Live from the Denon/Marantz showcase in London

It doesn't take much to get us out of the office and up to The Ivy now and then, but the temptation of some new products from the D&M stable – the parent company of Denon and Marantz – this afternoon proved irresistible.

Here's a couple of the new launches to have caught our eye so far.

On the way in the next month or two are these 'Limited' versions of the Marantz SA-15S2 CD/SACD player and PM-15S2 amplifier, in black finish only, which will run alongside the existing silver-finished standard models.

Marantz Brand Ambassador Ken Ishiwata has carried out extensive under-the-bonnet fettling on the Limited models, which will sell at a £200 premium over the standard versions, making them £2000 apiece.

We asked him about the thinking behind the new products.

'Due to increasing demand for black-finished products in our Premium range, we studied the possibilities and found the 15 series most suitable for this approach.

'However, we didn't just want to change the colour, but also took the opportunity to evaluate the potential of the SA-15S2 and PM-15S2 with better components such as those used in our Reference series MA-9S2 and SC-7S2 and the KI Pearl player and amplifier.

'The idea was to bring the sound closer to that of our upper Marantz Premium products, by using a top-down approach based on the experience gained with those more expensive models.'

So how's this done?

'The story for the new 15 Limited will be simply about sound tuning by special components: for example the main ELNA electrolytic capacitors, film capacitors and metal film resistors are derived from our upper Premium Models.

'These smooth the mid and treble reproduction, but without missing any detail, and give more control to the bottom end. The overall result is a very precise soundstage and detailed imaging in width, depth and height. The sound is very open and detailed, but without any harshness.

'Further modifications have also been done: for example, the chassis are damped to balance the overall performance.'

Specific changes to the amplifier, Ken?

'For the PM-15S2 L special attention has been given not only to the sound, but also the ability to drive speakers easily.

'The key factor for the power supply, the heart of any amp, is not only power, but speed as well. This isn't easy to achieve: most of the time you can achieve one of these requirements, but not both.

'By using Marantz customised block capacitors with 2x 20.000µF and a special inner construction, we're able to achieve both at once!'

And the SACD/CD player?

'For the SA-15S2 L the focus was to optimise the digital section and the analogue output stage. Here again special high quality components have been applied.

'Even though these high quality components are very expensive and many hours have been spent for the tuning of the products, the retail price is only increased by a moderate amount over the original 15s.'

Denon, meanwhile, has also gone for the 'designer black' look – not content with releasing a 'Noir' version of its previously white RCD-N7 Ceol system, it's now teamed up with luxury goods manufacturer Alfred Dunhill to launch a limited edition AH-NC800AD headphone.

Emblazoned with the two companies' logos, the headphones will come with a case, commemorative booklet and USB pen, and will be available in a run of just 100 pairs, selling for £600.

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Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.