Review: Definitive Technology D11 and Marantz PM7000N Winning Combination
Definitive Technology: Presentation
Definitive Technology has its genesis in Maryland (USA) in 1990 at the hands of Sandy Gross, who was also behind the creation of Polk Audio. Although since 2013 Definitive Technology has been related to Polk Audio again, since both are part of the Sound United audio holding company. This includes other legendary firms in the hi-fi industry such as Boston Acoustics, Bowers & Wilkins, Classe, Denon and also the veteran Marantz, from which we have their Marantz PM7000N integrated amplifier with DAC and Streamer functions, in combination with Definitive Technology D11 bookshelf speakers.
In the more than 30 years of existence, the Definitive Technology (hereafter DT) portfolio has expanded to include speakers, subwoofers, in-wall and outdoor speakers. Its offering is completed by the recent creation of streaming soundbars with HEOS integrated and compatibility with Dolby Atmos and DTS X.
According to the DT website, its sound signature is mainly characterized “by its large surround sound field, ultra-wide dynamic range, crystal clear highs and thunderous bass.”
Definitive Technology Demand Series D11: Technology
The D11 mounts a one-inch side-shifted aluminum dome tweeter with a 20/20 Wave Alignment Lens ™ system, which deflects the tweeters by five degrees minimizing wave cancellations from the front baffle, to deliver a more accurate center stereo image and ensure clear and detailed high-frequency performance.
The D11 monitor’s proprietary 6.5-inch Balanced Double Surround System™ (BDSS) woofer provides increased excursion and output, for superior midrange detail and punchy bass for its size.
The D11 produces superior low-frequency extension with an integrated 6 x 10-inch passive bass radiator. It also has a larger spider installed that reduces roll and offers a cleaner and tighter bass response.
Demand Series crossovers are built with polypropylene metal-film capacitors and air-core chokes for crystal-clear clean highs, a refined, articulate midrange, and low-distortion, linear lows. This pursues that all the details are reflected in a clear and balanced presentation without sacrificing strength.
Linear Response Waveguide™ is a waveguide that extends both on-axis and off-axis frequency dispersion for more natural midrange timbre and accurate imaging.
Extruded aluminum front baffles add a clean, modern aesthetic with a shot-peened finish. Shot blasting is an abrasive blasting that can use sand and in this case is done with glass powder.
Each speaker is sanded and painted with five coats of gloss paint and polished to a near mirror finish.
Definitive Technology D11: Details
- The loudspeaker comes in a satin finish with some gloss but it is not quite a mirror finish, which is appreciated for two reasons: first, it is not so delicate with fingerprints and second, it mitigates possible unwanted reflections if we use a projector in our Home Theater. This is also helped by its magnetic grids that cover the entire surface of the bead-blasted aluminum front of the monitors.
- The box’s internal passive radiator is located in the upper part, which is covered with a frame grille made of the same gray acoustic fabric as the front. This conception in its design is fundamental in the behavior of these rack boxes, since by not having the bass-reflex they avoid a possible rubbing noise or “chaffing” of the port. In addition, placing the passive radiator in the upper part of the enclosure allows greater flexibility when placing the boxes near the rear wall, or even on top of domestic furniture, which is common in a non-Hi-End living room.
- The bottom of the box comes with two parallel strips of rubbery material that have the double mission of preventing us from scratching the boxes or the furniture where we install them and to prevent the transmission of vibrations to and from the cabinets.
- Brackets and monitors can be attached with a discreetly located “lifesaver” screw at the rear. The cornice also comes with two strips of rubbery material to favor the coupling of the base of the loudspeakers and avoid accidental scratching.
- The screw that anchors the boxes to the cornice of the pedestals comes with a thick sponge ring which, on the one hand, prevents us from passing the thread of the screw, but it also applies an opposite force to the screw, acting as an anti-loosening washer.
Marantz is a mythical brand with almost seven decades behind it and a gallery of electronics with the status of authentic Hi-End legends. So Sound United, the current owner of Marantz, does not have it easy, because on the one hand it has to honor the vast legacy of the firm, but on the other it has to look to the future by adopting the new technologies of the increasingly dynamic and competitive digital age.
