What is the Marantz SR7015?
The Marantz SR7015 is the latest mid-range AV amplifier from the company, and builds on an established pedigree by adding so many features that the front plate is running out of space for all the different company logos.
This 9-channel surround sound amplifier supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro-3D and IMAX Enhanced, with the ability to process up to 11.2 channels. It also includes eARC, and passes every variant of high dynamic range: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.
For gamers there’s also 4K/120Hz passthrough, along with support for VRR, ALLM and QFT. But perhaps the biggest addition this year is the inclusion of an HDMI input and two HDMI outputs that support 8K/60Hz.
Other features include the HEOS multiroom system, high-resolution audio support up to 24-bit/192kHz, AirPlay 2, Roon Tested, and the ability to work with a hat-trick of voice assistants: Amazon Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.
The SR7015 costs £1,599 as at the time of writing (October 2020), and sits just below the 11-channel SR8105 (£2,799), and just above the SR6015 (£1,149), which also boasts 9 channels but lacks Auro-3D and has slightly less power.
The Marantz SR7015 sports the company’s classic design, with a two-tone effect created using 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.
The design is very much business as usual, but this is a solid and well-engineered amplifier
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 classy and makes the SR7015 immediately identifiable as a Marantz.
The fact that the small round display has minimal information is largely irrelevant for two reasons: first of all there's an excellent on-screen display; and also there's a second larger and more informative display behind a drop down flap.
In addition you’ll find a set of basic controls and some additional inputs, including an HDMI input 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, and this certainly feels like a solid and well-engineered audio product. The SR7015 measures 440 x 185 x 411mm (WxHxD), weighs in at 14.2kg and is available in either black or silver-gold.
Connections and Control
The Marantz SR7015 comes with an impressive, if slightly overwhelming set of connections at the rear. These include a host of legacy inputs like component and composite video, along with analogue and digital audio, while for vinyl freaks there's a phono (MM) input.
There are a total of eight HDMI inputs (seven at the rear and one at the front) and three HDMI outputs. One of the rear HDMI inputs and two of the HDMI outputs support 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz (up to a total 40GBps), while the main HDMI output also supports eARC (enhanced audio return channel).
All these connections support HDCP 2.3, plus they can pass 4K/60p, 3D, BT.2020, high dynamic range (HDR10, hybrid log-gamma, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision), ALLM (auto low latency mode), VRR (variable refresh rate), QMS (quick media switching), and QFT (quick frame transport). In addition, the HDMI inputs automatically rename themselves with information provided by the source (when available).
As impressive as all that sounds, it would be nice if there were two HDMI inputs that supported 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz, because some people might buy both of the upcoming next-gen consoles. However in those circumstances, you could connect one directly to your display and send the lossless audio back via eARC.
The SR7015 supports 8K/60Hz over HDMI, but more than one input would have been nice
In terms of other connections there's a LAN port, 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 7.1-channel inputs, along with pre-outs for all eleven channels in case you decide to use additional amplification, and the SR7015 also has outputs for dual subwoofers. However, there are no built-in tuners, which is why the SR7015 is an AV amplifier and not an AV receiver.
While there are only nine channels built-in, there are 11 sets of colour-coded binding posts, which are presented in a single line to make accessing them easier. These terminals are of decent quality and can accept bare wire, spade connectors or banana plugs.
The SR7015 comes with the standard Marantz remote control, which uses a black brushed metal effect and a silver trim. It's sensibly laid out, with well spaced and large buttons that make it quite ergonomic to operate, comfortable to hold and easy to use with one thumb, plus there’s a handy backlight for operating the amp in a darkened room.
Features and Specs
The Marantz SR7015 is a nine-channel AV amplifier that employs discrete high-current power amplifiers on all channels, delivering a claimed 200W of power per channel. A low impedance driver capability provides operational stability that should result in a more balanced sound.
The SR7015 also features proprietary HDAM (Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module) circuit boards, Current Feedback Topology technology, and advanced reference-class 32-bit AKM AK4458 D/A converters on all channels for optimum fidelity, wider dynamic range, and lower distortion.
