Marantz has enjoyed a long tenure in the high-end world of audio and video, and has maintained two product lines to help meet the needs of potential buyers at varying price points. There are components from the standard Marantzline as well as Reference level products for true top tier performance. As the performance of Marantz's standard line up of components has increased over the years, some have argued the need for Marantz's reference line. The new Marantz SR7005 AV receiver will only add to this debate, as this unit sports the same 'porthole' appearance of the super high-end Reference line of products. The SR7005 offers a lot of features and flexibility for its $1,599 price and strives to show Marantz is not one to be left out in the high-end receiver market.
The SR7005 offers up everything any home theater fanatic could need, and I do mean this figuratively. It has six to two HDMI 1.4a switching that can handle 3D TV and the Audio Return Channel feature, so those with an HDTV that is networked can enjoy the accompanying Dolby Digital or DTS soundtracks streamed back to the receiver from the display over a single HDMI cable. There are seven pairs of stereo analog inputs including a moving magnet phono input (those using low output moving coil cartridges will still need an outboard phono preamp) and 7.2 channel preamp outputs. Two stereo analog outputs as well as stereo analog outputs for Zones two and three and one optical digital output are there too. There are four component and five composite video inputs as well as two component, two composite and two HDMI video outputs. There are no S-Video connectors on the receiver. A host of control options exist including 12 Volt triggers and RS-232. The Marantz is also DNLA compliant so can easily be controlled with a host of devices over your home network.
Of course it does all the modern codecs offered up on Blu-ray discs as well as a multitude of enhanced audio processing and surround modes thanks to the 32-bit SHARC processor, including Audyssey's DSX, Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ. From a room correction standpoint, not only does it offer Audyssey's famed MultiEQ XT, it is also capable of MultiEQ XT Pro, so those with access to the Pro kit or your installer can maximally correct for room problems. For those who would rather EQ their own speakers, the receiver allows manual EQ as well.
The tuner section of the SR7005 is highly flexible and can accept AM, FM, HD Radio, Sirius and Internet radio and has a total of 56 presets in seven groups to keep all your favorite stations close by. iPod/iPhone/iPad users can connect their devices via Apple's USB directly to the Marantz SR7005 for direct digital feeds, bypassing the internal DACs in the device, or they can stream via Bluetooth with the addition of the RX101 Bluetooth receiver offered as an add-on by Marantz. You can even attach flash drives or USB hard drives and use the remote to sort through your music on the USB device. An Ethernet connection allows for firmware updates, and streaming of photos or music from your PC.
Marantz has provided plenty of power to allow you to fully enjoy the dynamics of your favorite music or movies too, with seven discreet amplifiers rated at 125 Watts per channel. The 24-bit/192kHz DAC's ensure the finest analog output from your digital media, and for compressed media, Marantz has included their most current M-DAX Dynamic Audio eXpander.
A total of 11 sets of speaker binding posts allow you to set up an array of speaker configurations to suit your desires, perhaps using Audyssey DSX for TV viewing and a standard 7.1 system for Blu-rays. The extra binding posts allow the receiver to swap speakers in and out as needed, so you don't have to change the wires once the unit is set up. You can even use two channels to bi-amplify your front speakers in a 5.1 setup.
My SR7005 came double boxed for shipping and inside the inner box the receiver was secured with plenty of Styrofoam and wrapped to protect the finish. Included are the power cord, radio antennae, Audyssey set up microphone and the remote. The remote is better than many I've seen lately. It's a simple rectangle with a button easily found on the side to turn on the back lighting, which illuminates the entire keypad and a single lined LCD display at the top of the remote that shows you which device it is controlling. I liked this feature as it lets you know immediately what the remote is set to, though I still prefer an aftermarket remote for controlling my systems. The remote is preprogrammed with tons of current and older gear and is capable of learning commands for unknown or esoteric gear not in its database.
Hooking up the Marantz SR7005 was very straightforward. I connected my 5.1 Kef 5005.2 speaker system to the speaker terminals and preamplifier's subwoofer output, ran my Denon DVD-2500BTCi, Scientific Atlanta HD 8300 DVR, AppleTV, and Oppo BD-83SE all via HDMI connectors. I ran the analog outputs of my Marantz TT15SI turntable's Dynavector P75 MkII phono preamp to an analog input and connected the HDMI output to my Panasonic plasma. The connections only took about 20 minutes. I powered the system on and went through the setup menu to properly assign and rename the inputs to sync with my gear in another 10-15 minutes. I plugged in the included Audyssey microphone and ran the room correction, which took another 15-20 minutes and was up and rocking in less than an hour.
The setup menus were logical and easy to navigate and I never needed the instructions to configure the system. I liked the porthole look of the receiver and found the small central two-line display was more than adequate for my use. Showing me the source and volume, a full more standard display is included behind the drop down door on the front of the unit, should you want more information.
Click to Page 2 for The High Points, The Low Points and The Conclusion.
I let the unit burn in for a couple weeks and recalibrated the Audyssey just in case something had changed before doing any critical listening; then spun up Paranormal Activity on Blu-ray (Paramount). The film is simple yet amazingly effective, and the Marantz SR7005 did a great job positioning the sound effects, allowing me to sense where the spirit was. When the footsteps and throbbing bass were present prior to its arrival, I was amazed at just how well this receiver did handling the depth of these tones and it filled my bedroom with deep eerie bass.