B&W Group Spain has provided us with the Marantz PM7000N integrated amplifier with Streamer functions and digital inputs. A complete and versatile machine like few others in its price range.
Marantz PM7000N: Performance
The PM7000N is an integrated amplifier that delivers 60 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 80 watts into 4 ohms. It is an electronics that can do many things but that does not neglect its angular function: manage and amplify the signals with which to feed our loudspeakers. It could be a preamp with DAC and Streamer to which a courtesy amplification has been added, like so many other devices that unfortunately have a mediocre and poorly implemented Class D amplification, which neither wins by watts nor convinces by sound quality, but already I guarantee you that this is not the case.
Our protagonist, the Marantz PM7000N, has fed and dominated its fellow reviewers, the Definitive Technology D11 loudspeakers. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and let me list the tidy amount of features that the machine handles: Internet Radio, Spotify, TuneIn, AmazonMusic, Deezer, Napster, SoundCloud, Tidal. Music by Airplay2: iOS and macOS, Music from NAS music servers or from external hard drives, music from USB connection. Bluetooth 5.0 music, supports virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and Siri. We can also mount a multi-room system thanks to Heos or even connect headphones to its 1/4 Jack socket. Supports audio formats and containers such as DSD 5.6, FLAC, ALAC and WAV 24bit/192hz. It has a phono preamplifier for MM and coaxial and SPDIF (Toshlink) digital inputs and even a pre-out to integrate a subwoofer and assemble a multifaceted and feisty 2.1 set like it alone. I could go on but I leave below the extensive list of features of the integrated.
- The front of the device is genuinely Marantz and the controls are well distributed aesthetically and functionally.
- The volume potentiometer and the input selector feel firm and with a touch that can hardly be found in Hi-Fi devices at this price.
- The display -without being very large- more than fulfills its function and allows us to see which artist and track we are playing even from two meters away.
- The remote control is perhaps somewhat more common in terms of the plastic used, but it is very complete and with buttons that feel good.
- The Heos application allows us to change the input, select the different streaming music platforms and adjust the volume, among other functions.
- All playback of digital files is GAPLESS.
Positioning and shooting
Although the specific supports are the ideal complement for the Definitive Technology D11 monitors to develop their full potential, the truth is that thanks to the ingenious engineering solutions that have been adopted in these loudspeakers we can say without fear of being wrong that we are dealing with bookshelf boxes since if we choose to install the loudspeakers on a shelf and/or near the rear wall, the sound imprint of the D11 is not distorted, although we can no longer squeeze them to the fullest, of course. This makes them adaptable and flexible to our domestic environment.
The passive radiator that they mount strategically oriented on the top of the cabinet allows them to develop a phenomenal wall of sound with presence and solidity in the bass and a believable depth of scene, even if we install the boxes almost glued to the rear wall.
It is a matter of raising or lowering the potentiometer of the amplifier to the comfort zone of the binomial boxes and room that -as I always never tire of asserting- is the great acoustic box.
In the end I have had the Definitive Technology D11 bookshelf speakers in two positions. The first looking for the best possible sound within the room of 22 square meters. On the wide wall and separated from each other 1.80 meters from tweeter to tweeter and 1 meter from the rear wall (measured from the front of the box.)
The second position I have sought to push their limits a bit and I have glued them 50 centimeters from the rear wall so that there was only 15 centimeters of air between the back of their cabinet and the wall and separating them 2 meters from tweeter to tweeter.
In both positions I have applied a slight toe-in as recommended by the manufacturer of no more than 20 degrees.
The best thing about the Definitive Technology D11 is that an excessive volume is not necessary for the boxes to reach a threshold of excitation of their drivers that allows us to enjoy the dynamics. At a medium-low volume and even in “night” mode, the D11-PM7000N binomial delivers a not inconsiderable dose of dynamics, timbre, detail and push enough to fill the room with a generous block of sound. In fact, the horizontal dispersion that these tweeters achieve is noteworthy as they allow the sweet listening spot to widen enough for three people to enjoy a 3D recreation with good focus.
