With the introduction of the Model 30 integrated amplifier a couple of years ago, Marantz clearly set the template for things to come. And things have come, bearing a similar aesthetic and ethos. We now get the Model 40n, which to the untrained eye can look identical to the Model 30, but the difference is like night and day under the hood. Using a linear power supply as opposed to the switching mode implementation in Model 30, it also relies on a traditional Class A/B output stage with a beefy toroidal transformer. But Marantz is known more for its sonic signature and this is achieved by putting its finest “sound masters” to work on products like the Model 40n and the CD60. Part of the process is hand-picking hundreds of discrete components by ear for optimal performance, including the famed HDAM (Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Modules) which are a huge step up over off-the-shelf integrated circuits in terms of higher dynamic range, lower noise and distortion figures. Featuring a quarter-inch headphone jack, the Model 40n also employs similar attention to detail for personal audio listening.
Marantz Model 40n + CD60 review
The sweet sound of luxury
Integrated Network Amplifier + ₹1,48,900 for the CD player
Fusing the best of iconic Marantz design elements with a luxurious aesthetic that’s modern yet timeless, these new audio components will be at home in any decor. The textured front panel with a floating aluminum face plate and the familiar Marantz porthole display make this duo look like the perfect 2-box stereo system. The Model 40n goes the extra mile by adding soft ambient lighting behind the faceplate that can be dimmed or turned off (along with the main display) and is proudly made in Japan, adding to its heft and cost substantially. The CD60 doesn’t feel like a compromise at all, but Marantz chose to make this more affordable over the SACD30n and by that measure, is a bit light on construction and compatibility. Even then, the CD60 more than justifies its existence in any modern system with its front-panel USB input that accepts Hi-Res PCM or DSD music files stored on external drives.
Both devices use ESS-Sabre DACs and offer user-adjustable filters that can be used as per your preference. They make minor adjustments to the way the incoming digital signal is processed in terms of impulse response and the narrow/medium/wide Lock Filters aim to reduce jitter and ultimately, affect the musicality and timing. Although the Model 40n is rated at a conservative 70 watts/per channel, Marantz claims its topology allows it to drive lower-impedance speaker loads with ease, at which point its rated output swells to 100 watts.
Another big difference between the Model 30 and this Model 40n is the ‘n’ in its suffix that represents its networked nature. As such, it comes fully loaded with support for every major streaming platform built-in through the HEOS app, Bluetooth and AirPlay 2, all the voice-assistant support you could want and even a MM phono input. You really don’t have to decide where to dwell really, the Model 40n hosts your digital or analog tastes. In fact, with its HDMI-ARC video input, you could even have a TV in the same room and have its sound amplified by the Marantz for a solid sounding 2.0 system. Use the subwoofer pre-out with an active sub and you can even move up to a 2.1 system. As their marketing communication suggests, all you really need is a pair of speakers… and they aren’t lying!
Hooked up to our reference Focal Kanta No.3 floorstanding speakers, one would assume this to be an economical misfit. But from the moment we played the track Vuolgge Mu Mielde Bassivarrai by Norwegian singer Mary Boine from STS Dynamic via Roon, the Model 40n had our attention. The sound immediately had more body and presence compared to the AVM pre/power combo we normally use in this system and even though its damping factor rating is only 100, it controlled the Flax drivers almost like a 200W/pc Class-D amplifier! But numbers aside, it’s the lushness of the sound that grabs your attention and keeps you hooked. Track after track, hour after hour, you listen in disbelief as familiar recordings sound more holographic and richer. The speakers merely become vessels for the music to flow through and the Model 40n does so with utter refinement. It throws up a fairly wide soundstage and is never forward sounding, which usually happens with amplifiers that have more life in the presence region. It manages to keep the midrange and treble in check just enough so you can get away with using brighter sounding speakers as well.
Using its HT Bypass feature to operate it just as a power amp along with our reference Arcam AVR30, it served perfectly well powering the L/R channels in our 7.2.2 Dolby Atmos room. The HEOS app doesn’t offer any functionality beyond streaming platform selection and a list of connected devices, but the Model 40n works seamlessly with all wireless services and sounds equally good too.
Adding the CD60 is purely optional and only if you have a large selection of CDs still in circulation. Sonically, it shares the attributes of the Model 40n like a rich tapestry of sound, timbral accuracy and transparency that is hard to fault. But, at the same time, doing an A/B comparison with Apple Music lossless files of the same tracks, the differences were negligible and the variety of music that you can have on any streaming platform far outweighs any tiny sonic gain. As a stand alone component, if you want a great DAC with USB streaming, it is of significant value as a digital front-end to your system.
The only real gripe I have with the Model 40n is the lack of a backlit remote at its price and even though the controller is hefty and superbly built, the white-on-black lettering is just not practical in any light. You have to resort to taking a mental picture of the buttons mostly and then hope that your motor memory will catch up.
Not a price tag to easily digest, but the Marantz Model 40n is an amplifier that is probably one of the easiest to recommend. It’s full-featured, brilliant sounding and built like the proverbial tank. The insight it offers into your music without making it sterile is truly magical and deeply satisfying. Demo it at your own risk..you may not be able to resist bringing it home with you!
An all-in-box that outperforms most separates at twice its price, the Marantz Model 40n is easily the best value integrated amplifier this year.
|Connectivity:||HDMI (ARC), USB, optical, coaxial, analog x 4, phono|
|Wireless:||Bluetooth, AirPlay 2|
|Dimensions (WHD):||443 x 130 x 432mm|