Marantz SR7007 7.2 channel AV Receiver Review

Marantz launch their flagship receiver but how does it stack up in a crowded market place

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12

Recommended
Marantz SR7007 7.2 channel AV Receiver Review
SRP: £1,299.00

Introduction

Whilst there is no doubt that the rise of music streaming has precipitated a decline in the fortunes of the trusty AV receiver, it remains a competitive market. The major Japanese manufacturers continue to dominante with Marantz/Denon, Onkyo, Pioneer and Sony all jockeying for position. We have recently reviewed flagship models from a number of manufacturers including Sony's DA5700ES, Pioneer's LX86, Onkyo's NR5010 and Anthem's MRX700, so now it's the turn of Marantz with their SR7007. On paper, at least, it appears to be a well specified receiver with an enhanced network capability including internet radio, Spotify, high-resolution audio support, DLNA compliance and Apple's AirPlay. There's also seven channels of amplification, along with Audyssey MultEQ XT, Audyssey DSX and 7.2-channel pre-outs if needed. There's an impressive number of connections including 7 HDMI inputs and 3 HDMI outputs, as well as extensive video processing including 4K upscaling and passthrough. All this comes at a fairly attractive price but you can only tell so much by looking at the specifications, so let's see how it performs in a crowded market place.

Design and Connectivity

Marantz's knack for designing attractive products continues unabated with the SR7007, which has a beautifully clean front facia with a slight curve at the edges. All you get on the front are two control knobs - one for volume on the right and one for input on the left - and an off/off button. In the middle there is a small round display that that shows the selected input, volume and tuner information when the input is set to FM. There is a blue ring of light around the central display which thankfully can be turned off, along with the display itself but otherwise this is an impressively minimalist approach. Everything else, including another larger display, sits behind the drop down flap. The SR7007 comes in a choice of either black or silver-gold, it measures 440 x 399 x 185mm and weighs 12.5kg.

Marantz SR7007

The overall build quality is reasonable but despite being a flagship receiver, the SR7007 lacks the weight and solidity found in much of the competition. Perhaps it’s the fact that it only has seven channels of built-in amplification but the SR7007 wasn't as hernia inducing to move around as some other receivers we've seen recently. Looking inside the chassis, there was clearly a lot of empty space and the receiver could have been half the height if Marantz had so wished. Behind the drop down flap there is a more detailed display and a series of controls that allow you to setup and use the receiver without needing to resort to the remote control. There are also some additional inputs, including a seventh HDMI input, a USB port and a headphone jack. There is also a composite video input, analogue stereo inputs and a jack for the setup microphone.

Marantz SR7007

At the rear are a comprehensive set of connections, including six HDMI inputs and, unusually, three HDMI outputs - two of which include ARC. There are speaker terminals for a standard 7-channel configuration and additional speaker terminals for either a 5.1-channel with additional side speakers, a 5.1-channel with additional height speakers or biamped front channels. There are 7.1-channel inputs and 7.2-channel outputs, which allows you to run dual subwoofers. In addition there are optical and coaxial digital inputs and analogue inputs, including phono with a ground terminal for those with turntables. There are inputs and outputs for both composite and component video and there is an Ethernet port, along with an RS232 connector for serial control. Finally there is a M-XPort jack for connecting the optional RX101 wireless adapter which adds Bluetooth, a Flasher In jack, remote control in and out connectors and two 12v triggers.

The remote control provided with the SR7007 is a great example of how to design a receiver remote. All the buttons are sensibly laid out, every control you would need is present without making the layout cluttered and best of all for those with a darkened home cinema, there is a back light. The remote itself is made of black plastic, with a brushed metal effect on the front and a silver trim. It's light, comfortable to hold and easy to use - even with one hand. There is a small display at the top and it's a learning remote which means you can also control other devices.

Setup and Menus

The design of the menu system is fairly basic, which makes it easy to follow but compared to the menu screens found on Sony's STR-DA5700ES, it looks very dated. On the plus side, setup is quite straightforward and the menu system itself is reasonably intuitive. The main menu is accessed by pressing the Setup button on the remote and it offers a choice of Audio, Video, Inputs, Speakers, Network and General. We will cover Audio, Video and Speakers in the relevant sections of this review, so for now we'll just cover the remaining menu options.

