This is the short story of how the relentless search for excellence very nearly became a road to ruin, and how Marantz solidified its ethos of balancing quality with accessibility through an innovative, global approach to building Hi-Fi.
Often touted as the best tuner ever created, the groundbreaking Marantz Model 10B had one substantial downside. It was engineered to such incredibly high standards, but sold at such an accessible price point, its success put Marantz under a financial microscope. In fact, the Model 10B program had depleted company resources to the extent that founder, Saul Marantz, struggled to pay staff. Indeed, it was perhaps the New Yorker’s perfectionism that proved to be the source of the near downfall of his business. In 1964, Saul Marantz brought a new partner - Superscope - into the business to help him transform the business. Superscope moved from simply distributing products to being a manufacturer with a plan for Marantz future.
In 1966, Superscope began exploring manufacturing possibilities with several Japanese manufacturers with a view to producing more accessible Marantz products with incredible quality. During this time Saul Marantz secured a world-class engineering team carrying his unwavering desire to create the most musical sound possible. It was crucial to Marantz that he pass on his knowledge and passion to the next generation of Sound Masters, and in doing so, create a tradition and ethos that would remain strong to this day.
As an early example of a receiver with preamplifier, power amplifier and tuner in one box, the Model 18 was the last product to benefit from Saul Marantz’s direct engineering input as he transitioned responsibility to his new and trusted team.
The first new Marantz with Superscope - the Model 19 - was the ‘18 remixed. Designed under Superscope, and with improved technical components and upgraded aesthetic. Except for the very first production run in California, most Model 19 receivers were built in Japan using American components. By combining the finest FM stereo tuner, the most sophisticated stereo preamplifiers, a high-performance power amplifier, and blending them all into one all-encompassing machine, the Model 19 became a study in audio excellence.
Model 19 offers 100 Watts (50 watts per channel) of continuous power into an 8 Ohm speaker from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, while the total harmonic and intermodulation distortion is less than 0,15Z% with ± 0,25 dB frequency response. Put simply - it played loud, with incredible fidelity and the famous Marantz warmth. The built-in oscilloscope is a visual indicator that shows the finest tuning adjustment for perfect reception, even on the weakest stations, and the exclusive Gyro-Touch tuning wheel reduced friction and wear and ensures optimum tuning accuracy.
Like all Marantz products, the Model 19 was built to last. Variable Overlap Drive automatically compensated for natural aging of components, making each listening experience sound just like an opening night performance. Put all these exciting features behind a beautifully anodized front panel with etched black lettering, frame it in sleek, hand-rubbed walnut cabinetry, and you have all the makings of a truly exquisite receiver.
The Model 19 sound is distinct from the Model 18. It is often described as being more tube-like, with a stronger presence. It has a somewhat softer top end with incredibly full-sounding mid and lower ends. With age, the audio might sound slightly grainy, but only in a good way – possibly on account of the germanium transistors. Either way, the Model 19 created by far the musical sound of the time and has aged beautifully since.
Today, you’ll find the same attention to detail, innovation and engineering excellence in our latest Marantz pieces.
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