MARANTZ
MODEL 30 Integrated Amp & SACD 30n Network Player Overview

This review is on two new components from Marantz, the Model 30 integrated amp and SACD 30n Network Player.

  1. Marantz Model 30 Integrated Amplifier Marantz Model 30 Integrated Amplifier
    $2,499.00

  1. Marantz SACD 30n SACD 30n SACD/CD Player Marantz SACD 30n Network Player
    $2,499.00

Company & Product Overview

If you have followed the history of HiFi over the decades, you probably know that Saul Marantz is a legend. The audio gear he designed in the late 1950s and 1960s are now worth far more than their original price and coveted by audiophiles all over the world. Marantz gear from the 1970s has also become quite valuable due to its classic sound and build quality.

As time passed, the engineers of Marantz in Japan carried on the tradition of having a great deal of care for pure sound. They take it to such an extreme that they train a couple of listeners to be experts in identifying that pure Marantz signature sound they are after. These engineers then have a full-time job of simply listening to new designs and prototypes to make sure they meet the standards. They even have a name — Marantz Sound Master. A picture of one listening is below.

Experiencing the Marantz sound means understanding the tactility of it, and of the product that reproduces it. Marantz Sound Masters have been creating that magical signature sound for decades.

Over the years Marantz has introduced special models to pay homage to their great history of sound. One of the most famous ones was probably the T1 mono tube power amps, which would set you back over 100k if you were lucky enough to even be able to find a pair. Recently they introduced a new Reference integrated amp and SACD player that are made in Japan, fine-tuned by the Marantz Sound Master, and sell for $8,000 and $7,000 each.

If you look back in history at the timeline of Marantz models, their very first integrated amp was introduced in 1970 and was called the MODEL 30. We love the fact that the two new Marantz pieces celebrating the 50 year anniversary of this classic component bear its same model designation! The early styling of those first Marantz amps was quite different than anything else out there and Marantz is doing the same thing with these two new products. Unlike most of their previous products designed to pay tribute to their classic heritage, these are not in the stratosphere price-wise, making them available to a much wider range of music lovers.

Let’s take a look at the design philosophy behind this new series, then we will get into the two models to explain their features.

1970 – Model 30 First Integrated Amplifier

Let’s take a look at the design philosophy behind this new series, then we will get into the two models to explain their features.

Design & Build Quality

Marantz wanted these two new components to embody modern musical luxury while maintaining all of the classic Marantz characteristics. The MODEL 30 and SACD 30n are certainly striking to the eye with their smaller faceplate floating on top of a larger textured box that almost looks like carbon fiber. This is certainly a modern look, but they kept the Marantz logo large, and on the top along with the classic symmetry all of the early Marantz amplifiers were known for where each side of the unit had an identical layout of switches and knobs. We also love the small portal on the integrated amp that harkens back to their 1960 Model 9 tube power amp. In fact, it almost looks identical!

We will get into a lot of the technology that makes these two new units extremely musical as we go over each one, but these units were tuned by the Marantz Sound Master to have that rich, warm, classic Marantz sound.

Should you be lucky enough to own one of these models, you will surely have that feeling of luxury as you operate it. For us, the look just makes us want to reach out and touch the unit just like an incredibly well made musical instrument does. Another thing that really impressed us is the fact these two units are made in their Shirakawa Audio Works plant in Japan with all final assembly being done by hand. These could become heirlooms you want to pass down to the next generation just like those early Marantz pieces did.

Marantz MODEL 30 Integrated Amp

If you know much about audio, you probably realize an integrated amplifier is a combination of a stereo preamp and stereo power amp all rolled into one box where they usually share a power supply. The MODEL 30 is technically an integrated amplifier as well, but the way Marantz put the unit together inside the box you could basically pull it apart and create two separate components from the pieces inside. Yes, there is a totally separate power supply for the preamp which sits in the middle and another for the power amp section. 

The entire internal layout was designed to allow the unit to have the performance benefits of separate components. The critical preamp board is on the far right side with the separate phono preamp board underneath it. A large toroidal power transformer in the center of the unit is totally dedicated to the preamp boards. You’ll find the power supply for the amplifier on the far left with the actual amp section almost directly connected to the speaker terminals in the center rear. As the audio geeks we are, we love the look of the insides of this new integrated amp which totally strove for the shortest possible signal paths in each section.

Peachtree M25 speakers with turntable

If you know audio, you are probably aware that the ideal power amp would double its power every time the load was cut in half. Of course, nothing can do that all the way down to 1 ohm but the MODEL 30, with its fully discrete amp section, actually doubles its power from 100 watts per channel to 200 watts per channel when you go from an 8 ohm to 4-ohm load. That is impressive!

Input-wise, the MODEL 30 is all about analog. There are no digital circuits inside to keep things simple and pure. Marantz spent a lot of time fine-tuning the phone preamp that even got its own separate circuit board. This is not an afterthought, add on phono preamp, but a very serious one with the option for either a moving coil or moving magnet. You’ll get loading adjustments of 33 ohms, 100 ohms, and 390 ohms on the moving coil section, which covers the majority of moving coil cartridges on the market. They label these low, medium, and high, which we think is a bit confusing as moving coil cartridge loading does not affect the signal gain, but they are set and forget so it's not a huge deal.

