Marantz SA-KI/PM-KI Ruby SACD Player/Amplifier Interview: Ken Ishiwata

Interview: Ken Ishiwata

In the words of the celebrated movie misquote, 'If you build it, they will come', even Marantz was surprised at just how popular the 'CD-63KI' CD player proved with hi-fi buyers in 1994. A whole new range – or, the cynics would say, a whole new marketing strategy – was born, and Ishiwata moved from being behind the scenes, known only to the cognoscenti, to a much more public figure in hi-fi.


Since then he has been very much front and centre in his role as 'Brand Ambassador', but you get the impression that there's some suggestion of the flame being 'handed over' of late. For example since the SA-10 launch a couple of years ago [HFN Mar '17], Ishiwata's colleagues have been more prominent, notably Rainer Finck, who has been heavily involved in both those products and the KI Rubys. And these days there's more emphasis on the group behind the company's products, with Ishiwata saying that 'Even after my 40 years at Marantz I still feel the passion to create outstanding high-end devices together with my dedicated team'.

One might be tempted to say that 40 years is some innings, but with Ken you never know. Even now, in his eighth decade, he teased that there's more to come when launching the KI Ruby pairing at Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw. Known for his flamboyant silk jackets, he sported not the predictable deep red befitting the occasion, but a vibrant gold coat, pointing out this was the colour for 50 years. Ever the showman…

Sound United
Shirakawa, Japan
Supplied by: D&M Audiovisual Ltd, UK
02890 279830