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.