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Amplifier Marantz PM-62 review

Once upon a time, the remotely-controllable amplifier was viewed as a reprehensible lo-fi concoction that put convenience ahead of quality. Yet is such a compromise really necessary? Here Marantz seems to have made all the right moves, even drafting in the older PM-40 amplifier as the basis for this newcomer.

The ?270 PM-62 is a very elegant package with everything, except MM/MC phono selection, covered by the system remote control, including a motorised volume knob. This is an amplifier with a fair share of letters after its name: LDPS (Linear Drive Power), HR (High Resolution) circuitry, and CCNE (Current Conversion Noise Elimination, alternatively known as RNE or Rectifying Noise Eliminator). CCNE is simply an RC network designed to quell high frequency switching noise in the power supply.

The inside of the PM-62 is riddled with relays. Relays switch between phono, CD, tuner and its two aux inputs, relays set standby mode and A/B speaker selection, and even more relays switch source direct, tape input and tape-to-tape copying. Reflecting the Marantz/Philips relationship, it’s not too surprising to find one of these tape inputs marked-up for DCC, while ‘Mini Disc’ is conspicuous by its absence.

Sound quality

Despite the fine lab figures, the PM-62 somehow managed to rob music of its charisma and vigour. The overall effect was to make the music itself boring, while at the same time also displaying a tendency to exaggerate any unwanted vinyl noise.

Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances sounded sweet enough, the woodwinds were especially lush, yet the more challenging sequences simply didn’t hold properly together. The Paganini LP showed up a loss of treble detail and airiness—the ear seemed unable to distinguish the natural acoustic of the hall and the distance between piano and violin.

Switching to CD certainly restored the lagging treble but at the same time emphasised the lack of passion and life missing from the music. Brass, from our jazz selection, now sounded squashed while percussion appeared splashy—’plinkety-plonkety’ according to one erudite member of the panel.

Conclusion

The PM-62 couldn’t be easier to operate and its test bench results are good enough to make the competition green with envy. Unfortunately when it came down to the actual business of listening to the amplifier undertaking its crucial task of reproducing music, this proved to be quite hard work, and not the pleasurable experience that had been keenly anticipated.

Given Marantz’ fine track record in amplifiers, this must be regarded as a very disappointing result.

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