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Marantz CD5001 review

A standalone CD player for less than £200. But is budget kit really worth forking out for?

Where hi-fi stuff’s concerned, the word ‘budget’ brings some people out in hives – but it needn’t. Marantz, once a dominant force in the sub-£500 arena, looks to be back from the wilderness with the CD5001.

You wouldn’t mistake this for anything other than a budget player. While build can be considered decent at the price, the sharp, unfinished edges and the tacky remote control handset mean the Marantz certainly lacks the last word in build quality. At such a low price, however, we couldn’t realistically expect much more.

Marantz has right amount of bite

In any case, you’d dismiss this player out of hand at your peril: it costs less money than its major rivals, yet can still deliver a hugely talented and even-handed sonic performance, without the majority of the pitfalls that usually go with being a budget player.

The Marantz is to sound what David Lee Roth was to Van Halen. It’s a real entertainer: this player has an inviting sense of life, and the kind of crisp, relentless timing that works wonders with rhythm-driven music such as Eminem’s Without Me.

Vocals and instruments are given adequate room to breathe without becoming confused in the mix and treble remains composed at even quite high listening volumes. Unlike many competitors that are either too soft or too hard in the top end, the treble from the CD5001 has bite: enough to keep you listening, but not enough to make your lugs bleed.

In your face

Bass is delivered with more muscle than you’d expect at this price: many budget players suffer from flabby low-end, but the Marantz is more than capable in this area. Bass lines have a tight, tuneful precision that some players costing double the money should be envious of. Given the budget price of this machine, this is a remarkable achievement.

This player is a true all-rounder: whether you love to rock out, chill with Portishead or bounce to techno, the Marantz will keep you smiling for years to come. Partner it with a good quality, similarly-priced amplifier and a top-notch pair of budget speakers and you’ll have yourself a cracking starter hi-fi separates system that’ll blow the socks off any comparably-priced mini or micro system.

Stuff Says…

Score: 5/5