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Keep the Marantz SR-18U or get a Rotel setup?

 

Gold Member
Username: Illuminator

USA

Post Number: 5522
Registered: Apr-05
So I've been bitten by the "upgradeitis" bug since getting a nicer pair of B&W bookshelf speakers (I know, they're not amazing but I'd like to have a nice 2 channel setup).

Well at the moment I got a Marantz SR-18U receiver for free with the touchscreen remote (a $500 option at the time). But the receiver doesn't power on. The parts are going to cost around 200-300$ And this Marantz receiver was their flagship model with VERY robust guts; check out the insides here: Upload

However from my experience (which is very biased in this case), Marantz equipment isn't the most reliable. Or am I wrong? Once I repair the receiver, could I expect it to last 10 years or so? I'm not one to abuse equipment, either.

I was looking at getting a 2 ch. Rotel RB-951 paired with the RSP-985 preamp (it's being offered locally for a decent price-$300 for both) unless someone knows of a better preamp to use) instead since I know Rotel is very reliable and still offers exceptional sound.

So do I keep the Marantz or sell it once fixed (or not fix at all) and get the Rotel components? I'm wanting the one with better sound, but because Marantz parts are ridiculously expensive, the reliability of the Rotel might be a key factor in my decision...need some input here from anyone with marantz and rotel experience. Thanks.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16279
Registered: May-04
.

Take the unit to an authorized service center for Marantz. Ask them for an estimnate of costs to get the unit up and running in as close to new condition as possible. This will probably cost you around $50. If you accept the estimate, these funds will be applied to the final costs. If you find out the unit isn't worth repairing, then you're only out a minimal amount.

There's no way to tell if a particular amplifier will be reliable in the future. However, while the tech is troubleshooting the amp, they can look for any potential problems that might be looming due to poor workmanship or burned boards. There will be no guarantee the amp will survive another ten years but you'll have significantly more information to go on than you have right now.



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Gold Member
Username: Illuminator

USA

Post Number: 5523
Registered: Apr-05
Yes, very true. I do have a tech looking at it (well, the tech is going to take "2-3 weeks" is this normal for Marantz? I don't see why it should take so long. The repair center I work at is about 5-7 days turn around time on the estimate). And with labor included--this thing is a beast to work on--it could cost up to $300 if I paid the tech, even if it's something as simple as replacing a relay (which is my suspicion). I do agree, however that the $50 fee will be worth it in the end. .

I'll likely have to replace the backup cap as well (a $40 part with shipping) since it's only available from Marantz, and it's difficult to get to (why oh why Marantz did you place the most important boards on bottom beneath several other boards and lots of screws?). Then need to resolder the molex connections on the amplifier board since they seem to commonly fail.

Thanks, Jan. Any input on the entry-level Rotel separates? I might be able to get them for a really good price.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16280
Registered: May-04
.

I haven't seen a relay in a receiver in about fifteen years, Jexx. Most all functions are now controlled by micro-processors - often large scale processors and when that chip goes most functions cease being controlled.

Turn around time is dependent upon how busy the shop is at any one time and how many units are in service vs the number of techs in the shop who are available to work on a higher end receiver. A month from now turn around might be a few days in this shop. Troubleshooting a receiver as complex as the Marantz isn't something you do in between other jobs.


Rotel is a decent brand generally a cut above the mass market gear without costing an arm and a leg. However, buying something because it's cheap normally isn't the best rationale for a purchase. If you go the Rotel route, their amps are typically a good match for B&W's.



.
 

Gold Member
Username: Illuminator

USA

Post Number: 5524
Registered: Apr-05
Ah, it's just a simple NJM7806FA on the PSU. I just hope that's the problem at least and that it isn't the micro-processor (or this could be a repair that isn't worth it). The receiver stopped working while it was turned off, so I assume that microprocessor isn't bad unless there was a REALLY big power surge that jumped the relay. And you're probably right--I think the business is very small and might have 2-3 techs is all. It's a dying field, really, with all the disposable units these days.

Jan, I'm not buying the Rotel solely because it's cheap, but because I've been wanting a Rotel for quite some time now (plus it is REALLY cheap). Not only that, but I would definitely love to use it as a personal system in the bedroom. There's something truly magical about good two channel sound. Your advice is much appreciated!
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1506
Registered: Oct-10
Jexx, you're trying to correct your entire system at once aren't you?
 

