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Marantz KI Pearl SACD player and integrated amp -- audiophile tested, Ken Ishiwata-approved

Steven Kim

One reason we keep a place in our hearts for high-end audio is that there is still room for a single designer's vision, and this is no more apparent than in components with designer initials etched right into the faceplate. Right in line with NAD's stereo components wearing Bjorn Erik Edvardsen's initials, Marantz has issued the KI (Ken Ishiwata) Pearl stereo SACD player (model SA-KI) and matching integrated amplifier (model PM-KI). As with any signature gear, top-notch build is expected, and the Marantz KI Pearls don't disappoint; toroidal transformers, copper plated chassis and hand-picked components make the grade. Of course, you also expect high prices, and the KI Pearl pieces also deliver on that front -- the limited run of 500 pieces (each) of the SACD player and integrated amp will go for £2,499 ($3,769) each, and no US availability or pricing has been released yet. Painful, yes, but you might take some small comfort in knowing this is exactly the kind of gear that will appreciate in value. Audio geeks can go past the break for more glamor shots.

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