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Marantz or Similar

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by TroyK, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Hey, my old kind of crappy Yamaha stereo has starting acting up and rather than spend more money on it than I have invested in it, I'd like to start over.

    I have a friend who's an audiophile and after a great afternoon at his house years ago, I've had it in my head that I wanted a vintage Marantz receiver to build around. I see them on craigslist all the time, but don't really know what to look for.

    Someone mentioned their's recently and it made me want to ask here. Any recommendations on choosing a Marantz or similar type of system? I feel like there's a lot of stuff available here locally if I just knew what I was looking for.

    My house is not that big and I'm not a teenager, so it's not so much about how loud vs how clear and faithful it is. I'll use it for CD and Vinyl, plus local radio.

    Thanks for whatever direction you can give me.

    Q: Why don't I ask my aforementioned "friend"?
    A: Because he's flaky...but he has a great system. He's good about telling me "no, not that one." But, not giving me direct advice.
  2. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I'll help you.
  3. jazz3625tonic

    jazz3625tonic Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2003
    Sansui 8080. (non DB)
  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Find a dark alley, beat him until his glasses break and he cries like a little girl, and then ask him one last time.
  5. Marantz went through a watered down period in the 1980s, which was really sad since it was an excellent brand during the 1970s. Fast forward to the mid-1990s, I needed a new CD player and I saw the Marantz name back on the shelves of a boutique audio store. I bought the Marantz CD-48 CD player and still have it. It's great sounding and performing. No problems with it in all these years. I'm just bringing this up since the Marantz name really means something starting again in the mid-1990s. You may be able to find something decent from that era.
  6. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    Audiokarma Home Audio Stereo Forums

    Sign up, search, lurk, read! I LOVE 70s Silverface receivers and that forum gave me a lot of insight and direction. My Sony STR-6800 SD sounded awesome using my computer DAW/music server as a source. I recently shelved it until I can get around to restoring it (the LEDs are all out and it's developed a crackle in one preamp channel).
  7. All I can tell you is that I won't be trading my Marantz 2285 receiver (purchased 1971*) any time soon. And the same goes for my Dynaco A25 and A50 speakers. They're all forty years old and I still haven't heard better. The principle at that time supposedly was lots of power into inefficient speakers = deep, tight bass. Still true, IMHO, as an amateur bassist of sorts. But most people younger than I am appear not to want tight bass—they seem to prefer a more sloppy, muddy, boomy bass. Oh, well, like the man said: there's no accounting for taste.

    *EDIT 2011-12-30: No, I remember now that my first Marantz, purchased in 1971, was not the 2285—probably a 2245. The first one went out after several years and I purchased my 2285, which still works fine, later in the 70s.

    *EDIT 2012-01-13: And when I said that my first Marantz "went out," I now remember that I should have said that it went out the door with a burglar. Wow, how the memory fades.
  8. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Vintage to me is 1950's equipment. :) My office system is a 1952 Tannoy Monitor Silver driven by a Bell 2200C that I restored. Relatively low power (by today's standards, anyway) into an efficient bass-reflex cabinet. This is the period when Marantz was a king! That was when Saul Marantz was running the show.

    In the 1970s, Marantz sold out to Superscope. That was Marantz's "second act." The power amp sections of those big receivers (I have a 2270 and an 1150D with built-in adjustable Dolby processor) were phenomenal. Don't let it go, Jack! Those Dynaco A25s and A50s had beautifully smooth mid-ranges. Still some of the best I've heard after decades. Not much in the low end, IMO but, then again, my main system includes speakers with usable response down to 12 Hz!

    What carries the Marantz name these days is basically re-badged generic circuitry and drives. That doesn't mean it's bad. It's just nothing special or unique.
  9. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    For going on 20 years, I've used Rogers JR149 monitors which are similar to the classic Ls35a design. Power has been either from small tube amps or a Rotel with a modified Dynaco PAS 3 pre. I no longer play CD's (using my laptop or ipod) and have a very nice turntable.

    I subscribe to the philosophy of using smaller speakers with a clean midrange and tight bass with limited extension. Go for simple, high quality components with well designed preamps and good power supplies that can supply the current. Don't ignore how the system is set up and matched to your listening room.
  10. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    All good, but why do you no longer play CDs? Is it just that you don't play them via a laptop? Is it just perceptually coded versions (e.g., mp3) from which you've shied away?

