Marantz NR1509 AV Receiver Review
Sometimes less is more...
What is the Marantz NR1509?The Marantz NR1509 AV Receiver delivers 5.2 channels of amplification with support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.
It is a slimline design that is half the height of a normal AVR and is designed to fit into a modern living room environment. It has an excellent all-metal design and construction, with simple to use buttons and connections.
The NR1509 has 6 HDMI inputs and is fully compatible with the latest 4K Ultra HD video specifications, including Dolby Vision. This AVR is designed for those who want a discrete looking AVR to power a 5.2 speaker system in a modern home environment, and be easy to use.
The Marantz sports a simple and elegant front plate with a minimal amount of inputs and controls. The centre of the AVR has a large and simple to read display which is easy to see from across the room, to check your source and sound settings.
To either side of the display, we have some inputs and dials. To the left are the power button and a large input selection knob and below this are a ¼ inch headphone jack and the 3.5mm set up mic socket for the Audyssey auto EQ set up.
Moving to the right side and we have a large volume knob that has a nice feel when used and below this are a USB and HDMI input.
To the bottom of the chassis are isolation feet and overall the front design is minimalist and sleek. The NR1509 is available in either black or a silver-gold finish. Heat extraction is via vents in the top panel and we didn’t find the NR1509 getting overly hot in use, rather it just gets warm to the touch. Just make sure you don’t place anything directly on top of the AVR and, if shelf mounting, make sure there is good air flow and room above the vents.
The connections on the NR1509 are well spaced out and in a logical manner around the back of the unit. Each type of connection has its own place on the back plate along with colour coding for the speaker terminals.
There are five HDMI inputs, with the sixth on the front panel and one ARC enabled output. All HDMI inputs and output can support full bandwidth 4K 4:4:4 60p video with HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision compatibility making it as future proof as possible. It is a shame that there is only one HDMI output, but given the likely use cases for the NR1509 and the price point, we suppose it is about right for this level of the market. The fact that all the HDMI are up to date is excellent news.
The rear panel is nicely laid out and easy to understand, even for beginners. The speaker terminals are colour coded and stickers are supplied in the box to add to the relevant speaker wire so they match up. There is also a setup assistant in the menu system which directs users through the process of getting the best settings for their Marantz NR1509.
For extra help with the set up process, the NR1509 has Audyssey MultEQ on board and comes with a calibrated mic and cardboard mic stand. It is easy to use and will assist in getting the best crossovers, distances and volume levels for all five channels. We did find that with subwoofers MultEQ is not as accurate as the more advanced systems, so you may need to manually adjust your subs for the best results. But the NR1509 does come with two subwoofer outputs so you can balance out the bass in your room, something of a rarity at this price point.
The NR1509 also supports Hi-Res audio with ALAC, FLAC and WAV file support as well as DSD 2.8 and 5.6 MHz tracks through the USB input or over network connections. The ALEXA skill is available via the HEOS application and it works well once you rename the product to AVR. Of course, with HEOS you have built-in multi-room audio technology including full streaming service coverage within the HEOS app with services such as Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music and TuneIn, plus you also have access to these via Bluetooth, Airplay2 or the HEOS app.
Marantz NR1509 Video ReviewWe cover the full details and review of the NR1509 in our video review, including set-up, menus, design, sound quality and performance. Watch here:
- Excellent 5.2 sound quality
- Excellent value for money
- Full 4K 4:4:4 60p support with HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision
- Excellent features at price point
- Good build quality
- Slimline design and simple layout of connections
- Nothing at this price point
Marantz NR1509 AV Receiver ReviewAs we have mentioned a number of times in this review, the NR1509 is not an immersive audio equipped receiver, so it doesn’t do Atmos or DTS:X. It does, however, offer the lossless Dolby True HD and DTS Master Audio codec support.
The target consumer for this product will likely be someone either downsizing their system, or someone who doesn’t want to go the soundbar route, but also can’t fit in a fully immersive surround system and who wants a slimline, good looking and high performing 5.2 AVR. Added to a decent set of mid range speakers and a couple of subwoofers, the Marantz not only offers superb surround performance but also really decent two-channel Hi-Fi as well.
I spent the best part of three weeks testing the NR1509 in our reference system here with a nice mix of movies and music and it performed extremely well. The room is a dedicated cinema room, which is 19 feet long by 16 feet wide and with 9ft ceiling, with some treated surfaces at the front and sides of the room and a more reflective, live sound to the rear of the room.
With 0db set as a reference level in the room, the NR1509 managed to drive our MK MP300 system without any signs of strain or running out of steam up to around -6db, which is loud enough for most users, without suffering from a brittle high-end performance as it runs out of steam. Push it further than this and the sound did compress and get harsh as we ran out of power but, up to that point, I had no complaints and the Marantz NR1509 would suit any UK sized room with a good set of sensitive 4 or 8 ohm speakers. It would also be loud enough for anyone using it on a daily basis for TV and movie viewing.
Plus, given the design, it will fit neatly into any living room system without drawing attention to itself.
With a mix of film test scenes, the Marantz NR1509 sounded dynamic and weighty with excellent vocals and effects steering. Dunkirk sounded as epic as it always does and even bass heavy sound mixes, like Blade Runner 2049, came across as balanced and powerful, with superb atmosphere and bass. We only really noticed a slight lack of mid-tone detail using well-known scenes from regular test discs, but overall the little NR1509 does exactly what it sets out to do and with some style and attitude.
Music also sounds good, from two-channel stereo tracks to full-on musicals, the little NR1509 never failed to impress with punchy basslines from The Greatest Showman, to flat-out Wembley 1985 in Bohemian Rhapsody, where once again the performance was excellent at sensible volume levels with an excellent soundstage and precise vocal placement.
The Marantz NR1509 is not intended to be as powerful as a full-sized AV Receiver with the extra horsepower they possess, or as an immersive AVR with Atmos or DTS:X. It is designed for those who don't want to go down the soundbar route, but who also can't accommodate a full-on immersive sound system in their home. It is designed to fit within a modern living room and drive a reasonably sized 5.2 speakers system without getting in the way.
Used as intended, we found very little to complain about at all from the plucky little 5.2 AVR and as such, it left us incredibly impressed with the value for money on offer, especially at the prices you can pick it up for online at the time of this review (April 2019). As such, we are happy to give it a Best Buy badge.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £499.00
Value For Money9
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