Review: Marantz PM7000N

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Today we reviewed the Marantz PM7000N integrated hi-fi stereo amplifier. Sold for €1199, it is the first high fidelity amplifier from Marantz to combine the manufacturer’s proprietary amplification technologies with Heos connectivity. Current Feedback circuits and high output HDAM amplification modules are used to bring vitality, detail and precision to music streaming. With 2 x 60 watts of output power into 8 ohms, the Marantz PM7000N is the ideal solution for listening to high resolution music in hi-fi conditions without having to use a separate network receiver, according to the manufacturer.

So, should you purchase this next-gen Marantz connected amplifier?

The Marantz PM7000N connected amplifier with the Elipson Prestige Facet 8B compact speaker and Focal Chora 826 floorstanding speaker.

Marantz PM7000N: the brand

Marantz’s story began in the late 1940s when Saul Bernard Marantz created his first amplifier to listen to his microgroove records before developing a revolutionary phono preamp in the early 1950s. Called the “Audio Consolette”, it integrated the equalization curves of different record labels and was a huge success with his audiophile friends. 

Saul B. Marantz then founded the company Marantz in 1953 and opened the company’s first factory in Woodside, Queens (New York). There, he produced the Model 1 phono preamp, the Model 2 power amplifier (1956), and the Model 7 stereo preamp (1958) which remained a reference high-end audiophile preamplifier for many years. 

In the early 60s, Marantz encountered financial difficulties despite the success of the Model 9 mono amp and the Model 10 tuner. The company was acquired by Superscope, who decided to focus on producing more affordable products and considered moving production to Japan, with the creation of Marantz Japan (1975). 

The partnership with Japanese development and production teams was marked by the arrival of engineer Ken Ishiwata at Marantz Europe in 1978. From the mid-1980s, this music and technology enthusiast, and true icon in the audiophile world, produced some of Marantz’s most prestigious products, labeled SE and KI since the 2000s.

The Marantz PM-KI Ruby amplifier.

Since its creation, Marantz has been an important player in the development of hi-fi and home theater equipment, with products for the general public as well as prestigious electronics lauded by audiophiles. The company’s catalogue includes the Marantz PM-6006 hi-fi amp and the Marantz CD-6006 CD player, both affordable and very musical, but also high-end hi-fi amplifiers and A/V receivers such as the Marantz PM-10 and the Marantz SR-8012. Marantz also offers powerful network audio players, like the Marantz NA-6006.

Espace passion Marantz

Marantz PM7000N: packaging & accessories

The Marantz PM7000N integrated stereo amplifier comes in a large box and is firmly held in place by pieces of polystyrene. A pre-programmed infrared remote control is also included so that you can control a Marantz CD/SA-CD player as well as the amp. Two antennas to screw onto the back of the device for the Bluetooth and WiFi connections are also included. Lastly, the box also contains a high-quality grounded power cable.

The Marantz PM7000S amplifier comes with a remote control with batteries included, a power cable, two Bluetooth/WiFi antennas and a brief guide.

Accessories

  • Power cable
  • Remote control (RC004PM)
  • R03/AAA batteries (x2)
  • External antennas for Bluetooth/WiFi connections (x2)
  • Quick start guide
  • Safety instructions
  • Precautions for battery use
  • Note about the radio

Marantz PM7000N: presentation

We could summarize the Marantz PM7000N integrated stereo amplifier as the synthesis of the Marantz PM-7005 amplifier and the Marantz NA-6006 network audio player: it takes the format and the amplification technologies of the former and combines them with the audio streaming and Heos compatibility of the latter.

Denon Heos : systèmes multiroom

Marantz PM7000N: design

Look

https://dfxqtqxztmxwe.cloudfront.net/images/dynamic/Amplificateurs/articles/Marantz/MARPM7005SG/Marantz-PM-7005-Silver-Gold_P_900.jpg
The similarities between the Marantz PM-7005 (above) and the Marantz PM7000N (below) are indisputable…

Visually, the Marantz PM7000N has the exact same silhouette as the PM-7005. The main difference is the addition of an OLED screen above the tone and balance control knobs. This screen displays the selected source, but also information concerning the digital audio files streamed over the network or played via USB.

The Marantz PM7000N features a simple front panel with the source selection knob on the left, the screen in the center and the volume control knob on the right. Underneath the screen are the Source Direct button and three buttons for bass, treble and balance control.

