Peter Mitchel in Stereo Review, April 1979
...with impressively smooth tape handling, three speeds, and a comprehensive array of controls for bias and equalization, servicing adjustments, and editing.
I own this unit, serial number 000001P. As far as I have been able to ascertain thus far, this may be the only one of its kind.
It took me about a day after I got it to get it working completely; at that point, it is functioning very well. There was a little damage to the unit; there is a fine bias adjustment with left and right concentric knobs, and the outer one was broken off. The knob, while matching the other in style, is different from any I have seen previously, so I'm not at all certain I can replace it, though I'll keep my eyes open. The power button was broken off (though functional) and a black plate that is just visible on the flipped up head-cover in the picture from the Japan Audio Fair was missing. There are a few nicks and so forth, but only one area that is really obnoxious, by the power switch. The wooden sides are quite beaten up, and I'm going to have new wood sides made to replace them.
As of the 11th of February, I've completed most of the needed work on the unit. The local glass shop provided a lucite plate which temporarily resides over the head shield. I'm looking into a titanium etched plate on which I'll have the model number and serial number inscribed; that might be fun. I had to adjust the braking on the takeup reel in fast-forward mode, and the edit/cue hardware turned out to need cleaning and re-lubrication; it wasn't lifting the tape off the heads during rewind the way it should in the non-edit setting. But all that is fixed, and the unit is about as mint as I can make it at this point. Still looking for a dual-concentric knob for the bias, but have a single one on there that looks good at this point. It's good enough to show you, and there's a picture above of it in this state. There is basically no head wear on the deck - once cleaned, they looked essentially new, so I should be able to look forward to many, many years of use.
The quality of the audio that this records and plays back is superb - breathtaking, in fact, far better than my Pioneer RT-1020L, which itself is a great sounding deck. It's very easy to run (the full logic helps) and the tape handling is simply set-and-forget. I only have older R2R tape here at this point, but I've ordered some studio-quality 1/4 inch tape, and look forward to seeing just how good this thing can do under optimum conditions.
As this unit appears to be a a one-off production, a Marantz special project, we may never know what the specifications were supposed to be. The P at the end of the serial number probably means "Prototype". If I learn of any production units (or other prototypes), I will add that information here.
All I know for sure is, it sounds great, and it mates with my other gear perfectly both sonically and visually.
The find of a lifetime!
Contributed by Ben
On February 7th, 2001