M-CR603 user reviews

Marantz M-CR603

Tested at £500

Best micro system £400+, Awards 2011. Great to use, listen to and live with, this Marantz micro is a high-tech marvel


Marantz 603 vs Onkyo N755, which is better for sound quality ? 

I was wondering if this would be a good match-up with KEF's Q300's, or are the KEF's a bit overkill for the Marantz.

Might be slight overkill, you  could consider the Q Acoustics 2020i instead which are a lot more affordable:



Bought this back in May / June and have been meaning to do a review for it. I went of u reviews.  The Mrs bought me a Bose Wave 2 for me 40th I thought it was expensive we went in store to try it and they manage to seller the bigger one at at 1,000.00 after reading reviews ...given how much the Mrs was willing to play I would check out some systems. thanks to u guys I got one o these.  My first proper hifi ...I've had a Sony b4 and Pioneer proper systems. 

However this systems wow I'm not sure if its the speakers or the high fi ...to me surely they should all sound the same ...but no this was wow ...I needed one for the kitchen...I tried the Rauk ...it sounded a bit basey ...I tried few others however this seemed to be the all round best value for money with DAB and Internet ...etc etc .   Have yet to set stations or use Internet radio busy listening to my albums again which sound wow.....  Killed Hue n Cry -Ordinary Angell and Maroon 5 - Sunday Morning in the shops.  To be honest it was quest funny as soon as I produced a CDin any shop they would state it can't have swear words ...lol... I just took it as a compliment ie I look young and hip instead of a stereo type ....quiet amusing actually. 

Any how the whinge I wud have about the system is it is not wireless Internet radio ...so I just have not hooked it up.  However most importantly the remote is ugly....the Rauk remote was gorgeous modern neat clean impressive.... The remote looks like a tv remote ....in this day and age there should be no excuse .... If your gonna make good hifi u have to get up to speed as consumers not only want good sound they want their products to look good.  THe remote looked like my old pioneer remote from 20 years ago ...seriously ? 

Speakers ...to be honest price was not an issue I wanted the best sounding one .....be careful go to a few shops as some just try to up sell u.   I tried Keffs q Acoustics B & Ws ... I wanted the B &Ws they looked wow.  I was almost up sold the Monitor Audios Rx1 s gold ...luckily one sales guys simply stated it was unnecessary as the system really could not power them to their full potential.   Settled with Bx2 s why ? The voice comes out very clear it has its own clear resonance and the base is lovely and weighty but not to deep with rich sharp sound at the higher end but not too  clinky as I wud put ...overall Bx2 s seemed to give the best wholesome sound ...yes definitely recommend them. 

Shops - much depends on which agents you end up with helping u.  Audio T (Manchester) ok guys to be honest bit posh and made me feel inferior as my first time in specialist audio shop ....also bit misleading on price tried to sell me the unit - the shelf one as last system on their floor for 400.00 notes or so making out they were doing me a favour ...they tried to seller me Rx 1 s ... practical Hifi very helpful.... Happy to try and cut a deal let me try a lot of speakers ...price was good 340.00 without negotiating a brand new one .....Richer Sounds deansgate ...they like practical have their own room. ....however their sound room in deansgate is wow and makes you feel at home...... They have good deals on ....the guy was honest with me he tried to up sell me to aacam or something as I had given him a budget of 1 k however he did state because he felt it was best system at that price ...apparently they are made in a shed in Oxford or somewhere ...sadly as wow as it sounded wanted system for kitchen...so he was trying up sell me because he was an audio geek and wanted me to have the best at my price rather than up sell me for money ... I forgot his name I think it was Dave ...a hippy looking guy ...very nice guy any how he told me Rx 1 would be a wasted on this system also I wud get best out of speakers after like 2000 hrs or something. 

I did nt even need to negotiate ...they had a great deal on with bx2 s and this system ...with speaker wires ...good stuff I paid just under 500.00 in total....beats a Bose any day except for portability ....any excuse grammar spelling not doing review or typing ever again on I pad ...nightmare ....it's just glorified web browser...nevermind of to whinge and whine do the wife's headin ...lol  ....live long n prosper nan oo nan ooo 

anyone any views on how well this unit would drive a set of MIssion V66 floor standers?

