Marantz CD-9X Timeline part 8

Here it is, the complete list of the Marantz CD-9X series. Made in Japan with some “help” from Philips and some partnerships with other companies, made this series to what they are today: still desireable CD players despite their age. Some models even getting scarce, or can only be bought in Asia. That cannot be said about the CD-94; a lot of these players were produced and they are not scarce at all, although some people on eBay want to make you believe otherwise! Not all the models in this article were available world-wide, and there even are small differences between the models sold in North America, Japan and Europe. Most of them still work, recapped and upgraded with more modern capacitors and/or ICs. Some of you will have players from this series that are already celebrating their 34th birthday! They are not perfect however because they sometimes need a belt change and will need some “tender loving care” now and then!

Marantz CD-94 V1

Marantz CD-94 “Version One”

The first model of the series that Marantz introduced in December 1986 was the Marantz CD-94. This CD player weighed about 10.3kg, and came with the Zamac ZM11 chassis, and with the TDA1541 / SAA7220 P/A combo. The bottom 1mm sheet metal plate weighed around 715 grams. It also came with the now famous CDM1 drive from Philips with extensive servo PCB, a big power transformer and all kinds of measures to minimise distortion and vibrations. The “Dutch” equivalent was the Philips CD-960. This player was mainly produced for the European and American markets and is roughly, but not exactly the same design as the Marantz. The Marantz was also more expensive and was, a so-called “audiophile CD player”. But if you look at the PCB lay-out of the CD-960, it resembles more the Marantz CD-94 Limited than the “normal” CD-94 (less is more so to speak).

Marantz CD-94 V2

Marantz CD-94 “Version Two” (An almost new example that was sold in May 2020! (Image source:

After a few months of production Philips and Marantz upgraded their players with the TD1541A / SAA7220 P/B combo around March 1987. There is a difference between the two models because this IC combo is better, at least on paper!

The CD-94 is built like a tank, beautifully finished, and makes most cheaper machines — and some not so much cheaper — look and feel like Tinkertoys¹.

Marantz CD-94 Limited

Marantz CD-94 Limited (Image source:

The Marantz CD-94 Limited was only produced for the Asian market. I had a 3mm steel bottom plate instead of the “flimsy” plate that came with the other two versions. Introduced by Marantz to the market around February 1987. Early versions of this player also came with TDA1541, around March 1987 first players started to appear with the same updated TDA1541A. The Marantz engineers changed the PCB lay-out, and gave it a non-detachable power cord! I see it as an advantage that the first two versions had a detachable power cord. It gives you for instance the freedom to change it to a shielded, thicker one. I changed mine to a Belden 19364 power cable, complete with a so-called “figure 8” connector.

Marantz CD-94 MKII

Marantz CD-94 MKII (Image source:

Marantz introduced the Marantz CD-94 MKII around 1988. Weighing in at 12.5 kilograms, sporting a double push-pull dac configuration with two selected TDA1541A S1s, sitting on a nice daughter board. The Marantz engineers revised the PP16/PD16 boards, and the PD16 PCB board designed by them even had some ferrite to minimise distortion. This revision could also be found in the CD-95. Don’t even bother to look in the service manual for the type of ferrite that they used (might be an interesting upgrade for CD-94 owners) because that is still “top-secret”. The CD-94 and CD-95 were among the first players that Marantz produced with the S1 selections of the TDA-1541A. The CD-94 MKII still retained the wooden side panels, that the other CD94’s had. It also came with a detachable power cord!

Push pull DA-conversion scheme for the Marantz CD-94 MKII / Marantz CD95 (Image source: Marantz CD-94 MKII Service Manual)
Push pull DA-conversion scheme for the Marantz CD-94 MKII / Marantz CD95 (Image source: Marantz CD-94 MKII Service Manual)

Marantz CD-95

Marantz CD-95 (Image Source:

Marantz asked 180000 Yen for the CD-95 CD player in November 1988. You only could choose between the ‘silver’ or ‘champagne gold’ version. It was only available in Asia and the twin brother of the CD-94 MKII. It weighed about 12,8 kg, had a pair of S1’s (one crown) aboard and feet holding a ceramic resin compound. It also had the 3mm bottom steel plate. There was copper ‘shield’ placed between the transformer and the main pcb and on the pd16 board the engineers added ferrite in critical places. Marantz switched from wooden side panels to zamac panels. These panels have high-strength, high damping properties. The exact type of zamac used for the panels is not known to me, but they where probably casted in ‘full harmony’ by Mitsubishi. The frame that all the models in the 9x series use, they made of zamac zm-11, but it seems to me that it is a lighter type than used for the side panels. No detachable power cord on this CD player!

