Marantz Music Link

August
1 9 8 8 august 1988
1 9 9 6 1996

preliminary

The Music Link series is a strange set.

Initiated by Marantz in Japan, export equivalents were very quickly demanded by Philips while Marantz JP sold the original components which it built for both operations ; Marantz JP then started to develop new components, renamed or slightly redevelop the old ones, made new components strictly for the JP market while Philips was developing items on its own and Marantz JP finally releasing the ultimate items five years (!) after the first ones.

To be honest, that period is the one which saw the 1990 reuniting of what was left of Marantz USA (owned by Dynascan) and of Marantz JP (owned by Philips), seeing the switch between MJI and MCJ along the way.
It must have been very trying to return to a unified brand policy, marketing and production routes.

As a result, the Music Link tag appeared after the 1988/89 JP launch of the first components, the DAC-1 and DMA-1, and was first seen in Europe before being "exported" to Japan - exactly like for the ESOTEC series !

By late 1991, Marantz (in Japan) advertised for the series with several 6 or 8-page b/w articles in Stereo Sound under the "Ars Nova" name which was used for most Marantz-Philips high-end audio components.

These efforts notwithstanding, both Marantz in Japan and Philips spent alltogether very little on advertising, proper catalogs or photography : while Marantz SG (Singapore) initially produced nice work as usual, crappy and badly printed catalogs were a habit at Marantz JP throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and a normal situation at Philips since it had bought Marantz especially to delegate its High-End adventure(s) to...

As did happen to the ESOTEC series, two of the original components were in fact old items : the Tt 1000 mkII and the MA-24.
The former was a re-take on the unsuccessful Tt 1000 from 1979, the other an umpteenth variant of the Ma-5 which itself was a variant of the old Model 15 from 1968 (by way of the 1980s MA-6 and MA-7).
All this sounds very Luxman but it is the Philips-era Marantz indeed :)


All variants included, the Music Link was :
DAC-1 : line preamp
SC-22 : line preamp
SC-23 : line preamp
DMA-1 : Class AB monoblock
MA-22 : Class AB monoblock
MA-23 : Class AB monoblock
DLT-1 : line transformer
PH-95 : phono stage
PH-1 : phono stage
PH-22 : phono stage
MA-24 : Class A monoblock
MA-7A : Class A monoblock
DMR-1 : low-height rack
DPS-1 : power-supply
Tt 1000 mkII : turntable
LS-95 : floorstanding speakers
LS-85 : bookshelf speakers

Plus as late and last additions in '93/94 :
SL-1 : passive attenuator
LT-1 : line transformer
CD-23 : CD player,

after which the entire series got gradually phased out.

If Marantz JP offered an update service in 1992 to turn the DAC-1 into and SC-23 and the DMA-1 into an MA-23, none of these components sold in significant numbers (but the CD-23) and remain today on the shady side of the brand's history. As a result, they do not cost an arm and a leg, especially in Japan.

JM Reynaud for instance used four MA-24 with his Offrande reference speakers for a long while because they were "exceptional".
And so I hear.

Marantz Music Link, image 1 Marantz Music Link, image 2 Marantz Music Link, image 3
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