What is the Marantz SR7009?
On the video side of things, the SR7009 can pass through Ultra HD 4K at 60p and 4:4:4, as well as upscale lower resolution video to 4K. There are eight HDMI inputs and three HDMI outputs and built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. If that wasn’t enough, you also get playback of DSD and FLAC files over both USB and your network, support for AirPlay and a free remote app. All this for just £1,399 at the time of writing (November 2014) makes for a very enticing package.
SR7009 Remote Controls
Marantz include a dedicated microphone that you connect into the front of the SR7009 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 eight positions in order to measure test tones from all the connected speakers and any subwoofers and thus equalise the effects of the room. We started with a basic 5.1 and 7.1 speaker setup, before moving onto both 5.1.4 and 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos speaker configurations.
What is Dolby Atmos?
Testing the SR7009
SR7009 Specs & Features
The SR7009 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 - handy if you live in an apartment.
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 almost every surround format currently on the market, including the previously mentioned Dolby Atmos and DTS Neo: X. There’s even a firmware update coming soon that will add Auro3D but given the different configuration, you have to wonder just how many speakers someone can actually install at one time.
On the video side, the SR7009 can pass Ultra HD 4K at up to 60p and even supports image processing for 4K 60p, 4:4:4 and 24-bit video. It can also upscale lower resolution video, including analogue video and standard definition content, at up to 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution over HDMI. There’s also eight HDMI inputs and three HDMI outputs with video support over HDMI for additional zones, as well as support for ARC (Audio Return Channel).
The addition of built-in WiFi and Bluetooth is very welcome and setting up both was very quick and easy, especially with the free remote app. The SR7009 also supports AirPlay and playback of DSD (2.8 MHz) and FLAC 192 kHz files over connected networks or via USB. So whether you listen to music over your network, via USB or on a disc of some sort, the SR7009 has you covered.
Marantz SR7009 Movie Sound Quality
When we moved onto more recent movies the level of performance was equally as impressive and both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Edge of Tomorrow were well served by the SR7009. 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. This was especially true during the repeated beach assault in Edge of Tomorrow where, despite the cacophony of sound effects, you could still understand what everyone was saying. The bass was also very well integrated and those low frequency effects punctuated the action effectively, providing an effective foundation for the sound.
Of course the big new feature is Dolby Atmos and it didn't disappoint, delivering the most immersive surround experience we have had at home. We found that we preferred using the 5.1.4 configuration, as opposed to the 7.1.2 because the sense of immersion was greater and we didn't miss the two rear speakers. In fact the precision of the localisation of effects and the panning of sounds was quite remarkable, even with just five speakers. The level of bass was also impressive, although make sure you set your surrounds to small, unless you're using floorstanders, because Atmos will otherwise send an excessive amount of bass to them.
We have heard a number of Dolby Atmos demonstrations, both in cinemas and in home setups, so we knew generally what to expect; this made it all the more rewarding when we had a similar experience in our own home cinema. The various Dolby Atmos trailers, designed to emphasise the benefits of the format were extremely impressive and highly immersive. However the sensation was just as applicable when watching Transformers: Age of Extinction in Atmos and whilst we would expect the battle scenes to be suitably immersive, we also found the quieter scenes to benefit from the object-based sound design that Atmos utilises. It still be early days but the potential of Dolby Atmos is definitely exciting and all we need now are more Blu-rays to be released.
Marantz SR7009 Video Review
Marantz SR7009 Music Sound Quality
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 nertwork and via Bluetooth, we also tried through USB and AirPlay and, overall, the SR7009 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.
- Classy and refined sound
- Excellent surround performance
- Dolby Atmos Support
- Plenty of great features
- Easy to setup
- Attractive design
- Remote app is rather basic
- Build quality could be slightly better
Marantz SR7009 AV Receiver Review
Is it worth buying?
Definitely and given the irresistible combination of performance, design and features, we would say that you simply won't find better at this price. The Marantz SR7009 combines an attractive design with a decent level of build quality. It also includes a host of features but Marantz have sensibly tried to simply the connection and setup process as much as possible; making the receiver less daunting to newcomers. There's also built-in WiFi and Bluetooth which, unlike some other receivers, is equally as easy to setup and use. The audio performance was excellent with a wonderfully immersive surround experience, regardless of which audio format you were using. Whilst the Marantz also had a refined and classy quality when dealing with music and as such it's a great all-round performer.
What are the alternatives?
At the price, the SR7009 is going head to head with Pioneer's SC-LX58 and overall the Marantz is preferred, with a superior sound and a much easier setup procedure. The Pioneer does have a better build quality and a much slicker remote app but Audyssey seems more effective than Pioneer's proprietary software. If you can spend an extra £100 then Yamaha's excellent RX-A2040 is also a great alternative with gorgeous looks and tank-like construction. The setup, features and app are also very good but, whilst the performance was impressive, the Marantz edges the Yamaha in terms of overall audio performance. As a result we have no hesitation in awarding the Marantz SR7009 an AVForums Best Buy badge.
Value For Money
Our Review Ethos
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