If I stick the boxes to the back wall, it is true that I cannot abuse the potentiometer, but the music is still fully enjoyable in its music-loving aspect and continues to offer enough dissection and analysis to satisfy our always demanding audiophile scalpel.
The first cut entitled School from the album Crime Of The Century by the London band Supertramp, via Streaming by TIDAL in high resolution 24/192 – Heos and TIDAL – iMac – Audirvana – Yamaha CD-S3000 (used as DAC for analog RCA outputs and as transport by Coaxial to the internal DAC of the Marantz PM7000N) has served to reaffirm my initial impressions: this is a system that takes advantage of its power like few others, with an amplification with a slew-rate that is the delight of these recordings where the dynamics are still he pampered himself in the recording studio, in the mix and in the final master. If you have definition and dynamics and a powerful bass that doesn’t blur the rest of the frequencies, you have a show at home.
Let’s add some monitors with a sensitivity that if it does not reach 90 dB / 1 watt / 1 meter, which is stated in its specifications, they will have very little to miss. In addition, its 8 ohms nominal impedance I don’t think it will drop below 4 ohms at any time.
Finally, the operational HDAM that Marantz mounts and that has been polishing for three decades in successive versions give a sound, that: Hyper Dynamic.
School is a pop song with a progressive rock soul, so it’s a carousel of sensations where the tempos, the solos, the stops, the silence and its drama continue to overwhelm me like the first day I heard it.
I’m amazed at the sheer size and packaging of these column-core monitors. The drums and their toms sound big and vigorous, but what impresses me the most is how the amplification manages its 60 watts of power, with a wonderful ramp-up speed unheard of in electronics in this price range. This effect achieves that the music has a dynamic where from a fast and vigorous drum transient we instantly pass to a very satisfying silence, which allows the brightness, the subtle details, the hubbub of the children in the distance, not to be buried.
Roger Hodgson’s voice sounds as charismatic and personal as ever, and the fragility he conveys at the beginning of the song remains intact. Then his voice gains confidence as a theme develops that is a confession of the type: “it’s hard for me to tell you this but I have to tell you.” Supertramp is a band that has accompanied me since my earliest childhood and if some loudspeakers or an audio set do not manage to convey all the emotions that are concentrated in this song in the first instance, so that I can have the best measurements in the laboratory and anechoic chamber that they are of no use to me. Science has to be at the service of music and this combo manages to give me that pinch instead.
Let’s see how the phono section of the Marantz fares with this work by American vibraphonist Milt “Bags” Jackson together with John “Trane” Coltrane, in a careful double LP reissue at 45 RPM from the audiophile label Original Recordings Group.
If the phono section stands out for something, it is because of the reasonably good level of silence it achieves, something very difficult to obtain in integrated amplifiers due to the delicate voltages that these sections handle and the cross-contamination they receive from the rest of the integrated components. when not crammed into the same chassis. This is if the input signal is no longer corrupted by sharing the same power supply. Something even more meritorious if we add that it is integrated, in addition, it has a complete digital section with a streamer included. If we go to Marantz itself, it tells us what its tools have been to achieve this:
“To preserve the analog circuit from digital interference or noise radiation, the digital circuit is installed in a shielding casing, thus preventing interference. Wireless digital cards can also be switched off completely independently…”
Through what Marantz calls “Pure Modes” to avoid interference: “The PM7000N has three of these pure modes that allow you to turn off entire streaming audio blocks and avoid interference when listening to analog sources. Pure modes can be individually disconnected between network and USB-A, Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth to provide the best music experience. To ensure the shortest signal path and maximum fidelity, the integrated amplifier features the Marantz Source Direct function, which bypasses tone and balance control circuitry for a straight path, providing high purity of sound. ”
Metallic tweeters and a vibraphone in the same phrase may be “too much for me” for many audiophiles, but the third cut titled Three Little Words plays and the vibraphone on the right channel sounds sharp, crisp but without any too metallic edge or harshness that become tiresome or lacerating.
