Marantz Debuts KI Ruby SACD Player/DAC and Integrated Amplifier at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw

Members of the European press plus editor Michael Fremer and The Absolute Sound’s Julie Mullins were invited to the launch of two new Marantz limited edition products celebrating the 40th anniversary of legendary Marantz “Brand Ambassador” Ken Ishiwata’s association with the company. The event was held inside famed Concertgabouw rather than at Marantz’s Eindhoven, Netherlands European headquarters.

The “KI” stands for Ken Ishiwata, and ruby is the gemstone associated with 40th anniversaries. Each of the products is limited to 1000 and are considered “collector’s items”. For those who don’t know Ken Ishiwata or the nature of his Marantz relationship, this video will provide the answers. Ken says it’s the first time he’s discussed the history. The video also includes a mini-tour of the famed concert hall.

You can also read more about Ken in this Jana Dagdagan Stereophile interview.

During Ken’s talk he references famed amplifier designer James Bongiorno and he talks about his relationship with company founder Saul Marantz.

As for these two products, both are designed by Marantz teams headed by Ishiwata who also “tuned” the sound of both. The SA-KI Ruby’s SACD transport is an all-metal audio-only Marantz design. The DAC has an asynchronous USB input for high resolution PCM as well as DSD/DXD 384/32 bit and DSD11.2MHz. There’s more to this product, best discussed in a review. At $4000 it’s far less costly than the flagship SA-10 but the build quality appears equally good.

The PM KI Ruby Integrated amplifier features 100 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 200 into 4 ohms. It’s a switch mode design based on the PM-10’s, which explains how so much power comes packed into such a modest sized chassis. How it sounds though will have to wait for a review. The unit features separate pre-amp and amp power supplies and many other design features.

Of greater interest to AnalogPlanet readers is the new built in MM/MC phono preamplifier, featuring all discrete electronics and no step up transformers. Ken’s a big vinyl guy, so he was deeply involved in the design and tuning of the phono stage input as well as the preamp and amplifier sections. Again the price is $4000.

Both of these products are likely to be reviewed in Stereophile and they will most likely sell out and become collector’s items. Most curious to hear if Ken managed to get Class D amps to sing!

Wimbo's picture

a few times and back in the 80's he advised me how to bypass the current limiting circuits of the MA6 monos to get better results with the Quad ELS 63's. He was always approachable and humble. Pleasant human being :)

AnalogJ's picture

Michael Fremer posts:

"Members of the European press plus editor Michael Fremer and The Absolute Sound’s Julie Mullins were invited to the launch of two new Marantz limited edition products celebrating the 40th anniversary of legendary Marantz “Brand Ambassador” Ken Ishiwata’s association with the company."

AnalogJ wishes to ask about Michael Fremer why the use of third person. Michael Fremer, of course, is no Bob Dole (who would often speak in third person). ;-)

Michael Fremer's picture
I use my name because some of the content is used on the YouTube channel where, unlike Cheers, not everyone knows my name. Perhaps I should change it here to "I" or whatever.
OldschoolE's picture

Especially from the component line up. (The top component line stuff is awfully close to the reference line too). What gets me is the attention to build even in the mid-fi stuff even though they are under big umbrella that includes Denon, Onkyo, etc. The Marantz stuff just somehow seems to stand out a bit. I have a Marantz CD5004, just a $350 unit, but exceptional build for it's range (isolated well built power supply, weighs around 16 pounds and a power cord that looks like one of those thick $600 jobs. Drive and door seem solid too. I have had many a CD player and all of them weighed no more than one pound). I don't know how they are doing it under a conglomerate that wants to cut corners. So I am sure these new units (likely not available in the US) will be very well made and perform accordingly.

fetuso's picture

Agreed. I've had the SA8005 for about 6 months and I'm extremely pleased. Makes listening to digital almost as enjoyable as vinyl. Almost.

avanti1960's picture

for a few years now and it is an amazingly dynamic sounding player that has beaten off many more costly competitors. a long term keeper for sure.

Ortofan's picture

... musicdirect, with delivery due in about three weeks:

cvcgolf's picture

So can you live on the edge, splurge, get rebellious or whatever you want to call it and review some Vincent audio gear.. Maybe the Vincent SV700 integrated.. It sells for $3,800 at Audio Advisor but we don't know much about Vincent Audio because they don't advertise in Stereophile or Absolute Sound so you guys just ignore them..

After you listen to the Marantz and then tell us how great it is (very predictable, I highly doubt you'll trash it) then you can tell us how the Vincent SV700 compares since it sells for basically the same price and how their hybrid tube sound stacks up against the Marantz..

Thanks for potentially living dangerously by reviewing a company that doesn't pay for ads or invite you to their big reveal parties..

Ortofan's picture

... prefers a generous helping of a certain type of distortion:

However, if you have about $4K to spend on an integrated amp with a built-in DAC and about a 100W(8Ω)/200W(4Ω) power rating, it might be worth the $500 stretch to get the McIntosh MA5200.

Other options at (much) lower prices are the new Parasound Halo HINT 6 ($3K) and the Denon PMA-1600NE ($1600), which won a recent Hi-Fi Choice comparison test:

Anton D's picture

Isn’t Vincent the house brand for Audio Advisor?

Audio Advisor doesn’t advertise in Stereophile?