Marantz SR7010 AV Receiver Review
All the performance and future-proofing that you could want
What is the Marantz SR7010?The SR7010 is the latest flagship AV receiver from Marantz which takes all the great features from last year's award-winning SR7009 and adds DTS:X support and plenty of future-proofing. The receiver itself includes nine channels of built-in amplification and support for Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D and DTS:X. The first of those formats is already included and DTS:X and Auro-3D will be added via a firmware update early next year. In terms of big changes from last year, the SR7010 now uses HDMI 2.0a/HDCP2.2 on all its inputs and outputs. This is important because it means that you can pass Ultra HD 4K content with HDR metadata, giving the Marantz an excellent degree of future-proofing. In addition the SR7010 comes packed with other features such as built-in Bluetooth and WiFi, AirPlay, Spotify, ISF certification, support for DSD (2.8 MHz) and FLAC (24-bit/192kHz), dual subwoofers and Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room equalisation. That's an impressive set of features for a receiver that only costs £1,399 as at the time of writing (November 2015), so let's see if the Marantz SR7010 is a worthy successor to its illustrious predecessor.
DesignAs far as the design of the SR7010 is concerned, it's business as usual with the classic look of a Marantz receiver. So you get the two-tone effect with matte curved sides and a brushed metal central section. On the left hand side is a large input dial with the power button beneath it and on the right is a large volume dial. In between the two dials is an attractive circular display with a blue light around the outside, although this can be turned off if you prefer. The information the display shows is minimal but it's a nice touch that keeps the front facia uncluttered and helps the SR7010 stand out from the crowd.
Everything else is hidden behind a drop down flap, where you'll find a larger display that is informative, easy to read and can be dimmed if necessary. You’ll also find a set of basic controls and some additional inputs, including an HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2 connector and a USB port; along with a headphone jack, a composite video input, a stereo analogue input and a socket for the setup microphone. The build quality is generally very good but not quite up to the standards of the generally more expensive competition. The SR7010 measures 440 x 185 x 411mm (WxHxD), weighs in at 13.8kg and is available in either black or silver-gold.
The basic design remains the same but now includes HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2 connections for better future-proofing.
Connections & ControlUnsurprisingly for a flagship receiver, the SR7010 has a host of connections at the rear, even if most of them probably won't get used much these days. There are component and composite video inputs, along with plenty of analogue audio inputs, not to mention coaxial and optical digital inputs. There's even a signal ground terminal for those that have embraced the resurgence of vinyl and bought a turntable. However of far greater importance are the eight HDMI inputs (seven at the rear and one at the front) and three HDMI outputs, the main one of which supports ARC (Audio Return Channel).
Marantz have wisely used HDMI 2.0a connections with support for HDCP 2.2 copy protection, which affords the SR7010 an excellent level of future-proofing. Other useful connections include a LAN port, sockets for the AM and FM tuners, two 12V triggers, an IR Flasher and an RS232 port for serial control; as well as twin antennas which provide both built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. There are 11-channel pre-outs covering various speaker configurations, as well as two subwoofer outputs and multiple zones. Finally Marantz has sensibly laid out the speaker terminals to make them easier to access and also clearly marked and colour-coded them.
The SR7010 includes the same remote control as previous generations but then, if it ain't broke why fix it? So we get an attractive remote that uses a black brush metal effect and a silver trim. It's sensibly laid out, with well spaced and large buttons that make it quite ergonomic to operate and comfortable to hold. There’s a small display at the top, along with a handy backlight for use in a darkened room and overall we found the provided controller to be very good. Alternatively, you can also use the Marantz free remote app, which is available for both iOS and Android. This app isn’t as slick as some of the competition but it does gets the job done and provides an effective alternative to the provided remote control. Of course if you happen to be near the receiver and want to quickly change something, you can always use the controls on the front.
Marantz SR7010 Unboxing Video
Features & SpecsThe SR7009 was a well specified receiver and the SR7010 continues that trend by retaining all the features on the previous model, improving some and even adding a few more. Kicking off with the audio side of things, the SR7010 features a sophisticated power amplifier section with all 9 channels configured identically and employing discrete high current capable power transistors. According to Marantz it delivers 200W into each of the nine channels and features very high grade audio components that have been carefully selected. The whole internal circuit further enhances audio quality by delicately handling all signals via Marantz's HDAMs (Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module) in current feedback topology before passing them on to the power stage to drive the connected speakers. The digital-to-analogue converters (DAC) have also had an upgrade and now support 32-bit/192kHz.
The SR7010 uses Audyssey MultEQ XT32 for the room equalisation and then adds a host of other features such as Audyssey DSX for additional height or width speakers. There’s also Audyssey LFC (Low Frequency Containment) which dynamically monitors the audio content and removes low frequencies that pass through walls, floors and ceilings, which can be useful if you live in an apartment or don't want to wake the family. There's Audyssey Dynamic Volume which smoothes out annoying jumps in volume and Audyssey Dynamic EQ which provides tonal balancing at any volume level. There’s also the option for discrete subwoofers and the level and delay can be adjusted for each one separately. Audyssey Sub EQ HT is designed to make the integration of the two subwoofers seamless by compensating for any level and delay differences and applying EQ to both for better bass response.
