Review: Marantz Model 30 Integrated Amp & Network SACD 30n
Anyone who knows hi-fi knows Marantz, a company that has produced some of the finest audio gear in the world for more than 60 years. So, it's only natural that we started drooling when we heard about the latest additions to its powerhouse lineup: the Model 30 integrated stereo amplifier and SACD 30n networked SACD player. Both offer a whole new look for Marantz while maintaining the company's impeccable reputation for outstanding audio performance.
Under the Hood of the Marantz MODEL 30 Integrated Amplifier
The Model 30 is a 2-channel, all-analog, fully discrete integrated amplifier that outputs 100 watts per channel into 8 ohms or 200 W/channel into 4 ohms. And this puppy doesn't use just any old amplifier circuit—the power-amp section is directly derived from the company's flagship PM-10S1 and PM-KI Ruby, using the same switching power supply and Hypex NC500 switching amplifier to deliver the same exceptional sound quality. The only difference is that the PM10S1 incorporates two amps per channel in a fully balanced architecture, while the Model 30 uses one per channel in an unbalanced configuration.
The preamp section is no less impressive, thanks to the Marantz ultra-low-noise HDAM (Hyper-Dynamic Amplifier Module), which includes dozens of hand-selected components that seriously outperform off-the-shelf parts. This assures that the Model 30 matches the pristine sound of its more expensive siblings.
In addition, the preamp and power-amp stages have their own independent power supplies. This is particularly important for the preamp, which gets stable power regardless of the demands from the power amp. The preamp is further protected by a dedicated, oversized, isolated toroidal transformer.
Other specs are sure to set audiophiles' hearts fluttering. An ultrawide frequency response from 5 Hz to 50 kHz is the very definition of high-resolution audio, and a super-low THD (total harmonic distortion) or 0.005% (1 kHz, 8 ohms) means you hear only the music with no nasty distortion. The SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) is 88 dB (phono MM), 75 dB (phono MC), and 107 dB (CD), which exceeds the dynamic range of CDs but not of SACDs.
Turn the Tables
Turntables are particularly important to audiophiles, and the Model 30 treats them with special care. The phono input implements the Marantz Musical Premium Phono EQ and can be used with MM (moving magnet) or MC (moving coil) cartridges with a two-stage amplification that combines Marantz HDAMs with JFETs at the input stage.
This non-negative-feedback design is simplified by omitting any coupling capacitors, further reducing distortion. Even better, the input impedance can be set to accommodate MC cartridges at three different levels or MM cartridges as needed.
Built to Last
Like all Marantz products, the Model 30 is built like a tank. The solid chassis is constructed from thick, non-magnetic aluminum panels and a rigid steel top panel to eliminate interference, reduce vibration, and dissipate heat. Also, the CD and phono input jacks are sturdy machined-brass, and the high-quality, high-purity nickel-plated speaker terminals ensure that the best possible signal gets to your speakers.
In addition to the CD and phono inputs, the Model 30 provides four additional inputs as well as a Record Out and Preamp Out. A separate Power Amp input lets you connect other devices directly to the power amp.
New Look, Superior Sound
Of course, everyone knows the iconic look of classic Marantz products, but the company decided to change it up with these new models. The simple, symmetrical front panel with warm-white sidelighting extends slightly in front of a curved backdrop with the appearance of crosshatched carbon fiber. A central porthole display harkens back to previous designs, reminding anyone who sees it that this is definitely a fine Marantz product. And to complement any décor, it's available in sleek black or stunning silver and gold.
Perhaps most importantly, the Model 30 has been tuned by the Marantz Sound Master. This ultimate arbiter of sound quality channeled his passion, experience, and truly golden ears into the amplifier design, resulting in an exquisite sound for which Marantz is justifiably famous.
Highlights of the Model 30
- Tuned by Marantz Sound Master
- HDAM discrete preamp includes hand-selected parts
- 100W x2 into 8 ohms, 200W x2 into 4 ohms
- Premium phono EQ simplifies signal path
- Phono input compatible with MM and MC cartridges with selectable MC input impedance
- Built to last: chassis consists of thick, non-magnetic aluminum panels and rigid steel top
- Sturdy machined-brass CD and phono input terminals, high-purity nickel-plated speaker terminals
- Stunning new look
Reg Price: Starts at $2,499
The Perfect Pairing: SACD 30n
Any amplifier is useless without a good source of musical content, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a better source device than the SACD 30n. Of course, this handsome unit plays CDs and SACDs beautifully thanks to its new SACDM-3L transport mechanism, which was engineered for the best possible performance when spinning any type of disc.
In addition, the SACD 30n can play digital music files from just about any source, including your home network, USB storage devices, and online streaming and Internet radio services, such as Tidal, Spotify Connect, Amazon Prime, Deezer Premium+, iHeart Radio, Napster, Pandora, SiriusXM, Sound Cloud, and Mood Mix. It can even play music from mobile devices via Bluetooth using the SBC and high-quality AAC codecs. In addition, it can join a multi-room audio network using HEOS (Home Entertainment Operating System), a whole-home audio system exclusive to Marantz and Denon products.
For those with legacy sources, the SACD 30n provides one coax and two optical digital-audio inputs, which support PCM files up to 192 kHz/24 bits. The asynchronous USB input supports PCM and DXD files up to 384 kHz/32 bits as well as DSD 2.8 MHz, 5.6 MHz, and 11.2 MHz. In other words, this beauty can play just about any high-res audio you throw at it!
Of course, all that digital music must be converted to analog at some point. The SACD 30n implements the Marantz Musical Mastering DAC (digital-to-analog converter), which feeds an HDAM-based preamp and separate, discrete headphone amp as well as two pairs of line outputs—one at a fixed level and one with a variable level for the ultimate in flexibility.
Those outputs connect directly to the Model 30 integrated amp, which is analog all the way. Or the SACD 30n can be used all by itself with a pair of good headphones if you prefer to keep your sonic bliss to yourself.
In Control, Looking Good
The SACD 30n also provides every conceivable means of control, including an included IR remote, RS-232C for third-party control systems, and app-based control from a mobile device. It even works with Alexa and Google voice-control modules, making you the master of your audio domain!
As you would expect, the new design perfectly matches that of the Model 30, making a bold aesthetic statement as the centerpiece of a reference-quality audio system. And like the Model 30, the SACD 30n has been carefully tuned by the Marantz Sound Master to uphold the company's enviable reputation for exquisite sound quality.
SACD 30n CD Player Highlights
- Complete digital-music player: CD, SACD, digital-music library, online streaming
- Tuned by Marantz Sound Master
- Hyper-Dynamic Amplifier Module (HDAM) discrete circuit board includes hand-selected parts
- New SACDM-3L transport mechanism engineered solely for the best possible disc performance
- Marantz Musical Mastering digital-to-analog converter (DAC)
- Optical and coax digital inputs support up to 192 kHz/24 bits
- Asynchronous USB-B input compatible with PCM and DXD up to 384 kHz/32 bits as well as DSD up to 11.2 MHz
- Independent fixed and variable output terminals
- Stunning new look perfectly matches the Model 30
Reg Price: Starts at $2,499
Naturally, such high-end audio doesn't come cheap; the Model 30 and SACD 30n each carry a list price of $2499. But as they say, you get what you pay for, and you get an awful lot for your money with these two jewels. They are well worth the investment in your musical experience for many years to come.