Review: Marantz CD 60

Magical black silk from silver discs

The Marantz CD 60 is a smash hit in the centre of the market for those who want a better CD player.

Published 2023-06-15 - 8:00 am
Marantz CD 60
Lasse Svendsen

CD sales are on the rise, according to figures from the Recording Industry Association of America – RIAA . The figures are nowhere near the peak years of 1995 to 2005, and interestingly, vinyl sales are higher. But the point is that interest in CDs is actually growing.

In addition, millions of households around the world have CDs lying around. Some of them are probably gathering dust in a dark attic, but many of them are still being played.

On a CD player.

The belief that the market is there can often be seen on the shelves of well-stocked radio retailers. There you can find CD players in all price ranges, except for the very cheapest, which have largely disappeared from the market. This may indicate that those who buy CD players are concerned with quality, first and foremost sound quality, which is probably why there are also players as high as NOK 300,000 to 500,000.

In light of this, the Marantz CD 60 looks like a bargain, which it is. The reason is as simple as the player: it plays fantastically well for the price.

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Perhaps that’s not surprising. Marantz has long been known for its extremely well-playing CD players. Ever since they improved Philips’ original CD100 from 1982, with the CD 63, to high-end players like the SA-10.

The new CD 60 costs a fraction of the SA-10, and is a simpler design without SACD playback

Makes your CDs shine again. Photo Lasse Svendsen

The player is actually in the lower price range of modern CD players, costing less than a third of the more advanced Marantz SACD 30n. Which also offers streaming and has digital inputs for other audio sources.

The CD 60 has none of that. Not even digital inputs. Except for the USB port on the front. Which can be used for memory sticks with up to 192kHz/24-bit high-resolution music. It does, however, have digital outputs if you want to connect it to an external D/A converter.

Two digital outputs. Photo Lasse Svendsen

Marantz HDAM

But it plays excellently through the analogue outputs. The digital process is controlled by an ESS 9016 M2K D/A converter, and not Marantz’s own MMM circuit that we know from the SACD 30n. It also features Marantz’s trademark discrete HDAM and HDAM SA2 op-amp modules in the analogue output section. The HDAM SA2 module is also used on the headphone output, which has three gain settings to allow it to work with a wide range of headphones.

Three gain settings for the headphone output. Photo Lasse Svendsen

The power supply uses Schottky diodes and has what Marantz calls improved voltage regulators, combined with generous capacitor capacity that should deliver stable power without noise.

Otherwise, the CD 60 is a simple but damn good CD player.

Circuit board with HDAM module. Photo Marantz

The sound of black silk

With Keith Jarrett’s live album Up For It in the player, it kicked out the rhythms of Jack DeJohnette’s percussion like hammer blows from Dynaudio’s MSP bass element. The double bass was distinctly reproduced, and the sound from the piano was not as warm and romantic as we know it from previous Marantz players. Rather more neutral I would say, without sounding cold and clinical, and as close to the sound of the more expensive SACD 30n as you can get.

In other words, the player delivers a sound that is not at all devoid of warmth or insight. Thomas Dybdahl’s One Day You’ll Dance For Me, New York City, opens with a short saxophone solo before the band joins in. The Marantz player brings out the soft tones of the horn and the sound of the recording with excellent precision. The guitar sound is solid, rich and dynamic. The vocals are almost intrusive, but never harsh or sharp, and the soundscape is presented in a large holographic landscape in front of the listener.

Unbalanced analogue outputs. Photo Lasse Svendsen

With a pair of Sennheiser HD660S2 connected to the headphone output, with gain set to mid, Dybdahl’s album sounded like a warm hug, where you were placed in the centre of the soundstage with the musicians close by. The whole thing was a pleasure, and I had a renewed interest in the album, which was released in 2004.

Sade’s vocals on Soldier of Love have that unmistakable timbre, while the bass drum on the recording is rendered with almost shocking power and depth. There’s an authority in the way it handles dynamics that I’m more used to from CD players in a much higher price range.

3.5 mm headphone output. Photo Lasse Svendsen

The player has two digital filter settings. A sharp and slow filter (sharp roll-off, slow roll-off), which gives either a very short impulse response, or a slow roll-off of impulses. The remote control has a button for the two filter options, so you can press back and forth before deciding which you prefer.

Digital filter setting. Photo Lasse Svendsen

The difference is marginal anyway.

Reference Recordings’ recording from 1990, of Copland’s outdoor overture with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, swings from roaring crescendos to such quiet passages that you almost turn up the volume. The Marantz player shows that it has full control of the dynamics, and you can play loudly without sounding sharp or unpleasant.

The strings are beautifully focussed without sounding slender, and the open soundstage lets lots of small nuances and details into the room. It’s remarkable for the price, I must admit.

CD 60 is also available in a golden silver version. Shown here with the integrated Model 40. Photo Marantz


The Marantz CD 60 is a simple, but extremely well executed, no-frills CD player. It makes your CDs shine again. It plays in a much higher weight class, and is simply a no-brainer for those who have been looking for a better CD player for a long time, but don’t want to mortgage their house for one. Some may miss the digital inputs, but that’s not why the CD 60 exists. It’s just supposed to play CDs, and it does that better than you’d think from the price tag.

Marantz CD 60

We think

Beautiful sound from a large and open soundstage, with potent dynamics and a build quality that even more expensive players will envy. Very good headphone output. The lack of digital inputs will be an issue for some.

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