Take two bottles into the shower with you? Well that was how the marketing went didn’t it – two in one shampooing and conditioning. Except that an ongoing trend of HiFi is to put a lot more into half or full width boxes, than just a few functionalities. No less here: an integrated amplifier of class A/B credentials, a phono stage for your turntable, and a Digital to Analogue Converter (DAC) for other external digital sounding do-dars like TVs. Finally, DAC utilising inbuilt streaming with the joint Denon and Marantz operated Heos app/system, for the first time in a Marantz integrated amplifier. Like the model of cyborg in Terminator, the T-101, this Marantz takes no quirky or personalised naming like some other HiFi. Precise to design and model nomenclature, it is simply the PM7000N.
Marantz has always been known for positioning HiFi products for the masses. Getting more harvest, pay-off, or more sternly, ‘return on your investment’. Or the more cliched: ‘best bang for buck’, is the ethos. I looked at the £1300/c.$1700 Cyrus ONE Cast, integrated class D amplifier , a while back. With this Japanese box of musical recreation, you similarly get an integrated amplifier: husband and wife pre and power amplifier combinedness. Maybe not a great analogy during the lockdown…But whereas streaming with the Cyrus is brought about by the Google Chromecasting way of casting from within streaming apps like Tidal or Spotify etc, here all streaming is native to the Heos app, much like Sonos. Sadly Heos doesn’t support the hi-res based Qobuz streaming service though, but does allow you to mingle with Amazon’s ‘Ultra HD’ hi-res service.
This Marantz takes on a 1980s trad style appearance. Full width, silver feet, curved front sides and conventional metal dials. Chunky at around 10kg too. We’ve seen it before, sure. But in a visually busy and Japanese styled way, it still appeals.
And straight away I get annoyed with products like this, for positive consumer driven reasons. And why? Because it chips away at notions and self aggrandised egos, that Audiophile HiFi has lower diminishing returns than us Audiophiles would like to think. I’m using the word Audiophile here and in the title to denote HiFi in the many thousands, by the way. The PM7000N is far from ‘non audiophile’ , because marking my main message here – it is extremely decent sounding for the money!
I sought out this unit for an appraisal after experiencing it as one of the best sounding economical streaming amps *I came across* at the Bristol HiFi Show 2020. So any prejudice that HiFi reviewers rate ALL products is unwelcome here. But in this context, to the extent of its tonal roundedness in the mid bass, it’s an easier listen than the Cyrus.
Class D has all but shaken off the tag of airy treble, but there are often *ever so slight* discernible sonic remnants still. Miniscule but potentially a spoiler to comparative products. And as compared to the Cyrus, this Marantz avoids this potential banana skin by fronting class A/B amplification. With the double the price NAD M10 , using Hypex Class D amplifier modules which I tried in a Nord amplifier, is similar characterisation possible? In comparison to the ONE Cast, being more feature packed and cheaper too, albeit bulkier, with its sonic palette I think the PM7000N will probably win more at the HiFi consumer ballot box. To boot, the Marantz price is stellar for what you get.
But slow down Simon, we haven’t tackled its other technical features yet!…..itchy fingers? – here is a my film on features and sound quality NOW……
On the Case…
The PM7000N amplifier delivers 2x 60 watts into 8 ohms or 2 x 80 watts into 4 ohms, which is adequate for lots of speakers and Marantz boast use of their HDAM technology. Read more here.
DAC wise it uses an AKM AK4490 digital chip, which is the same in a Hegel Mohican CD Player I’ve recently eyeballed. Admittedly the type of chip can have no extrapolations to overall sonics, as the analogue stage is a big part of the overall sound. But the PM7000N is capable of seeing all the usual file format suspects in a line up: ALAC, FLAC, and WAV, up to 24bit/192khz hi-res PCM quality on ALL digital inputs. By the way Toslink input on the PM7000N IS NOT limited to 24/96 by theoretical limit, surprising and unusual but confirmed as part of this review. Also chuck in DSD (the file format of Super Audio CD) in DSD64 and DSD128, via streaming and the rear USB A dongle port.
Marantz say that to ; “preserve the analogue circuit from digital interferences or noise radiation, the digital circuit is installed into a shield case, preventing interference”. Interestingly too, the Marantz PM7000N uses two power supplies. A switch mode type in standby, ready to take network ON signals from the Heos app or via Network connected voice control devices. Secondly a Toroidal power supply, typically associated with Audiophile applications, for *music making*.
Heos App with the PM7000N
Part II Film Coming Soon : featuring various speakers…
I’m using the Marantz across a range of speakers including some Definitive Technology Demand D11’s , some Neat Iota Alpha speakers and PMC twenty5 23’s. Let’s see what we draw out in honest comparisons…
US$999 / £999 / €1,199
- Power Output : 8/4 ohms – 60w/80w
- Frequency Response : 5hz – 100khz
- Total Harmonic Distortion : 0.02%
- Front Tone and balance controls
- Digital Inputs : 2 x Optical/Toslink, 1x Coaxial/RCA, 1x USB-A (for music pen drives)
- DAC : AKM AK4490
- Analogue Inputs : 1x MM RCA phono, 2x RCA Analogue (CD/AUX)
- Analogue Outputs – Sub output, (no Pre-Outs for connecting up other amps)
- Front 1/4” headphone output
- Music streaming : Bluetooth 4.1, AirPlay2, UPnP, streaming services (Internet Radio**, Tidal, Deezer, Spotify Connect, Amazon Prime Music, Pandora, and others – refer to Heos here)
- Voice Control : Amazon Alexa, Google Assist, Apple Siri (external device needed)
- Music file formats supported (lossy) : MP3, WMA, AAC
- Music file formats supported (lossless) : FLAC, WAV, ALAC, DSD 64/128
- Wired or WiFi Connectivity (Wi-Fi aerials double for Bluetooth use)
- Remote Control : RC004PM
- Dimensions (WxDxH) in mm – 440 x 379 x 125
- Weight : 10.3kg (unboxed)
- Colours : Gold / Silver / Black / Silver-Gold
**No inbuilt Radio Tuner – internet radio only
Full online manual here
Expect lots crammed in, as with many Marantz products…
PMC twenty5 23 speakers, Neat Iota Alpha speakers, Definitive Technology Demand D11. Marantz used with an Isotek Aquarius Power Conditioner and Hegel Mohican CD Player.
Cables – Atlas Equator Integra RCA Interconnects, Talk speaker cables