It’s Trane’s turn with his saxophone on the left channel and he makes some intense phrases and the boxes reproduce them with enough substance and unprecedented nuances in systems of this price range. The double bass sounds next to Coltrane but a little further back, maybe a couple of meters behind. The bass of these loudspeakers is deep, not because it manages to go down to the threshold of what is audible, which is not the case with this type of loudspeaker, but because it achieves a fabulous spatial depth by widening the stage in its three axes. Much has to do with the passive radiator that they mount and their ingenious orientation in the upper part of the enclosure. With electronic music and approaching us until we put our heads a few centimeters away, it is noticeable how the acoustic boxes are helped by the passive radiator, but with other genres such as rock and jazz as is the case, it happens that if we approach the boxes we do not clearly appreciate the help of the passive and it seems that the sound comes exclusively from the front of the boxes. On the other hand, when I return to the point of listening, that magic is produced in the tails of the notes of the double bass or in the left hand of the accompanying piano in the solos of Trane and Bags, which are placed a little late and with a very convincing spatial depth. . To this we add that the tweeters achieve very decent levels of definition and analysis without becoming sharp.
With high notes that do not fade and with a bass that, although it does not seek to be the driest or the most articulate, it does not become flabby, slow or cloudy either, the mids have a good natural space to show off. But let’s try a record with female vocals to see how the Marantz PM7000N’s internal DAC performs them over coax.
Nina Simone, Tracy Chapman and Anggun have something in their voice that captivates me. Each a woman of her time and with her unique and unmistakable style, but all of them have a voice with a contralto register that fascinates me because of its wood and her dramatic capacity. Anggun is also a three-octave contralto with a strict musical education cultivated since her childhood.
I recommend his version of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars”, but for the review I see his song “Valparaíso” as more complex. It’s putting it in the Marantz/DT combo and the joy of the song goes up through my ankles. It is a very pop-rock song with a powerful guitar line that is accompanied by world-music instruments and ethnic choirs.
Anggun’s voice sounds with all its technical and artistic immensity. Powerful and feisty in the first verses and lyrical and divine in the chorus, where she manages to shake me but it is in the outro of the song where hair, chicken and meat throb in unison.
Commendable definition and controlled sibilance, how can I not give the next song a little (or a lot) more volume?
“By de moon” is a full-fledged pop ballad. It starts with a synthetic bass line and some synth pads as strings. The voice of the contralto is accompanied by female ethnic choirs located at the back of the stage. Well, not even raising the volume to about 95 dB at the listening point does the picture break down. The room is filled with music and the Franco-Indonesian artist gives her most powerful and passionate notes and even so the choirs are not buried by her torrent of voice, what is more, the brightness of the ethnic percussion can also be distinguished while preserving its timbre and position. A guitar strum finishes off the song at the end and I can’t help but take out the invisible Fender Stratocaster that we all carry around and only take out on special occasions.
These loudspeakers give an open sound and a very successful definition. With high volume they may advance the scene half a meter but they don’t go beyond that. The potentiometer can go up to abusive levels that have never thrown music in my face, in this sense they sound like British boxes but without sounding monotonous or prim, on the contrary: they are such spectacular boxes that they can delight any movie buff action movie fan. Although we are not mistaken, this does not make them a less audiophile product but more versatile.
conclusion – Definitive Technology D11 and Marantz PM7000N
All the awards that this integrated amplifier with DAC and streamer Marantz PM7000N has won are well deserved because it does many things and all of them well done. In addition, its handling is frankly easy. There is not a single function that detracts from the rest, but the most important thing is that it manages to transmit emotions and that one arrives home wanting to hit the power button.
The ones that have been a pleasant surprise for me have been the Definitive Technology Demand D11 shelf boxes with their specific feet, since they have managed to fill my music room as if they were columns. In addition, they have not seen their sound signature disfigured when I have stuck them to the wall but they have worked well although not at their full performance. They combine a happy and dynamic sound but without sounding aggressive, as if they were “British-American” if I may be allowed. Very enjoyable both at high volumes (because they don’t lose their line or composure) and what is more surprising at low volumes, because they never sound dull or lack sparkle.
We have before us a totally recommendable combo.
