Hands on: Marantz Premium 10 Series amp

Size means nothing: Marantz's new Premium 10 Series sounds anything but small

Marantz’s new Premium 10 Series CD player and amp deliver a soundstage so expansive you forget where the speakers are placed, and have a design that’s so exquisite you’ll want to show it all off.

“It’s like the voices are floating in the air,” said Ken Ishiwata, renowned high-end audio luminary and brand ambassador for Marantz, as Peter Gabriel finished singing Rhythm of the Heat. He was selecting the music to demonstrate the new Marantz Premium 10 Series amp and CD player, and his description put into very simple words, a quite astonishing effect. Despite there being only two Bowers & Wilkins speakers in front of us, the soundstage produced was so expansive, you’d swear there were three times that amount.

The hardware may be miniature, but the sound produced is anything but small.

The 10 Series may be Marantz latest reference class audio hardware, but it’s steeped in history. It’s the spiritual successor to the Reference Series MA-9, SC-7, and SA-7, more widely known as entrants into the Legendary series, which were released to much acclaim 12 years ago. A monstrous tower of amps, DACs, and a CD player, Marantz saw it as the pinnacle of amplification and music playback. However, times have changed, and it’s no longer necessary to fill an entire corner of the room with audio tech to obtain the same quality. The Premium Series 10 is compact, subtle, and stylish. Yet, Marantz has designed it to challenge the Legendary kit for sonic prowess.

It was the vocal performance in the Gabriel track — an analog recording from the ’80s, rather than a Hi-Res digital file from 2016, it turned out — and in KD Lang’s Hallelujah, which really emphasized the Series 10 beautifully constructed soundstage. The vocals were lifted, center stage, with uncanny precision. Not only was the illusion of the singers being in the room expertly cast, but they were elevated up on a stage, encouraging you to raise your head to “see” them, rather than look down, eyes closed, or straight ahead at the speakers.

During a live recording of Adele’s Hello, the dynamic stereo separation impressed, as applause scattered around the room, again belying the fact there were just two speakers producing sound. There was room-filling volume, a strong bass punch, and a gloriously natural mid-range. But you’ll want to listen again and again for the way it presents the music. Realistically, but with its own, almost ethereal twist. The hardware may be miniature, but the sound produced is anything but small.

SA-10 and PM-10

To experience this for yourself, you’ll need the SA-10 SACD/CD player and the PM-10 integrated amplifier, described by Marantz as “a re-invention of the design principles” held by the company, and the result of extensive research and testing. Ken Ishiwata took a special interest in development and tuning of the 10 Series, specifically singling out the all-new disc-transport mechanism on the SA-10, made exclusively for the player, saying that although it was expensive to make, “if we want something special we have to do it.”

The player doesn’t stop at CD and SACD playback, and will recognize discs burned with hi-res files, or those taken from a USB source. Marantz calls the SA-10 a “clean design” product, preferring to build it from the ground up, rather than re-use established techniques, including a new way of converting digital signals over to analog. All digital signals, whether they’re from a disc of file, are converted over to DSD256 — four times the sample rate SACD uses — then passed through a DSD converter before reaching the amp. Other amps down-convert to PCM, but Marantz says its way results in the purest sound.

It’s the PM-10 integrated amp that’s responsible for saving the space needed to accommodate the original Legendary series setup, squeezing a dual mono block integrated amp with a power supply for each channel into a single aluminum-fronted case. We listened to SACD and hi-res file playback, but its discrete phono stage makes it ideal for vinyl playback as well. The amp’s design is even more minimalist that the SA-10, with only the display, a single power button, a headphone jack, and a pair of control knobs on the front.

Run the PM-10 with a pair of 8 ohm speakers and it’ll deliver 2 x 200 watts, or at 4 ohms, it’ll send out 400 watts to each channel. It’s fully balanced at the pre-amp stage, plus there are separate power supplies for the pre-amp and the processor. The pair come in either the gold color seen in the pictures, or a more understated black color scheme.

Whether it’s the engineering prowess behind a car like the original Austin Mini, or the intricate inner workings of a Swiss watch, there’s something special about great things in small packages. The Marantz Series 10 fits what once was stored in multiple cases into just two beautiful components, then delivers sound on a scale greater than one expects. You’ll be able to buy the SA-10 and PM-10 from January next year, and they’ll cost £5,500 ($7,580) and £6,500 ($9270) respectively, but the final U.S. price is still to come.


  • Expansive soundstage
  • Serious power
  • Versatility
  • Stylish, subtle design


  • You’ll probably have to save up

Amazon Alexa can now hitch a ride in any car with Echo Auto

At its massive hardware event, Amazon unveiled Echo Auto, a dashboard-mounted device that adds Alexa to any car. It's one of myriad ways Amazon is trying to integrate Alexa with cars.
Home Theater

If you've got questions about Ultra HD Blu-ray, we've got answers

Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players are a killer way to beef up your home theater. Here's everything you need to know about one of the most significant advances in home entertainment to arrive in years.
Smart Home

Amazon ups its smart home game with a new Echo Show, microwave, and clock

Amazon revealed a whole bunch of new smart home products at its annual hardware event in Seattle this week including a redesigned Echo Show, a smart microwave, a new security platform, and more.

Nvidia's new RTX GPUs have arrived. Here's what you need to know about them

Nvidia's new RTX 2000 series graphics cards are impressive pieces of hardware, with some amazing advancements and some rather high price tags to match. Here's everything you need to know about Nvidia's new top-tier cards.

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Home Theater

Get the most boom for your buck with the best headphones under $100

Everybody wants a bargain, and this list has a bunch. For those looking for a solid set of headphones without spending a big stack of cash, this list is is your starting point. Check out our picks for the best headphones under $100.

Google’s improvements to Sound Search will help it recognize songs better

Google has made some key improvements to how Sound Search works. By increasing the capacity of its machine learning algorithms, the company has made Sound Search faster and more accurate, especially in regards to more obscure songs.
Home Theater

5 gorgeous turntables that spin stacks of wax in style for less than $500

Vinyl records are awesome, but they're also finicky. To get the best out of your stacks of wax, it's best to play them on a quality turntable. Here are the best turntables to be had for under $500.

From true crime to comedy, here's our list of the best podcasts around

When you aren’t in the music mood, podcasts can be your ear candy. Whether you love to stay up-to-date on the latest news or want to know what’s happening in sports, you’ll find something on our must-listen-to podcast roundup.

Don't spend hundreds on Pro Tools or Logic. Try one of these free alternatives

Believe it or not, Pro Tools isn't the only digital audio workstation worth your time. Check out our picks for the best free recording software, whether you're looking for a lightweight app or a full-blown audio workstation. Updated meta…
Home Theater

Pandora takes aim at Spotify’s Release Radar with smart playlist The Drop

Pandora is debuting its own answer to Spotify’s Release Radar in the form of The Drop, a weekly personalized playlist for Premium subscribers full of new music based on what they already love.
Smart Home

Amazon reportedly will introduce an Alexa-enabled microwave, amp, and more

Amazon's Fall 2018 Alexa device rollout is about to begin, sources say. Look for an Alexa microwave, an amplifier, receiver, and subwoofer, and an Alexa voice-responsive device for your car. Amazon is maximizing its voice-command presence.

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…

Winamp media player might be back from the dead, with Windows 10 support

Winamp might be back from the dead, and it's bringing support for Microsoft Windows 10 with the first new software release since its acquisition by Radionomy in 2014. Fans of the media player will also enjoy new features and bug fixes.