Marantz CD60 CD Player Review / Quick Take
Back in February, I spent some time with Marantz so I could experience the new Marantz 40n Network Integrated Amplifier. The $2500 amplifier drove multiple pairs of Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers in the hotel space with relative ease and I left after two hours of listening thinking that Marantz needed to introduce something less expensive to match it. There were other CD players on display in the room but they were priced well above what I was thinking. I was hoping to see the 40n connected to something like the brand new Marantz CD60 that was just introduced at HIGH END in Munich for $999.
Marantz CD 60 (top) with Model 40n (bottom) Integrated Amplifier
There are plenty of people who will shake their head at something like the Marantz CD60 in 2022 with streaming owning 85% of the market right now — but I'm not part of that group. Not even remotely.
I started buying CDs in 1984 when my father brought home a new Yamaha CD player from Bay Bloor Radio and after almost 38 years of purchases, my collection approaches almost 2000 CDs.
I spent almost four years ripping them to multiple external hard drives and I have the ability to access them all through a Roon Nucleus Server that is connected to my home router and multiple Roon end points scattered throughout my home.
I also still own multiple CD players because I'm still sold on the idea that a really good CD player sounds better than most network players.
But does it make sense in 2022 to invest $999 in something like the Marantz CD60?
CD sales increased for the first time in 17 years in 2021, up 21% to $584 million. Although it will another year or so to establish a true upward trend, the fact is that listening to music on physical media isn't dead and vinyl records (and even audio cassettes) may not be your only choice in that realm. The ability to own music on a physical medium is important.
Ownership is a big thing for the younger generation; I am fairly certain that it is still a big thing for older audiophiles as well who have been collecting physical media for five or more decades.
The Marantz CD60 CD Player comes in black or silver.
Marantz was in on the development of the CD format with their first player, the CD 63. Now, the CD60 has benefited from the legacy of engineering and refinement that includes the latest HDAM (Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Modules) utilized in the analog output stage. The new HDAMs provide superior response compared to off-the-shelf solutions found in other branded products.
These modules have been further optimized for the CD60 offering significantly lower distortion at high frequencies than the previous generation model.
The CD60 also includes the exclusive Marantz HDAM-SA2 high-performance Headphone Amp circuit with three gain settings (Low / Mid / High) for a perfect match with almost any headphone. The headphone amplifier can also be switched to "off" when not in use, eliminating any unwanted interference.
CD playback compatibility includes CD/CD-R/CD-RW discs. CDs with MP3 and WMA files are also playable. HDCD discs are playable, but access to the 4-bit extension is not provided. SACD playback capability is not included (according to the specs provided by Marantz).
Connectivity includes both Analog RCA and Digital Optical/Coaxial audio outputs, as well as wired remote control connections for integration with other components or systems.
The Marantz CD60 also comes with a wireless remote in addition to its onboard controls which are available on the front panel.
The remote has decent range but the text on the buttons is really hard to read if you have aging eyes like myself or often forget your glasses.
The build quality is excellent and operation has been flawless.
My NAD C316BEE V2 and Schiit Audio Ragnarok 2 Integrated Amplifiers actually make sense with the Marantz; the NAD is 50% less in price but the synergy between the two was obvious from the first three CDs that I listened to in the early morning hours before a series of trips.
The NAD and Q Acoustics 3050i Loudspeakers are an unlikely match but it just works better than almost all of the amplifiers that I have tried with these highly underrated loudspeakers from the British manufacturer.
The 3050i can be somewhat boring with the wrong amplifier and source but that was certainly not the case with the CD60; slightly forward sounding, a warm and highly resolved midrange, and an excellent sense of pace.
Listening to Bruce Springsteen's The Ghost of Tom Joad, I was immediately struck by how much texture and presence the vocals had on the CD; I have always been more of a fan of the vinyl copy but the Marantz CD60 offered up a very different take on this very dark album that is one of my favorite from his discography.
I've certainly heard more detail from this CD on far pricier CD players from Naim, Cyrus Audio, and YBA — but they didn't quite have the same degree of midrange warmth and texture.
My Audiolab 6000CDT is an excellent CD transport for $599 but there were some obvious differences between the two almost immediately; the British CD player is a cleaner sounding player with greater transparency and more sharply drawn images, but it is a far cooler sounding machine that often strips away the color and texture from the human voice.
You can change that with a much warmer-sounding DAC or amplifier on the other end but the Marantz has more punch in the midrange and below and I rather preferred that.
Horns have more than adequate bite with zero hardness in the treble; the CD60 delivers Miles, Coltrane, Dolphy, and Byrd with color, texture, and just enough detail minus the slight lack of airiness on top.
The NAD and Schiit Audio amplifiers are not exactly state-of-the-art in this regard so you will have to wait until I write up the second part of my listening notes where the Marantz CD60 spends some time with Cambridge Audio Edge A and Magnepan LRS.
My initial impression is that the Marantz CD60 is a very strong performer that might be able to shine in far pricier systems which makes it a strong buy at $999.
I'll have more to say at the end of next week after two trips to Florida and Toronto again for family reasons.