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Considering Marantz (without Ken Ishiwata)

Wil

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May 8, 2020
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Let's begin by relaying here Ken's message to the public which he entrusted also to me, shortly after ending his 41 years working for Marantz, nearly a year ago:
"Ken Ishiwata thought Marantz was Ken Ishiwata and Ken Ishiwata was Marantz… He never thought this day would come to say goodbye…"

Ken_Ishiwata.jpg

Well, I believe, "Marantz was Ken Ishiwata" is based upon the ever deepening influence, since joining, Ken exerted over the decades in finalising the tuning of each product, especially for the European market.

And "Ken Ishiwata was Marantz" because he was their Brand Ambassador, his tireless upkeep of brand-identity-and-image all over the world, e.g. at Italian show:

For us consumers, I'll simply end this Post by quoting Ken's ultimate buying advice:
"What I always tell people is 'Whatever product you listen to, if your emotion is moved when playing back your favourite music then that product has a value to you. But if that does not happen, even if a product is very expensive, it has no value to you.'"
 

bigfish786

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Jan 29, 2013
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i've said it before, but as a huge Marantz fan, i only wished i had acted on my instinct and bought Marantz sooner. Although i have enjoyed the journey here, i also know i could have been enjoying the music more.
Marantz make Beautiful music. and music beautiful.
 
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DougK

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Dec 8, 2013
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Had nothing but Marantz for the last eight years. I really do like their kit but appreciate that it's not to everyone's taste... but it sure suits my taste.
 
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bigfish786

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Jan 29, 2013
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Had nothing but Marantz for the last eight years. I really do like their kit but appreciate that it's not to everyone's taste... but it sure suits my taste.
just wanted to add, the main thing that drew me to the Marantz brand was the KI and OSE products of the past. The reviews we’re always brilliant.Ken Ishiwata put his heart and Soul into these products and you can tell. If you’re lucky enough to own any, you will know what I mean.
the man knew what he was doing, and made some amazing kit.
 

Wil

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May 8, 2020
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

As a quick followup reply, I too recently had chosen to remember Ken by buying from the special-editions—a Ruby set, in (solemn [perhaps mournful]) Black—rather than (Champagne) Gold:


Recalling, in what was likely his last interview, KI told What Hi-Fi? his favourite Marantz products are:
"It’s the KI Ruby SACD player and partnering amplifier.

Whereas, favourite non-Marantz products:
"It has to be Audio Research’s SP-10 pre-amplifier and Mark Levinson 20.5 monoblocs driving Apogee’s DIVA Speaker System."

Full interview at https://www.whathifi.com/au/features/ken-ishiwata-forty-years-of-preserving-the-marantz-sound

Concerning 14SE, this clip was insightful:
 

Wil

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May 8, 2020
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Before buying KI Ruby set, this was the last iteration of my setup:
DSC05770.JPG

The idea for 'stacked pair' initiated with Ken's 2007 Munich demonstration:

Loudspeakers was tri-amped i.e. powered by 6 amps: firstly, PM7001KI has 4 sets of speaker terminals, so driving the 4 bass. Secondly, PM7001KI's Pre Out feed 2x MA-23 monoblocks, driving tweeters.

Players were SA7001KI and NA6006.

On his work, I recall Ken having said:
"In truth, I much prefer working in the budget arena. That has a much wider audience. Our Reference 10-Series is wonderful, but there's only a small number of people who can afford it. The budget products are more affordable to a greater number of people and they're also more challenging to develop.

My goal has always been to reach that much-wider-audience and give them the highest-possible-quality-sound.
"

I'm now using 2x PM-KI Ruby in F.C.B.S. Bi-amp mode… Something I had told Ken I would do.
 

Jez l

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May 1, 2020
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I've always loved marantz gear. They just look and sound so good.

I've listened to lots of different amps but I haven't preferred anything over my marantz power amps. They have deep bass, a lush sweet wide mid range and clear expressive top end that never gets harsh.

My Amps are about 20 years old and I'm sure they will be the last amps I ever buy. In fact I'm sure I'll hand them down to my soon to be born little man!!
 