Very recently (back in the eighties!) work carried out by Mae and Sakono⁸ set out a goal of developing a new family of alloys with high damping capacity. These alloys were developed not only to have high damping capacity but also to satisfy the needs of structural materials such as lightness, strength and low cost. This lead to the development of a new family of Zn-Al alloys for die-casting (Trade Mark Cosmal-Z) by alloying it with Si, Cu and Mn to strengthen without lowering the inherent high damping capacity. Among these ZM-11 contains 22% Al, Cosmal ZM3 40% Al, and Supercosmal 60% Al respectively. ZM11 has superior strength and damping capacity at room temperature, ZM3 up to 100 degrees C and Supercosmal up to 150 degrees C.

‘Dusty’ Black Gate’s.

Both the CD-94 MKII and the CD-95 had the ‘big capacitors’ changed from ‘Elna’s for Hifi’ to Nippon Chemicon (C805 & C806) and the smaller one’s, just next to them changed to Black Gate’s (C811 & C812). Marantz kept using the Black Gate’s on this place in the CD-99 versions, but ‘ditched’ the Nippon Chemicon’s again.

One member of a Dutch forum thought that the side panels were of cast-iron, another thought that they were purely cosmetic. I have learned in all these years that the Japanese do nothing without a purpose….

A same sort of “zinc-alloy” named “Cosmal-ZM11” was used by Micro Seiki in their AP-M1 and AP-M2 turntables.

The Marantz CD95 CD player is a stunning example of the great chraftmanship of Marantz in the eighties/nineties.²

PD16 From a Marantz CD-95. Note the “x” on the SAA7220P/B and the SAA7210P! The release status code (blank for released products, X for development samples or Y for qualification samples.

Although planned like the CD-12 or LHH1000 of the poor, the CD-95 sounds great : it makes music. So much so that… I own one :)⁴

Marantz CD-95 Limited

Marantz CD-95 Limited (Image source:

Of course in the typical Marantz way the company came up with a Limited Edition of the CD95 as well. The Marantz CD-95 Limited had two S1s, which were double crowned and could also be found in the CD-99SE Limited.

Marantz CD-95 DR

Marantz CD-95 DR (Drive only (Image source:

This Marantz CD-95 DR (drive only), made by Marantz at the Sagamihara plant and came on the market around october 1988. Marantz made this drive for the Japanese and European market (It had a 220V / 240V selector on the back). The CD-95 DR was the partner of the Marantz PM95 (which had a digital board that came with a TDA1541A S1 dac). The frame was copper plated, had a shielded toroidal transformer, heavily shielded (copper) servo PCB / digital output PCB.

Marantz CD-99 SE

Marantz CD-99 SE (Image source:

In October 1990 Marantz introduced the CD-99SE. It weighed 13.8kg and had a revised pp16 board, a revised pd16 board with added ferrites. The shielded transformer had separate windings for digital and analog circuits, and the transformer was fitted with a separate supply for the display. Marantz used two S1s with one crown forming a double push-pull DAC configuration. You had no headphone output, and no timer function either. The chassis was copper plated inside to minimize EMI/RFI.


Marantz CD-99 SE Limited

Marantz CD-99 SE Limited (Image source:

The CD-99 SE Limited came with two S1s with two crowns, around october 1990, and was the last model of 9x series that Marantz produced. This CD player was also among the last that was made with the CDM-1, together with the Philips LHH1001 and the Marantz CD-12.

The CD-99SE Limited.

There is one. Limited to 200 CD-99SE models. Each sound produced has its depth. The balance between the depth of the sound and the luster is exquisite. This is the last Marantz machine that uses the highly popular PHILIPS / CDM-1 for the drive mechanism. The overall appearance has dullness and dirt. W454 × H106 × D357mm 13.8kg Released in 1992 (Wang Exhibition)⁵.

Marantz CD-99 DR

Marantz CD-99 DR (Drive only (Image source:

The Marantz CD-99 DR was the most expensive of the series, the heaviest and you did not get the “silver crowns”. It was even more expensive as the CD-95 SE and the CD-99 SE. It had shielded PCB’s, and a shielded toroidal transformer. The inside resembles a Wadia WT3200, but the Wadia never got a shielded transformer and the PCB-layout is slightly different. In december 1989, Marantz made a black version, what looked like a small export batch. It seems that Marantz built it specifically for a transport market niche?

