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Ken Ishiwata

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others."

By Ken Ishiwata


Ken Ishiwata is probably the single most influential personality in today’s high-end audio industry. Universally acclaimed for his remarkable talent in conceptualising stunning sound reproduction, his views and visions are avidly reported by the world’s HiFi press - and avidly consumed by the world’s music lovers.

For more than 30 years he has been combining his love of music with his conceptual engineering design approach to create unparalleled high-quality audio products.

Ken Ishiwata has been intimately exploring all newly-designed Marantz units. Only after his approval are they introduced to the world so that other lovers of music can experience the moment.

Discovering protégés

Occasionally, a unit comes along which he senses ‘has more potential’. He then sets about optimising the protégé. This means more than simply substituting key components with more expensive pieces; it involves careful selection and subtle mixing, testing, listening and testing again. Searching for the ultimate combination. In his words, ‘Like any musical performance, all the players must understand and be capable of fulfilling their role. Nothing more. Nothing less.’ When harmonic unity is achieved, a new KI Signature unit is born.

Some of the famous KI products of the past

The KI Pearls are extra special KI Signature units. Developed to celebrate Ken’s 30 years with Marantz in 2009, they celebrate a sublime love of music and express human emotion in all its richness.

Why Pearl? Because pearls are the traditional gift to celebrate a 30 years anniversary - symbolising love, happiness, affection, and generosity.

The word “Pearl” today is a metaphor for something very rare, very fine, and very valuable. And, although pearls are considered as gems, there is also something very organic about them: they’ve been shaped (not constructed) into a whole of perfection.

CD-17 Ki

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PM-14MKII 17-Ki

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