The phono input and one input labeled CD get some very serious chassis mount, brass machined gold plated connectors. The four remaining inputs are labeled tuner, line 1, line 2, and recorder. You may not be aware, but both reel-to-reel tape recorders and cassette decks are making a nostalgic comeback and we love the fact Marantz added a recorder output that sends the selected input out to a tape recorder. There is also a preamp out and a power amp in.

In the center of the rear panel, you’ll see the signature Marantz copper speaker connections which are quite solid. We would have liked to see two pairs, which make bi-wiring easier.

Should you wish to fine-tune your sound a bit, Marantz kept their classic bass, treble, and balance controls that have been a hallmark on their gear for decades. For headphone use, there is a dedicated, high-quality headphone amp with circuitry to shut down the power amp when you plugin. 

So what about digital sources and/or a CD player and streamer? Well, that is where the MODEL 30n comes in!

Modern Musical Luxury

Timely industrial design, delivering the most musical sound, with qualities that make it special to use and last for generations.

Like Separates in One Box

With two different power supplies and total isolation of the circuit board, the Model 30 amp gives you the performance of separate components in a single convenient package.

Tuned by the Marantz Sound Master

The most coveted job at Marantz of Japan is that of Sound Master. These passionate audio experts go so far as to evaluate the sound of identically speced audio component parts to help bring your experience closer to real music.

Marantz SACD 30n Network & CD Player

This is one super cool piece of gear with everything you need for both the old and new digital world. As a matter of fact, if you only cared about digital, it can even act as a full-function preamp so all you need is a power amp for a completely digital system.

Marantz used their own CD/SACD mechanism for the drive. You can even drop in a burned DVD ROM disc with files up to PCM192kHz or DSD5.6MHz and it will play them back. When the drive is not in use, every part of the power supply related to the drive shuts down for a cleaner digital stage for the other inputs.

Digital inputs cover two Toslink, one coax, a USB for computer audio, and an ethernet or wireless connection for streaming. Voice control from all the majors is included, as is Airplay 2. Bluetooth is also present so your friends can come over and stream music from their smartphones.

Peachtree M25 speakers with turntable

For your favorite streaming sources or music on your network, the Heos app takes over. We have mixed feelings on this and really wish Marantz had made the unit more compatible with Roon than just Airplay. Heos does offer a pretty decent interface, and in our testing, works fine as long as you do not try to group multiple units together. Heos will get you Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, Amazon, Apple Music, Deezer, Tune In, Soundcloud, and Sirius XM.

Finishing out the rear you’ll have another USB input for an attached USB music drive and there are both Toslink and coax digital outs. But the cool part is the fact that it has both fixed and variable analog outputs. This allows it to be used as a fully functioning digital preamp or in fixed mode and connected to the companion MODEL 30 amp or an amp or preamp you already own.

The DAC section of the SACD 30n comes from a patented technology Marantz developed for their more expensive Ruby series. It's actually pretty interesting what they do with their Musical Mastering HD processing. Audiophiles know if you can upsample digital files, you get better sound, but one side effect of this can be sample rate conversion errors. 

Marantz first converts PCM signals to 256DSD. Then a system looks at the signal and decides how to upconvert it based on the bit rate of the incoming signal. If it is a multiple of 44.1kHz, the signal gets upsampled to 11.289.600MHz. So this applies to 44.1, 88.2, 176.4, 352.8 files. Files that are a multiple of 48kHz get upsampled to 12.288.000MHz, which applies to 48, 96, 192, and 384 files. This process requires two precision clocks but Marantz claims it eliminates any chance of sample rate conversion. The premium DAC’s then convert this signal to analog before it passes into a discrete analog preamp board. 

If you want to use headphones, the SACD 30n certainly has you covered. The headphone section has three gain settings for different headphones and its own discrete volume control.

Finally, like the MODEL 30 integrated amp, the 30n was tuned by the Marantz Sound Master. Overall, this is a lot of tech in one heck of a beautiful chassis for $2,499!

Modern Musical Luxury

Timely industrial design, delivering the most musical sound, with qualities that make it special to use and last for generations.

Everything Digital You'll Ever Need

The SACD 30n gives you physical disc playback, streaming, network music and extra digital inputs. It can even be used as a preamp. And not only is it super flexible, it has extremely musical sound.

Tuned by the Marantz Sound Master

The most coveted job at Marantz of Japan is that of Sound Master. These passionate audio experts go so far as to evaluate the sound of identically speced audio component parts to help bring your experience closer to real music.

Overall Recommendation

While these units are by no means inexpensive, for what they offer in terms of design, build quality, and performance, they are actually quite a bargain. We love the look and feel of these and expect them to find their way into the homes of many music lovers. 

Some Marantz products have gone on to become classic audio pieces that are highly sought after long after they are out of production. We think these two new models will fall into that same category. 

If you are looking for a sweet-sounding all-in-one integrated amp that can drive just about any speaker, the MODEL 30 Integrated certainly should be on your list. The added bonus is how great it will look on your shelf! For those of you wanting to add everything digital or just put together a complete digital front-end, the SACD 30n sure checks off a lot of boxes for its price!

  1. Marantz Model 30 Integrated Amplifier Marantz Model 30 Integrated Amplifier
    $2,499.00

  1. Marantz SACD 30n SACD 30n SACD/CD Player Marantz SACD 30n Network Player
    $2,499.00

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