The amplifier also decodes Hi-Res audio ALAC, FLAC and WAV lossless files up to 24-bit/192-kHz, as well as DSD 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz tracks, while more retro users can even connect their analogue turntable to the amplifier and make the most of their vinyl collection.
There's support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro-3D, and even IMAX Enhanced DTS:X
There’s support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D, along with IMAX Enhanced DTS:X. While there are only nine channels of amplification built-in, there is processing for 11.2 channels, so if you add two more channels you can run a full 7.2.4-channel system.
The dual diversity antennas ensure stable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi streaming even in congested urban environments, and the Wi-Fi function features 2.4GHz (11b/g/n), 5GHz (11a/n) technology. In addition the SR7015 also supports Apple’s AirPlay 2.
The HEOS multiroom system not only offers a useful remote app, but also provides access to a wide array of music services, including Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Prime Music, TuneIn, Soundcloud, Pandora, Napster, Deezer, iHeartRadio, Rhapsody and SiriusXM.
The SR7015 works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, plus Apple’s Siri thanks to AirPlay 2. As a result you can ask your preferred voice assistant to play your favourite music, turn the volume up, skip to the next track, switch inputs and more.
This amplifier not only supports HEOS multiroom and Airplay 2, but is also Roon Tested
In terms of other features there’s a pre-amplifier mode to turn the SR7015 into a pre-processor, Marantz’s AVR remote app, smart select functions, a quick start guide and useful setup assistant. There’s also smart TV connectivity, all zone TV audio, and multiple zone outputs.
The SR7015 has been Roon Tested, allowing you to get more out of your digital music library, and it also supports external RS232 and IP control capabilities for easy customisation and compatibility with third-party integration solutions like Control4.
The Marantz uses Audyssey MultEQ XT32 for room equalisation, and includes Audyssey LFC (Low Frequency Containment), Audyssey Dynamic Volume, and Audyssey Dynamic EQ. There’s also Audyssey Sub EQ HT for seamless integration of two subwoofers, along with the ability to store two Audyssey settings. Finally, there’s an optional Audyssey MultEQ Editor App for more detailed tuning and customisation.
Setup and Operation
The Marantz SR7015 is a cinch to install thanks to the Setup Assistant, which takes you step-by-step through the entire process. The Setup Assistant offers simple, clear and concise instructions with an effective graphical user interface that helps make the Marantz far less intimidating to anyone who might be unfamiliar with multi-channel AV amplifiers.
The Setup Assistant 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 using the included microphone.
The SR7015 comes with a microphone so that MultEQ XT32 can analyse each speaker's output (including the subwoofers) at up to 8 measurement locations and then generate precision digital filters to optimise each channel for the correct frequency and time domain response. If you don't have a tripod for the setup microphone, Marantz even include a cardboard stand for the purpose.
In testing, I started with a basic two-channel setup, before moving on to a 5.1-channel speaker configuration and then a 7.1-channel setup. After that I tested the SR7015's immersive audio capabilities with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro-3D and IMAX Enhanced DTS:X
I started with a 5.1.4 configuration before moving on to a 7.1.2 setup and then finally adding two more channels of amplification and running a full 7.2.4 speaker configuration with three front channels, two side channels, two rear channels, two subwoofers and four overhead speakers.
I used a range of content including movies and music in 5.1, movies in 7.1, and immersive audio soundtracks. I used CDs, SACDs, DVD-Audio, Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray as my primary sources along with high resolution audio files and various streaming services including Tidal.
The Marantz SR7015 delivers an accomplished performance, regardless of whether the source is two-channel, multi-channel or immersive audio. What immediately impresses is the available headroom, and even with active multichannel soundtracks where all the speakers are in use, the amps are able to handle the load.
As a result there is excellent dynamic range and a powerful delivery that never feels as though it’s about to run out of steam, even when driven hard. The Marantz is also capable of applying all this power with speed and responsiveness, producing fast transients that ensure there is sufficient power for large changes in volume and dynamics.
Marantz has made a speciality of producing AV amplifiers that are more musical than most, and the SR7015 is no exception. It handles two-channel music extremely well, with Good Luck, Seeker by The Waterboys sounding open and detailed. The vocals are delivered with precision, the guitars retain a driving intensity and the drums a percussive kick.
