- 7 ch Discrete Analog Amplifier (50 watts x 7) in Slim Design Chassis
- HDMI 1.3 x4 Inputs / x1 Output
- Decoding of Dolby TrueHD, dts-HD Master Audio
- Video Converter for All Analog Sources to HDMI
- Independent Audio Board for Improved Sound
- Simple Set-up with MRAC Auto Calibration
- Component Video x3 Inputs / x1 Output
- Analog Audio Inputs x5, Digital Audio Inputs x3
- Marantz Remote D-Bus In/Out Jacks
- Detachable Power Cord
- On Screen Display for Setup through HDMI out
- Glow Key, Precode Remote Control
I just bought this two weeks ago and I am still learning the intricacy of the setup and calibration - I'll be able to give a better review once I've had time to real dig into it's nuances.
However, at first glance: I do like the look and full of the receiver - I was surprised by how short this receiver truly was. The Harman Kardon AVR154 that I previously owned was easily double the height.
The OSD is easy to configure - I did have to allow for alittle acclimation as it was slightly different than the H/K OSD - with that said, the Marantz OSD seemed dumbed down and remedial...perhaps it simply doesn't need as much configuring head-room...I'm not sure yet. I'll continue to tinker.
The audio codecs shine here - full suite of Dolby and DTS, including the TrueHD and Master Audio lossless codecs. I have set up my two other surrounds for full 7.1 and perhaps that is why Dolby Digital ES sounded much more dramatic than when I switch to TrueHD (Bourne Ultimatum) ... again, some tinkering is in store. (EDIT: I ran the auto EQ that comes with the receiver and it straightened out all the sound problems - Lossless audio sounds great now! I usually don't use the Auto EQ for any receiver and choose to hand-tune, but for some reason while searching for a fix, I decided to run it on a whim...man, I'm glad I did!)
Let's talk about what I don't like: no pre-amp outs mean no headroom for expansion in the amplification area (which I may not need since the room I currently have setup doesn't need that much power pumped through the soundstage....unless I'm trying to peel paint off the walls!)
Secondly, no 5.1 analog inputs...however, since I am going full HDMI, this isn't really a huge issue.
Third: no zone two or zone three. Again, since I'm planning on doing 7.1, this isn't a show stopper - however, I was kinda looking forward to setting up a second area, perhaps the back patio, with some speakers.
Buying the Marantz over the H/K AVR1600 or even the more feature-rich AVR254 was truly a leap of faith. I've heard of the brand name, I like what I've heard about them, yet there were some sacrifices when I picked it out. If worse comes to worse, I still have a highly desirable brand name that will serve me well in the 2nd-hand sell-off area. Let's hope it shines, so I don't have re-wire!
UPDATE: With two weeks in the books, the Marantz is really growing on me - I am surprised on the warmth of the sound - I've heard people comment on this before with Marantz and H/K's - but the Marantz has a different flavor to the sound altogether, which I prefer over the H/K (which had a more tinny sound...more mechanical/digital - still great though!) I've run games through the receiver on optical and the sound was astounding - the one gripe here, is that you can not preset volume for each input signal - so if your DVD's need to be bumped up to 40 for a good sound field and output strength, switching to the game audio will blow your eardrums up at that level. The H/K had this ability, whereas the Maratnz does not...it'll take some getting used to.
The remote is easy-peasy, although I'm still figuring out how to cycle through the surround sound presets with some easy - the receiver display is alittle wonky in that concern that you have to be right up on it to see what codec is being read and most of the time "AUTO" is what will show up for movies....that's great and all, but the techno-dork in me likes to see the signal logo...I mean, who doesn't?
I haven't had a chance to run some music through it, but I will this weekend and update the thread.
I'll submit another review once I've had time to truly settle it in - till then, I remain luke warm...but definitely warming up.