I've talked about this unit before and my fascination with it. Well, I ended up letting Paul borrow it to see how he liked it with the 703's. Well, he never got to hear it. After attempting to get it to work to no avail, he took it to a local repair guy and had him fix it. I'm not sure what happened to it as it worked last time it was used, but that was neither here nor there for Paul. I got it back today and its in better shape than when I handed it off. It looks like a full refresh was done on it. Two things immediately noticeable is a big dent in the top being repaired and having all lights when none worked when I got it. I want to publicly thank Paul for this; I repeatedly asked him not to do this and told him it was no big deal, but he wouldn't have it. This is just another example of the excellence in character that can be found on this forum.
Anyways, the unit is now pushing the Maggie's and sounds excellent doing it. It has already seen time on my ushers, the first time it completely blew me away. It's got as much control over the Maggie's as the carver Tfm-55 has. I'm not saying its as strong as the carver, but saying that, in this instance, the differences are not readily apparent. It has such a natural sound, very analog/tube sounding, and doesn't seem to run out of power no matter how hard I push it. I reach the physical limits of the speaker well before that of the marantz. In fact it does a better job with them than the monoblocks and at a minimum is on par with the jolida 302. It doesn't seem to struggle with 4 ohm speakers like some amps can.
This unit has also seen time in Halen's rig, where it blew his b&k amp completely out of the water. In his words, the speakers just came alive. I feel it is worth noting he runs usher cp-777, a VERY high end, high dollar speaker in their international lineup. In some countries, they can reach into the 5 figures. I'm not qualifying it as a recommendation for speakers of this caliber, but simply stating that it can produce positive results even on modern high end speakers.
Now, I've never heard any other marantz from that era, but have read many reviews comparing them. What seems to be the common perception is that the 2215/2216, also known as the "baby" marantzes, are widely accepted as great little units. Often times, you see people preferring the babies over the bigger, higher power brethren. The common opinion there is that, as the power goes up, the warmth begins to taper off. I don't know the truth to these, but I don't doubt it given my experience with many vintage pieces.
The 2216 can commonly be had in the $100-200 in varying conditions. This thing performs well above that price point. I'm recommending to anyone on a budget or looking for a backup amp to put this high on their list. Tonight was quite the experience and coerced me into a formal write-up of the unit. This many different systems can't be a fluke. This is now my absolute recommendation for a budget amp. I've had my ears on a plethora of gear now and I haven't been this impressed with a product since, well, never really.