- Type: integrated amplifier
- Power: 2 x 70 W into 8 ohms, 2 x 100 W into 4 ohms
- Technology: HDAM-SA3, class A/B
- Connections: 3 x unbalanced analog (1 x out), sub out, HDMI ARC, optical/coaxial
- Turntable input: MM pickup
- Headphone output: Yes
- DAC: 192 kHz / 24 bit, DSD 5.6 MHz
- Networking: Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, Ethernet
- Streaming: Spotify, AirPlay 2, Apple Music, Tidal, TuneIn
- Other: remote control, HEOS app, bass and treble controls
- Dimensions and weight: 44.3 x 43.1 x 13 cm / 14.8 kg
- Web: marantz.com
The superb Marantz Model 40n amplifier plays music with infectious commitment and immediately became one of my favourites in its price range. It didn’t take long, either. A few minutes with the Keith Jarrett Trio on a pair of Klipsch Heresy IVs (test in progress) was enough. I was hooked.
For those who are thinking to themselves, “I’ve seen this before,” I’ll offer a clarification. The Marantz Model 40n is a very different amplifier to the Model 30, which we tested almost two years ago.
The Model 30 is built with a combination of Marantz’s own amplifier modules – Hyper-Dynamic Amplifier Modules, also known as HDAM – and two Class D amplifier modules from Hypex (NC500 OEM). It’s an analogue two-channel integrated amplifier with line inputs and a turntable input for MM or MC pickups, while the Model 40n is an analogue power amplifier with network connection and digital audio converter (DAC).
It also has turntable inputs, but strangely only for MM pickups. But it has much else that the Model 30 does not.
Analogue and digital
One of the things we “criticized” the Model 30 for was the absence of digital inputs. Not a single one, in fact. If you need to connect digital audio sources, Marantz points to the Model SACD 30n. Which is a CD player with streaming and digital inputs.
But not everyone likes the idea of spending money on a CD player they don’t need, just to be able to connect digital audio sources. Or stream music. Marantz apparently has understood that, because the Model 40n has it all built in. All you need is a couple of decent speakers and you’ve got a very well-playing system.
According to Marantz themselves, they’ve deliberately opted out of the Hypex modules in favour of a more conventional Class AB amplifier. Because they would provide the market with a warmer, more analogue and recognisable sound. “I’m convinced that you don’t have to be an audiophile to enjoy the rich, warm sound,” said Marantz boss Joel Sietsema during the launch of the Model 40n.
The amplifier’s total of eight output transistors deliver 70 watts of power per channel. A little less than the 100 watts the Model 30 puts out, but you don’t really notice much in practice.
The Marantz amplifier is one of the few two-channel amplifiers with an HDMI connector. It has audio return and is only used for audio, and the intention is to connect the TV to the amplifier. Then you can control the sound with the TV’s remote.
An optical and a coaxial digital input will suffice for most who have digital audio sources, but note that the amp does not have a USB input for audio from, say, a laptop. Only a USB-A socket for playing music files from, for example, a memory stick or for charging a connected mobile phone.
What it does have is an Ethernet socket for wireless streaming via a connected Wi-Fi router, and two antennas on the back for wireless streaming via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Note also that it has an input for an external preamplifier and audio output for a recorder, for example. Whatever Marantz might mean by that. Then the subwoofer output is immediately more interesting. Here you can select the crossover frequency of a connected sub in several steps – 40, 60, 80, 100 or 120 Hz.
By the way, there’s a two-settings digital filter here, which you select in the setup menu from the remote control. Filter 1 is standard with very short impulse response, while filter 2 provides a more “analogue” sound with slightly longer post-echo than pre-echo, so-called asymmetric impulse response.
Here you can choose what you prefer; personally I prefer filter 1.
But it’s probably the wireless capabilities of the Model 40n that are most appealing. You can stream from your phone via Bluetooth in the same way you do with a Bluetooth speaker, easily and elegantly. But as most people know, streaming over Wi-Fi (or Ethernet) provides much better sound. Then you have to use the HEOS app, which organises the streaming services you subscribe to in one place.
That could be Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, Amazon, Rhapsody (does anyone use that anymore?), or whatever streaming services you have access to. Then you control the music from the app, and iPhone users can control playback in multiple rooms via AirPlay 2. If you have multiple HEOS-enabled devices in your home, you can also connect multiple devices in the app and play music in multiple rooms simultaneously.
Despite the absence of streaming and digital input, the Marantz Model 30 is the interim flagship of the Model series, which with the Model 40n consists of three models. But you don’t notice that when you’re playing music. With the exception of the lacklustre dynamics of Bluetooth streaming, the Marantz amplifier delivers a wonderfully appealing soundstage with a warm and natural sound that’s impossible not to love.
The sound can certainly be reminiscent of the Model 30, but it’s warmer and more rounded on the Model 40n. As I mentioned earlier, you don’t notice the difference in power. For the Model 40n has very potent bass with really good dynamic contrast across the frequency range. It simply sounds very engaging and plays with a sparkle and enthusiasm that I thought was a little lacking in the Model 30.
I mentioned the Keith Jarrett Trio initially, and here the amp comes across as even more open and transparent than the Model 30. There may be more detail in the soundstage from the Model 30, but the Model 40n is better on format, room feel and acoustics.
With the Heresy speakers plugged in, there’s almost no limit to how much it rocks when I crank up the volume on “Let the Good Times Roll” by B.B. King and Tony Bennett, and even the tiny JBL L52 Classic (13 cm woofer) plays bass as if they were the L100 Classic (30 cm woofer) in disguise.
Paired with the more heavily driven Technics SB-G90M2, I got a fantastically rich soundstage with astonishingly good control deep down in the bass register, and at no point did the amp show any signs of losing control. Something that testifies to a well matched power supply and well designed HDAM circuitry.
Incidentally, I didn’t use the subwoofer output during testing, simply because I didn’t think it was necessary. But I can understand those who choose to connect a sub. Especially if you have small speakers in a large room, such as the JBL speakers mentioned or the KEF LS50 II.
The obvious comparison is with the Hegel H190, as we did when we tested the Model 30, but it’s in a much higher price bracket and has a lot more muscle for more heavily driven speakers.
The Cambridge Audio Evo 75 is perhaps the most relevant competitor. We’ve only tested the more expensive Evo 150, but based on that test the Evo 75 may be the only integrated in the same price range that can really give the Marantz amplifier a run for its money.
The integrated Marantz Model 40n lacks the MC input of the Model 30, but beyond that there’s not a lot to be desired. It simply plays great on all music and has a lovely warm sound that you’ll be captivated by. And addictive. With a full house on the streaming front and digital inputs – including HDMI – all you need to do is find a good pair of speakers and you’ve got a system for life.
If the choice was between the Model 30 and 40n, I’d personally go with the 40n, which I like better and has everything I need. That is, except for the MC input.