There’s support for every surround format currently on the market, including Dolby Atmos, DTS: X and Auro-3D. The SR7010 already includes Dolby Atmos and Dolby Surround Upmixing and DTS:X and DTS Neural:X Upmixer will be enabled through a free-of-charge online firmware update next year. In addition an upgrade to add Auro-3D will also be released in the spring of 2016. On the video side, the SR7010 can handle Ultra HD 4K at up to 60Hz with High Dynamic Range (HDR) metadata and also supports image processing for 4K 60p, 4:4:4 and 24-bit video. It can upscale lower resolution video, including analogue video and standard definition content, at up to 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution over HDMI, and there are even ISF calibration controls. As mentioned previously there are eight HDMI inputs and three HDMI outputs with video support over HDMI for additional zones, as well as support for ARC (Audio Return Channel).
There's built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, both of which were quick and easy to setup, whilst the SR7010 also supports AirPlay, Spotify and playback of DSD (2.8 MHz) and FLAC 192 kHz files over connected networks or via USB. There are AM and FM tuners built-in, along with Internet Radio, DLNA 1.5 certification and a media player that, along with DSD and FLAC, also supports WMA, MP3, WAV, AA, ALAC and AIFF. There are speaker connections for a second stereo zone, and pre-amp outputs for a third stereo zone. Finally the SR7010 includes a fan on the left hand side, although it will have no rotation during normal use. This means that the the fan will usually only start under maximum load or measurement of maximum output power with all channels driven by the same signal. As this will rarely happen in normal use, Marantz don't think users should notice the fan starting, we certainly never heard it during any of our testing.
The SR7010 includes a host of features and is very flexible but still remains easy to setup.
SetupAs with all the Marantz receivers, the SR7010 includes a very handy setup wizard that is so easy to use even a complete novice shouldn’t have any problems. This approach is sensible and helps to make the SR7010 less intimidating to anyone who might be unfamiliar with multi-channel AV receivers. The wizard covers everything from choosing your speaker layout to setting up your various inputs and outputs and any additional zones. It also checks the polarity of your speakers and the volume of your subwoofer(s) before taking you through the Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room equalisation process. Of course if you prefer there's always the option of a full manual setup.
Marantz include a dedicated microphone that you connect into the front of the SR7010 during the setup process. If you have a tripod, then the overall process is easier but in case you don’t, Marantz include a cardboard stand to help you out. The audio calibration process takes readings from up to eight positions in order to measure test tones from all the connected speakers and any subwoofers and thus equalise for the acoustical effects of the room itself. We started with basic 5.1 and 7.1 speaker setups, before moving onto both 5.2.4 and 7.2.2 Dolby Atmos speaker configurations. We then connected a two-channel power amplifier to take full advantage of the receiver's 11.2-channel processing with a 7.2.4 speaker configuration.
Sound Quality - MoviesThe SR7010 delivered a wonderfully accomplished performance with film soundtracks, regardless of the number of channels being used in the original mix. The Audyssey processing worked extremely well, creating a genuinely cohesive soundstage and integrating the surrounds effectively with the front three speakers. As a result there was excellent panning and localisation of effects within a 360 degree plane. This was especially apparent when watching Jurassic World, where the highly active 7.1-channel sound design constantly moves sounds around the room. Whether it was the subtle sounds of the jungle or the not-so-subtle sounds of the Indominus Rex, the Marantz created a very real sense of immersion, drawing the viewer into the film.
We also found ourselves being impressed by the incredible soundtrack on Tomorrowland, which made full use of all seven channels to create a truly exceptional sound design. The sound effects were rendered with precision and there was a musical quality to the score. However the centre channel remained perfectly defined, resulting in dialogue that was clear despite the chaos surrounding it. The bass was also very well integrated and those low frequency effects punctuated the action precisely, providing an effective foundation for the sound. However we also had a chance to experience the subtlety of the SR7010 when watching a less bombastic film like Mr. Holmes, where the Marantz was able to render the carefully layered soundtrack with ease.
With over twenty Dolby Atmos Blu-rays in our collection, we had no problems at all testing the SR7010's capabilities with the format and if we only used the built-in amplification, we found that we preferred using the 7.1.2 configuration, as opposed to the 5.1.4 configuration. This is because the back speakers helped fill out the entire sound field, especially when moving audio objects around the room, whereas there appeared to be little difference between having two of four speakers overhead. However regardless of which configuration we chose, the precision of the localisation of effects and the panning of sounds was quite remarkable, even with just five ear-level speakers. The amount of bass energy was also impressive and the SR7010 did an excellent job of integrating the lower frequencies with the rest of the sound field.