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Wil

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May 8, 2020
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About amps, so as not to obstruct their ventilation, I try never to place units atop them. And what also affects placement is my preference for using short interconnects:
DSC ruby 05777.JPG

Thankfully, remote control has always provided what I need for operation (in my small room)—helped too right now by PM-KI Ruby's digital display (which I've set to come on only when responding to an action):
DSC05785.JPG

DSC05784.JPG
For viewing, I enjoy most 1080p better on a 32" monitor rather than the 55" TV, so TV's used mostly for 4K content.
 

DougK

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Dec 8, 2013
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Looks a bit like my lounge at the moment as I'm still wiring in all the kit I had to displace when I bought new media units to house new amp/cdp, plus trialling different speakers. Fortunately I'm single... I don't think any wife would put up with the current state it's in :)
 
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Wil

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May 8, 2020
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Perhaps next time I'll give more details on why I recommend to my friends who've asked me, they should investigate building their 'mid-price-point' system around getting a (likely discounted) HD-AMP1 (released in 2015). As an introduction to what it is, I recall Andrew Everard's review:
https://andreweverard.com/2015/12/21/review-marantz-hd-amp1-is-a-classic-in-the-making/


For today, have you read David Price's In Memoriam to Ken?
https://www.stereonet.co.uk/features/inside-track-in-memoriam-ken-ishiwata

In it, KI had said:
"My greatest personal sadness is that I was too big-headed to fight against the Japanese management over the use of my name in domestic market products. I was up against a senior company man, and I wasn’t diplomatic enough. This resulted in there being no Ken Ishiwata Signature products in my home country of Japan, which is my one big regret – and so I do wish I had handled the company politics differently…"

So it seems Japan is currently selling Ruby as OSE e.g. link to player's listing:
https://www.marantz.jp/ja-jp/shop/sacdcdplayer/sa12ose

Futhermore, the Special Edition concept Ken initiated has ended up being easily accorded to seemingly just-a-cheaper-components version for the Hong Kong market:
https://www.avlife.com.hk/eng/product/ProductPage?cmd=detail&product=49A767C9F04685BB9E6793036AE40B30158502138348560112918006D37E62F6


"Trust your ears":
 
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Wil

Well-known member
May 8, 2020
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An important feature I look for, dating back to my experience of their CD-7 from 1998, is whether the product has availability of this DSP filtering (which HD-AMP1 has):
HD-AMP1 Filters.png
How it works for me, simply, is that I change the Filter to focus on voice or instrumentation e.g. 2/3 of the time I'm watching TV, using FIL 2 for English and Cantonese content, then FIL 1 for the sharper tones of Mandarin, Japanese, Korean. Similarly, when playing back music I change filters to suit how I…

About concern towards "digital amplification" let's listen to Ken at 1m25s:
 
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michael hoy

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Oct 6, 2008
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does anybody know the actual reason why he parted with marantz ?
This was the last post I saw about Ken leaving:

After 41 years as part of the Executive team at Marantz, parent company Sound United have announced that legendary designer Ken Ishiwata will leave the company in May 2019. The contract between Marantz and Ken Ishiwata had expired, with the statement reading "both parties have agreed that from now on everyone will go his own way". Mr Ishiwata started his career in the hi-fi industry at Pioneer in 1968, later went into business for himself as a fashion photographer and joined Marantz in 1978 as Technical Co-ordinator. Since 1996 he acted as the brand's embassador, whilst continuing to develop new models for the brand. The best of these products bear his initials in the type designation, such as the CD63mkII KI CD player, the PM66KI integrated amplifier and the "KI Ruby" series.

https://www.stereo.de/artikel/ken-ishiwata-verlaesst-marantz
 
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plus 1

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Dec 5, 2019
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i think that ken was, obviously, saddened with this. i think its a bad way to treat some one who has worked at a company for so long...
 

Wil

Well-known member
May 8, 2020
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Ken's gone. It's too sudden?

I'm still processing my goodbye to him.

You know, the products he finalised before leaving, I bought new rather than wait for secondhand.

So, concerning selection on what's current, my budget-price-point recommendations are UK Editions of PM6006 & CD6006:
 

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