“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Marantz PM-15S2 Limited Integrated Amplifier Preview

Marantz PM-15S2 Limited Integrated Amplifier

Marantz PM-15S2 Limited Integrated Amplifier


  • Product Name: PM-15S2
  • Manufacturer: Marantz
  • Review Date: November 11, 2011 05:00
  • MSRP: $2499.99
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Clean, Seamless Construction
  • No Visible Screw Heads
  • Marantz HDAM-SA3 (Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module)
  • Digitally Controlled Analog Volume Control
  • CD Direct Input Buffer Circuit w/ HDAM-SA2
  • Current Feedback Power Amplifier w/ Servo
  • Shielded Toroidal Transformer
  • New Power Supply w/40,000μF Filter Capacitance
  • Power Amp Direct Input
  • Preamp Output
  • LCD Display
  • Double Layered Bottom Plate
  • Custom Aluminum Feet
  • IR Remote w/ Aluminum Face
  • F.C.B.S. (Floating Control Bus System)
  • Complete Bi-amp Option
  • Multi Channel System Option
  • Bi-Amp Mode Option

First, let us say, "NOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!"

We really, really, REALLY like the champagne color of the reference series components from Marantz. So when we saw they were releasing an updated "limited edition" of their PM-15S2, we were shocked when they were black. Black? What, we don't have enough black components out there? Granted, we are sure some Neanderthals out there were complaining that the champagne color wasn't matching the rest of their components but, come on, this is reference! REFERENCE! It should stand out.

Okay, we got that out of our system. Now, the question we have is how the Limited Edition version of the PM-15S2 Integrated Amplifier differs from the "standard" edition. According to Jim Ludoviconi, Brand and Product Manager for Marantz America:

Both these new additions to the series feature a sleek new design, with seamless, rock-solid construction and no visible screw heads, making them ideal for integration into high-end home entertainment systems. Importantly, both utilize advanced sonic technologies, unique engineering traits and features found in our higher priced, top-of-the-line flagship models, at new introductory prices that will appeal to first-time Reference Series purchasers.

Umm... okay. Other than the cosmetic changes, the changes will be minor. First, what is the PM-15S2 Integrated Amplifier from Marantz. At 90 watts per channel into 8-ohms and 140 watts into 4-ohms, this nearly 41 pound behemoth isn't for the faint of heart. The PM-15S2 is designed to be the centerpiece of a two-channel system to make your friends green with envy. On the back, you'll find a single pair of binding posts for each terminal, pre-outs and pre-ins, a phono input, CD, line 1 & 2, and two separate sets of recording ins and outs. This should be more than enough inputs/outputs for any two-channel system.


You may have noticed the F.C.B.S. in and out on the right. This is the Floating Control Bus System which is a two-way communication system that enables you to connect up to four PM-15S2s and control them simultaneously. This makes a number of applications possible, including bi-amplifying and multi-channel (surround sound, multi-channel SACD, etc) applications. At $2500 a pop, it is an expensive multi-channel solution, but it is possible.

Turning the PM-15S2 around, the clean, black face is highlighted by stereotypical blue lighting around the vertically aligned controls. For an audiophile product, there are quite a few things to spin or press including large volume and input knobs, smaller knobs for treble and bass controls, and a number of buttons for selecting specific inputs and engaging features like "pure direct."

We are going to be honest; other than an upgraded power supply, most of the performance enhancements sound to pretty minor to us. From WhatHiFI.com:

'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.'


'For the PM-15S2 L special attention has been given not only to the sound, but also the ability to drive speakers easily...By using Marantz customized block capacitors with 2x 20.000µF and a special inner construction, we're able to achieve both at once!'

But, that isn't to take anything away from the Limited Edition PM-15S2. Minor improvements or no, they've given some customers what they want - black. Plus, they've done it at the same price. That's right, Marantz's new Limited Edition PM-15S2 Integrated Amplifier costs the same as the non-limited edition. We know of quite a few companies that have done less than change the color, write up come colorful marketing speak, and slap a "Limited Edition" sticker on a product before doubling the price. Marantz obviously doesn't feel that way. We commend them for it.


The Limited Edition PM-15S2 may have very few substantive improvements over the standard PM-15S2 Integrated Amplifier other than the switch to a black chassis and an upgraded power supply, but Marantz did it without raising the price. If you were thinking of investing in a PM-15S2 and the color was holding you back, rejoice. For the rest of us, we now have two top tier Marantz products to drool over.

For more information, please visit www.us.marantz.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
author portrait

As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

View full profile