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A Few Notes on Marantz 16 and Marantz 16B Amplifiers

The Marantz 16 and Marantz 16B are amplifiers with the best mechanical design that I have seen with a very attractive appearance. They were manufactured with only quality parts. They have more than adequate heat dissipation for power levels much more than this amp can produce. Their specifications are underrated. Typical power output is 116W per channel (8 ohm) before clip at spec on the 16B. The 16 is typically 87W per channel (8 ohm) before clip at spec. Distortion at various power levels is typically much better than spec. The amp is capable of taking quite a bit of abuse. To reissue this amp nowadays would cost a small fortune.

The Marantz 16 and Marantz 16B are nearly identical amplifiers. The transistor complement is the same for both amps. The heat sinks, frame components, and driver board are the same. The differences are that the Marantz 16B has a few more volts on the rails. The relay protection circuit is no longer driven off the positive rail. The relay board and rectifiers are different. A few capacitor values have changed. It has one additional capacitor on the driver board and one additional capacitor on the relay board. One 5W resistor is removed from the TO-3 board. They sound nearly identical. The 16 is actually a faster amp than the 16B.

The Marantz 16 and 16B are clean robust amps of exceptional quality and a genius mechanical design with excellent performance. There is no perfect amp. All brands of amps have inherent flaws. There are always trade-offs in design. All 16s and 16Bs have two inherent problems that the factory was well aware of.

Problem 1 With a fast rise time symmetrical signal, (under higher power conditions only) this will amp produce an overshoot. The 16B has this problem, but to a lesser degree. Under normal musical content, and normal operation, at higher power levels this overshoot hardly affects the sound. This effect can be reduced to a greater degree than the factory spec, but I like to leave it alone.

Problem 2 Inherent in the design, (almost equal with the 16 and 16B) is that when clipping occurs above 400 cycles, there is a severe oscillation that can wreak havoc with your speaker system. This oscillation occurs around 50 kHz. Fortunately, most music content causes the amp to clip below 400 Hz, so this problem is not a great concern. The positive attributes of these amplifiers out weigh these two problems, unlike some of the other high quality amplifiers on the market.

The factory addressed these problems when they delivered the 16B. The results are that the problem is still there, but somewhat diminished. And a trade off is that the 16B is a slower amp than the 16. Although rare, if you have one of the 16s that oscillate during slow turn on, I will pad the amp appropriately with minimal degradation of speed.

I have designed, redesigned, modified, and repaired audio equipment for over 50 years, and specialize in Marantz 7T, 14, 15, 16, 16M, 16B, 18, and 19. Shown below are a few of the Marantz 15s (3 versions), 16s, and 16Bs that have been restored and/or modified. Also shown is a 15 and 16, specifically used to test new types of components. These are a few from my collection.
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A "Short" Story
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Notes on Marantz
16 & 16B Amps
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Notes on Marantz
14 & 15 Amps
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Marantz 15 Service
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