Wadia WT-3200 transport. The Marantz CD-99 DR looked almost the same.

Description :
Appearing in 1988, the Marantz CD-99DR CD player is a rare drive-only version of the future CD-99SE, and also meant as companion to the digitally-equipped PM-95. It uses the CDM-1 drive mechanism. Covered by a lid on the front panel is a row of buttons and functions. These are extra but useful features serve to support the most basic necessary functions. They include the timer, repeat, shuffle, reverse, fast forward functions. On the back, there are two coaxial and one TOS digital outputs. The chassis has a high rigidity die-casting to reduce resonance and vibration in the interior, and the feet are fixed to a 3mm bottom steel plate. The toroidal transformer is adopted as a power source. The Marantz CD-99DR CD player is a well regarded device that will create a much improved experience in the musical journey³.

Wadia WT-3200 shielded servo and digital PCB’s uncovered.

Moreover, the original ARC (Aluminium Raft Celing) structure is adopted as a top cover, and according to 3 piece structures which cut Raft (the shape of a raft), while increasing the intensity, the oscillation mode was diffused, and the vibration is prevented⁶.

Marantz CDA-94

Marantz CDA-94 DAC (Image source:

Marantz introduced the CDA-94 DAC in December 1986 and got one of its first reviews in the December 1986 issue of the Japanese magazine Radiotechnology (ラジオ技術). It weighed 11 kg, had three shielded transformers, shielded output amplifiers, a Zamac frame of course and the first series came with a TDA1541 / SAA7220P/A. According to a 1990 catalogue it came with a TDA1541A S1, had a four times oversampling digital filter that gave the DAC a 104dB dynamic range with fast transient attack and superb phase linearity. The sampling frequency was of the automatic switching kind, and provided the user with a 32, 44.1 and 48kHz sampling rates. It also had a “Dutch” brother in the Philips DAC960 which was also made in the same Japanese factory.

It also came with;

➊ Precision analogue filtering ➋ Optical and electronic digital inputs with source selection ➌ Independent left and right audio output amplifiers ➍ Three totally independent power supplies, each with its own transformer ➎ Absolute phase control ➏ Custom components for low noise and detailed sound ➐ Balanced 600 Ohm, variable and fixed outputs ➑ Digital monitor input / output ➒ High quality headphone socket with volume control.

But what Marantz promised in their 1990 Marantz catalogue never happened. It was never produced with a S1 single or double crown TDA1541a. The only upgrade it ever got at a later stage was a TDA1541a and SAA7220P/B. The “Vintage Knob” also pointed out that the exotic IC’s where reserved for the later introduced Marantz CDA-12 and the Philips LHH-1002.

At an early stage Marantz decided Japan to mainly export the black models, and the “champagne” coloured ones where mainly for the Asian market. That is why there are almost never black versions offered on

Marantz CDA-94 Limited

Marantz CDA-94 Limited (Image source:

The in April 1987 introduced Marantz CDA-94 Limited had an “optical” update. This limited edition had a Toslink connector added to the unit. Marantz also added a 3mm bottom steel plate and they filled the equipment feet with Portland Cement. It made the CDA-94 1,7 kg heavier and a lot stiffer.

TOSLINK (from Toshiba Link) is a standardized optical fiber connector system. Also known generically as optical audio, its most common use is in consumer audio equipment (via a “digital optical” socket), where it carries a digital audio stream from components such as CD and DVD players, DAT recorders, computers, and modern video game consoles, to an AV receiver that can decode two channels of uncompressed lossless PCM audio or compressed 5.1/7.1 surround sound such as Dolby Digital or DTS Surround System. Unlike HDMI, TOSLINK does not have the bandwidth to carry the lossless versions of Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, or more than two channels of PCM audio⁷.

The Marantz CDA-94 Limited. This unit was not as suggested “Designed in U.S.A.” More of a marketing slogan. In 1992 Philips acquires U.S. and Canada trademarks and dealer network and the reference to Chatsworth dissapears.

¹ From: Thomas Norton’s review of the Marantz CD-94 / Stereophile Oct 1, 1988

² Taken from an advert on Dutch Audio Classics.

³ From: Hifi Inn Audio Singapore.

⁴ From: The Vintage Knob.

⁵ Taken from an advert on Hifido.

⁶ From

⁷From Wikipedia.

⁸Mao Y and Sakong Oka. New diecasting alloys with high damping capacity. Central Research Institute, Mitsubishi Metal Corp. Ohmiya, Saltma 330, Japan.

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