Marantz TT-15S1 Turntable Reminds Us of Beauty in the Details


Given its continued popularity, can we even call vinyl culture a “resurgence” anymore? A generation of digital natives rediscovered the analog medium years ago in what was initially a trend and affection for nostalgia, but it’s obvious today that the industry, its vinyl listeners, and early obsessions have matured. Today’s established niche-work of listeners have likely spent several years building their record collections, with many now seeking to level-up their listening game from “good enough” to aspiring for components categorized as last-a-lifetime investments. The Marantz TT-15S1 turntable makes a strong case as one such component worthy to build a system around… and proudly show off.

Milky opaque acrylic plinth and platter Marantz TT-15S Reference Series turntable set on low wood console next to network receiver.

We found the turntable’s minimalist design the sort of object capable of piquing the interest of audiophiles and those typically immune to gear lust with equal potency. Credit to the Marantz team for striking a balance between designing a turntable emphasizing stability through its heft, but also exhibiting a surprisingly unobtrusive presence in everyday use. \\\  Photo: Gregory Han

Even before switching the manual belt-drive Marantz TT-15S1 turntable on – allowing its perfectly machined anodized aluminum tone arm and ClearAudio Virtuoso Wood Ebony moving-magnet cartridge to gently descend upon an album – it’s easy to get caught up with the sheer elegance the frosted acrylic plinth turntable introduces into any room. It’s a sort of aural analog apparition that draws all eyes toward its milky presence.

Underside shot of the Marantz TT-15S Reference Series turntable revealing a trio of vibration isolating metal feet.

Three very substantial feet, alongside a detached motor design, ensure the TT-15S1 will not budge nor permit the unwelcome intrusion of vibrations during playback. \\\ Photo: Gregory Han

Marantz TT-15S Reference Series turntable set alongside Marantz Model 40n integrated stereo amplifier and one white Bowers & Willkins 606 S3 loudspeaker. Vinyl record cover is set nearby on ground beside tufted blue wool rug.

While it may make some audiophiles wince, let’s be honest, a certain level of the appeal and appreciation of vinyl revolves around a multi-sensory experience, one including aesthetics. And a handsomely designed turntable like the TT-15S1 can make records seem to sound even better than a model with similar specs, but plainer design. \\\ Photo: Gregory Han

Pair the TT-15S1 with Marantz’s own powerhouse Model 40n integrated stereo amplifier and Bowers & Willkins 606 S3 loudspeakers, and you’ve got a triumvirate of concise clarity – a personality that emerged with just a few sessions even before the new speakers we were provided on loan were properly broken in. We found while listening to streaming sources using the 606 S3s one could occasionally fatigue the ears depending on the genre and volume, but the neutral and pleasant dynamic range of the TT-15S1 made listening sessions spanning 2-3 albums a delight. Neoclassical, ambient, and jazz instrumental tracks made for especially easy listening.

Marantz TT-15S Reference Series turntable playing record with blue center label.

Marantz’s rationale behind the TT-15S1’s acrylic plinth design is not purely aesthetic. The continuous frosted surface and matching 1.2″ platter seated upon a suspended spindle does look stunning, but its primary purpose is to impart the entire turntable with significant heft and stability to effectively dampen the introduction of vibrations during playback.

We also paired the TT-15S1 with our personal set of Wharfdale Lintons, noticing the edges around the turntable’s lucidity softened a bit across tracks emphasizing vocalists, pleasantly warmed by the Wharfdale’s more organic characteristic. It’s something to note if you prefer a more lived-in, retro sound and want to help ease the turntable’s propensity to accentuate the high range sometimes with too much noticeable presence. But whether paired with 606s, Lintons, or other speakers we had on hand, the turntable always conjured a soundscape of texture and details deserving of eyes closed listening.

Overhead view of Marantz TT-15S Reference Series turntable and 40n network receiver.

The TT-15S1 does come with a caveat: there’s no dust cover, so keep an air purifier stationed nearby and the needle covered. \\\ Photo: Gregory Han

Staged living room with sheepskin rug and sheepskin covered armchair in front of Marantz and Bowers & Wilkins audio turntable system, with records displayed in cabinet underneath.

Photo: Courtesy of Marantz

At a lone groove under $1,800, the Marantz TT-15S1 turntable rates as a sizable purchase for most audio enthusiasts seeking to level up from an introductory priced deck many of us begin with. Even so, the TT-15S1 is an audio component delivering the rare satisfaction of a substantial upgrade that somehow can convince you’ve found a steal. We can attest, it’s frighteningly easy to become accustomed to the satisfying fidelity and winsome spectral presence of Marantz’s turntable, price be damned.

To browse this and other products by Marantz visit marantz.com.

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