An assessment of the perennial audio bloggers would have you believe CES 2019 was not a good year for Hi-Fi, and you’d be right. This year the Venetian suites were quieter than they’ve ever been — all associated puns intended — which is a true shame. However, ever-committed to the industry, Marantz made a big splash at the show. We demonstrated the purity of our 40th Anniversary edition Ken Ishiwata Ruby Series Integrated Amplifier and SACD Player alongside Definitive Technology Demand Series bookshelf speakers. Listeners were met with the warm, clean sound only Marantz amplification and source components can provide. This, together with the outstanding imaging and detailed sonic signature of Definitive Technology won over listeners and kept people in their seats throughout the show.
We were also excited to show CES attendees the latest Reference series products, including the PM-10 and SA-10 components, in Champagne. Marantz is known for beautiful products, but if you haven’t seen a reference player in Champagne, we recommend you make it out to your nearest dealer and bring your audio-shy significant other.
Perhaps the star of CES in the home theater realm was IMAX Enhanced, the latest format from the teams at IMAX and DTS. If you want a primer on what IMAX Enhanced is, we highly recommend watching this video of Phil Jones, Director of Training at Sound United. The Marantz AV8805 processor is one of the first audio products in the industry to support this format, which gives Marantz a unique edge on the competition to show how visually stunning, and great-sounding the new format truly is. To accomplish this, we partnered again with Definitive Technology to create a 13-channel IMAX Enhanced demo, leveraging our PM-10 and MM8077 amplifiers, the AV8805 and a few other Marantz components. Definitive Technology included a range of its BP9000 Series bi-polar tower speakers, which proved to be formidable in producing the deep bass, realistic overhead movement and surround sound necessary to truly experience IMAX Enhanced as it’s meant to be heard. You haven’t seen Jumanji until you’ve seen it in IMAX Enhanced, trust us.
Away from our presence at the show, we heard some other fantastic audio demonstrations as well. Perhaps most notably was the 360 Reality Audio demo from Sony, which demonstrated how music can be played in a multi-channel format (similar to Dolby Atmos, DTS:X or Auro-3D). The demo was truly mesmerizing, with very clear delineation of instruments around the room, overhead, behind and all around. We believe this could be an evolution in how music listeners use their existing multi-channel home theater setup and apply this type of technology to experience music in a new, exciting way. After all, that’s what it’s all about.
Overall, we left CES feeling encouraged by the level of innovation in our industry. Between the introduction of new formats like IMAX Enhanced and Sony 360 Reality Audio, and the ever-improving sound of Marantz Hi-Fi and home theater equipment, it’s never been a better time to dive into serious listening. While 8K might be the talk of the town for TVs and projectors, we believe audio is going to continue to increase in importance for enthusiasts and others around the world in 2019, and we’ll continue providing the absolute best technology to provide listeners with the experience they expect from Marantz… premium.
Marantz Hi-Fi takes center stage at the Venetian in Las Vegas during CES 2019.