Dear all. Since some time I am owning Marantz and must say very impressed by it. Great sound, great functionalities etc. This piece of kit is just superb. It does everything one throws at it. I would very much appreciate the advice on the following. I just purchased Synology nas with more than 2TB music on it. They are mainly in FLAC and MP3 formats. I am streaming music to Marantz via DS app (from google nexus tablet). Now I would like to add a DAC to it (mainly to enhance the digital sound). Can someone please advise me which dac (in terms of connectiability and the unit itself of course) will best suit my purpose? Rdac, magicDac, Dragonfly, htstreamer? any other type/brand??? thankx a lot in advance guys...

Assuming you're using the DS app on the Nexus to control the streaming of music from the Synology to the the Marantz, there's no point in adding a DAC whatsoever. Only if you were using an external streaming client/player plugged into the Marantz – which would be pretty pointless, given that's what the Marantz does – might there be any argument for using a DAC between that client and the M-CR603, and even then I'd suggest connecting that player to the Marantz using the M-CR603's optical digital in, thus making use of the D/A conversion inside the Marantz.

The simple version? There's no point adding a DAC.

Hi Edward and thank you very much for your reply. I see your point regarding the adding of external streaming player/client. Indeed that's what Marantz already does. But regarding the streaming of digital music from NAS. Isn't it what DAC suppose to do, to make digital music files sound better and get the most out of it? I heard that the Marantz dac itself is not that good (despite the sound coming out of it being really great). Therefore, would it not make sense to add good quality DAC to enhance the music played from NAS or any other source (i.e. usb, mp3 player etc) for that matter?

In the end I am streaming to Marantz via the tab and not browsing the files directly on Marantz itself? Would it make a sense to add a DAC if i did browse the music files from NAS directly on Marantz? 

Would be very thankful if you could give me some clarity about this. 

Thank you 

If you wish to connect a USB DAC to the Synology NAS, and then via analogue input into the Marantz, then yes, that would work. However, whether it would improve on the sound of the internal conversion in the Marantz, and indeed whether the improvements would be apparent, is less clear.

It does seem rather to be missing the point of the Marantz system if you use an external converter and just play music into the system using an analogue input. Having tested the Marantz, admittedly some time ago, I have no reservations about the quality of the internal conversion, and remain unconvinced that adding an external DAC, thus turning the system into little more than an amplifier, would be a cost-effective upgrade.

Hi Andrew and your reply is very much appreciated.

Indeed, in the end it seems that the extra DAC will not make sense with Marantz. Thank you once again for your advice.



Hi everybody, how are you? Can anyone suggest me which one sound better between Marantz Mcr-603 and Denon dm39 Dab. Can't decide which one should I pick. Is there any anybody who really did listen both of them and kind enough to help me to pick the right one and that would be really appreciated. Many thanks



Both are Award winners, so are excellent, depends if the AirPlay functionality of the Marantz is important to you as the Denon doesn't have it.

Good afternoon everyone.


I too had been asking for the exact same question, and I'd like to have yours expertise opinion based EXCLUSIVELY on audio performance.


So, £££ and extra features aside, do you think the Marantz surpasses the audio quality displayed by the Denon unit?

Thanks Andy for your reply. AirPlay and Internet radio are not important to me. The most I listen CD player , dab radio and USB. Is there any difference on music quality on those function? As I heard Marantz Mcr-603 doesn't have a dac like ceol or ceol piccolo. So if it is true, any difference on sound  quality or you think digital amplifier with digital processing sound better than dac. Do you have any opinion? Thanks again

The two have very different sonic characters. The Marantz is fast, punchy and very clear, whereas the Denon is a little more rounded, and doesn't quite have the openness or clarity. However, the Denon is also better at conveying rhythms and deals with low-level dynamic in a subtler manner. I enjoy listening to the Denon more, but the choice depends on your sonic preferences.


