It one of the components of their early 1990's Music Link series of electronics. Are they, in general, decent quality?
I had one of these for many years. It has adjustability to match with all but the very lowest output cartridges, is built like a warship, and has that rich sound that was always the hallmark of Marantz equipment. I sold mine to a guy in San Francisco last year and replaced it with a rather pricey 'high-end' phono stage and wish that I had the Marantz back.
The only faults with the one that I had was paint coming off of the footers and the outer adjustment knobs slipping on the posts, both of which can be fixed. If you email Marantz you should be able to get a user manual and a service manual.
That was a bargain, congratulations! Marantz seem to go through phases of every now and then producing some outstanding gear and I think that was in one of those phases. I have a late 90's SC-5 DC battery Preamp with what I suspect is essentially the same phono stage in it. The phono section in my pre is clearly superior to a Mac C22 reissue I had and better than a DACT with custom transformers I A to B'ed with it. I think you could spend a lot more money and be dissappointed. As for the manual, contact Marantz. If they are as helpful in the States as they are here in Japan you will get sorted immediately.
A week or so ago I was asking if anybody knew anything about this Marantz PH-22 phono stage. It was part of their highly regarded Music Link series of components from the early 1990's. I posted here and a couple of other forums, and found very little information about it, other than it was a nice piece of equipment, and that it is fairly rare.
It arrived yesterday, and I have been listening to it for several hours. It is considerably better sounding than the phono stages in either of my two full featured preamps. Most noticeably is much better imaging. The instruments all have a distinct place in the soundstage, especially in small group recordings. The clarity and balance between the different instruments is also better. I am able to hear some instruments that I never knew were there on some of my reference recordings. This is probably because of the greater separation in the soundstage. Even my older, worn out records sound better, with less intrusive background noise.
Since it did not come with a manual and I have no specs for it, I am not certain of the exact function of the front panel switches. It has inputs for two turntables, one labeled MM and one MC. The front panel has a 4-position switch with both High and Low for each of the MM and the MC inputs. It also has another 4-position EQ switch.
I first tried it on the high MM setting and listened at all of the 4 different EQ positions. Position 1 sounded the best, as each succeeding position added more highs to the point where there was too much sibilance on vocals and overall harshness. This is with my Ortofon VMS 30 MKII cartridge. I then changed the phono cord to the MC inputs and tried the high MC setting. I was hoping that this would work as I am currently using two turntables with MM cartridges. It worked fine, but the output level was just slightly less than the high MM setting. However, there was a huge difference in the EQ settings on the MC position, compared to the MM setting. The 4th setting was the best sounding, and the 1st and 2nd settings were not usable at all because the sound was tilted far too much towards the bass frequencies. Is this because MC cartridges are typically weaker in the bass and therefore need some boost?
Anyway, in the MM setting the 1st EQ position is best, and in the MC setting the 4th EQ position sounds the best.
The unit mutes the sound for a couple of seconds whenever any of the switch positions are changed, which is a nice feature. This keeps any loud pops, etc. from getting to the speakers. Also, I think that the phono stage has a standby setting. When the unit is plugged in and the power switch is "off" the power light still is lit up, but not as brightly as when the power switch is on.
I would like some opinions on one thing I noticed. I also tried the Low MC setting with my MM cartridge. Since the High MC setting was working great, I expected the Low MC setting to have a lot more gain and I turned the volume knob way down on my preamp. What I actually heard, though, was a much lower level of volume. This is opposite from what I expected. I thought that the Low MC position would need to boost the signal more, to compensate for a low output MC cartridge, so I expected greater volume when using a MM cartridge.
Any thoughts on this would be helpful. I have no MC cartridges at this time to try on the PH-22.
I am very pleased with the quality of this phono stage.
I think you have figured out the purpose of the EQ settings on my new Marantz PH22 phono preamp - it adjusts for pre-RIAA recordings. It is called a Marantz PH22 Phono Equalizer Amplifier on the face plate.
I played several early 1950's jazz and vocal 10" lp's. None of these ever exhibited much bass when played through my normal equipment. One of them is a Jimmy Dorsey dixieland recording that shows the name of a bass player in the credits, but he is usually not heard. I just thought he was buried in the mix.
I played this Dorsey 10" using the High MC setting (still with a MM cartridge, though) at the EQ setting that sounds the best on my modern recordings, #4. It sounded as it normally does, with little or no bass. However, as I moved the EQ setting down to #3 and #2, the bass came out loud and clear and the record sounded much, much fuller. These were settings that were unlistenable when playing modern records because the bass output was too strong. Setting #1 was still too boomy, though.
Then I went back to using the High MM setting on the same records. I posted yesterday that in the High MM setting, the EQ needed to be in the #1 position, because the higher settings caused way too much sibilance in vocals and a harsh high end. I started out in this #1 setting and the record sounded pretty good. It had more bass than when in the default #4 setting for MC that I am using for modern records. As I moved up to #2 and #3, the bass got weaker, but the highs were better sounding, and there was no sibilance on vocals like there were on the RIAA records.
This is all very cool and interesting, but now I am wondering why these old records have great bass sounds when in High MC and the EQ at the lower numbers, and great treble sounds when in High MM and the EQ at the higher numbers. I would like to be able to get both ends of the spectrum better.
The lower EQ settings enhance the bass and the higher EQ settings enhance the treble, but the magnitude of the effects are totally different depending on being in MC or MM mode. Is this still, as I guessed, also compensating for the inherent differences of frequency response of these two types of cartridges?
Anyway, it now seems obvious that this phono preamp equalizes for pre-RIAA records, but I don't know what the various settings are recommended for.
I really need to find a users manual for this cool device.
There is an eBay seller in Germany that has listed copies of the *service repair* manual for this PH22, but not the users manual. I wonder if that would give me any help in determining how to use this phono preamp.