In the current age of digital streaming’s dominance, only a few manufacturers are willing to release a CD turntable that only plays CDs. This is because such a simple function may attract little attention in the market. Instead, people focus on the decoding specifications, USB and Internet connectivity, support for services like Tidal, QoBuz, and MQA, and Roon Ready compatibility whenever a digital source is released.
However, Marantz has surprised everyone by launching the CD60, a turntable that only plays Red Book 16Bit/44.1kHz CDs without any of the features mentioned earlier. It is unexpected but also intriguing.
The CD60 and the MODEL 40n comprehensive amplifier/streaming all-in-one machines were released simultaneously. The MODEL 40n cannot play CDs, so the CD60 was created to fulfill this need for MODEL 40n users. The CD60 shares the same appearance design as the MODEL 40n.
However, the CD60 is not just limited to MODEL 40n users. Even though digital streaming dominates the market, many audiophiles still have precious CD collections at home and sometimes want a simple CD player to enjoy their music. The CD60 meets this need. The CD60 has a high-quality headphone output (utilizing a High slew rate op-amp + HDAM-SA2) on the front panel.
This allows users to listen to their music without disturbing others. The output gain can be adjusted to high, mid, or low, depending on the impedance of the headphones.
The CD60 also features a USB Type A (USB 2.0 High speed) interface on the front panel, allowing users to play music files from a flash drive. The CD60 can support PCM 24Bit/192kHz and DSD 5.6MHz, making it a small digital streaming device. If users want to use the CD60 as a pure turntable and connect an external DAC, they can easily do so.
The CD60 has one coaxial digital output and one optical fiber digital output. To ensure high-quality sound, the Marantz CD60 has been calibrated by Marantz Sound Master, using the latest exclusive HDAM + HDAM-SA2, carefully selected fever components, and a double-layer base. The DAC decoding uses the ES9016K2M chip, equipped with two MMDF (Marantz Musical Digital Filtering) digital filtering sets.
The Marantz CD60 features a heavy-duty design that is typical of this series. The top cover is made of stainless steel, while the front panel is made of aluminum alloy. The double-layer base and copper-plated screws optimize grounding.
The internal circuits are neatly divided into sections that use carefully selected components. These sections include separate power supply areas for digital and analog circuits, circuit boards, output driver stages (using HDAM ver.2, Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module), analog filters (using HDAM ver.2), DAC conversion, ear amplification (using HDAM-SA2), and CD reading system.
Marantz specially orders capacitors for the CD60 from ELAN and adds special glue to avoid micro-vibrations. Marantz traditionally avoids reducing the power supply voltage to improve sound performance to save costs. Instead, the CD60 increases the original 12V voltage to 15V, providing more room for operation, reducing distortion and background noise, and producing even better sound quality.
The CD60 is more transparent, has better dynamics, and has a higher overall signal-to-noise ratio (S/N ratio). The main DAC decoding chip, the ES9016K2M, is the same as the MODEL 40n and is of high quality.
Many enthusiasts may wonder whether there is still a place for CDs in an era dominated by internet streaming. The answer is yes. Both experience and current analysis suggest that CDs are still essential for audiophile systems. While their market share may have decreased, they are unlikely to disappear soon.
First and foremost, regarding sound performance, CD playback remains superior to internet sources at similar price points. While internet streaming has been around for years, achieving similar sound quality often requires significant money, time, and effort. Moreover, users must wait for developers to address the many problems that arise with network streaming and for the industry as a whole to progress. CDs, conversely, represent a mature technology with stable and more affordable costs.
There are many reasons why CDs are still relevant in the audiophile world. First, CD playback still offers superior sound quality compared to internet streaming at similar price points. While streaming has improved over the years, achieving similar sound quality may require significant investments in time and money. In contrast, CD players are a mature technology with stable and affordable costs.
Additionally, many reputable brands exist, so consumers can confidently purchase without fearing the wrong product.
Furthermore, history has shown that most carriers of music storage rarely disappear. Vinyl records, for example, were almost entirely replaced by CDs but have since made a resurgence and are now highly sought after by collectors. Similarly, tapes and cassettes are also seeing a revival.
The number of CDs in circulation is difficult to estimate, and they may not be easily forgotten or abandoned by music lovers. Moreover, some older music may not have legal digital versions available, giving CDs a unique value and appeal to collectors. CDs are still a relevant and valuable medium for music playback in the audiophile community.
