|Marantz MM8003 Power Amplifier|
|Home Theater Power Amplifiers Multi-Channel Amplifiers|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Monday, 01 December 2008|
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Within the limits of its performance envelope, there is little to fault with the MM8003’s sonic abilities. It doesn’t have the same black background or level of nuanced detail as the world’s uber-amplifiers but it performed much better than I expect and amplifier to do at this price point. With respect to absolute bass performance, most people will use a powered subwoofer, but if you are going to use a passive subwoofer I would try to audition the amplifier with your subwoofer, in your room (a good idea with any audio purchase) to make sure it can provide you with the power and control desired at the lower reaches. The Marantz worked well with the highly damped and tight, Adagio woofers but many of the passive subwoofers aren’t so tight and need an iron fist to control them.
I would have liked to been able to internally bridge channels. For example, with demanding music at high volumes the Adagio’s could have used a bit more power but I could not bi-amp them. As I was only using five channels, it would have been nice to bridge six of the channels to provide for three more powerful front channels.
Lastly, the resin front panels. While they look nice, match the cosmetics of the AV8003 and show that the company is not wasting money on expensive front panels that do not contribute to sonic performance, I received a few comments from visiting audio/video enthusiasts that they expect a metal front panel at this level. Personally, I place my amplifiers in a rack and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
Like the recently reviewed AV8003, the MM8003 provides great bang-for the-buck. Like the last Marantz amplifiers I had the pleasure of listening to, the MA500 mono-blocks (discontinued for several years), the MM8003 continues the tradition of musicality and value. This amplifier may not be the end all when if comes to microdynamics (although detail is extremely good) or iron fisted bass at full volume, within its limits it performs extremely well and its limits should be broad enough to encompass most systems.
What draws me most to this amplifier is its sense of involvement, it has a good sense of rhythm and pace while remaining neutral, reproducing vocals and instruments in an organic, non-mechanical way. I never confused it for a tubed amplifier but it didn’t exhibit any of the pitfalls of solid state amplifiers usually found at this price point. The Marantz performed well with stereo sources and was outstanding on multi-channel material. No matter how hectic the soundtrack got, each channel was reproduced without compromise in performance. I have no reservations recommending this amplifier for theater systems in small to moderately sized rooms (or larger rooms with 5.1 systems that have bi-ampable front speakers.