Thank you so much Ketan Bharadia, and all the fantastic team for replying.

Didn’t have the opportunity to go and compare both systems myself, so I went for the one which, considering its overall better sonic capabilities, should (…) offer better sound performance… The Marantz.

Paired them with the Wharfedale 121. Think it’s a good choice?


The Wharfedales should be fine. Just make sure you place them near a rear wall. Do that and they'll produce a surprisingly weighty sound. I think the Boston Acoustic A26 will work really well too, though they need a lot more space to sound balanced.

That’s precisely how I’m going to place them, between 20 – 40 cm near a rear wall. Smile


Don’t want to push your time, so just one last impression: At least for now, my Ikea Tv stand in pine wood (approx. 2m width, 30 cm high) will have to do as a stand, with a 40''  TV in the center… Guess that’s not nearly sturdy enough, right?

The IKEA stand should be fine, provided it's built well.

Ok then, can't wait to try them.

Got some audioquest flx/slip 14/4 to bi-wire the system, or maybe even bi-amping... Have to try and listen myself when they arrive, since I can't find anyone with this system match that could advise.


Many thanks to Ketan Bharadia. Here I got my answer. And I am more interested about both of them. I used Denon dm38 dab with Q Acoustics 2020i and I loved to listen cd music. I sold the Denon unit and I bought Marantz m-cr603 and playing  with my Q Acoustics 2020i. Be honest I am not happy with CD and USB sound quality but dab/ dab+ sound better than Denon, more punchy and bassy. After I read the review of Denon dm39dab get more curious. Now I can't make my mind should I go for Denon dm39 or stay with my Marantz ( beautiful look) or keep them both and buy a pair of speakers too. 

You guys have any idea how the Boston Acoustics A26 goes with either Marantz or Denon? I will give you my update soon........

Thanks again

I wouldn't swap the Marantz for the Denon DM39 - it's a side ways move. The Marantz will work really nicely with the Boston Acoustics A26. 

Thanks for your opinion Ketan Bharadia. Today I bought a pair of Boston Acoustics A26 speakers. I wondered they came in two separate boxes. They were wraped up with plastics on glossy part. It took 10 min to take them off from both speakers. They are bigger than my q acoustics 2020i. Anyway I hooked them with my Marantz speaker B terminal and put them on speaker stands( and speaker A terminal with Q Acoustics) . Sound is superb and clear. When I switch over on Q Acoustics I found Q Acoustics 2020i sounds more open and clear. Now I am thinking to keep my Q Acoustics in my bedroom and set the Boston Acoustics in the lounge room(bigger room). I heard at least I have to run 50 hours or more to get better sound from Boston Acoustics. Anyway I am pretty happy with Boston Acoustics but not as Q Acoustics. Previously I owned  Wharfedale Dimond 10.1 and Mission Mx1. Wharfedale was ok but treble not very clear and not enough bass and can't handle volume over 30 from my Marantz. And mission speakers were the worst one. Sound was dull and muddy. I have no idea how come it got 5 stars from what hifi. Anyway they had to go and I chuck them( both wharfedale and mission) on eBay.

Conclusion is I am very fussy so I have to forget about Denon and should be happy with Marantz unit. 

Thank you guys and all the best.


Give the A26s a little time and I'm sure they'll get better. They should produce a larger scale sound than the 2020is with deeper bass. Of course, sometimes kit that produces less bass sounds clearer and more open. There's always a trade-off somewhere.

Hi all,

I would like to receive a suggestion regarding Marantz mcr 603. I want to bye this unit since it has all funtions I am looking for in one-machine (cd player, internet radio and good sound quality-based on many reviews here). I own high end line of German Magnat speakers + separate SW (Marant and Magnat apr-ly match well together). However the speakers can handle 110-200 watt. The questions is can Marantz power up my speakers seen it has way below watt/power capability? Any thoughts, suggestions or similar expirience will be very much appreciated. Maybe any other unit with similar features?  Thank you in advance



Can anyone tell me if a pair of Monitor Audio GR10's would be an overkill when pair up with the Marantz MCR603?


