Marantz Audio Steps Back To Go Forward

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Itasca, Ill. — Marantz is looking back to get ahead.

The 50-year-old audio pioneer is expanding its selection of two-channel audio separates and launching its first vinyl turntable in 25 years to fill a market segment long abandoned by many audio companies. At the same time, however, it’s expanding its selection of new audio technologies by launching a trio of universal SACD/DVD-Audio players with HD up-scaling HDMI outputs, its first XM Satellite Radio product and two new displays.

In video displays, Marantz said it plans November shipments of an as-yet-unnamed DLP video projector priced to compete at the lower end of the home theater front projector market than its current VP-12. The HD- capable projector, due November, is expected to carry a $6,000 suggested retail price.

In DVD, the company will continue to offer three universal models starting at a suggested $650, but in the new selection up-scaling HDMI outputs will appear on all three models, not just the top-end model. In addition, the top-end model at a suggested $2,099 will up-scale to 1,080p, whereas its $2,099 predecessor up-scaled to 1,080i.

The three universal players are the top-end DV9600, due in October with HDMI 1,080p output; the already available $1,099-suggested DV7600; and the $649 DV6600, due in November. The latter two feature 1,080i up-scaling HDMI outputs. All are single-disc models. Additional 9600 features include direct IR input and 1394 connector to transmit DVD-Audio and SACD in the digital domain.

In two-channel audio separates, the company will expand its selection to 10 SKUs from six with the addition of a turntable tentatively priced at $1,500 to $2,000, a new integrated amp, a single-play CD player at a suggested $329 with new DACs and new headphone amp, and a second two-channel SACD-only player at a tentative suggested $2,000. It will join a $3,200 two-channel SACD-only player and a multichannel $1,000 model. Details will be announced at the CEDIA Expo. They’re due shortly after the Expo.

In AV receivers, Marantz plans a version of its top-end SR9600 to include XM tuner. Pricing wasn’t set. Marantz also plans a hardware upgrade for existing SR9600 owners. The cost of including a high-quality XM tuner, the company said, warrants offering a separate SKU. The 9600, which shipped in June at a suggested $4,199, includes dual AM/FM tuners, 1394 for SACD and DVD-Audio input, and HDMI switching.

Two other new receivers are the SR4600 and SR5600 at a suggested $429 and $649, respectively. Compared to their predecessors, they add HDCD, detachable power cords for easier replacement in an AV rack, and other features. The 5600 ships in August, followed around CEDIA time by the 4600.

Marantz said its receiver sales are rising in part because all models from $429 to $4,199 feature HD switching, seven amplifier channels, post processing such as THX or proprietary HTEQ, and video up/downconversion.


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