The Marantz TT15S1 is certainly one of the best high-end turntables that money can buy and will be an exemplary choice for audio enthusiasts who want to get the most out of their beloved vinyl records. Based on the number of praises the TT15S1 has gained over the years by both discerning critics and satisfied owners, we can safely say that this turntable deserves to be matched with a phono preamp of equal caliber or better.
To find the right phono preamplifier for the job, we will need to learn more about the sonic characteristics of the Marantz TT15S1 and its merits. With a better understanding of this high-end turntable, we will then be able to prepare a list of the best phono preamps to partner with the Marantz TT15S1 and have complementary effects. This list will be shared with you later, so kindly continue to read on.
Sonic Characteristics and Strengths of Marantz TT15S1
At first glance, the Marantz TT15S1 already stands out among the crowd of turntables and gives off a sense of prestige. The Marantz TT15S1 looks premium with its frosted acrylic plinth and three large feet. Its overall build is well constructed which helps to reduce unwanted vibrations and resonance thus improving the sonic performance and quality of the turntable. One of the more notable features about its build will be the floating motor mount construction which is designed to help control vibration. The heavy and thick (1.2″) platter of the TT15S1 also helps to reduce vibrations thus removing unwanted noises.
The belt drive system of the Marantz TT15S1 has an endless silicon belt and this turntable supports speeds of 33 1/3 rpm and 45 rpm, you’ll need to manually change the speed though. A slipmat and a South Clever Clamp are provided which is neat. We used the slipmat to further improve the sound quality when playing our favorite vinyl records. It also comes with a high-quality Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood cartridge and is specially designed for its tonearm. Just based on the build and specs alone, we are already impressed and are certainly expecting exceptional sonic performance from the TT15S1 turntable.
And the Marantz TT15S1 didn’t disappoint, its level of clarity is astonishing, leading to a massive amount of details being revealed to us. Subtleties that we didn’t notice in the past are clearly presented to us and it actually caught us off guard. We became more analytical the more we listen as we kept feeding the turntable with song after song. The revealing nature didn’t stop the Marantz TT15S1 from sounding beautiful and musical. It neither sounded clinical nor flat. Everything sounded natural, and there are no exaggerations or highlights which is great.
We were also amazed at how polished the background is and this gave us a really clean music presentation of our favorite tunes. The ultra-low noise delivery allowed us to fully focus on the music. Marantz TT15S1 has a neutral sonic characteristic and doesn’t smudge the music with unnecessary warmth. This characteristic enabled the TT15S1 turntable to provide us with a clean and detailed performance. The low frequencies are well textured and they are tightly delivered. This level of bass reproduction makes it even more enticing to listen to our music but may lack the impact and authority to satisfy the bass fanatics.
The overall sound reproduction of the Marantz TT15S1 is incredibly accurate and even analytical audio enthusiasts will find its performance alluring. For listeners who prefer the warm Marantz house sound, you might want to get a preamp or speakers which could add some warmth into the music presentation as the Marantz TT15S1 is a highly neutral turntable. We have prepared the list of the best phono preamps which you can match with this high-end turntable. You might want to pick one which fits your preference and requirements.
Marantz TT15S1 Specifications
- Drive System: Belt Drive (Silicon Belt)
- Speed: 33 1/3 RPM, 45 RPM
- Cartridge: Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood cartridge
- Motor: Non Servo AC Motor
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 419mm x 137mm x 360mm | 16.5″ x 5.4″ x 14.2″
- Weight: 8.9kg (19.6lbs)
Best Phono Preamps to match with Marantz TT15S1
The Clearaudio Nano Phono V2 is one of the best phono preamps to match with the Marantz TT15S1 turntable. It works really well with both moving magnet and moving coil cartridges too. Clearaudio Nano Phono V2 is a phono stage that has won many accolades over the years and the latest iteration performs even better. The quiet background of the Nano Phono V2 complements the Marantz TT15S1 and it also helps to add a bit more warmth to the sound quality, giving us a more musical-sounding presentation. It doesn’t sound harsh when pushed and it would be ideal for listeners who like to crank up the volume.
Cambridge Audio Alva Duo is another award-winning phono preamp that will pair well with your Marantz TT15S1. It will also be ideal for listeners who want to add a touch of warmth and a more full-bodied music presentation. The Alva Duo phono preamp has impeccable music timing and top-notch dynamic handling to provide an engaging music presentation. The music delivery is rich and informative which works well with the Marantz TT15S1 turntable. Cambridge Audio Alva Duo has a very modest price tag too and is certainly worth your time to have a look.
Parasound JC3+ is a high-end phono preamplifier, a more than a worthy match for the Marantz TT15S1 turntable. Like the TT15S1, the JC3+ phono preamp is ultra-quiet and capable of digging out plenty of music details including subtle ones. Giving us incredibly high-resolution music presentations of our favorite tunes. Its stereo imaging is astounding, providing us with highly defined and three-dimensional sonic imagery. The Parasound JC3+ bass performance is tight and agile, not to mention, the low frequencies are well textured too. The weight of the low-end spectrum is also just right.
There are times you just want to enjoy an enthusiastic music presentation where you will feel like dancing. If that is the case, then the Rega Fono MM MK3 is a top choice to go for and it is affordably priced to boot. Don’t let the affordability of the Rega Fono MM MK3 fool you, this is also an award-winning phono preamp and a worthy match with the Marantz TT15S1 premium turntable. This phono preamp is expressive and sounds exciting while digging out a high amount of music details and delivering them energetically. The Rega phono preamplifier has a spacious soundstage and amazing stereo separation.
Simaudio 310LP will be one of the best premium phono preamps to go with your Marantz TT15S1 turntable. This is a highly transparent phono preamplifier with an incredibly low noise background and is capable of producing realistic-sounding musical instruments. The vocal reproductions sounded natural and subtle nuances can be heard clearly. Along with the polished background of the Marantz TT15S1, the music presentations sounded high-res and pristine. The neutral sonic characteristics of the Simaudio 310LP make it is a suitable match with the Marantz TT15S1 turntable.
Musical Fidelity V90-LPS is another high-quality and affordable phono preamp to pair with the Marantz TT15S1. It has a switchable Moving Magnet and Moving Coil input with extremely accurate RIAA. For a phono preamp at this price point, the background is really polished and you can hardly hear any noise. The sound quality of the Musical Fidelity V90-LPS also exceeded our expectations and makes it worth every penny invested into this phono preamplifier. The V90-LPS is balanced and is capable of projecting a wide soundstage. It also doesn’t sound overly bright and has a smooth music delivery.
To Sum It Up
It is recommended to audition the potential phono preamps first before making your final decision. You can first select the phono preamps based on your requirements or budget. It will be better if you could listen to them in your own listening room and by playing your favorite vinyl records. Feel free to use this list as a reference and do a side-by-side comparison with other phono preamplifiers.