This $2,000 high-end seven-channel SR8002 is a powerhouse receiver that really excels in the audio department and does an excellent job on video as well. In fact, Marantz markets this unit as an extremely flexible receiver, ideal for both audiophiles and videophiles. Regarding audio, the Marantz 8002 packs 125 watts x seven channels, which means that this THX Select2-certified unit replaces Marantz's previous flagship receiver by adding HDMI 1.3 inputs and the ability to decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats. Another interesting feature is what Marantz calls M-DAX (Marantz Dynamic Audio eXpander), which adds more detail and life to compressed digital audio tracks, which is great if you have a large collection of MP3 files. The unit's Audyssey room-correction system uses test tones and a mic to measure acoustic conditions in your room, then adjusts the receiver's equalization to maximize sound based on your surroundings. It's quite easy to do, guided by onscreen prompts, and makes the audio sound just right in your particular room. The THX2 certification offers things like timbre matching, adaptive correlation and Re-EQ, all of which, in a nutshell, enhance sound automatically. And that's just a handful of the features inside of this reference receiver. Additional Resources
• Read other high end home theater receiver reviews from brands like Denon, Sony ES, Sherwood Newcastle, Anthem, Sunfire and many others.
• Read a review of the Onkyo TX-SR608 AV receiver here.
On everything from Blu-ray movie soundtracks to CDs to digital audio files, the Marantz performs like a true champ. The sound is powerful, but not overly aggressive. On movie soundtracks, audio is exact, but also dynamic and inviting. If you value great sound, this receiver is the perfect choice. If you are an audiophile looking for a receiver for a secondary system, you may have just found your answer. Gone is that harsh, cheapie receiver sound. Audiophiles will find the Marantz to be much smoother, more detailed and accurate, as one would expect from a higher-end AV preamp or even from an entry-level stereo preamp, albeit this one has lots more bells and whistles.
The SR8002 has four HDMI inputs and two HDMI outs, plus four component ins and two outs, so for HD sources, you are well covered. The Marantz does not offer a lot of video processing (it will deinterlace and convert 480i video to 480p). This is likely due to the fact that Marantz believes if you are playing at this level, you probably have a video display that has top-of-the-line video processing or a source, like a Blu-ray player, that upconverts standard-def video to high-def. Regardless, the video is simply gorgeous. Blu-ray movies look razor-sharp and high-def games from a PlayStation 3 look even better. Images are vivid, crisp and defined, even on non-HD sources.
The remote is well thought-out, with most of the receiver's functions available at the touch of a button, rather than wading through onscreen menus. There is an IR-based remote offered as well, which is intended for operating the receiver through walls in a second zone. Read about the high points and the low points of the SR8002 on Page 2.