Success in the high end audio market, it seems to me, results from specialization - offering a product that results from doing what you do very well. Consumers of high end equipment very rarely put together systems of components from a single manufacturer. Why then, do you suppose, that Musical Fidelity and Marantz, both noted for their electronics, have decided they need to get into the turntable business. Even speakers would have been a better choice - everyone needs speakers; but, considering the wide array of great turntables already established in what is currently a niche market, their moves seem like burning money to me. Somebody help me with this one.
I think Marantz saw an oppourtunity to grab an OEM (is that the right term?) and earn some green by marking it up.
Mu-Fi figured anything they touch automatically gets a high profile review, so why not toss together a turntable and get free advertising and earn some green?
The bottom line is the bottom line, in any industry.
I would love to see a shoot out between the Music Hall MMF 9 and the Marantz. Then I would like to change out the stock MMF 9 cart to the ClearAudio on the Marantz and see what is found.
I think Mo-Fi would have been better off installing a Rega arm on their table, or at least offering an arm board for it. Even an MMF 7 or 9 with a Rega arm would be interesting.
What is intersting is Marantz remains interested in SACD players, more than Sony, and in the TT business as well. I would like to see a review of the SA-15 and the PM-15 together. At $2K each it is certainly at audiophile price points to see where Marantz is headed these days.
I agree. Years ago, when Marantz did make loudspeakers, they were terrible. Even when they did, I will always remember, at a CES, they were using Vandersteen loudspeakers to demonstrate their electronics. At the same time, their "own" speakers were on static display. It seemed pretty funny at the time; smart when I look back on it now.
In these times, when one never knows who actually mfgs. each product, why not offer a complete spectrum. Since turntables give high end companies a certain je ne sais quoi, I think it was a good decision.
Logically, speakers make far more sense than a niche market such as turntables, so Marantz should contact Vandersteen; again.
Making a speaker can be easy. But, making a good speaker probably requires a lot more resources than rebadging an existing turntable with a few tweaks, which might not be terribly risky financially. If it doesn't sell, you cancel orders. Unless you're rebadging speakers, you've got all the R&D, tooling, jigs... more overhead. Who knows?
Jim, I share your curiosity about the result of moving the cartridge supplied with the Marantz table to one of Roy Halls good performers. My guess is that in a head to head, an MMF7 would carry the day. My real question, I suppose, is why, given the power Marantz has, an interest in the turntable market, and a commitment to partnering with a respected turntable manufacturer, they didn't hit the market with something that would merit more than a ho-hum review from Mikey. Face it, he tried to give that turntable the fairest shake he could and, even so, wound up only a little short of damning with faint praise. Why offer one more turntable that is priced with established Music Hall, Pro-ject, Clearaudio, and Thorens and will still have buyers saving their money to trade up to a Scoutmaster? I just don't see it, and I'll be amazed if the Marantz turntable has any more success than the Musical Fidelity one did? Do you know anyone who actually bought one of the MF turntables, or anyone this side of the pond who sells them, for that matter?
Regards the combination of Marantz SACD players and their amps, I got into an unusual situation with "the one who must be happy". She liked the looks of our new SA-11 so much that she raised the question whether a "matching" amplifier was available. If the Marantz amps didn't double as hot plates and therefore require lots of ugly open space around them, I might very well be listening to a PM-15 right now and have about four grand less in the bank. To the consummate decorater, the eyes are as important as the ears - perhaps more so. Though my MF amp aint so pretty to look at, it sounds just fine, and I have some cash left for new music. Listening to Mozart or Coltrane beats trying to figure out what makes Johnny run every time.
I wonder if this product might be catering to a group of people that like the idea of a complete system from 1 manufacturer. Marantz seems like one of those brands where a Marantz amplifier gets paired with a Marantz preamp or tuner. Maybe a turntable makes sense in this context.
I am with you on this one. It seems that some newcomers to the TT business think that style wins over substance. Is that your final answer? I hope not. As Michael found out with the MF table, at that price point it has to be very, very good.
Michael has also made it clear that the tonearm is a huge consideration in ultimate sound as well as the cart. Give Marantz credit that they did not cheap out here at all. I look at the very pretty Thorens TD 240 with a AT 95 and cringe at $899. It does play 78s though. I do love the Thorens 800 series. Every one is a winner.
This is what makes Roy Hall a near genius when you look at his TT line. If he would offer his tables with Rega cutouts...HMMMM. Especially the 9. Sumiko with Project has come a long way as well. MF and Project are probably the two biggest bang for the buck TT lines ever. Owning a VPI is like being called up to the majors. It is a whole new ball game and then we look at SME and I hope that Michael gets his hands on the new 20/12.
I am continuing my quest of transferring at least one LP a day to my hard drive. The pre-cleaning is maddening, but you just have to do the best you can or it is a waste of time.
ps. You know those amps would have been swell, but I do not think you are loosing much with your MF gear. You have a great partner for even considering such a purchase.