Review: Marantz PM8004 Amplifier
I have been most active with vintage Marantz gear for over 20 years. But the last few years I have been enjoying new gear. Specifically the NAD C326BEE. Which most of this review will be based comparing the two, Marantz 8004 and NAD C326BEE. The speakers I used were both full range 10" woofer three ways of my own design as well as a 2.1 setup using a 6.5" woofer DIY monitor speakers with a Paradyme powered sub.
The first thing that pops out at you is how stylish and well built the 8004 is. The feel and look just scream quality and class. It is not just another "black box" stereo. This amp has personality and looks. Marantz seems to be getting back to it's roots of making good looking gear like their big 70's receivers. As well as going back to the Tritone tone controls.
After both the honeymoon and break in period I did some serious listening on both sets of speakers. Having the NAD for about two years I was quite taken with the clarity, detail and amazing 3D like imaging of the 326BEE. The 8004 does have these same qualities for the most part. But I would say the NAD has more a 3D sound stage. The Marantz does have these qualities but with a slightly different take on the sound. Read on.
The treble is very nice. Not beamy or harsh but very smooth and airy. Easy to listen to with no listening fatique.
The midrange and upper bass is were this beast seems to come alive. A tremendous amount of detail, force and Razor sharp dynamics in the midrange. This amp had dynamics and clarity in spades!!!!! Here is were the major differences begin.
The bass is very lush and full. This amp has NO problem in the bass department when using either a powered sub or a passive three way speakers with a 10" woofer. The bass is strong, dynamic and Very well controlled. Not boomy or slow. Very articulate and well controlled and well balanced.
The overall sound I would describe this amp: "it's very full and dynamic sounding and made for listening". Reminiscent of the sound of the big 70's receivers. Also a side note, this amp sounds very much like my Marantz 135WPC 2330 receiver. But with far more clarity, razor sharp dynamics and imaging.
I use my Marantz 8004 almost entirely for classical low level listening. So detail, clarity and imaging at low levels are my main needs. The 8004 carries it off without missing a beat. At low levels this amp maintains it's great dynamic sound.
I really can not say enough about this amp other than that I am very happy with it. And I consider myself an audiophile. If you are reading this a trying to decide between two amps, and the other amp is cheaper, my advice is save up and get the Marantz 8004. Just my two cents.
If money was no object I would have bought the reference series by Marantz. For $999 you can't go wrong.