Marantz PM-KI Pearl Lite review

Marantz's Pearl Lite is an amplifier with potential. It's not the last word in sonic ability, but it's affordable, stylish and controlled Tested at £900

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The Lite delivers a decent slice of Pearl performance at a more affordable price


  • +

    Excellent build and finish

  • +

    a muscular and refined sound

  • +

    impressive stereo imaging


  • -

    Lacks a little agility and subtlety

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

If you craved Marantz's original KI Pearl amplifier but missed out due to its £2500 price or its limited production run, this Lite version could be the one for you.

It's been honed to retain as much of the senior amp's character as possible, at a much reduced price point.

And for the most part Marantz succeeds. This is a well-balanced amplifier that combines smoothness with detail and refinement in a engaging way.

Controlled, yet flowing with music
Listen to Chopin's ‘Raindrop' Prelude in D Flat and the Marantz delivers a solid, stable sound full of conviction. It sounds firmly in control yet lets the music flow.

There's the usual Marantz combination of full-bodied midrange, well-defined stereo sound stage and smooth yet still insightful treble.

Move to Jay Z's Run this Town and the Lite continues to impress with a muscularity beyond what we would expect from a rated 70W per channel.

This is an amp that goes loud and stays composed with it. There's a decent dose of attack and the amp captures the feel and emotion of the track well.

On its own terms this integrated does well for the sector, and an early price drop from £1000 to £900 certainly helps make its case stronger.

Rhythmic shortfalls
However, compared with top competition from Roksan's Kandy K2 and Cyrus's 6XP it shows slight shortfalls in rhythmic precision and dynamic expression.

We emphasise slight, but such is the quality in this class that any such chinks are enough to cost the Marantz a star.

Away from sound, it's all good news. The PM-KI Pearl Lite is nicely finished and there's a very definite air of luxury.

The feature count is good and there's even a midrange control alongside the more conventional bass and treble for those who like to fiddle.

The Pearl Lite is a fine amplifier. It may be pipped on outright sonic ability but it's a good enough all-rounder to make it a serious contender at this price.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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