Definitive Technology D11 – €1,199
Marantz PM7000N – €1,249
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS of Definitive Technology D11 and Marantz PM7000N
Loudspeakers Definitive Technology Demand D11
- Speaker type: two-way speaker
- Enclosure type: MDF box with extruded natural aluminum front baffle coated with glass microspheres
- Transducers: 1 x 1” offset annealed aluminum dome tweeter. Midrange woofer 1 x 6.5” Polypropylene BDSS Bass. Passive Bass Radiator 1 x 6” tall by 10” wide (oval)
- Total frequency response: 48 Hz – 24,000 Hz
- Rated impedance: 8 ohms
- Sensitivity 1 watt / 1 meter: 90 dB
- Upper and lower limits to -3 dB: 61Hz – 22,000 Hz
- Speaker inputs: 4-post bi-wiring: bananas, spades, bare wire.
- Recommended amplifier power per channel: 20-200 watts.
- Bracket Mount Type: 1/4-Inch Threaded Insert
- Dimensions: Height 33.02 cm. Width: 18.42 cm. Depth: 31.75 cm.
- Accessories included: acoustically transparent fabric magnetic grilles.
- Optional Accessories: Demand Series ST1 Speaker Stands (pair)
- Warranty: 5 years on enclosure and transducers limited to the first owner.
Definitive Technology ST1 Speaker Stands
- Specific for Demand D9 and D11 monitors. Floor supports material: Steel post, aluminum edge anchor and MDF wood base. Space for filling of 2.85 liters of capacity to fill with sand or any other dry material. Height 75 cm. Bottom base plate dimensions: 12” x 12” (30.5 cm x 30.5 cm)
- Net weight: 12.8 kilos. Accessories included: 4 threaded rubber feet, upper anchoring screw for fastening the loudspeakers.
- Output Power: 60 Watts at 8 Ohms and 80 Watts at 4 Ohms
- Frequency Response: 5hz – 100,000hz
- Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.02%
- Damping Factor: <100
- Sensitivity MM input: 2 mV / 47 kOhm
- S/N Ratio MM: 87dB
- High Level Input Sensitivity: 200 mV / 20 kOhm
- Signal/Noise Ratio High Level: 115 dB / Input 2V
- Inputs and Outputs: 4 Audio Inputs. Digital inputs: 2 optical, 2 coaxial and 1 USB-A. Phono MM input. 1 Audio Output. 1 PRE output for subwoofer
- Gold Plated Cinch
- 2 Marantz SPKT-1+ speaker terminals
- D bus
- Headphone output
- Linear Drive Power Supply
- Toroidal power transformer
- Extruded Aluminum Heat Sink
- High Grade Custom Audio Components
- Symmetrical layout on PCBs
- Linear Volume Control
- Balance / Treble / Bass / Direct
- Shottky diodes
- Metal Block Shielding System
- Low Noise Oled Display
- Direct Source
- 2 channels
- Current Feedback Topology
- HDAM SA3/SA2 Version
- Standard Phono Equalizer
- Digital input sampling frequency: 192 kHz / 24 bits
- USB-A compatible with DSD: 5.6 / WAV, FLAC and ALAC 192 kHz
- DSD Audio Network Transmission
- Lossy Formats: MP3/WMA and AAC
- Lossless formats: DSD / FLAC HD 192/24 / ALAC 96/24 / WAV 192/24
- Gapless playback
- DAC chip: AK4490
- Bluetooth and APTX
- Audio streaming from PC
- Wi-Fi and LAN (wired)
- internet radio
- Airplay 2
- Windows PlayTo
- Spotify / Tidal / Deezer / Amazon Prime Music / Pandora
- Heos Multiroom and Streaming
- Voice control with Amazon Alexa / Google / Apple Siri
- Remote App for iOS and Android
- Available colors: black and silver/gold
- Metal Front Panel
- Power consumption in W: 220 W
- Standby power consumption in W: 0.3 W
- Auto power off
- Detachable Power Cord
- Remote Control: RC004PM
- System Remote Function
- Dimensions: 440 wide x 379 deep x 125 high