With the CD60, Marantz releases a CD player that wants to pick up on the recent revival of the music CD. The price may not be that low, but it offers the same beautiful design as the high-end Model 30 and Model 40n. And the characteristic sound of Marantz, is that also included?
The CD60 is Marantz’s first CD player in a long time and the spiritual successor to the CD6007. You immediately notice this in its appearance. The device boasts the same fresh design as the latest generation of premium devices from Marantz, such as the Model 40n that we recently looked at. That is a very conscious choice. The manufacturer suspects that this player will primarily be purchased by existing Marantz owners who want to dust off their CD collection. You can of course also use it with other amplifiers.
The price tag of 899 euros makes the CD60 a more expensive CD player, especially if you compare it with the four hundred euros cheaper Denon DCD-900NE that is announced at the same time. Seen as an upgrade to the Model 40n of 2,500 euros or the Model 30 of 3,200 euros, the price is relatively modest.
One thing that the Marantz player delivers is a better implementation of the CD drive. It also comes with a USB port through which you can play a lot of files, including hi-res PCM and DSD material. The typical HDAM output stage that the brand loves is also present again. That would improve the sound reproduction – or should it be a certain sound character?
|Is reading||music CDs, data CDs (MP3/WMA), USB storage|
|outputs||analog cinch pair, optical, coaxial|
|Extras||headphone output with gain settings, two-stage filter|
|Dimensions||43.4 x 10.7 x 32cm|
Light in the dark
We think the new Marantz design is quite successful. Through a few clever interventions in the design field, the CD60 has really acquired its own identity that comes across as different and valuable. The front panel consists of two levels. The top level is smaller and contains the most buttons and a white display. The part with the screen floats above a larger panel with a fine relief finish. You can really admire this pattern when sunlight plays over it, which is a nice effect. Unfortunately, the CD60 does not have the side lighting on the front panel found on other new Marantz units. A strange decision, given that this CD player is also intended to match those amps.
The design is a real nod to Marantz’s rich past. It is therefore intended to radiate that heritage as strongly as to appear modern. The CD60 is available in black or silver, allowing you to match it with other Marantz devices available in the same shades. Just like with the Model 30 and Model 40n, we find the lighter version just a bit nicer.
The further finish of the device is also excellent. If you place it next to the more expensive Model 30, you will not suddenly see major differences. At the back? There isn’t much to say about that. The CD60 is equipped with an analog cinch output, but also with two digital outputs (optical and coaxial). With the first you rely on the built-in DA converter, with the digital outputs you use the Marantz purely as a network transport and you connect it to your own DAC. Or an integrated amplifier with its own DAC hatch. Furthermore, the device is equipped with the necessary so that you can switch it on/off with your amplifier. If you have a Model 40n, you can use its remote to operate the CD60.
CD players often have a headphone output. Or anyone ever used? Good question. Marantz does make a little more effort here for headfi enthusiasts, among other things by using the HDAM2 amplification module here too and providing a gain setting with three levels. If you do dive into the settings, you will discover that there are two filter options. Marantz often offers these, with Filter 1 being closer to the traditional sound of the brand. These options are relevant when listening to headphones or if you connect the CD player analogously.
The HDAM part is one of the things that sets the CD60 apart from other players. This technology is essentially an amplification module based on discrete parts rather than an op-amp chip. Marantz prefers this, among other things, because it gives them more tuning options. An in-house Sound Master expert in Japan is working on this section, among other things, to ensure that all devices produce the same house sound. That is why Marantz really has a specific sound.
The DAC in the CD60 is based on the ES9010K2M chipset. Marantz itself has a nice DAC technology called Marantz Musical Mastering, but it is relatively expensive. If you want that, you’ll have to turn to the SACD30n – a more versatile CD player that also offers streaming and SACD capabilities. The CD60 is clearly intended as an easier-to-use alternative to that high-end but more complex device.
Draws you into the music
The CD60 may be primarily intended to complement the Model 40n, but we tested it with a different amplifier. To stay in the same price range, we get the Primary i15 above which we use more often for tests. This is a fully analog class D amplifier, so we only connect the Marantz player analog. The built-in drive in combination with the DAC seems to us the most interesting aspect to investigate. The speakers used are the Canton Reference 7 Ks.
One of the CDs that will be discussed is ‘Little French Songs’ by Carla Bruni. It is a disc that is full of playful French chansons. Double basses, muted trumpets, an acoustic guitar and especially the seductive Bruni voice make it a very cozy listening session. The CD60 knows how to convey that intimate character very well, which is very successful. The real Marantz sound, which revolves much more around the overall presentation and a warm character, can really be heard here.
The American composer Philip Glass recently turned 85. A blessed age; apparently creating neoclassical minimalist works is good for your health. One of our favorite works from Glass’s oeuvre remains his ‘Solo Piano’ pieces, in which the composer himself sits behind the keys. They are all dreamy songs in which repetition plays a central role. Sometimes the flow of fast notes almost resembles clattering drops or a waterfall, it has an almost organic character. Played via the CD60, the brighter sides of the highest piano sounds may be slightly flattened, but the overall presentation is very pleasant and enveloping.
We cannot be critical of how the Marantz, together with the Primare, send Radiohead’s style-breaking ‘Kid A’ into the room. From the first fat organ tones of ‘Everything in its Right Place’ to that very special metal edge to Yorke’s voice in ‘The National Anthem’, the CD60 manages to transmit massive and atmospheric. You really get wrapped up in Thom Yorke’s neuroses. Like it or not, you’re really ‘in’ the music.
Conclusion Marantz CD60
The CD60 is a good CD player with a slightly higher price tag that is a no-brainer upgrade for Model 40n owners looking to rediscover their music CDs. Due to its DAC and HDAM hatch, this Marantz is also a nice addition to an older amplifier from another brand, even – and perhaps certainly – if it is a bit drier or more analytical. The CD60 plays CDs in an immersive and seductive way, with a focus on the total musical experience.
- Successful luxury design, good build quality
- Characterful analog output
- USB media player
- Fits perfectly with new batch of Marantz amps
- USB player less compatible with macOS
- Slightly higher price
- No front panel lighting