Gold Member
Username: Illuminator

USA

Post Number: 5525
Registered: Apr-05
How do you mean, exactly, James? Like get it back up and running soon, or replacing most of it? Or something else?
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1511
Registered: Oct-10
It looks to me like a combination of getting it up and running and replacing parts Jexx. It seems like you have a lot of decissions to make and aren't sure where to start. I've been there too. My suggestion would be to take a deep breath first. Let it out... Seriously though, if you have a working system, you should get it all set up and see how satisfied you are with it. Then, you'll want to see about upgrades. If your Marantz receiver is still not working, then of course you'll want replace that if it's going to be $200-$300 to fix. For many years, Rotel had a reputation for making great receivers and integrated amps. Lately, some folks have told me that they've gone down hill over the past year or 2. Of course, you should check it out for yourself. Just out of curiosity how do you like the sound of the Marantz?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16287
Registered: May-04
.

"There's something truly magical about good two channel sound. Your advice is much appreciated!"



Most of the folks on this portion of the forum would agree with that sentiment. And, yes, I've had several friends over the past few years finally leave the profession due to the never ending pile of "disposable" crap they finally got tired of trying to put back together.



Get an estimate and let's go from there. I would guess the Marantz to be worth some investment if the price for repairs isn't exhorbitant. Certainly, a working Marantz is worth more to someone than a non-working Marantz. If it is worth more on trade than it costs to repair, you might just have more funds to put toward a new Rotel or higher up the chain.


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Illuminator

USA

Post Number: 5528
Registered: Apr-05
James, thanks again. And yes, you've described my position quite accurately. Ever since the Marantz receiver failed, I've been looking at possible alternatives in the case that it does become too expensive to fix. The Marantz has a very powerful, warm, smooth and detailed sound. In fact, maybe even a bit too powerful at 140w rms/channel. I was always careful to keep the volume control set low for fear of hurting my speakers since none of my home speakers handle more than 120w max. I can't compare it to many other receivers since I mostly hear the cheaper Onkyos, Pioneers, Sonys, JVC's etc. in my line of work. I did, however, own an Onkyo TX-DS939 for a bit, and had the chance to play around with a Sony STR-DA9000ES, both of which sounded very good. I liked the sound of the Onkyo TX-DS939 a tad bit more, but it had output distortion problems and eventually became a nightmare to service with all of the boards crammed into the unit (kind of like the Marantz I have currently....). Sold it on ebay for $100 and was happy since it would have cost a small fortune to fix anyway.

Jan, you're right on target. I've also seen several tech friends leave the field because there just wasn't enough business. In fact, one of the best techs I have ever seen, a Taiwanese gentleman, left the business and started working for a school district. I wish I still had contact with him as he would have been able to help me repair my receiver. But I digress.

Sure, I'm trying to be patient and wait for the estimate. Just a shame that really, it's going to be about ~2 more weeks before I hear back. And as James said, $200-300 seems like a fair price to pay for repairing the unit. It's probably still worth about $400-500 to the right person, especially since I also have the RC5000 programmable touch-screen remote with it as well.

At the moment, I've hooked up my bare-bones Kenwood KA-55 integrated amplifier from the 70's and it's keeping my speakers company.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1335
Registered: Jul-07
I would caution that if you are a fan of the Marantz sound, the recent Rotel offerings might not necessarily be to your liking. I've found the Marantz sound as you've described it (sort of)....but would describe Rotel as much leaner and brighter. If you liked one, I'd worry about the other being a bit of a risk. Just wanted to throw that out there.
 

Gold Member
Username: Illuminator

USA

Post Number: 5530
Registered: Apr-05

quote:

I would caution that if you are a fan of the Marantz sound, the recent Rotel offerings might not necessarily be to your liking. I've found the Marantz sound as you've described it (sort of)....but would describe Rotel as much leaner and brighter. If you liked one, I'd worry about the other being a bit of a risk.




The recent Rotel offerings? How about the older ones like the mid to late-nineties Rotel offerings? Thanks for you input!
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1540
Registered: Oct-10
Jexx, the ouput power of any amp and the speaker power handling really don't mean much. As long as the amp is not clipping, it should blow your speakers. The output power of an amp won't tell you much anout how loud your system can get. The sensitivity/efficiency rating of your speakers will tell you a lot more. The important thing to think about is your hearing.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1338
Registered: Jul-07
From what I've heard, Rotel has gotten worse not better in that regard....but there is a lot of there stuff I haven't heard.

"As long as the amp is not clipping, it should blow your speakers"

Huh?
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1550
Registered: Oct-10
Should NOT! I forgot the word "not". It should say, "As long as the amp is not clipping, it should NOT blow your speakers."

Sorry about that. Good catch Chris.
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