I watched a favorite film of mine, Fight Club (20th Century Fox), on Blu-ray. The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack kept me completely involved in the film. The echoes of the cave scene where Tyler finds his animal, a penguin, gave a great sense of space and you could hear the echoing of the drops of water off the walls. Punches had that true smack of flesh and the spinning effects were excellent. No matter what this soundtrack threw at me, the Marantz had no problems accurately portraying them, from the crashing of glass in the office scene to the intensity of gunshots. More importantly, the vocals stayed clean and clear. The balance of presentation was open and clear. I was truly impressed and once again watched the film straight through.
I cued up an old favorite album of mine in Blind Faith's self-titled album (Polydor). The subtlety of the guitars and Steve Winwood's vocals on "Can't Find My Way Home" were smooth, while the drums stayed tight and the cymbals were lively without being harsh. On "Well...All Right," the space of the song was well presented while the percussion stayed solid, keeping all the liveliness of this song in check.
I turned to the Doobie Brothers Greatest Hits (Rhino/WEA). The opening of "Black Water" was quite clear, with a welcome warmth and pluckiness to the acoustic guitar. The vocals were smooth and clear, and as the song picked up, the Marantz kept up with it all. Drums remained clear and there was plenty of separation between the various instruments. On the more energetic "China Grove," the guitars were alive and aggressive as they should be for this piece, while the lead and chorus vocals stayed in check. The keyboards jumped in and out with precision.
I have one of Marantz RX101 Bluetooth receivers, so I connected it and played around streaming music from my iPhone wirelessly to the system. First off, once connected, it functions extremely well as long as the source isn't outside of the limited range of Bluetooth itself. The ability to stream music from my computer or phone, or friends' phones was a great convenience, though you can also connect your iPod or iPhone via the USB port for a purely digital feed from the device, or any other media storage such as a flash drive or even external hard drive, instantly turning the Marantz into a music server.
The remote allows you to control and search through your collection when using the USB interface and Marantz's M-DAX audio expansion can be used to compensate for compression used in MP3's. While I can't say the sound was as good with MP3's versus AIFF files, because it wasn't, the ability to sit with phone in hand and control my tunes was a great convenience and a lot of fun. I found the M-DAX was hit and miss; on some tracks I definitely thought it improved the sound, however on others I didn't like it as much.
I was particularly impressed by how well the Marantz SR7005 did with surround sound. When I was watching TV, Dolby Digital surround effects were exceptionally well balanced and transitioned perfectly. Whether it was a gun click from "Burn Notice" to a crash or thud in "Royal Pains," the Marantz gave me one of the best TV surround experiences I have had in my bedroom. I didn't use any enhanced surround modes during this review, so all I can attribute the enhancement to is possibly the better Audyssey than my current reference receiver uses, giving me better balance between the speakers.
Competition and Comparison
The Marantz SR7005 is a great receiver and one I will be recommending, but there are plenty others receivers at this price point to consider. Those looking to save a little more money can easily step down to Marantz's own SR6005 coming out soon that will also do HDMI 1.4s. The RX101 Bluetooth receiver is optional for this unit or the current, HDMI 1.3 SR6004 which includes the Bluetooth receiver, but won't pass 3D TV or allow use of the Audio Return channel from your display. Certainly at this price you need to consider the Sherwood Newcastle R-972 receiver for $1,799 as well, especially for those with suboptimal speaker placement, as its Trinnov Optimizer can really help compensate for poor speaker placement, in my mind even better than any Audyssey system I have heard.
Other contenders are the new Denon AVR-3311Ci ($1,199) which has Pandora and Flickr support. Onkyo also has a new unit out worthy of consideration, in the TX-NR1008 ($1,399) that is designed for networking as well with the likes of Napster, Pandora, Rhapsody and more.
Yamaha isn't one to be left out either with their new Aventage line ups RX-A2000 ($1,499) or the slightly less expensive RX-A1000 at $1,099. Obviously there are many more choices than these at and near this price point. In order to best suit you and your needs, you will need to decide what features you want and need and which unit provides them with the sonics that best suit your taste. For more information on home theater receivers or for help in deciding which one is best for you and your system please check out Home Theater Review's receiver page.
The only things I can complain about are some minor gripes, like that it doesn't support Mac users - but most networked receivers don't. Marantz has abandoned XM Radio, so users are now limited to Sirius for satellite radio, but that's understandable considering the XM-Sirius merger. The remote is pretty well laid out and is fully backlit, but you still would benefit from an aftermarket remote to maximize your enjoyment and ease of use of your system.
Marantz has done a great job with the SR7005 receiver. In each of their latest line revisions they have improved the feature set and the SR7005 is yet another leap forward for them. Sonically it is one of the finest receivers I have had the pleasure of listening to. It is as current as current gets in terms of features, for it can handle 3D TV and the Audio Return Channel from HDMI 1.4a, as well as offer tons of networking flexibility for PC users, plus HD Radio and internet radio for anyone regardless of their computer platform.
The use of Audyssey's MultiEQ XT (and Pro for those with access to the Pro system or for installers) ensures the finest room correction available. The seven channels of amplification can be assigned to adapt to different inputs so you can use them as best suits your needs for use of front width channel or to bi-amp your front speakers or provide power for a second zone.
I loved the new simplified look of the front of this unit, and found the display offered all the information I needed for daily use. When I wanted or needed more data, I could easily flip down the front door and use the larger display - yet didn't have to be assaulted by all this information when it wasn't needed. The onscreen menus and displays are simple and elegant. The remote is solid and backlit and can be programmed to control your entire system, but I think users at this level would benefit from an aftermarket remote to enhance ease of use. All told, this is one of the finest receivers I have had the pleasure of using and I bought mine to replace Marantz's own SR8002, as it offered me future-proofing for 3D TV and gave a more enveloping soundfield than even their own more expensive model. This is an exceptional receiver and one I enthusiastically recommend.
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