The Marantz deals with 5.1 and 7.1 soundtracks just as effectively, delivering the audio with precision, accuracy and an open front soundstage. The music and effects are spread across the three front channels with skill, the surrounds are engaging, and the dialogue remains centred on the screen, retaining intelligibility, clarity and definition.
The steering of effects around the room is wonderfully precise, with a balanced level of tonality embracing the sound field, producing a surround experience that envelops you. The bass is also handled well, with the lower frequencies and the LFE channels nicely integrated with the rest of the speakers, producing an excellent foundation for the audio.
The amps deliver power and headroom, while the processing is precise, seamless and highly immersive
The SR7015 handles highly directional soundtracks very well, adding a subtlety and tonal balance that ensures a cohesive experience. As sounds move around the room, they remain clear and focused, ensuring they can be precisely pinpointed. The movement of effects from speaker to speaker is seamless, ensuring the sense of envelopment is complete.
When it comes to Dolby Atmos the performance is equally as impressive, with excellent placement of effects within the immersive soundstage. The opening race in Ready Player One boasts a sound design composed entirely of effects, and everything from the roar of the T-Rex, the chest-pounding of King Kong and the flying DeLorean are all effortlessly mixed together to draw you into the action.
The SR7015 is just as accomplished a performer when it comes to DTS:X, producing a hemisphere of sound through which effects move with precision. Jurassic Park boasts a stupendous newly re-mixed DTS:X soundtrack that impresses with its bass-heavy footfalls, ear-splitting roars and drenching downpour during the justly famous T-Rex attack.
There are very few Auro-3D discs, and the speaker configuration doesn't match Atmos or DTS:X, but if it's important to you, the SR7015 remains effective at processing the format. Pixels sounded excellent, particularly during the Caterpillar sequence, where there were some nice sound effects emanating from above, with the attackers swirling around the room.
Bad Boys for Life boasts an IMAX Enhanced DTS:X soundtrack, which the Marantz correctly detected and decoded with gusto. The soundstage is as bombastic as the film, with plenty of funky music and ballistic mayhem, such as the climactic shoot-out. Gunfire blasts overhead, ricochets echo up the walls and an exploding stained-glass ceiling showers down shards from above.
- Excellent sound quality
- 9 channels of amplification
- 11.2-channel processing
- Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D
- IMAX Enhanced
- eARC support
- 8K/60Hz HDMI input and outputs
- 7.1-channel inputs
- 11.2-channel pre-outs
- HEOS multi-room
- Audyssey MultEQ XT32
- Only one 8K/60Hz input
- Bit pricey
Marantz SR7015 AV Amplifier Review
Should I buy one?
The Marantz SR7015 is an impressively specified AV amplifier that seems to sport every modern feature imaginable. In fact, aside from the absence of an FM/DAB tuner, you’d be hard pushed to think of anything that’s missing. There’s a host of connections, along with all the usual Marantz styling, making this an attractive and well-made addition to the company’s line-up.
Perhaps more importantly it sounds fantastic, with the kind of accomplished and musical delivery that we’ve come to expect from Marantz. The nine built-in channels retain plenty of headroom, and the immersive audio processing is exceptional, with some impressive steering of effects. There’s a pleasing sense of power, control and cohesion to the overall soundstage.
Whatever you’re preferred speaker layout this amplifier has you covered, and if you add two more channels you can run a 7.2.4-channel system, which should be enough for most people. If you’re looking for negatives there’s only one 8K/60Hz HDMI input, and the pricing’s a little high compared to the competition, but otherwise the Marantz SR7015 comes highly recommended.
What are my alternatives?
Given the general lack of Auro-3D content and its completely different speaker layout, you might want to consider the Marantz SR6015. Aside from Auro-3D it has all the same features as the SR7015, and while this affordable AV amplifier isn’t as powerful, it makes a good alternative for those who can’t stretch to the SR7015’s hefty asking price.
Conversely you could choose the SR7015’s stablemate – the Denon AVC-X4700H. This classy AV amplifier sports an almost identical feature-set to the SR7015, and comparable levels of power. It might not be quite as musical, but it brings Denon’s undeniable multi-channel expertise to the part, and at £1,399 it’s a bit of a bargain.
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