HDAM amplification

The Marantz PM7000N’s amplification section can deliver up to 2 x 60 watts into 8 ohms with a very low distortion rate (0.02%). To do this, it uses HDAM modules developed by Marantz that are powered by a toroidal transformer with reinforced insulation and a high capacity, symmetrically designed power supply.

Inside the Marantz PM7000N: the toroidal transformer at the left, the large heat sink in extruded aluminum in the center, and the digital section inside its shielded case at the left.

The Marantz PM7000N integrated stereo amplifier is based on the negative feedback architecture and layout developed by Marantz. This design allows it to respond instantly to the largest dynamic shifts without faltering. The power supply’s ability to instantly supply large amounts of current means the Marantz PM7000N can serenely power even the most demanding speakers.

The Marantz PM7000N’s massive toroidal power transformer is housed inside a metal case to eliminate interference caused by electromagnetic radiation.

AK4490EQ DAC

A close-up of the Marantz PM7000N’s AKM4490EQ DAC.

To convert digital audio files, the Marantz PM7000N uses one of the most renowned DACs of the moment: the Asahi Kasei AK4490EQ DAC with Velvet Sound technology, which provides a smooth, precise and dynamic sound. It handles PCM audio streams encoded at 24 bits and 192kHz (WAV/FLAC/ALAC), as well as DSD64 (2.8MHz) and DSD128 (5.6MHz) files via the local network, the internet (hi-res compatible streaming services) or a USB device.

The Marantz PM7000N’s digital circuits are placed inside a shield case that is isolated from other circuits to eliminate any interference.

Network connectivity

There are two ways to connect the Marantz PM7000N to the local network. You can either connect its Ethernet port to one of the network ports on your home’s internet box using a networking cable, or you can connect it to the local WiFi network once both of the WiFi antennas are screwed onto the back of the amp. It is important to note that the PM7000N is compatible with dual-band WiFi, which ensures a stable connection, even in busy environments.

The Marantz PM7000N’s network connectivity allows it to access music shared over the local network, but also several online music services and thousands of web radios.

The Marantz PM7000N’s two antennas provide a wireless radio connection with Bluetooth devices, as well as WiFi network connection.

Heos built-in

The Marantz PM7000N amplifier natively integrates Heos technology. In addition to being able to add the PM7000N to a Heos multi-room sound system, the integration of this technology means that it can be controlled using the Heos app, which is available for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. User-friendly and intuitive, this app provides access to a large number of online music services such as Spotify (Free and Premium), Tidal, Amazon Music (HD) and Deezer. Via this app, the amplifier can play audio files shared over the local network, whether they’re stored on a computer or a NAS. The integration of the TuneIn interface allows you to access thousands of radio stations from around the world that are organized by country and by genre.

Denon Heos : systèmes multiroom

Connectors

The Marantz PM7000N integrated stereo amplifier features three Line inputs and one output. It also has a high-quality preamplified Phono input compatible with turntables with MM phono cartridges.

The Marantz PM7000N’s connectors: the digital inputs at the top, and the analog inputs and outputs underneath.

There are four digital inputs. The coaxial digital audio input means the amplifier can be connected to a CD/SA-CD player, for example. The two optical digital inputs (TosLink) can be used to connect a 4K Ultra HD TV or a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player if an HDMI ARC port isn’t available.

It is important to note that the Marantz PM7000N is not an A/V receiver and cannot decode Dolby and DTS audio streams. Therefore, be sure to set the audio output of the TV and 4K Blu-ray player to PCM.

Conveniently, the presence of a Subwoofer Pre Out means that a subwoofer can be connected to the amplifier in order to balance and energize the sound, for both hi-fi listening and TV shows. The fourth digital audio input is a USB-A port that can be used to play high resolution audio files stored on a USB flash drive, an external hard drive, a DAP or smartphone. Note that the Marantz PM7000N doesn’t have a Type-B USB input and therefore cannot be used as a USB DAC when connected directly to a computer.

Speaker terminals

The Marantz PM7000N’s screw terminals seem particularly robust.

The Marantz PM7000N amplifier features two pairs of high-end, proprietary speaker terminals. The Marantz SPKT-1+ terminals are compatible with heavy gauge cables, spade connectors and banana plugs.

Close-up of the Marantz PM7000N amplifier’s SPKT-1+ terminals: the hole to insert stripped speaker cables and the slot for fork terminals are clearly visible.

