Marantz SA-11S1 CD Player and PM11S1 Integrated Amp St. John's NL
Marantz SA-11S1 CD Player and PM11S1 Integrated Amp
October 1, 2006 By Steve Guttenberg
By the time Elvis recorded "Mystery Train," and years before Cadillacs sprouted tail fins, Saul Marantz’s start-up company was fast becoming a force to be reckoned with. And its early creations still enjoy esteem. Pristine examples of its most celebrated models now fetch many times their original prices on eBay. The Marantz Model 10B, for example, is frequently cited as the best-sounding FM tuner of all time. Which is all the more amazing when you discover the legendary product was introduced in 1963, just two years after the creation of the FM format. The company, founded in the basement of Marantz’s New York City home, has since blossomed into a full-line manufacturer whose operations are centered in Japan.
Fast-forward to 2006 and it’s starting to look like one of those "deju vu all over again" stories: While most Japanese consumer electronics giants are moving manufacturing to such countries as China and Malaysia, Marantz is keeping Reference production in Japan to ensure the highest possible quality. This flagship series now includes a turntable, a stereo preamplifier, a power amplifier, and the components we examine in this review: the PM-11S1 stereo integrated amplifier and the SA-11S1 stereo SACD/CD player. Reference Series components are all conceived with the performance-oriented audiophile in mind.
The PM-11S1 integrated amp combines a 100-watt-per-channel stereo amp with a preamp that accepts input from five audio sources and two audio recorders.
Few comparably priced high-end products can touch the Reference Series’ luxurious look and feel. The front panels’ curves are set off with crisp grooves hosting soft blue backlighting, and I must say these Reference components look pretty darn snazzy at night. Push a button on the amplifier and before the music starts you hear the hushed sounds of internal relays engaging, leaving no doubt this is a serious piece of gear. Both of these components feature HDAM-SA2—Marantz’s complex name for its proprietary modular audio circuit topology—which is said to reduce distortion and deliver the purest sound ever. The entire lower half of each Reference component chassis is copper-plated; whether this is primarily to shield the sensitive internal circuitry or just to look cool, I cannot say. The amplifier produces 100 watts per channel and sports bass and treble controls.
The PM-11S1 integrated amplifier’s connectivity contingent accommodates as many as five sources—i.e., tuner, SACD player, turntable, etc.—plus two audio recorders. The inputs are of the standard RCA type, and there is one set of professional-style balanced XLR-type connectors. Impressively large, gold-plated speaker binding posts provide an interface for two sets of speakers. With the addition of a second PM-11S1, your installer can "biamplify" compatible speakers. Biamping can enhance sound quality and double the power driving the speakers.
The PM-11S1 is a stereo component, but 5.1-...