AV Expo

Articles September - October 2023


AV-ICN Expo Magazine shares a brief of latest installations from the world of pro AV in this recurring feature of AV installations. read more

Articles September - October 2023

PLAY Technologies Transforms AV Experiences at Aljamea New!

Sachin K. Jain, Principal Consultant, PLAY technologies, shares insights on the state-of-the-art facility as he recounts the installation experiences with AV-ICN Magazine. read more

Articles September - October 2023

Unwinding The Changing Dynamics of Sennheiser with Naveen Sridhara New!

During the latest 'TCC Medium' and 'TC Bar' launch, Naveen Sridhara, Director of Sales, Sennheiser, shared Sennheiser's big leap in the UC market and strategies to stimulate growth in the pro-AV segment. read more

Articles July-August 2023

PALM Expo 2023 Achieves Recognition from Global Brands New!

PALM Expo 2023 returned with its 21st edition, drawing exhibitors and at¬tendees from around the globe, simultaneously placing the Indian pro audio and lighting indus¬try on the map. read more

Articles July-August 2023

Pro AV Mass Market Momentum Emphasizes AV-ICN Expo Success New!

AV-ICN Expo 2023 took place at the BEC, Mumbai, once again marking its presence as the torchbearer for the AV industry in India. read more

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All about Music, The Marantz Story

In conversation with Joel Sietsem and Alankara Santhana

Joel Sietsem, President, Marantz & Classé brands

Alankara Santhana, Sales and Marketing - India, South Asia, Middle East. Sound United HK Ltd.

Marantz has established a strong foundation in the industry with their High fidelity audio systems since the 1970s. Marantz designs products that have intricate detail and a perfect finish that maintain the Quality of Marantz sound. AV-ICNx got in touch with Joel Sietsem, President, Marantz, &Classé brands, and Alankara Santhana, Sales and Marketing - India, South Asia, Middle East. Sound United HK Ltd to know more about, how the company manages its operations worldwide and what challenges and opportunities they face in the Indian market.

Marantz has been in the business of sound reproduction since the early 1950s, can you tell us a bit about Marantz technology, what makes it unique? How would you differentiate your product from others in the market?

Marantz design and build quality are exemplary, with a suite of advanced technologies and a unique sound signature that sets it apart from competitors. The Marantz sound is pure, dynamic, and musical. By musical, we mean it is capable of richly producing the dimensionality, detail and texture of the music. Marantz listeners sometimes describe these traits as “warmth,” which we believe is an apt description of the signature Marantz sound quality.

Marantz’s legendary prowess spans from developing top-of-the-line disc transports in-house to advance mastering technologies like Marantz’s proprietary Marantz Musical Mastering (MMM) technique. MMM functions by re-clocking PCM data, then processing it by a 32-bit floating-point DSP to produce a 1-bit/11.2MHz sigma-delta modulation stream. Those high-frequency pulses are then passed through the player’s MMM Conversion Stage—a DSD-to-analog low-pass filter—to the analog circuitry. This type of unique circuitry helps develop that signature musicality that Marantz listeners know and love. Another proprietary Marantz technology is its signature HDAM (Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module) approach to pre-amplification, which offers yet another unique twist to Marantz’s signature sound that separates it from other amplifier manufacturers. A standard integrated-circuit operational amplifier is a commonly used method to increase output. These types of amplifiers are versatile, reliable, and inexpensive, but they also have serious limitations.  Noise and a low slew rate - a measure of the rate of change in current over time - can greatly detract from the resulting sound quality, especially at higher frequencies. To combat this, in 1992 Marantz debuted a unique type of circuit board to take the place of the customary IC op-amps.

HDAMs are preamplifier modules, situated between the volume control and power amplifier sections that perform the same function as the more conventional circuits. However, a few key upgrades within HDAM technology provide a noticeably enhanced level of performance. And that leads us to perhaps the most important facet of Marantz, which is its signature musical sound. This is accomplished of course by cutting- edge technologies like MMM and HDAM, but also by the thousands of hours spent from Marantz’s in-house Sound Master, who meticulously reviews each and every new product from Marantz to ensure it, adheres to the company’s signature sound. This high-touch approach is what so easily sets Marantz apart from the competition.

How does Marantz focus on the quality of it’s product? Please tell us a little about the manufacturing facility and R&D process.

High end Marantz components are designed and built in the company’s Shirakawa Audio Works factory in Shirakawa, Japan. Shirakawa Audio Works sets an incredibly high bar for manufacturing excellence, leveraging the famous Japanese approach to efficiency and gradual improvement, called Kaizen. Kaizen enables Marantz to continue improving on its processes to ensure ever-higher product build quality while leveraging the factory to its maximum output.

Importantly, and as stated previously, the way Marantz achieves its iconic sound is facilitated by a dedicated team of world-class engineers and designers alongside the Marantz Sound Master, whose role is to listen to each and every Marantz product to fine tune the sound. This Sound Master learns how to conquer this approach via thousands of hours of apprenticeship from previous Sound Masters. Thus, the lineage of Sound Masters actually dates back to the company’s founder, Saul Marantz, who originally engineered the amazing sound quality more than 65 years ago.

How do you identify with your target audience in the market?

