When it comes to high-end audio equipment, Marantz is a brand that has been synonymous with excellence for decades. Their PM-12SE and Model 30 amplifiers are two of their most popular offerings, and are often compared to each other by audiophiles looking for the best possible sound quality. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between these two models and try to determine which one is the better choice for discerning music lovers.
Power and Performance
The Marantz PM-12SE is a stereo amplifier that delivers 100 watts per channel into 8 ohms, and 200 watts per channel into 4 ohms. This level of power is more than enough to drive most speakers with ease, and allows for a dynamic and lively sound that is sure to impress. The PM-12SE uses a toroidal transformer and high-quality capacitors to deliver clean, accurate power to your speakers, and has a frequency response range of 5 Hz to 100 kHz. This means that it is capable of reproducing a wide range of frequencies, from deep bass to sparkling highs.
The Model 30, on the other hand, is a bit more powerful, delivering 100 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 200 watts per channel into 4 ohms, just like the PM-12SE. However, the Model 30 uses a more advanced power supply design that Marantz calls “Musical Mastering”. This technology is designed to deliver extremely clean and stable power to your speakers, even under heavy loads. The Model 30 also has a frequency response range of 5 Hz to 50 kHz, which is a bit narrower than the PM-12SE’s range. However, most people will not notice the difference in frequency response between these two amplifiers.
When it comes to sound quality, both the PM-12SE and the Model 30 are excellent choices. They both use high-quality components throughout their circuitry, and are designed to deliver a warm, natural sound that is free from distortion and coloration. However, there are some differences in the sound signature of these two amplifiers that may make one more appealing to certain listeners than the other.
The PM-12SE has a slightly more laid-back sound signature, with a slightly softer midrange and treble. This can be particularly appealing to those who listen to a lot of vocal or acoustic music, as it can create a very natural and intimate listening experience. However, some people may find this sound signature to be a bit too relaxed for their taste, particularly if they listen to a lot of rock or electronic music.
The Model 30, on the other hand, has a more upfront sound signature, with a slightly more pronounced midrange and treble. This can make the sound seem more lively and exciting, particularly on music that has a lot of energy and drive. However, some people may find this sound signature to be a bit too forward for their taste, particularly if they listen to a lot of classical or jazz music.
Both the PM-12SE and the Model 30 come with a variety of features that are designed to enhance your listening experience. For example, both amplifiers have built-in phono preamps that allow you to connect a turntable directly to the amplifier without the need for an external preamp. They also both have built-in DACs that allow you to connect digital sources like computers and streamers directly to the amplifier, which can help to improve sound quality.
However, there are some differences in the features offered by these two amplifiers. The PM-12SE has a built-in headphone amplifier, which can be a big plus for those who like to listen to music late at night or in situations where they can’t play music.
Both the Marantz PM-12SE and Model 30 are exceptional integrated amplifiers with advanced features and exceptional sound quality. So which one is the best for you? Let’s take a look at the differences between the two models.
In terms of design, both amplifiers are beautifully crafted with a sleek and modern look. The Marantz PM-12SE has a slim profile with a black aluminum front panel and a large volume knob. The Model 30 has a more substantial design with a dual-layer chassis, copper-plated chassis, and front panel with LED lighting.
Both amplifiers are well-built with high-quality materials, and they feel solid and durable. The Marantz PM-12SE measures 17.3 x 5 x 16.2 inches, while the Model 30 is slightly larger at 17.3 x 5.7 x 16.8 inches.
When it comes to sound quality, both amplifiers deliver exceptional performance, but there are some differences between them. The Marantz PM-12SE has a Class AB amplifier with a power output of 100 watts per channel into 8 ohms. It also has a high-quality phono stage with selectable gain, allowing you to connect a turntable directly to the amplifier.
The Model 30, on the other hand, has a Class D amplifier with a power output of 100 watts per channel into 8 ohms. It also has a unique Marantz HDAM-SA3 amplifier module, which is designed to deliver exceptional sound quality with a dynamic range and low distortion.
Overall, both amplifiers provide excellent sound quality with exceptional detail, clarity, and dynamics. However, some audiophiles may prefer the warm and natural sound of the Marantz PM-12SE, while others may prefer the precise and detailed sound of the Model 30.
Both the Marantz PM-12SE and Model 30 have various connectivity options, including RCA, XLR, and optical inputs, and a preamp output. They also support Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to stream music directly from your smartphone or tablet.
However, the Model 30 has some additional connectivity options that are not available on the PM-12SE. It has a built-in USB-DAC, allowing you to connect your computer and stream high-quality digital music. It also has a phono MM/MC input, which is a convenient feature for vinyl enthusiasts.
The Marantz PM-12SE and Model 30 are both high-end amplifiers, so they come with a premium price tag. The Marantz PM-12SE typically costs around $3,000, while the Model 30 is priced at around $4,000.
Which One to Choose?
Choosing between the Marantz PM-12SE vs Model 30 comes down to your specific needs and preferences. If you are looking for exceptional sound quality with a warm and natural sound, the Marantz PM-12SE is a great choice. It also has a high-quality phono stage, making it an excellent option for vinyl enthusiasts.
If you are looking for precise and detailed sound quality with advanced connectivity options, the Model 30 is the way to go. The Marantz HDAM-SA3 amplifier module and USB-DAC provide exceptional sound quality with high-quality digital music playback.
Overall, both amplifiers are exceptional options for anyone looking for a high-quality integrated amplifier with advanced features and exceptional sound quality. It ultimately comes down to your personal preferences and specific needs, so make sure to consider all the factors before making your decision. Regardless of which one you choose, you can expect a premium audio experience from Marantz.