Marantz SR7007
Marantz SR7007

The Inputs sub-menu allows you to assign inputs, rename sources and also hide ones that you aren't using. You can also set the source level, select the input mode and decode mode and assign video sources to audio sources. In the Network sub-menu you can access the network information, the IP control, change the friendly name, adjust the wired settings and chose whether or not to display the Last.fm item on the menu.

Marantz SR7007
Marantz SR7007

Finally there is the General sub-menu which includes options for language selection, zone2 setup, zone 3 setup, zone rename, trigger out 1 and 2, auto standby, turning of the front display and information. The front display control gives you a choice of on, auto off and off.

Features

The SR7007 isn't as feature-packed as some of the competition but it has most of the important bases covered. There's no built-in WiFi although, in fairness, that seems to be the case with all AV receivers but there is an ethernet port, making it easy to connect the SR7007 to your home network.

Marantz SR7007

If you press the Network input selection button on the remote, you bring up the network home page. From here you can access your favourites, along with the internet radio, Last.fm, Spotify, Flickr and the media server.

Marantz SR7007
Marantz SR7007

The SR7007 has a built-in FM tuner and comes with an aerial, so if you prefer the better quality afforded by FM broadcasts and you can get decent reception, you can listen to some old school radio. If not you also have the option to use the internet radio, giving you access to an almost limitless choice of radio stations from all over the world.

Marantz SR7007
Marantz SR7007

The SR7007 is DLNA certified and the media server worked flawlessly, picking up all the devices connected to our home network, which in this case happened to be our MacBook Pro and a Panasonic E6 that we had in for review. We had no problems playing back music and looking at photos from the various devices connected over our home network. The SR7007 can playback WMA, MP3, WAV, MPEG-4 AAC and JPEG files either over your network or via a USB connection. Unlike some of the competition, it can also handle FLAC HD 192/24 playback, making it a great choice for fans of lossless audio.

Marantz SR7007
Marantz SR7007

As we have come to expect these days, Marantz provide a remote app for both iOS and Android devices and whilst it does allow for basic control, we found it to be something of a disappointment compared to the far more comprehensive interfaces offered by some of the competition. What is perhaps of more use is the inclusion of Apple's AirPlay which allows you to connect directly to your iPod/iPhone/iPad and stream music stored on that device to the SR7007. You can also download Apple's remote app, which allows you to control iTunes from any room in your home and, if you leave IP Control in the Network menu to "Always On", you can also stream music directly from iTunes.

Video Performance

The SR7007 includes the capability to add a degree of video processing to connected video devices but how much you utilise these features will depend on the nature of your video setup. Within the Video menu there are options for Picture Adjust, HDMI Setup, Output Settings, Component Video Out, Volume Display, Info Display, Audio Display and TV Format. The component video out allows you to choose between the different zones, whilst the volume display sets where to display the master volume level, the info display allows you to turn it on or off and the audio display allows you to choose how long certain menus are displayed for.

Marantz SR7007
Marantz SR7007

Within Picture Adjust there are controls for contrast, brightness, saturation (colour), hue (tint), noise reduction and edge enhancement. All of these are standard controls that you will find on your display, so it's best to leave the controls on the SR7007 zeroed or off and make any necessary adjustments on the display itself. The HDMI Setup sub-menu includes controls for auto lip sync, HDMI audio out, video output, HDMI control, standby source, control monitor and power off control.

Marantz SR7007
Marantz SR7007

Within the Output Settings sub-menu there is a video mode option which switches between movie and game mode and a video conversion mode that, when on, automatically converts content to match the connected display. There is a control for the built-in i/p scaler, allowing you to use it with analogue, HDMI, both or not at all. The resolution options allow you to set the output resolution, if you leave it on the default auto setting, the SR7007 will match the output resolution to the native resolution of your display. The receiver can output at 480p, 576p, 720p, 1080i/p, 1080p/24 and 4K. Perhaps more usefully from a future proofing perspective, the SR7007 can also pass a 3D signal and a native 4K signal. The progressive mode is best left to auto to choose between video or film when deinterlacing and the aspect ratio should be set to 16:9. The TV Format sub-menu allows you to select PAL or NTSC output.

When it came to handling standard and high definition content, the SR7007 delivered an impressive performance, deinterlacing 480i, 576i and 1080i signals and scaling up to 1080p over HDMI. It will also passed through 1080p/24 signals from Blu-rays without any problems and passed a 3D signal without any problems as well. We were pleased to see that the SR7007 had no problems detecting both 3:2 and 2:2 cadences, as well as scaling standard definition content without introducing unwanted artefacts or jaggies. As long as you left the picture adjust controls in their default zero or off positions, then the SR7007 could passthrough the video signal without tampering with the image accuracy. Thanks to the inclusion of three HDMI outputs, you can also use the SR7007 to feed a signal to two different displays, perhaps a TV and a projector and to a third display in a different location.