Discerning music listeners who desire the absolute best sound quality, and design are our customers. For the Indian market, we have identified two separate groups of buyers, music lovers, and movie lovers. Customers who are movie lovers have the total home theatre packages for their consideration, which are sold online via ESS and AVS Stores. For pure music lovers, we have dedicated music listening rooms across the country. As a customer steps into our experience zones, they can listen to the music and decide on their purchase based on budget and room size.

Marantz’s manufacturing takes place in the US as well as Japan right? Are all products manufactured in both facilities or is the Japan facility specific for high-end products? 

Marantz primarily manufactures its higher-end products in the Shirakawa Audio Works factory in Japan. Taking advantage of the parent company, Sound United’s, extensive manufacturing capabilities all over the world, Marantz products are also manufactured in multiple other areas of South East Asia. Marantz does not currently manufacture any products in the United States of America.

Are any Marantz products manufactured in India and if not are there any plans on the horizon of having a facility in India?

As of yet, there are no plans to manufacture Marantz products in India. It is impossible to identify all future opportunities stemming from the market and regional conditions, so this may not always be the case.

Which product is Marantz currently pushing most aggressively in the Indian AV industry?

As India has large movie production houses and every movie has at least 3 to 4 songs, people tend to buy a home theatre package to experience the movie and also to listen to songs. Keeping that in mind 80% of what we sell are Marantz AV receivers. We proudly state Marantz AVRs hold 35% market share after Denon which holds 50% market share.

Marantz this year unveiled the first 2020 AV receivers with 8K upscaling. Can you tell us a little about this product?

The latest 8K AV Receivers from Marantz offer the latest HDMI 2.1 capabilities (8K passes through, Dynamic HDR, 4K/120Hz gaming capabilities, etc.) alongside robust audio codec capabilities as well. For example, some of the new 8K Marantz AV Receivers and AV preprocessors offer DTS:X Pro, 13 channels of DTS:X and IMAX Enhanced playback. DTS:X playback was previously limited up to 11 channels. Marantz is also one of the few audio companies to support Auro 3D, which is another 3D- audio codec that enables audiences to experience music and movies in beautiful three-dimensional sound environments.

How does Marantz plan to market this product when 8K TVs are very few and 8K content is still nonexistent?

While 8K is nascent, gamers and other customers who wish to level up their existing media with the latest audio codecs still benefit greatly from the latest Marantz AV Receivers. With all of the latest object-oriented audio capabilities, advanced installer options and HDMI 2.1 updates like Auto Low Latency Mode, Quick Media Switching, and others make the receivers a great future-resistant option to keep your AV system rocking for years to come.

What are the major changes in the AV industry that has opened a new path for Marantz?

Streaming music has opened up a huge opportunity for Marantz. But not just any streaming music, streaming music in high resolution. That’s where Marantz has a clear distinction from other brands, with the ability to stream Hi-Res music leveraging our Home Entertainment Operating System (HEOS) platform has led to a big boon for products with wireless streaming capabilities. Marantz is also enabled with other streaming capabilities, like Airplay for Apple users and Bluetooth for folks looking for the easiest way to stream their favorite tunes.

In addition to this, we’re seeing a general “flight to quality” as it pertains to people flocking towards better-sounding and better-produced high-resolution music. Everybody is streaming music these days and as a result, we’re seeing more high-resolution streaming applications pop up in the market to differentiate and attract more demanding customers. Those demanding customers need the best-sounding audio equipment to properly use the high-res streaming services, and Marantz is more than happy to meet that demand.

How has the pandemic changed the face of the AV industry and how is Marantz dealing with it?

Covid-19 has levied both challenges and opportunities for the AV industry generally speaking. On the opportunities side, more people than ever before were listening to music, watching TV and movies at home as a means to cope with the stresses involved with the pandemic. And as a result, we’ve seen a huge increase in people willing to invest in products that give them a better listening experience.

On the challenging side, the closure of retail environments made selling products direct to customers one of the biggest changes for the AV industry generally speaking. Marantz has been very nimble in this regard and rapidly improved its online experience, including the ability to buy products directly from Marantz, which is a new service for the brand. While this isn’t available in all markets yet, it is something the Marantz organization is continually aiming to improve.

What is your strategy when it comes to the distribution of Marantz products in the Indian Market? How different is the distribution model in India vis-a-vis other countries?

Marantz is sold exclusively via our India Distributor, MZ Audio. We have ensured no-sub distribution is allowed for Marantz products. Thereby we cater to at least 350 Active AVS stores, all ESS Stores and online channels. As Marantz has a wide range of AV products, we have all types of channels promoting our products, be it CI or SI channel for AV Splitters. Our Marantz SR and NR series AV receivers are all sold via online platforms/ AVS / ESS Stores. Whereas our 2 channel products, like CD players and Design and Compact Hi-Fi Series are sold through Telecom and Hi-Fi Channels.

Any other new product from Marantz, which the industry can look forward to in the near future?

Yes! Marantz will have exciting new products to keep an eye open for. You probably saw our recently introduced Model 30 integrated amplifier and SACD30n networked streamer/SACD player. That new design language and the advanced capabilities will continue to find its way into new, exciting Marantz products in the future. For now, there isn’t much we can say about what’s next, but suffice it to say that we are hard at work creating the most musical components to continue driving Marantz forward in the hearts and minds of music lovers around the world.

About D+M Group:

The D+M Group is the largest supplier of audio/video receivers worldwide. D+M Group brands include Boston Acoustics, Denon, and Marantz. In February 2017, D+M Group was acquired by American company Sound United LLC

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