Thursday, April 12, 2012

Not to be confused with Marantz 2110

I visited a friend in the late 1970's who had just gotten a new set of hifi gear that he must have thought I would finally respect.  Before that time, his audio systems were all-in-one integrated systems made by, or at least labeled for, companies I'd never heard of, and I knew all the major Japanese manufacturers.

He had a Marantz 2110 tuner.  I saw the scope and thought "oooh, this has to be good."  At the time, I myself was using an older and probably not much differently performing tuner in my Marantz 2270 receiver.

But I was very disappointed by the tuner.  It didn't seem very sensitive, and the scope didn't seem to do much.

It was a very different animal from the 2130 I now own.  I think Marantz made a mistake in making the 2110.  Previously, all the scope tuners made by Marantz were exclusively their highest end models.   The 2110 became the one and only exception, a low end tuner with scope.

But many people might not have known this was only a "cheapie" from Marantz, and assumed this was simply the poor performance you could, at best, expect from Marantz.  So I think it was a mistake for Superscope Marantz to make the 2110.  It sullied the brand image.

Right about the time the 2110 was being sold, I was listening to a lecture about high end audio given by Ike Eisenson.  He loved to use the word "mid-fi" to dismiss mainstream audio products mostly made by Japanese manufacturers.  I later worked at his business, Audio Dimensions, for a half year.  During that time, staff at the store identified a giant killer amplifer, the Nikko Alpha III, that we (then) preferred to the sound of Threshold amps.

I think by and large "mid fi" is an unfair put down.  Most of the electronics so labeled, like old Marantz receivers, isn't really that bad.  (Though early 22xx marantz receivers lacked tone-defeat to get honestly flat response, IMO meaning you could fairly say they were mid fi, though they had the separateable preamp and power amp sections--a very rare feature among receivers, so you could simply bypass the preamp.)

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