The PM7200 is one of the best kept secrets in audio of the last decade. This well-made integrated amp has never ceased to amaze me since I purchased it new five years ago. In Class A, the music takes on a watery, tube-like sound and still provides plenty of solid state bass slam. The PM7200 puts out 25 watts of power in Class A mode and 95 watts in Class AB. It has a source direct option, as well as a highly resolving moving magnet phono stage. One would have to spend more than $4,000 dollars to find anything comparable to the Marantz PM7200 on today's market. It is a true budget beater and an audiophile's delight.
I have had this amp for just about 5 years now and I have never regretted buying it for one minute of that time. I have a modest system so I could never describe myself as an audiophile - Pink triangle PT1, Mission 774SM arm, Denon DL160 cart; Cambridge Audio 640P preamp, Marantz CD5400; Wharefdale Diamond 9.1 speakers. I listen to music every given minute that I can from when I wake to when I sleep and mainly vinyl though I do have as many CD`s as LP`s.
When buying his I had planned with several dealers to audition a few amp & cd player combinations - Cambridge Audio, NAD, Rotel and a couple of others.
This was the 1st and only one I listened to because I was just blown away initially by it`s looks and build quality but obviously overwhelmingly by it`s sound.
It is detailed, warm and musical.
It gives a lovely sense of soundstaging to any music with a clear and precise ability to give each instrument / voice / sample / rythm etc their own postion / space and at the same time tie them all together in a very balanced and coherent way.
It is almost delicate in the way it picks out detail and nuances in the music and draws these into the room but it is never bright, fragile or muddied and I have never yet found a track or style of music that the Marantz makes me weary of listening to.
A gent with a £10,000 NAIM / Linn system came round for a listen a few days ago and loved the sound and virtually every person no matter what they have at home has always loved the music it plays for them. Having heard all sorts of combinations of amps, preamps, power amps, speakers, TT`s etc this is the one amp that I would always want as the centre of my system.
In answer to the criticisms I have read of this amp:
1. No `attack`and becomes muddied at volumes at over 2 O`clock.
Maybe, and if I was running a bar or having numerous parties or wanting to blast my neighbours into submission then that woul be an issue. But I`m not. Like most people I live in an ordinary neighbourhood and turning the volume up to 12 or even 1 is enough. The sound is still quality.
2. No difference between Class 'A' and Class 'A/B'.
Rubbish. there is a clear difference and if anything it is more musical, delicate, detailed and at the same time stronger and refined than Class 'AB'.
3. The sound is 'coloured' / altered by the amp and it therefore has a reduced neutrality.
ALL hifi components influence the final sound that comes out the speakers. The pursuit of 'tonal neutrality`that replicates the original master tapes is folly, a fools errand and as big a waste of time as trying to use the Davinci Code to locate the Holy Grail. The PM7200 has a very refined, lovely, involving sound.
4. It runs too hot / hums.
It runs warm. Leave 2 inches clearnce over the top vents and its fine. There is a hum. If you turn the sound off, close all the doors and windows, and sit silently about 8 inches away from the amp you`ll hear it. However back in the real world where we use amps to listen to music you won`t hear the hum.
So if you are looking for an excellent quality amp for a home system then get a marantz PM7200 second hand becase you won`t regret it one bit. Wonderful. Can`t be faulted in the real world.
This is a really interesting amplifier. It's quite large and imposing, but handsome. It's well featured with inputs for phono (MM only), CD, tuner, aux (x2) and two tape loops. It can run two sets of speakers with independent switching of each. The remote offers power, volume/mute, input switching and system control. There is a 'source direct' button (the tape loops are bypassed), a headphone socket and a 'Class A' button. There are also inputs and outputs for a 'processor' loop on the back panel.
The amp in Class AB (normal mode) is pretty good, with decent power and a well balanced sound across the frequency range. The bass is a strong point, being bold and propulsive, although I found myself wishing for a bit more extension from my small Dynaudio speakers. The imaging is wide, but quite flat, as if all the performers are standing in the same plane. There is also a touch of thinness in vocals. I felt that maybe, in Class AB mode, this amp didn't really have the grunt to take control of my Dynaudios.
What makes this amplifier really interesting, though, is it's Class A circuitry. I don't know of any other amp which offered Class A amplification in this price range (except for this amp's predecessor, the PM-78). You need to switch-off the amp, press the Class A button, and turn it back on again to change to Class A (it's explained in the amp's manual). Power output drops from 95W down to 25W, but don't let that put you off.
When I started using this amp in Class A I was initially disappointed by the way the bass lost its propulsive quality, the soundstage also appeared smaller and timing seemed poorer. But after extended listening I realised that the sound was richer and unforced, bass now seemed to go unfeasibly deep and any harshness from my CD player was gone. Treble sparkled and cymbals sounded genuinely metallic. The soundstage, although narrower, now had depth and height as well as width. Vocals were more full-bodied, too.
I found that when listening to vinyl the amp's timing is fine, although through my CD player it's a bit 'slow' (that could be a fault of my CD player - Cambridge Audio CD4SE). While listening to this amp in Class A I was reminded of how music sounded to me when I was in a band. It really sounds natural, unforced and 'live' - you can get immersed in the performance and, thankfully, forget about its 'hi-fi' attributes.
As you can tell, I'm a big fan of this amp in Class A mode, but it does run hot and it's inefficient, so for the sake of the environment and your power bill remember to turn it off when you're not listening! Another drawback of the amp is a little bit of transformer hum (not enough to be heard over even the quietest music, however). The phono stage is also so-so (I use an inexpensive Pro-ject Phono Box which betters it), the speaker posts could be better-made and the headphone amp is just OK.
I've been lucky enough to own a couple of 'budget classic' amps over the years. The NAD 3120 had great control over speakers and the Pioneer A400 was a wonderful communicator, but I think the Marantz PM7200 in Class A mode adds another dimension over what these amps could do and is a rung or two higher up the hi-fi ladder. Well worth considering if you happen to be looking for this sort of amp.
Wow. So warm in class A mode that it is like an audio duvet. Flick it into A/B and it has enough power to fly large floorstanders to the moon.
The warmth makes it a perfect partner to my Wharfedale Diamond 9.6s, which are ruthlessly revealing.
Plugged it in, turned it on, and found myself singing and dancing all night long.
I paid $700 second hand for this, which is more than I was comfortable with. Now I am glad. A very, very fine amp.
The title says it all. Any thoughts on this comparison, for a 2-channel system? Speakers are 20+ year old JBLs that are still going strong, sensitivity of 89dB. I like the idea of the integrateds, but like the convenience of a built-in tuner in the H/K stereo receiver.Read More »