Marantz PM-5005

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by robthemac, Jul 13, 2015.
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  1. derbigpr
    It's an inexpensive device, but if you took the components out of it and checked how much they're worth, you'd realize they're worth about 10-15 times more than the components in that Lehmann headphone amp that costs twice as much. Why is the Marantz so cheap then? Because of economics of scale. 90% of headphone amplifiers on the market are very, very small production volume items. Even stuff that is very popular here on head-fi is not very popular in the real world and most people who are into hi-fi don't know about them. On top of that, 90% of companies that make headphone amps are young companies, small companies, usually ran by people with not much experience in the industry, and the amps are build in small quantities, usually hand built by just a few people, they buy small amounts of components (buying 50 volume pots from alps is much different than buying 10,000 of them) and are heavily overpriced because of that. 
    That's what people don't seem to get and that's where people are so wrong. People assume that if an integrated amplifier from a big company (and every mainstream hi-fi company like Marantz, Denon, Yamaha, NAD, Onkyo, Cambridge Audio, etc. is very big compared to any headphone amp manufacturer) sells for 500 dollars it should be worse than a headphone amp that sells for 500 dollars.  Why?  Because the headphone amp is made exclusively for headphones and  the integrated is made for speakers primarily? And what makes you think that designing an amplifier  for speakers is so different than designing an amplifier for headphones? It's uses the exact same physics, exact same electrical engineering principles, usually exactly the same components (but far more of them), etc. Fact is,  headphone outs on integrated amplifiers are NOT an afterthought. They pull the signal from the exact same place and use the  exact same components that the speaker outputs do. So if the speaker amp portion of the device sounds good, the headphone output will sound good too.  The only advantage that dedicated headphone amps have is that they have low output impedance, because they have weak outputs and don't need resistors in the chain to prevent them from blowing up the headphones like  integrated amps could.  But that's the thing about headamps...people (in 100% without technical knowledge) assume that they're  worth more money because they're specifically made for headphones, not realizing that they're pretty much exactly the same as speaker amps, but on a smaller scale in terms of design and amount of components  used.    It's basically exclusivity that boosting the prices of headphone amps. You take the best headphone amp out there, if it costs 5000 dollars....a company like  Marantz could make an amp  with exact same  performance, higher standards of build quality and quality control and sell it for less than 1000 dollars. But they don't because the market for headphone amps, believe  it or not, is VERY small and it makes no sense to mass produce headphone amps that sell for more than 100-150 dollars a piece, even those don't sell as much as people on head-fi think. If you were to compare how many headphone amps are sold worldwide to how many integrated amplifiers or receivers are come to a ratio somewhere in the 1:1000 neighborhood.
  2. pp312
    I'm coming back late to this thread, but I just have to second and third everything derbigpr has written above. So refreshing to see so much common sense all together in the one post; I'm only surprised no one has suggested it be made a sticky. Or maybe I'm not so surprised, since I've expressed similar ideas in the past only to be virtually shouted down as a hi-fi heretic. Hopefully after reading derbigpr's eloquent arguments a few more people will be inspired to overlook old prejudice and give good brand integrated amps and receivers a fair go.
    robthemac likes this.
  3. Partlys4int
    Derbigpr has provided lots of insights. I myself use a Marantz PM5005 with Audio Technica ATH-AD1000x headphones. Is there something I could add to the chain (aside from source) that would improve the headphones' prestations? 
  4. headwhacker
    I use this amp to drive my HE-6 from the speaker taps. It's a very good amp indeed and for the build quality it is hard to beat at this price. However, it's to big to be used as a dedicated headphone amp in a desktop setup. So I'm replacing it with Violectric V280.
  5. Rippedgeek
    My apologies for resurrecting the dead here, but I'll add my own 2c to this thread by saying that the Marantz PM5005 is indeed a superb amp. I run a pair of Monitor Audio Bronze 2 bookshelves off it and have spent countless hours testing my array of headphones on this amp. I can quite comfortably say that there is no detectable hissing at <50% volume and the one time that I tried it, none at <70% (I didn't want to blow my speakers, my headphones or my eardrums).

    The headphones that I have tried with this amp are: Sennheiser HD595 (old trusty), Logitech UE9000, Logitech UE900, Sony MDR-1000X, VE Monk, Denon AHD2000 and lastly, my Shure SRH-1540. *All* of these sound incredible on this amp and better than on any of the headphone amps I've owned (and subsequently sold). Real value for money in this amp, from my perspective.