    Why limited bass extension? If it's a smooth response, why limit it? Just curious about the "philosophy."
  11. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    When I got an ipod the convenience of it became more important than the fidelity. My faithful Rotel 855 CD player died at about the same time and I didn't replace it. Although I can hear the difference between whatever generation CD playback might be and my ipod/laptop I have always had tubes in the preamp which still keep everything musical. Sins of omission, if you will. Tubes also add artifacts to the signal, but as long as I enjoy the music it doesn't matter much.
    Speakers and limited bass extension? It's both easier and more economical to achieve a relatively accurate bass response down to approximately 50-60 hz before it rolls off than it is to go below 40hz. In a two way speaker design, 8" woofers can do it (I think) but getting the crossover right for a smooth midrange is problematic. Adding a subwoofer to crossover between 100 and 200hz is problematic as well. Then, there is getting the bass response tailored to the room (in my case an 11 x 13 bedroom) is another headache.

    My goal has always been to get the midrange right. A system should seek to reproduce a human voice, oboe, clarinet and violin in a musical way. I want the treble response to be smooth and not 'spitty' and the low end to be full and tight. A low end that is fairly accurate down to the equivalent of a G or G# on our instrument is plenty.

    We are content with the body resonance of a DB being around 60hz, aren't we? Imagine what trying to lower it to 41hz might do to the rest of it. Problems.

    I confess to being deep into the audiophile scene until about ten years ago. Stereophile and The Absolute Sound were my bibles as I tried to reach Nirvana. No more! :atoz: Products introduced in the last decade are a complete mystery to me.

    This book Amazon.com: Good Sound: An Uncomplicated Guide to Choosing and Using Audio Equipment (9780688064242): Laura Dearborn: Books
    was helpful to me.

    Like anything else, assembling a satisfying audio system is about making compromises. A system with lifelike dynamics, transparency, full spectrum frequency response, etc is impractical for those of us with modest means. Getting the midrange right a relatively simple thing to do.:D
  12. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Ah, true for many of us.

    Oh, perfect! If only the internet crazies understood this! You anticipated what I was about to write. The typical "tube sound" can be identified rather easily with frequency response anomalies that often arise as a result of the interactions between the complex load of the speaker system and the output transformer of the amp.

    You are quite correct. Believe me, given my profession and the fact that I've taught this stuff, I do understand design issues. My real question was why you would want to limit bass extension as a goal. It seemed that that was what you were saying and your explanation makes it clear that that's not really your goal. Good. :) I really believe in bass extension but it comes at a price... both $$$ and in terms of real estate in the room. That's really the route I've gone for years... Klipschorns, Polk SRS 1.2 TLs.....

    I'd say in an accurate way which, for me, is a musical way. :)

    Oh, but when you want to reproduce that 32-Hz (or so) pedal tone in the Saint Saens Organ Symphony...

    No offense, but those "golden ear" publications were precisely the ones that I refused to buy or read on a regular basis as they were filled with myth and fancy. I could just about write a book on how misguided and misleading were those guys. For me, it started when I was about 14 and, well, it hasn't stopped. Working with the science of much of this, I avoid any discussion with the internet "gurus" and audio-snobs. Wow, if ignorance was ever bliss!

    True. The midrange is key.
  13. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    I dunno if I could quote your second point regarding interactions with loudspeakers. While I agree with this, I am currently only using tubes in the preamp. I've experimented with tube power amps and found that much of the tube goodness was in the preamp without heating up the room ten degrees!
  14. there really is something to the interaction between output transformers and speakers imparting that certain tube sound. I've used McIntosh gear for years (much as I appreciate Marantz) and their ss amps use output transformers and sound very much like, well, tube amps. And that's w/a ss preamp as well. No heating up of the room at all, which during the winter months would certainly appreciate :D
  15. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    The interaction of which I spoke really is established fact. Now, as for tube pre-amps, there is another aspect that can come into play and that's overload. In situations where overload is a factor, even short-lived, the use of single-ended tube circuitry will yield the infamous even-order harmonic distortion that is more "musical." I would assert, however, that assuming no overload conditions, any tube "sweetness" over and above that achieved with a solid-state design stems, once again, from frequency-response anomalies. Now, if that's what one enjoys, then that's what one should have!

    Indeed, McIntosh has employed autoformers in their ss output stages.
  16. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Wow, I'm in trouble, aren't I? I've read carefully what everyone has posted and I appreciate it and the PM offers of personal assistance, which I will avail myself of.
  17. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    ...and you thought flashlights were expensive!
  18. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    It doesn't have to be expensive. Of course, it's all relative but a component with a high price doesn't necessarily mean it will sound good to you. Matching strengths and weeknesses is very important when putting together a system. Educate yourself and buy quality, used gear.
  19. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Yup, and some really, really high-priced components can sound awful. Their high prices often derive from goofy, esoteric, ill-performing circuits. I'm not naming names. :bag:

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