• Marantz PM5003
Our Verdict 
A superior product in some ways, but the Marantz lacks the cohesion to trouble the class leaders
For 
Good looks, fine build, comprehensive spec
expressive way with voices
Against 
Uncomfortable rhythmically
lacks low-end authority and definition
Reviewed on

This is the partnering amp to the Marantz CD5003, and much like that CD player, the PM5003 has a dapper new look.

Even more than its sibling, however, it's very close in price to another well-regarded Marantz product – the splendid PM6002 can be yours for £270. So not only is it up against the best its rivals can muster, it's facing competition from its own family.

It certainly starts confidently enough. Beneath the new suit, the PM5003 is generously specified: two recording loops, switching for two pairs of speakers, a moving-magnet phono stage and defeatable tone controls are all there, alongside a worthwhile remote control.

Sonic signature disappointsThe sound the Marantz makes is less inspiring. Playing Dilated Peoples' Soundbombing, it's clear the PM5003 is shooting for a meticulous, fast presentation that's a long way removed from the stodgy signature of recent budget Marantz efforts.

Unfortunately, it falls a little short – there's certainly more vim about the PM5003's sound than we're used to from Marantz, but it's not the most rhythmically surefooted amp at this price. Its alacrity impacts negatively at the bottom end of the frequency range, which is neither as defined nor as solid as is ideal.

More after the break

So despite communicating freely in the midrange and enjoying a fairly even tonality, it loses out on two counts: the quest for speed hasn't been successful, and low-end body suffers as a result.

Unless you're after an aesthetic match for your CD5003, we suggest you look elsewhere.