The speaker terminals have the particularity of being surrounded by a clear plastic sheath that features a circular hole on the side for inserting a stripped cable, but also a slot to accommodate a spade connector. This design allows each speaker cable to be almost entirely isolated and makes it safe to connect speakers using stripped cables by reducing the risk of short circuits.

Another close-up of the Marantz PM7000N’s speaker terminals.

Bluetooth

When it comes to wireless connectivity, the Marantz PM7000N amplifier also includes a Bluetooth receiver. Although it is convenient, this type of connection isn’t the most suitable if you want to enjoy the amplifier’s audio qualities, as the only supported codec is SBC. SBC is the most basic codec, and is generally highly compressed and lossy. That said, we were pleasantly surprised by the sound when using this connection. It was smooth, pretty balanced and not at all aggressive. It goes without saying that the definition and dynamics were below what the amplifier can provide with a high-quality source, but the sound remained pleasant and wasn’t tiring in the long run.

Despite the fact that the Marantz PM7000N isn’t compatible with the aptX and aptX HD codecs, wireless Bluetooth playback provided a pleasant sound. The performance of the DAC and the dynamic amplification have a lot to do with this.

Marantz PM7000N: key specifications

Amplification

  • 2 x 60 watts RMS into 8 ohms
  • 2 x 80 watts RMS into 4 ohms
  • Separate balance, bass and treble control

Design

  • Number of channels: 2
  • Negative feedback design
  • Symmetrically designed power supply circuits
  • MM phono EQ (OP amp + FET input stage)
  • HDAM version: HDAM-SA3, SA2
  • Toroidal power transformer
  • High-quality audio components
  • Custom-made components
  • Heat sink in extruded aluminum
  • Shield case for the digital circuit
  • Tone (lows/highs) and balance controls
  • Source Direct mode

Specs

  • Frequency response: 5Hz to 100kHz (± 3dB)
  • Total harmonic distortion (8 ohms, 20Hz – 20kHz): 0.02%
  • Damping factor (8 ohms, 20Hz – 20kHz): 100 and over

DAC

  • Asahi Kasei AK4490EQ
  • PCM compatible up to 24-bit/192kHz
  • DSD64 and DSD128 compatible

Network

  • HEOS streaming and multi-room functionality
  • Network audio streaming
  • AirPlay 2 audio streaming
  • Internet radio (TuneIn)
  • Spotify Connect, Deezer, TIDAL, Napster, SoundCloud
  • Voice control: Alexa/Google Assistant/Siri compatible
  • Compatible with the HEOS Remote app (iOS/Android)
  • Ethernet/dual-band WiFi (double antenna)
  • Bluetooth

Audio playback

  • Lossy formats: MP3, WMA, AAC
  • Lossless formats: FLAC, ALAC, WAV
  • Sampling rate: FLAC HD 192/24, WAV 192/24, ALAC 192/24
  • DSD audio streaming: DSD64 (2.8MHz) & DSD128 (5.6MHz)
  • Gapless playback: FLAC, WAV, ALAC, DSD

Connectors

  • 3 x stereo Line inputs (RCA)
  • 1 x MM Phono input
  • 1 x Recorder Audio Out output (RCA)
  • 1 x coaxial S/PDIF input (RCA)
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF input (Toslink)
  • 1 x audio USB input (USB-A, 5V/1A)
  • 1 x Ethernet port (RJ-45)
  • 1 x pair of Marantz SPKT-1+ gold-plated screw speaker terminals
  • 1 x Remote Control input (RCA)
  • 1 x Remote Control output (RCA)
  • 1 x headphone output (6.35mm jack on the front panel)

General

  • Power consumption on / standby: 220W / 0.3W
  • Removable power cable
  • Remote control (RC004PM)
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 44x152x379mm
  • Weight: 10.3kg
Lightweight and nicely finished, the Marantz PM7000N’s remote control is pleasant to hold.

Marantz PM7000N: configuration

We reviewed the Marantz PM7000N together with a pair of Focal Chora 826 floorstanding speakers, as well as a pair of Elipson Prestige Facet 8B compact speakers. For this, we used Viard Audio Silver HD12 HP speaker cables mounted with banana plugs. We also used the REL Acoustics T9i subwoofer, which we connected to the Marantz PM7000N’s speaker terminals using the Speakon cable provided by the Welsh manufacturer.

