Comments on Marantz SR7300, and also the RS232 port

Toto Man

Standard Member
Hi guys,

My first taste of HT came in 2003 when I bought a Marantz SR4300 (80wpc @ 8 ohms) new for £219.99. I was very impressed with the sound, especially on 5.1 movies and 5.1 concerts. Stereo playback through analog was ok, but nowhere near the standard of my vintage stereo receivers. Stereo playback through digital was a different kettle of fish. It was both louder and much clearer. On analog inputs, I frequently found myself having to turn the volume upto the 0dB (which I thought was the receiver's maximum 'safe' volume setting). If I increased the level of the input more so that I didn't have to turn the receiver up so much, I got a red PEAK sign on the display. I had no problems with input overload on any of my vintage amps. Another annoying factor was the high-pitched whine. It wasn't so noticeable when I played music at a relatively loud volume, but for quiet background listen it was, at least for me, a bit irritating.

Anyway, because of the whole analog thing I decided I must need more wattage, and not knowing anything about the relationship between watts and decibels I decided to go for the SR7300 (105wpc @ 8 ohms), and get it second hand, as this is the only way it would be in my price range. I found a local one in 2004 on eBay with a BIN of £250, which I thought was a great buy. Came in excellent condition with original packaging, etc. First impressions were that the SR7300 is much bigger and heavier than the SR4300! Also seems to have loads more useful features, including the handy learning remote control. Ended up selling the SR4300 for around £140.

As for performance, very similar to the SR4300, but slightly better sound quality in my opinion. In a direct comparison of volume, I'd say I gained 2dB. Initially I thought this gain in power was pretty pathetic, but considering 80wpc -> 160wpc = 3dB, I'd say I was pretty fortunate to notice a 2dB improvement from 80wpc -> 105wpc. I still get the same problem with the analog inputs being much quieter than the digital inputs, and any attempt I make to increase the input level anywhere near that of the digital inputs results in the PEAK sign being displayed. And I still am subjected to the dreaded whine. As an interesting side note my spot lights in my room also emit a high pitch whine, so having the SR7300 and spot lights on at the same time is a NO-NO!

I have thought about upgrading again. I like the look of the Pioneers, but I got such a good deal on the SR7300, and the sound quality is so good, that I probably won't be able to afford anything better without taking out a loan!

Other than the whining, the SR7300 has been running well since I got it. Periodically (maybe once every 6 months) I need to reset it because I lose the LFE channel on some sound settings, but apart from that it's been fine. About a year ago I had a brief incident where I had it on for a few hours and was blasting out a concert and the sound temporarily shut off (went into protect mode?). My front speakers are 4-ohm nominal, so the receiver probably has a hard time driving them. I touched the vents of the receiver and they felt pretty hot. So I mounted a 9v PC fan on top of the receiver and I haven't had a problem since.

I still can't quite work out how the volume control works to be honest. I never go over 0dB because of the added hiss and fear that it will damage my speakers (even though it might not be that loud). Can someone please explain why the volume goes from -71dB to +18dB?

Finally, onto the RS232 port. I've heard that this port is used for future software updates. Is this true? How is this done? And can my SR7300 be updated through this port to handle the new HD-Dolby and HD-DTS sound formats. And can it be used to fix the whining problem?

Your comments are much appreciated...
 

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