PM5003 vs PM5004

BJR compared the Marantz PM5003 & PM5004 in March 2011 (Vol.34 No.3):

In the context of reviewing the CD5004 CD player ($349.99), I thought it would be useful to also listen to its sister component, Marantz's PM5004 integrated amplifier ($449.99), and compare it with its predecessor, the PM5003 integrated (also $449.99), which I reviewed in the January 2010 Stereophile.

It took a good deal of scrutiny to see any differences between the PM5003 and PM 5004. The only thing I found is that the Speaker A and B terminals are reversed on the PM5004. Marantz told me that this is because the Speaker A terminal had a shorter signal path to its binding posts than the B terminal. The PM5004's preamp and power-amp sections have been upgraded from the PM5003, and the newer model has benefited from some additional sound tuning.

I enjoyed the PM5004's silky reproduction of the midrange of both voice and piano in "Some People's Lives," from Janis Ian's Breaking Silence (CD, Morgan Creek/Analogue Productions CAPP027), and the rich, clear bass and fast, clean transients of "Walking on Sacred Ground," from the same album, made for involving listening. I enjoyed the rhythmic pacing in "If I Were a Bell," from Miles Davis' Relaxin' (CD, Prestige VICJ 7129); and the PM5004's reproduction of the transients in Shelly Manne's drum solo in "I'm an Old Cowhand," from Sonny Rollins' Way Out West (CD, Contemporary/JVC VICJ-60125), was natural and clean—though I've heard more expensive amplifiers render this track a bit more involvingly—and Ray Brown's bass sounded naturally warm and woody. The highs on Arturo Delmoni's disc of works by Ysaÿe, Kreisler, and J.S. Bach (CD, John Marks JMR 14) were silky and sweet, though the upper register of his violin sounded a bit dry. I also found Marc Ribot's dobro in "Hey Sweet Man," from Madeline Peyroux's Dreamland (CD, Atlantic 82946-2), to be a bit metallic.

Comparing the PM5004 to the PM5003 was a bit of a chore—I had to switch back and forth several times before I could hear any differences at all, using more revealing associated equipment than the typical buyer of a PM5004 is likely to have: Creek Destiny CD player, Epos M5i speakers, MIT wires. That said, I'm convinced that the PM5004 is a sonic improvement over the PM5003, with even greater dynamic contrasts (particularly in high-level passages), a bit more delicacy, and an overall sound that was a touch more rich and involving. All in all, an improvement more evolutionary than revolutionary.—Robert J. Reina

COMPANY INFO
Marantz America, Inc.
100 Corporate Drive
Mahwah, NJ 07430-2041
(201) 762-0500
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COMMENTS
david.bennett's picture

Does the PM5003 have sub/lfe-in? This Amp is perfect for my price range, but subwoofer compatibility is a HUGE selling point for me...

keefer's picture

Love this amp. Picked it up today (where it was on sale for $100 off the $449 list price--nice surprise!). I'm replacing an old Yamaha A1020, purchased new in 1986 and which has been developing "issues." I was a little apprehensive about going from 125 watts/channel to 40, but my original Advent Loudspeakers love this thing! While I miss some of the more sophisticated controls of the old Yamaha (the bass and treble fine-tuning controls were, well, more fine-tuning; there was a mono switch; and Yamaha does variable loudness knobs so good), but I am also really enjoying the simplicity of this unit--and the excellent sound. And I was really pleasantly surprised by the quality of the phono input, which is just as good or better than the input on the old Yamaha.

keefer's picture

Love this amp. Picked it up today (this year's model, the PM5004, at one of your better known electronics mall stores where it was on sale for $100 off the $449 list price--nice surprise!). I'm replacing an old Yamaha A1020, purchased new in 1986 and which has been developing "issues." I was a little apprehensive about going from 125 watts/channel to 40, but my original Advent Loudspeakers love this thing! I miss some of the more sophisticated controls of the old Yamaha (the bass and treble fine-tuning controls were, well, more fine-tuning; there was a mono switch; and Yamaha does variable loudness knobs so good), but I am also really enjoying the simplicity of this unit--and the excellent sound. And I was really pleasantly surprised by the quality of the phono input, which is just as good or better than the input on the old Yamaha.

So far I've auditioned Kind of Blue on an early pressing, and side 3 of the blue Beatles album, and was very impressed with the distinction of the bass and the clarity of the mid-range and highs. While those highs don't extend quite the way they did with the Yamaha, I also have an amp that, for under 400 bucks, is giving me the kind of solid, focused sound stage that my old Yamaha, in its better days, used to deliver.

I also auditioned recorded tapes (home tapes of my LPs) through both my Nak CR-3a and Denon DRM 500, and both sound sources came through as nice sounding as I've ever heard them on my system.

I anticipate many years of audio bliss with this amp.

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