Marantz 8B Amplifiers

5/5 (5 Reviews) MSRP : $3800.00


Product Description

38 wpc (pentode) - 18 wpc (triiode)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Graham E Ware a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: February 15, 2002

Bottom Line:   
When the Marantz 8B reissue became available as a consumer product I must confess I was the soul of scepticism; how could they be any good compared to the original Amp? Well, an original 8B came and went, and my long term Vintage amp (Mac MC-225) came and went too. The Reissue 8B was unbearably bright when New, but settled down very quickly. There is no plan to onsell this one; it's just one component that all the rest of my system can be "improved" around.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $1750.00

Purchased At:   NIB on Ebay



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Randy Lennan a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: November 6, 2001

Bottom Line:   
This is a follow up to my earlier review. I finally got around to switching the amp to triode mode. I didn't bother before, as my speakers are only 91 db/1w, and I thought 20 watts wouldn't quite cut it on dynamic material. Note the other guys are using horns (I hope to switch someday). The switchover to triode mode was reasonably easy. Marantz supplies the 100 ohm resistors you need in the amp and a post to dead end the screen taps. The only problem is they wrapped the resistor lead around the posts so tight that they were a bear to unsolder and remove. Once you got them off though, you just had to swing the one end over to pin 3 and you're done. I find that I MUCH prefer triode mode. The EL34 loves triode mode evidently, as it is seems to be much more linear in this mode. Sound now flows with a liquid ease. The amp is much more forgiving of upstream components and recordings now. Weird thing is, nothing is being hidden. It is still extraordinarily clear. And clipping is so gentle in this mode that I don't miss the power loss much at all. All I can say is WOW and then just smack myself upside the head for not trying the amp in triode sooner.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1996