The Marantz PM7000N amplifier next to the Rel Acoustics T9i subwoofer, Elipson Prestige Facet 8B compact speaker and the Focal Chora 826 floorstanding speaker.

We used the Pioneer UDP-LX5000 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player as a source for playing audio CDs and Blu-rays. Its audio output was connected to the amplifier using a Viard Audio Premium HD RCA-RCA cable and its optical digital audio output was connected using a NorStone Jura Optic cable.

Lastly, we connected the Marantz PM7000N to the WiFi network via the satellite of our Netgear Orbi pack to access music shared over the local network as well as the online music services present in the Denon Heos app.

The Heos app provides access to several online music services such as Spotify, Amazon Music, Napster, Tidal and Deezer.

Once the amplifier is connected to a power supply, it is ready to be used as a “classic” stereo amplifier with sources connected to its analog and digital inputs. To access content shared over the local network and streaming services, the user has two options:

  • To go through the interface of the Marantz PM7000N using the buttons on the front panel or the remote control. In this case, you will have to settle for the display on the front of the amp, which is only three lines long.
  • To use the Heos app, with all the flexibility it provides: touch interface, color screen, smooth and intuitive navigation.

Of the two options, the second appealed to us the most. The Heos app is a success. We appreciated how easy it was to use and all of its different features: access to music stored on a smartphone, music shared over the local network, web radios and different streaming services.

The only bone we had to pick with the app was the fact that it overlooked certain online music services, such as Qobuz.

Marantz PM7000N: listening impressions

Audio CD

We began our listening sessions with a CD of Millie Jackson’s album Still Caught Up, which we played on the Pioneer UDB-LX500 via the optical connection. We used this opportunity to test the performance of the Marantz PM7000N’s integrated Asahi Kasei AK4490EQ DAC. This high-end chip can be found in many audiophile DAPs, such as the Astell&Kern KANN and the Questyle Audio QP2R.

The Marantz PM7000N amplifier can be connected to a CD-SACD player via its RCA analog input or one of its digital audio inputs (two optical and one coaxial).

Although this album is entirely recorded in a studio, the background sound and acoustics have been meticulously designed to make the listener believe that the singer is on stage in front of an audience. The sound engineer refined not only the placement of the different instruments and backing vocals, but also that of the virtual public, and even their applause. The result was convincing, mainly thanks to the performance of the AK4490EQ convertor with its Velvet Sound technology, which also provided a lot of finesse. The soundstage was spacious, with distinct layers. The artist’s voice was pleasantly textured and never tiring, despite the sibilance in the highs and the fact that the recording was sometimes close to saturation. 

4K Blu-ray soundtrack

We then inserted a Blu-ray of the movie Mad Max: Fury Road into the Pioneer player so that we could test the Marantz PM7000N’s dynamic qualities (with the Pioneer UDP-LX500’s analog output connected to the amplifier’s analog CD input).

On the Mad Max: Fury Road soundtrack, the Marantz PM7000N never faltered and brought a lot of substance and texture to the sound effects and music.

On this particularly energetic soundtrack, the Marantz amplifier had a blast and delighted our ears. The engines roared, the sound effects flew from one side of the television to the other, the music composed by Junkie XL flowed out of the speakers with great intensity. The Marantz PM7000N created a spacious and realistic soundstage, which was ideal for immersion. 

FLAC & DSD

Access to audio files shared over the local network is simple and quick via the Heos app.

Via the Heos app and the interface on the Marantz PM7000N’s display, we were able to play audio files stored on a USB flash drive connected to the port on the back of the amp, but also files stored on a computer in the next room and accessible via the local network.

On the album Rumours by Fleetwood Mac (DSD 5.6MHz), the soundstage unfolded extensively. The impact of the percussion instruments on “Dreams” was realistic and rhythmed the track effectively. The kick drum had substance, the cymbal blows were high-reaching and the notes lingered for a long time without hurting our eardrums. The spatialization was remarkable, the music had room to breathe. On “The Chain”, the proximity of the guitars to the left and right of the soundstage meant we were fully immersed in the music from the very first notes. Behind the guitars, the voices were well-centered. The presence of the drums was exciting. The magnitude of the unfolding backing vocals was amazing. The bass solo at three minutes and the song’s final explosion were pure joy to listen to. The Marantz PM7000N perfectly reproduced all of the energy contained in the song.