    As an aside, the amp is very powerful - I can rarely get to 50% volume before it just becomes insanely loud on my MAB2's - with an X3 2nd gen as the source as well as with my PC/Asus ROG Phoebus for the source.

    TL;DR - Great amp, well worth it.
  6. Oscar-HiFi
    Defintiely agree this is a great amp, powerer my Mission 702e speakers with ease, sounds great with most full size headphones and powers Hifiman HE-6 and Susvara really well from the speaker taps with no audible noise.

    The specs may make it sound like it's not very powerful, but I never go above 12 o'clock on the volume with my speakers.

    I also have an older Marantz PM-44 MKII SE, which is 50wpc, but is slightly smoother sounding, and still works flawlessly. I love both amps, but the extra features on the PM-5005 makes it my main amp.
  7. pp312
    Just wanted to ask a probably unanswerable question. I use a PM5005 with Beyer T90 phones and find the sound great. Yet when I read reviews of the amp on places like Amazon and Crutchfield there seems to be a general consensus that the headphone sound is poor. This crops up frequently, even from people you wouldn't think would be bothered commenting on HP sound. So I'm wondering what about the 5005's HP output that's bothering people. So far as I'm aware, the HP out is taken from the speaker taps, so it's odd to have people praising the sound with speakers and damning it with headphones. Does anyone have any info that might help explain this oddity?
    Partlys4int and Oscar-HiFi like this.
  8. headwhacker
    Don't read too much about random comments from the internet. If you already tried it and find it sound good then just continue to enjoy it. Otherwise, you will just lead yourself down the rabbit hole of non-sensical upgrades.

    People usually comment about a gear but fails to mention each and every component in the chain. So comparisons are most likely always be an apple to orange analogy. Probably the pairing is just a mismatch. Most speaker amp's headphone out is just a parallel tap from the speaker output but with a resistor in series. This the output impedance are usually very high. Beyer cans are mostly high impedance load can cope very well with high output impedance source.

    They you have headphone which are too sensitive that you can barely turn the volume knob a little bit above the 0 position. Most volume control in speaker amps are analog variable resistor which suffers channel imbalance the the lowest and upper most ranges of the volume control.
    Partlys4int likes this.
  9. Partlys4int
    This amp drives my ATH-AD1000X with ease (althougn ot so difficult to drive) and the sound is rich and full, staging spacious, etc. it's quite powerful too, I suspect it can drive most regular headphones with ease.

    I don't see how people could complain about the headphone out other than they don't like the sound signature (and then they need to stay away from Marantz). I haven't had many amps (in fact this is my first 'real' one), but have had many other audio gear and now enjoying the sony nw-ZX300 700$ WALKMAN. If I had to guess, I would say that this amp is relatively speaking in the same league as that walkman, although it is considered 'budget'
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
  10. pp312
    Actually that's yet another question. I've had Marantz amps for many years (more than I care to count) and it's always been that the HP out is taken from the speaker taps. Yet Marantz speaks about the 5005 as if it had a separate HP amp: "PM5005 features a headphone amplifier that is able to handle just about any headphone type, regardless of impedance or sensitivity."
  11. headwhacker
    Best way to do to find out is to open it and just look inside. I think it maybe easy to tell if the HP out really is a separate amp from the speaker out. I actually use this amp to power my HE-6 but directly from the speaker tap. I find the HP don't have enough power output for HE-6
  12. pp312
    Had a little look inside but can't really follow the signal due to the twisting of the wires into bundles. Can't see anything resembling a separate amp, and there isn't anything printed on the board about an HP amp. My guess is that it's the same as every other Marantz amp in taking the signal from the speaker taps and Marantz's PR guys are just indulging in a bit of hyperbole.
  13. headwhacker
    Yeah, just as I thought. Otherwise, it would be added cost. Some simple dedicated headphone amps cost more than PM5005.
  14. FlavioWolff
    Since this thread is alive, may I ask permission to ask two questions:

    1) Will this unit be a bad match with my 32 ohm Grados? How so? Will it sound bad, or damage the phones?
    2) Is this unit's headphone out superior to the Onkyo A-9010, which claims to have a dedicated headphone amp?

    Thank you
  15. headwhacker
    Grados are easy to drive. if you accidently turn the volume up when you push play your ears will hurt or worse.

    The high OI will most likely affect the sound. Most like going to roll the bass further than the already shortage of bass impact on theses headphones.
    FlavioWolff likes this.
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