If we were to do a quick-fire word game and I say “Marantz” the first thing you would probably think of is AV Receivers. Not surprising since Marantz has been leading that category for over 15 years. However, that’s not where the company started, far from it actually. The history of Marantz can be traced back all the way to 1953 when Saul Marantz built his first hifi components. The brand’s reputation grew quickly with landmark products like the Model 7 preamp and the Model 8B power amp in the 50’s, the Model 9 mono blocks in the 60’s and the world famous model 2200 receiver of the 70’s.
In 1970 Marantz introduced the Model 30 integrated amplifier - a modest 60w/ch unit that at first glance looked like many other integrated amps of the day. What set the Model 30 apart from its competition was its sheer musicality and ability to draw in the listener, to take one step closer to that “being there” feeling that all audiophiles strive for. It quickly became a best seller and nowadays commands incredible prices on the used market, if you can find one.
Fast forward 50 years and welcome the re-release of the Marantz Model 30. This time with a bit of 2020 thrown in for good measure. The new Model 30 doesn’t look like it’s grandpa but it very much shares the soul of its elder statesman. It is filled with modern technology including direct coupled HDAM amplifier modules and independent power supplies for the preamp and power amp sections. The phono section of the Model 30 has received special attention in that not only does it get selectable cartridge loading by means of front panel knob, it also gets its very own power supply. This is the sort of thing you would find in amplifiers that cost well into the 5 figures but at $3399, the Model 30 stands in a class of its own.
What’s interesting is that the Model 30 is missing a DAC, whereas including a one has become a bit of the norm for integrated amps these days. This might look like a massive omission to some but in fact it is very much by design. Sensitive digital components, like those found in a DAC, don’t really like to be close to massive power supplies like the ones you’d find in a high power amplifier. In fact, putting them in the same chassis is like putting a Conservative and a Liberal in the same room and asking them to be friends. Instead of having to deal with the associated problems, Marantz instead chose to separate them and also introduce the SACD30n. Yes you read that correctly, SACD in the model number means that the SACD30n will not only play standard rebook CD’s but it will also play SACD’s. And the “n” is short for “Network” meaning the SACD30n is also a network audio player that can stream music from your home library or a number of cloud services such as Tidal, Spotify, Internet Radio, etc. The DAC of the SACD30n has all sorts of tricks up its sleeve such as up-sampling all files, regardless of source to DSD. Marantz calls this MMM or Marantz Musical Mastering. Another cool feature is when not in use, the CD drive is completely powered down so as to not interfere with any of the DAC’s functions.
The icing on the cake is the new styling which is at the same striking but understated. Available in Black and Silver, the Model 30 and SACD30n will feel at home in a condo or in a lavish mansion. The “wings” of the faceplate have an almost sports car carbon fibre feel and the legendary Marantz porthole is front and centre on the Model 30.
Marantz president Joel Sietsema summarized it best:
“Our main goal in updating Marantz was to effectively capture the timelessness, musicality, and passion the brand has brought to the world for nearly 70 years. This is why we dove into the brand’s history first to design MODEL 30 and SACD 30n. We knew these new products and their successors had to continue refining that classic Marantz sound, but also deliver fresh new aesthetics and build quality contemporary enthusiasts could love. The result is a familiar, yet entirely new Marantz ID and an exciting listening experience that delivers on the Marantz promise of the most musical sound.”