Precise decoding, effective spatialization, impact and energy: the Marantz PM7000N isn’t short of selling points.

We enjoyed a completely different vibe with Michael Jackson’s track “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” (album Off The Wall, FLAC 24/96). At the very beginning of the song, the presence and proximity of the singer’s voice was impressive. The percussion, brass and string instruments were then restituted with a great deal of energy. The different instruments were perfectly delineated and well-positioned. We were easily carried away by the vitality of the track. The Marantz PM7000N and Focal Chora 826 pairing provided the music with remarkable dimension and spaciousness. Everything was very balanced, lively and precise. We could tell that the amplifier had a lot more under its belt and we couldn’t help but turn the volume up, which is a very good sign!

On the track “Desafindo” (album Getz/Gilberto, FLAC 24/192), the Marantz PM7000N was smooth and nuanced. Jobim’s voice was incredibly suave. The guitar, drums and double bass were perfectly positioned. The instruments had substance but didn’t mask the subtle inflections of the singer’s voice. When the saxophonist’s aerial and delicate playing began, we closed our eyes and were lulled by the melody…

The Marantz PM7000N expertly combines energy and softness, precision and nuance.

We delighted in listening to one track after another in our test room. The Marantz amplifier was at ease with all styles of music and conveyed a wealth of emotions to the listener. The energy it provided, always with perfect control, was equally suited to jazz, orchestral music, pop, rock and electronic music. With this energy, the PM7000N skilfully drove the speakers’ transducers, which were perfectly in time with its tempo. The music also benefited from the decoding qualities of the AK4490EQ DAC, which proved to be precise, balanced and very smooth. 

The result was a realistic, very spacious, dynamic and lively sound.

Marantz PM7000N: compared to…

Denon DRA-800H: at almost half the price, the Denon amplifier provides the same network playback and streaming features as the Marantz PM7000N, as well as Heos compatibility and control via the eponymous app. In addition to the traditional analog and digital inputs, the Denon model features five 4K Ultra HD HDMI inputs and an ARC compatible 4K HDMI output. Consequently, it is more versatile than the Marantz PM7000N, although the optical inputs of the latter also allow it to be connected to a 4K UHD TV or Blu-ray player.

However, the Marantz amplifier takes the lead when it comes to performance. More powerful and energetic, it is more precise in the placement of the different elements of the soundstage, which is remarkably spacious.

NAD M10: the NAD M10 impressed us with its perfectly controlled power, as well as its precision and nuance, qualities we also observed with the Marantz PM7000N. More powerful, more compact and with a large color touchscreen, the NAD model also has an advantage thanks to its bi-directional and aptX HD compatible Bluetooth controller, the integration of Dirac Live calibration technology and an HDMI ARC port. That said, it is a lot more expensive…

Marantz PM7000N: conclusion

The Marantz PM7000N was a wonderful surprise and enchanted us with its spatial and dynamic abilities. Its output power of 2 x 60 watts was perfectly harnessed to bring substance to music. The soundstage was extensively spacious, lively and realistic.

By listening to music with both the Elipson Prestige Facet 8B compact speakers and the Focal Chora 826 floorstanding speakers, it became clear that the PM7000N could be paired with the vast majority of compact and floorstanding speakers on the market.

Even when listening to Deezer in MP3 format at 320kbps, the sound provided by the Marantz PM7000N was pleasant and dynamic.

The different network playback and audio streaming features are successfully integrated. Navigation directly via the amplifier’s interface is functional, but the visual comfort of the monochrome three-line display is rather poor. We preferred the user-friendly and responsive Heos app. It’s a shame that Qobuz still isn’t included.

Unfortunately, the Marantz PM7000N isn’t compatible with the aptX and aptX HD Bluetooth codecs when it comes to connectivity. That said, the amplifier manages fine without them and in any case, Hi-Res enthusiasts will likely turn to network streaming for FLAC and DSD files if they want to enjoy true hi-fi sound.

The absence of HDMI connectivity and a Type-B USB port is made up for by the presence of a double optical S/PDIF input and the ability to play audio files stored on a computer and shared the local network.

What we liked

  • The power reserve
  • The dynamic and lively sound
  • The comprehensive connectivity
  • The quality of Bluetooth playback

What we would have liked

  • To be able to access Qobuz via the Heos app
  • An HDMI ARC port
  • A Type-B USB port to connect a computer in DAC USB mode


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