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dan Higgins a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 30, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I agree with what has been said so far about the Marantz 8b.
I have run mine in both Triode and Pentode modes.
Both have their attributes. In Triode, the 8b relaxes a bit
and the sound flows in a very natural way. In Pentode, you
have the benefit of a tighter and more controlled bass.
Either way, the amp has a near-holographic sound quality. These amps have two sets of non-switchable inputs.
The set marked "Pre-Amp" is filtered on the extreme bottom end. The set marked "Test" is non-filtered. I have always found that the non-filtered set yielded the best sound.
I am using a Naim CD-5 player directly into the 8b with a
very high quality Alps 10k Pot and a set of rear loaded
horns that are made by Ed Schilling @ The Horn Shoppe.
It took a long time for everything to break in, but it was
well worth the wait. I also wanted to comment about Randy's
review on the break-in period. Alot of what he was hearing was the output trannies breaking in. Historically output
transformers can take years to fully break in and be their
best. I also am a stickler for using carbon resistors. Having built many pre-amps and amps over the years, I have noticed that everytime I have used metal film resistors that they made the music cold, bright and steely.
Give me the warm sound of "old-tech" resistors and capacitors! Happy listening to all!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Randy Lennan a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: May 11, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Well after living with an Audio Research VT 50 for a few years and having a lot of fun listening again, I found a Marantz 8b re-issue on eBay, new in the box. The re-issue was built by VAC for Marantz for a couple of years in the mid-90's, using original specs and vendors. The only changes were for convenience and reliability - the original circuit was used intact. On a whim, I bought this one thinking I would keep it as an investment and as a backup for the ARC. I had one of the original 8b's in the 80's and sold it for $400, the going rate at the time - it would easily bring $3,000 today. Anyway, I sent the new one I bought to VAC for a check up, and found out from Kevin that almost all of these went overseas - thus this one was probably a good investment again. This one originally went to a Japanese collector that had one too many and it got back over here - thank you ebay! The reason I say that is because, after a rather painful break-in (wow, was it bright!) this amp is as good or better than the original. The parts are identical, and made by the original vendors, according to VAC. I seem to remember a selenium rectifier in the original - this went away, and there is now a detachable power cord. Here is the kicker, after lengthy auditions with some audiophile friends, this amp just destroyed my ARC and everything else it's gone up against. The weird thing is, initially I almost got rid of it because it was so bright and steely during the break-in, I couldn't listen for very long. I thought either my speakers didn't like the amp, VAC just didn't get it right or my fond memories of the original were flawed. Then, one day my audiophile buddy came over to listen to some new music, we switched the amp on, put on a cd, and we both went WOW WHAT HAPPENED?!? Well, after making long comparisons, both by myself and with others, I sold the ARC! This wasn't supposed to happen! I wish I knew what the magic is in this 1960's era amp - it is stereo with a common power supply, it uses pentodes on the input and output, it uses feedback, and only has choke regulation. Maybe that is where all the new guys are going wrong - they are surrounding the tubes with solid state devices (regulators, current sources, etc.) that measure better but squeeze the life out of the music. Sid Smith and Saul Marantz somehow managed to craft something that is transcendent. What is so good about it? With the right ancillaries, and after a good 30-40 minute warm-up, the mids have a magical natural tonality that makes vocals especially have that goosebump-raising reality you only get at a live show. The highs are very clear, with just the right balance of sweetness and definition - no transistor regulator overshoot or ringing. This amp BREATHES, where others sound too controlled and/or electronic. It took replacement of most of my system to really get to the point where I could appreciate just how excellent this little amp is. I now use a Metronome Signature French-built Tube DAC, Marantz 7 (re-issue) preamp, Wilson Audio WATT 5.1's and silver wiring. Just the wiring change alone was educational on how much copper (even expensive) blurs music and obscures detail. I swapped out the stock tubes as well - another big improvement going to big bottle el-34s. At some point I'd like to swap out all the resistors with close tolerance metal film, but this may well cause the sound to worsen in some ways, so I'm going to just resist the urge. The weak spot is the bass, which adds a warmth to the sound full range. Some people beef up the power supply with additional capacitance, but I think that you lose midrange and high frequency definition doing this. Anyway, this doesn't bother me as I now biamp, and the amp only drives the WATTS down to 70 hz. I use solid state amps driving subs. The basic circuit is so well engineered and balanced that there is absolutely NO noise on power up and power down - with no rectifier tube. Try that on ANY modern amp with the relays disconnected and you'll be picking your speaker drivers up off the floor! Good 8b's are hard to find used, as almost all of them went out of the USA - I got lucky getting this one. The really nice 1960's originals have all left the country long ago - the ones that come up for sale are generally wrecks or have been modified. The same basic amp is still made by VAC though, it is called the Auricle and is reasonably priced at $2,000. It has a few circuit changes which simplify the feedback network and allows higher power output - 50 wpc from el-34s. Can't say if it sounds the same, but I'd like to hear it or hear others experience with it. Also, I've got to say that the folks at VAC are the BEST.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $2500.00

Purchased At:   eBay auction



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Mark a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: June 5, 1999

Bottom Line:   
The Marnatz model 8B reissue is the same as the 8B I had in my first system as a 15 year old in 1960's. At that time I used a Dyna PAS 3x for the preamp and a pair of JBL speakers and a Rek-o-Kut turntable. I in error sold the system in 1972, while in the Air Force. After my haiatus from audio and the return to it and to tubes in 1998, I longed for an 8B. I bought the 8B reissue commissioned by Marantz and made by Valve Amplification Company. I hooked it up, as it was in pentode mode and listened. Not bad, but then I hooked in in triode and it really started to sing.
I also have a Audio research D76A that was recently completely gone through by ARC. In compairson the D76A sounds dry whtile the 8B has texture and is very smooth. I am using a ARC SP6B preamp,Klipsch LaScalla speakers, Sony 601Es CD, Fulton Gold cables, and a Sony PSX75 turntable. I also have Altec 604b speakers with 501B mid horns. I must say the Altecs are nice speakers but the Klipach are more revealing.

In all I would reccommend the 8B and now I am looking for a Marantz 7C reissue to mate up with the 8B.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile




Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

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