We also tested the SR7010 in an 11-channel configuration by adding extra amplification and running a 7.2.4 setup. As it happened our testing of the Marantz coincided with an influx of new Dolby Atmos titles, so in fairly short order we watched San Andreas, Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Fifth Element and Leon. However it was San Andreas that really stood out, with an incredibly immersive soundtrack that had enough bass energy to shake the foundations of the house. The receiver did a marvellous job of replicating what is a very complex sound design, moving sounds around the room and above you, then hitting the low frequencies as the destruction escalates. However despite all this sonic chaos, dialogue always remained clear and precisely anchored to the screen, whilst the music filled the front soundstage.
The new Atmos mix for Bram Stoker's Dracula was also very impressive and added an entirely new layer to what was already a highly active sound design, which the Marantz replicated perfectly. In fact the SR7010 delivered a wonderful performance with all the films we watched, producing a multi-channel performance that was both subtle and powerful in equal measure. When compared to other receivers of a similar price, or even more expensive ones, we always find that the Marantz delivers a classy performance where detail and subtlety are as important as crashes and bangs. The multi-channel experience is just as good but the refinement means the SR7010 can also deliver a better two-channel performance compared to many AV receivers.
Marantz SR7010 Video Review
Sound Quality - MusicThose who prefer the delights of two-channel audio often feel that multi-channel AV receivers struggle to compete with a dedicated stereo amplifier. However for most people it is impractical to run an AV receiver for movie watching and a separate stereo amplifier for music. So what you really need is a receiver that can deliver both, a great multi-channel sound and a decent stereo performance. The SR7010 is just such a receiver and it handled two-channel music extremely well, with the new Squeeze album Cradle to the Grave sounding wonderful. The soundstage was suitably open but there was also a refinement to the overall audio that was unusual in an AV product, with the entire frequency range nicely reproduced.
The Marantz is a classy performer and it handled the weathered vocals and country arrangements of Don Henley's Cass County with skill and subtlety. As is often the case, the most effective results were gained by running the Marantz in its Pure Direct two-channel mode without the subwoofer, although if you prefer to use your sub with music that also works very well. Aside from streaming music from our network and via Bluetooth, we also tried through USB and AirPlay and, overall, the SR7010 delivered excellent results. Where possible we try to keep the resolution of our music as high as possible but we did find that the Marantz could be surprisingly sympathetic to heavily compressed sources.
The SR7010 delivered a fantastic audio performance, retaining the class of its predecessor but adding more power.
- Classy and refined sound
- Excellent surround performance
- Dolby Atmos, DTS:X & Auro-3D Support
- HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2 support
- Plenty of great features
- Easy to setup
- Attractive design
- Remote app is rather basic
- Build quality could be slightly better
Marantz SR7010 AV Receiver Review
Should I buy one?
There's no doubt that once again Marantz have produced an AV receiver that delivers fantastic value, with a set of features and a level of performance far in excess of its £1,399 price tag. The SR7010 is nicely designed with an attractive finish and although the build quality isn't quite as good as some of the competition, it's still well made. There are more connections at the rear than you'll ever need and crucially the 8 HDMI inputs and 3 HDMI outputs are HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2. compliant. The remote control is well designed and effective, whilst the remote app, although not as flash as some others, gets the job done. The menu system is excellent and thanks to the inclusion of an effective wizard and Audyssey MultEQ XT32, setup is very straightforward.
The Marantz has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, along with AirPlay, Spotify, DLNA and Internet Radio. There's also an AM tuner, an FM tuner, ISF controls and a highly effective media player. The audio components have also had an upgrade and, along with Dolby Atmos, both DTS:X and Auro-3D will be added next year. The performance with multi-channel audio was superb, bringing film soundtracks to life and immersing the listener. The front sound stage is wide, dialogue is clear and central, effects are seamlessly panned around the room and bass is deep and well integrated. The result is a hugely enjoyable experience made all the better by the receiver's lovely musicality with two-channel audio. Ultimately the Marantz SR7010 is a class act that does it all and it does it well.
What are my alternatives?
There are a number of new AV receivers hitting the market, all of which have Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding, not to mention HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2 support. However very few of them offer the winning combination of features, price and performance that the Marantz SR7010 does. Denon's AVR-X6200 offers an almost identical feature set but will cost you four hundred quid more, whilst Yamaha's RX-A2050 is also an excellent alternative and will only set you back an extra £100. For a direct alternative in terms of price, the Pioneer SC-LX59 also costs £1,399 and offers a great set of features. Although all these receivers will give the Marantz a run for its money in terms of a big multi-channel sound, in terms of pure musicality it's hard to imagine any of them out-performing the refinement and subtlety of the SR7010, which is why we have no hesitation in awarding a Highly Recommended badge.
Value For Money9
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