Audio Performance

As mentioned earlier, setting up the SR7007 is straightforward thanks to the combination of Setup Assistant and Audyssey MultEQ XT but there are dedicated Audio and Speakers sub-menus that allow for manual setup and other adjustments. Audyssey MultEQ XT ranks second out of the four Audyssey room correction schemes, with better filter resolution than MultEQ and 2EQ, but less than the top-of-the-line MultEQ XT32 which is used by Onkyo on their TX-NR5010. Within the Audio sub-menu there are controls for adjusting the surround sound parameters; changing the tone; setting the dialogue level by adjusting the output from the centre channel; setting the subwoofer level; the M-DAX feature which is designed to improve the reproduction of compressed sources; adjusting the audio delay, if necessary; setting the main zone volume level; selecting the Audyssey MultiEQ XT, Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume settings; and using the graphic equaliser to adjust the response of each speaker.

Marantz SR7007
Marantz SR7007

Within the Speakers sub-menu there are a series of screens dedicated to different aspects of speaker setup. Whilst these are setup automatically by Audyssey, you can manually adjust or fine tune the settings, if you so desire. The main screen allows you to assign the amps to different setups, configure the speakers, select the subwoofer, set the distances and levels, set any crossover from 40Hz to 240Hz and select the front speakers to be used. The speaker configuration sub-menu allows you to input your layout and the type of speakers in your system. The second screen relates to the distances in metres of the speakers from the main listening position, whilst the final screen uses test tones to set the levels of each speaker from the main listening position. If you're going to do this manually, then you will need a sound pressure level meter.

Marantz SR7007
Marantz SR7007

For the purposes of reviewing the SR7007 we used a number of Blu-rays allowing us to gauge its performance with both Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio soundtracks. We also tested the receiver with stereo and multi-channel PCM from a number of sources, along with Direct Stream Digital (DSD) from a number of SACDs. We also streamed various music files to the SR7007 over our home network and via AirPlay. The use of Audyssey MultiEQ XT to correct for the room certainly helped as well, giving the system a more integrated feel, however we didn't feel it was as effective as the XT32 variant. There is also Audyssey’s DSX for those who wish to add either front height or width channels to the basic 5.1-channel configuration, with Dolby Pro Logic IIz also provided as a height-enhancing alternative. As we have discovered with other receivers, switching to Audyssey DSX and a 7.1 configuration with additional width channels at the front really paid dividends in widening the soundstage and aiding front to back pans. However it is worth noting that unlike the Pioneer SC-LX86 or the Onkyo TX-NR5010, which offer nine channels of built-in amplification and the option of adding two more, the SR7007 is restricted to a maximum of seven, regardless of which configuration you choose.

Overall the SR7007 proved to be a very competent performer, taking every format we tested in its stride. There's no doubt that anyone looking for a well-rounded and capable receiver will be very happy with the SR7007 but we did feel that it lacked the presence and impact of some of the other flagship receivers. That's not to say it isn't a perfectly good receiver and as is often the case with Marantz there are lots of areas where the SR7007 excels. When it came to film soundtracks the receiver handled itself well, providing a balanced and clean sound. Whilst the built-in amplification wasn't as imposing as some of the competition, the SR7007 could reach high volumes without distorting or compressing and perhaps more importantly, it was very good at providing plenty of resolution and detail at lower levels. The imaging and panning of the SR7007 delivered a well-defined and cohesive soundfield that reproduced all the detail inherent in the audio design and delivered an effectively immersive surround field. In both its 5.1 and 7.1 configurations, the SR7007 could effectively replicate the subtleties of the surround mix on movies such as Argo, with plenty of precise imaging and clear dialogue.

We liked that the multi-channel performance of the SR7007 felt more refined than some of its more muscular competitors but we did occasionally feel that the lack of horsepower was evident with more bass-driven soundtracks. Whilst the subwoofer always felt well integrated with the rest of the system, it seemed to lack the impact and response we have experienced with some other receivers and despite the rated 125W per a channel, it also lacked headroom at higher volumes. The more lively soundtracks on movies like Dredd and Skyfall just didn't feel like the sonic assault that they had with other receivers and we found the overall experience less visceral. As a result the overall dynamic range wasn't as wide we would have liked, so if you like your soundtracks loud and brash or intend to use the SR7007 in a larger room, you might want to consider something with a bit more power.