Much appreciated!


I think the GR10s would be overkill. Something like Q Acoustics Concept 20s (£350) would work better, or if your budget it tighter, try Monitor Audio's BX2s (£250)

My personal rating for this product is far below that of What HiFi. I bought M-CR 603 about few months ago in Austria and used it with KEF LS50 speakers. Sound is good but not more than that, definitely not superb. Apart from LS50, which I consider a rather good and almost "fit all sources" solution, I tried Marantz shortly with Elac BS 192, and was not happy either. Air Play activiation is a quest which I failed, Plug and Play concept does not seem to be favoured by Marantz team, right, simple things should go to simply loosers. Volume knobs - smth what really EDITED me off, too small, almost non-existing, always have really bizzar feeling of dissatisfaction when I touch those. Of-course, there is a remote, but the unit itself, should be an AUDIO unit, which means it is all about sound. And sound means very much about up and down volume regulation - intercouse must deliver pleasure, with Marantz it does not. On reliability - after LAN connection the unit upgraded firmware, and stopped recognizing CD. Maranz customer support was really slow and helpless on the case, mostly copping out. I had to apply to local Marantz service, which took three weeks to repair (!).  Interestingly enough I could not find any data about what DAC is used in MCR603, and when I asked Marantz technical support, the answer was that they need to know before answering on DAC where the unit was purchased because "As we are a global company there can be differences in specification". Which for me means that all MCR603 can be different even with critical components like DAC - that can explain why my rate is so much lower than rate by What HiFi. Another point, if there is no consistancy of technical specification over geographies, how can one be sure that there is consistancy over the time? e.g. the units sold today are with the same DAC as the units sold when all the nice rerviews had to be made?

Hi, thinking of buying either themarantz mcr603, the onkyo crn755 or the denon ceol. Can anyone give any recommendations? Also I'm curious about the networking features. Does this unit only work via wired connection or is it possible to network wirelessly via a network adaptor or dongle?  Does anyone have experience in using any of the 3 systems I mentioned. This will be my first proper system, so I'm trying to do as much research as I can. Any help would be really appreciated.

I'm not quite sure how What-Hi Fi do these reviews but I have a number of observations on this product. Using Vista 64 and Twonky Media ( so I can play Flac) networking is clunky (as with my NA7004). I have to switch off my PC start my Marantz and then switch on my PC otherwise the link from the 603 keeps dropping . Then it works fine for a few days until the link starts dropping again and I have to repeat the process. This problem also effects Internet radio and the USB option which I don't understand. Talking to Marantz technical support they said it was a cable problem - and of course they don't provide a cable with the 603 so this is a good cop out. It also seems to explain why there is no decent networking app if these type of problems occur. Also I dont understand why shuffle doesnt work on USB content but does on media server content. Even stranger (with Flac) tracks are played in original Disc order on USB but in alphabetical order from identical Media server folders. This should be a simple matter to resolve as a Track ID Tag is created when the CD is ripped. This is one option that should be avavilable on all media players. It also takes 30 minutes to update firmaware as opposed to 2 minutes on my CA NP30 and Yamaha NP-S2000 (both of which have NO network issues). The sound is good so as and audio product 9/10 as a network product 2/10.

How does this compare to the onkyo crn755? Is it worth the extra hundred pounds?



I,ve had my mcr603 paired with Tannoy V4's for the last 12 months and the sound is still just superb. I still look forward to switching it on and even use it for simple home cinema off a Panasonic TV. Worth every penny.

Although it supposedly can play music from a networked drive (Ethernet) or USB drive I've never managed to get it working.  I even bought a NAS drive module especially, put all my music on it, gleefully connected the Marantz and selected the Music Server menu option, watched as it goes through the setup steps: "Initialize...", "Connecting...", "Checking info...", "Waiting reply..." and then it says "(Empty)".  What you do at that point I have no idea.  I guess if I invested time in going through manuals, online chat forums, calling technical support I could figure it out but guess what - I just stick to a pile of CDs so all that functionality is wasted.  For people like me the digital age needs to work when you press the button.  (AirPlay has also stopped working and I haven't got round to figuring out why, so I don't use that either).  These systems are for computer lovers not music lovers.

