Audioholics released a video recently (linked below) where they talk about their recent tour to Masimo – owners of Sound United and therefore the Denon and Marantz brands amongst other brands.
The video is worth watching, as there is a lot of great info in there. However, one thing that stood out was the “voicing” of the Marantz AMP 10 being described as “warm sounding”. Ultimately, I understand why Marantz does this:
It is a much better balance when an amplifier is used for both music and movies equally. This is because recordings for music especially are very variable due to the lack of recording standards. So to make an AVR or an amp forgiving of such variable recording quality and standards, it is better to make it a bit “warmer”.
However, I am not sure this is that great for movies, where I much prefer to have the soundtrack rendered precisely without making it “warm” or “laid back”.
I am even more surprised that the HDAM is used in this way in both the pre-amplifier and the amplifier. I would personally prefer if Marantz had a setting, especially on the amplifier, to switch it into a more neutral sound.
In fact, I think I’d like to have such a setting on both Denon and Marantz AVRs as well. As a power user, I don’t necessarily appreciate “voicing” as such considering I don’t listen to music much in the home theatre, and even when I do, I want to know how good the recording is. I would certainly prefer if I could switch the products between their “signature sound” – laid back for Marantz and forward for Denon – and a neutral setting.
Now having said that, I do like the Marantz sound, I really do. However, I did mate my Marantz AVR with smack bang neutral and clinical-sounding amps because ultimately, if my AVR is laid back, my amp is laid back and my speakers are laid back, what I will get is a soup of mush as opposed to excellent detail.
Hence I am wondering if the AMP 10 is best suited to speakers that are either on the bright end of the scale or are full of sparkle and detail to begin with. Food for thought!
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