When it came to music the SR7007 was again a very competent performer, especially with multi-channel recordings such as David Bowie's 'Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars' on SACD or The Dame's 'Young Americans' on DVD-A. Again, the SR7007 was effective at delivering the subtle parts of the recordings and imaging the instruments and effects well but lacked a little impact in the lower frequencies. When it comes to SACDs, the SR7007 can accept a Direct Stream Digital (DSD) feed but it converts this to PCM before converting to analogue. As is often the case with Japanese receivers, the performance with stereo recordings wasn't quite as impressive as with multi-channel recordings. The SR7007 is certainly superior to many of its Japanese brethren and it was capable of delivering a subtle and enjoyable two-channel performance, as evidenced by our recent journey through Bowie's back catalogue.

However, it ultimately lacked the complete musicality that you would get with something like an Anthem receiver and if stereo performance is important to you, then bear that in mind.

Verdict

8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

Pros

  • Excellent multi-channel performance
  • Comprehensive connections
  • Impressive video processing
  • Attractive design
  • Good internet features and media support
  • Flexible setup and configuration
  • Well designed remote

Cons

  • No built-in WiFi
  • Menu design is basic
  • Remote app is a disappointment

Marantz SR7007 7.2 channel AV Receiver Review

There's no mistaking the SR7007's pedigree as soon as you take it out of the box, with the chassis reflecting the classic Marantz approach to receiver design. There's a choice of black or silver-gold but whichever one you go for the front facia is all minimalist elegance. There are two control knobs either side of a round centrally mounted display, with everything else being hidden behind a drop down flap. Here you'll find a more detailed display, some basic controls and additional connections. The remote control is superbly designed, with well laid out buttons that are easy to use and it also has a handy back light. At the rear is a comprehensive set of connections including a very generous 7 HDMI inputs and 3 HDMI outputs.

The menu system is looking rather dated these days but at least it is clearly laid out, reasonably responsive and intuitive to navigate. Setup is very easy and the the Audyssey MultEQ XT works quite well, although it isn't as effective as Audyssey's XT32 variant. There are a number of speaker configurations to choose from, however you are restricted to 7.2 outputs, regardless of which speaker configuration you choose. With much of the competition offering outputs up to 11.2, this should be taken into account. The built-in video processing is excellent, with effective deinterlacing and scaling of images, including 4K. Perhaps more importantly the SR7007 can also passthrough video without adversely affecting the image and it can pass a native 4K signal and 3D as well.

The internet features cover all the bases without being flashy and there's Internet radio from Spotify, Flickr and Last.fm. There is also a built-in FM tuner and DLNA certification, allowing you to access all the content on your home network. Unfortunately there's no built-in WiFi or included dongle, so you need to use an Ethernet cable but we had no problems playing back music or looking at photos and the file coverage was more than adequate. The remote app that Marantz provide for both iOS and Android is rather basic and somewhat disappointing. Of greater use, if you have an iPod/iPhone/iPad, is the inclusion of Apple's AirPlay which allows you to play music directly to the ST7007 from either your iDevice or iTunes.

The SR7007 can handle both Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio and also includes Dolby Pro Logic IIz and Audyssey DSX, giving you the option to drop the back speakers in favour of either height or width channels. In terms of audio performance the SR7007 was a very capable performer, especially with movie soundtracks, where it was able to show genuine refinement and detail. However, at times, it lacked the presence and impact that some of the competition offer and, whilst rated at 125W per channel, the SR7007 felt slightly underpowered in our home cinema, thus reducing its dynamic range. When it came to stereo reproduction the Marantz wasn't quite as impressive as it was with multi-channel and whilst it was capable of delivering a subtle and enjoyable experience, it lacked the musicality of certain other receivers.

Ultimately, the Marantz SR7007 is a great all-rounder, delivering a comprehensive feature set and highly competent performance for a reasonable price. There are certainly better performers out there but at this price point the SR7007 holds its own admirably and is definitely worth your consideration.

Recommended

Scores

Sound Quality

.
.
8

Features

.
.
8

Connectivity

.
.
8

Build Quality

.
.
.
7

Value For Money

.
.
8

Verdict

.
.
8
8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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