Check your green network link light by the cable connection at the back - If this goes out from time to time your issue is a network one. How are you networking the device? I find the Marantz networking system a mystery - very, very clunky and unreliable. I have a NA7004 which I can't use because the link keeps dropping and i cant explain why - and the someone buys me this for Christmas and it has the same issues (a year on!). On my network I have two samsung Bul-Ray players, a samsung TV, 2 netgear Digital entertainers, 2 cambridge audio NP3s and a yamaha network audio player - all work flawlessly, but not the Marantz. If the fault was permanent I could work out the cause but it isnt; at the moment its fine. What Media Server software do you run? Anything other than Windows? the only thing I can suggest is to switch your computer off and then try to connect to Internet radio - if this works fine, try switching your PC on again and see if it works.

You can also monitor the link from your PC - open up a command prompt and type

ping ip address of marantz  /t e.g ping /t

(leave a space after the last digit of the address)

if you get a number of requests timed out responses the issue is a network one and the only way I can make mine reasonably reliable is to switch the PCs on after the Marantz


Please see my reply to your similar forum post here

Thanks for the review, I find it useful. Can this component drive a pair of Dynaudio X12?

I assume Marantz's own DAC kicks in when using the iPod/USB input (and what a fantastic job it does!). Does anyone know whether the same happens when using the Optical input straight from a Mac?

sasho wrote:
Does anyone know whether the same happens when using the Optical input straight from a Mac?

Yes, it does.

Would anyone be able to tell me if the CR603 is capable of running floorstanders like Spendor A5?

Thanks in advance.

Doesn't seem the most obvious pairing to us.

I have alreaydy a pair of Spendor A5 and would like to purchase an all in one system with CD and internet radio.

What system would you advise?

Well they're great speakers but really need a decent amp to drive them. Have you thought about a Naim Uniti?

Naim unity is much too expensive. My budget is 1000 maximum. Do you know an all in one system with CD and internet radio under 1000 that could match with Spendor A5?

Would anyone be able to tell me if the Marantz CR603 could run Tannoy revolution DC6T floorstanders ?

Thanks in advance.

I have a failing Linn Classik and I am thinking of replacing it with this and the extra DAB function. Good move ?

It will be driving an equally old pair of Gale floorstanders. Should these need updating as well with either of the units?


Would anyone be able to tell me if the CR603 is capable of running floorstanders like the Tannoy V4s, or should it only be paired with bookshelf speakers?

Thanks in advance.

Our tech ed says it should be fine driving the V4s.

Thank you kindly Andy, that info has just made my fiance a very happy lady!

I bought a Marantz M-CR603 a month ago in Canada.  I'm new to the digitial age of music listening and so I'm marvelling at all the functionality - Internet Radio, streaming music from my computer or iPhone over the wireless network, ... etc.  But what strikes me immediately is what we've lost from the analogue days:

Time required to turn on my old amp and hear the radio: About a second

Time required to turn on the Marantz and hear internet radio: 63 seconds (I timed it).

So you come in from work, press the button, wait, give up waiting and go and do something else, come back later and then select what you want to listen to or initiate the AirPlay connection.  Where's the convenience in that?

And what happened to large volume control knobs?  OK I realise that with a remote the control knob is redundant but the little buttons on the Marantz have made volume control a less pleasurable button-tapping experience.

Also, this 'digitization' seems to have brought all the frustrations with it.  E.g. The only way I've found to restart the AirPlay connection from iTunes after stopping using it is to turn the Marantz off and on (63 seconds).  This seems to occur a lot, e.g. after the computer goes to sleep.

Fantastic functionality and sound but frustrating to use.



Can anyone tell me if this unit will play music stored on an external hard drive?


Login or register to post comments