-10 is constructed to the highest possible standards, with a double-layered copper-plated chassis for excellent rejection of mechanical and electrical interference, 

and casework constructed from thick, heavy, non-magnetic aluminium panels. Both products also sit on custom-made die-cast aluminium feet.

Even the speaker terminals here are special: although the highest-aiming rivals tend to use components bought in from third party companies, the PM-10 has newly-designed and exclusive Marantz SPKT-100+ terminals, made from high-purity solid copper.