The audition should be easy, as listening directly will help one understand the sound difference between CD playback and Internet streaming. After listening to Internet streaming music for a period of time, switching back to CD playback will always evoke a different feeling. What we pursue is not just the sound but also the experience.
Building a CD system is about the equipment and the software that consumes the most energy. If CDs sound better at this stage, one can buy them according to their budget. CD players are still relatively simple nowadays, and equipment selection and adjustment, compared to vinyl, only requires a little adjustment.
Network streaming also requires network communication and related products. Even which online music service to use needs to be researched. Compared with CD playback, it is much simpler.
The Marantz CD60 produces a high-quality sound that matches its premium appearance. When listening to “Belafonte Sings The Blues,” the CD player brings out the excellent analog sound. The vocals’ thickness and smoothness convey the music’s beauty, and Belafonte’s emotions are transparently expressed. The vocals are natural and not affected, and the audio and video stand logically in the space without any unnatural portrayal.
When the orchestra is playing, the overall picture is harmonious, without any sense of distance or out-of-tune problems. The neutral vocals and bright and steady instruments are stable in reproducing the golden songs. The sound quality of the Marantz CD60 is not cheap and lives up to its appearance.
During the listening process, we paired the Marantz CD60 with the Marantz 40n integrated amplifier of the same brand. Although the Marantz 40n includes a network streaming source, we only used its analog amplifier part. The performance of this combination was very consistent and represented the signature sound of the Marantz brand.
Listening to “Touch Yello” revealed the fullness and solidity of this system. The sound filled the listening space evenly, whether in songs dominated by low frequencies or in parts with vocals. The low-frequency reproduction was not overly aggressive but had good fullness, moderate energy and speed, and a sufficient and comfortable low-frequency response.
The three-dimensionality was excellent, achieved through layered audio with clarity and fullness. Frankly, I preferred the sound with the addition of the Marantz CD60 to using just the Marantz 40n alone. The actual performance of this CD player was quite impressive and worth the price from the inside out.
With the rise of digital streaming, the trend of purchasing physical CD albums has gradually declined. Some singers even choose to release their albums only on streaming platforms. However, for those who still prefer physical CD playback, the Marantz CD60 is a pleasant surprise.
It maintains a delicate appearance, and the front panel has exquisite textures. For these users, the Marantz CD60 is a beautiful device perfect for home use.
Playing the sixth track, “Shoot The Moon,” from the album “Come Away With Me” by Nora Jones, you will notice that the details are not lost, and the overall sound is soft. At the song’s beginning, the strings are presented dynamically from left to right without interfering with each other.
This song has no particularly sharp and high-pitched treble or deep and thick bass. Through the performance of the human voice, you can feel the softness and smoothness of the music from solid to soft and meticulous conversion. The Marantz CD60 perfectly presents the soft part of the song. The sound of the instruments disappears instantly, and the sound appears so naturally from the front. All the feelings are taken for granted, and one can’t help but want to lie under the sun and enjoy the music lazily.
When listening to the seventh track, “Turn Me On,” from the same album, the music still maintains its softness but with a more dynamic composition. Marantz CD60 manages to balance the dynamic and static elements perfectly. The human voice still sounds comfortable, and the treble adds some force to the sound without sacrificing smoothness. The piano sounds crisp, and Marantz CD60 preserves its characteristics while presenting the song softly.
The sound of the piano is clear, with distinct grains and a sharp sound. The drum sound is also uniquely designed. Although the music is relatively peaceful, the drum sound’s vibration is not abrupt or weakened. Each beat adds more dynamics to the song, enriching the soundstage. The drumbeat feels like it’s knocking down, and ripples slide softly, achieving a balance between dynamic and static.
The Marantz CD60 is a high-quality CD player with excellent audio performance. Its sleek and elegant design and smooth and stable sound quality make it a great addition to any audiophile’s collection. The CD60’s ability to maintain consistency with the Marantz brand is also commendable, and it blends well with the Marantz 40n integrated amplifier.
The CD player produces a balanced and detailed sound and shines particularly well with vocal and instrumental tracks. Its ability to create a three-dimensional audio experience is also impressive, and it does not sacrifice the clarity and fullness of the audio.
As streaming services continue to gain popularity, the Marantz CD60 may seem like a throwback to a bygone era. However, it is still a worthwhile investment for those who appreciate the sound quality of physical CD playback. The CD60 is a beautiful and well-designed device suitable for home use, and its performance is worth its price.
Overall, the Marantz CD60 is a solid choice for anyone who values high-quality audio playback and appreciates a physical CD’s unique and rich sound.