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Marantz NR1403 & NR1603 Slimline A/V Recievers Preview

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Marantz NR1603

Marantz NR1603

Summary

  • Product Name: NR1403, NR1603
  • Manufacturer: Marantz
  • Review Date: May 24, 2012 21:45
  • MSRP: $399.99 (NR1403), 649.99 (NR1603)
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now

NR1403

  • Number of Channels: 5.1 Channels
  • Discrete Amplification: Yes
  • D/A Conversion: 192kHz/24-Bit
  • Auto Calibration by MIC: Audyssey MultEQ
  • HDMI In: 6 (including front HDMI input)
  • Pre-Amplifier Out: 2.1
  • Power Output (8 Ohm): 50W (20Hz - 20kHz, 0.08% THD, 2ch driven)
  • Dimensions W x H x D (Inchs): 17-3/8" x 4-3/16" x 14-1/2"
  • Weight (lbs): 18

NR1603

  • Number of Channels: 7.1 Channels
  • D/A Conversion: 192kHz/24-Bit
  • Auto Calibration by MIC: Audyssey MultEQ
  • Video Up-conversion: Yes (Analog Composite/Component Video to HDMI)
  • HDMI In: 6 (including front HDMI input)
  • Component In: 2
  • Pre-Amplifier Out: 2.1
  • Networking: AirPlay, DLNA 1.5 certified Audio/Photo Streaming, Internet Radio, Streaming service capability (Pandora/SiriusXM/flickr)
  • Power Output (8 Ohm): 50W (20Hz - 20kHz, 0.08% THD, 2ch driven)
  • Dimensions W x H x D (Inchs): 17-3/8" x 4-3/16" x 14-1/2"
  • Weight (lbs): 18

Executive Overview

It would be easy to dismiss Marantz's slimline offerings as lightweight if they came from a different company. But they come from Marantz which has a pedigree as long as our collective arms. We know that they care about their receiver offerings and about how they perform. So, thin case or not, the guts are sure to be quality.

A smaller case on a receiver has a lot of advantages. First, it allows for placement in furniture that was designed by people that think BOSE is the only name in speakers. It allows more space in your rack for other gear and it often pleases the spouse that is less understanding of home theater equipment.

The NR1403 Slimline receiver from Marantz is their entry level offering. It sports five channels of amplifications at 50 watts each. Each of these channels feature discrete amplification which means you'll have no problem driving reasonably efficient speakers with good distortion free sound quality. The receiver weighs in at 18 pounds and just a bit over 4" tall.

NR1403_front     NR1403_bak

The Marantz sports an impressive array of inputs including six HDMI inputs (one front mounted), a single digital audio input of each type, and a few analogue audio inputs. There is no component video on board and no analogue video to HDMI upconversion (meaning you'll have to connect a composite video output if you use any of the three composite video inputs). There are five-way binding post for each of the five channels and a support for all the high-definition audio codecs.

The Marantz NR1403 has an on-screen setup and display for new users and, impressively, sports Audyssey MultEQ room correction. The HDMI inputs all support 3D and Audio Return Channel. Marantz has included front left and right outputs for adding an additional amp (a pretty interesting feature at this price point). The price is the real story here. At $400, the Marantz NR1403 has just about everything a new buyer could want. With one of the better Audyssey solutions on board, discrete amplification, and support of external amplification, this is a receiver that you may never want to get rid of because it will always have a place in your home.

If you are looking for something a bit more powerful and with a lot more features, Marantz has also released the NR1603. Sporting the same 50 watts per channel, the NR1603 adds two channels for a total of seven. It still clocks in at 18 pounds and has the same case, still has six HDMI inputs and one output, and still had one each optical/coaxial digital audio input, but don't let those similarities confuse you - this is much more powerful receiver.

NR1603_back

The Marantz adds one very important and popular feature - streaming. The rear mounted Ethernet connection allows not only local streaming (dlna 1.5 certified) but wireless streaming from your iOS device or iTunes via Apple's AirPlay. It also has access to Internet Radio, Pandora, and more. This alone (along with the additional channels or amplification) would be enough to justify a price increase but Marantz didn't stop there.

The NR1603 has a front mounted USB port that allows streaming from most devices and supports iPod Digital Direct for improved sound quality from any iPhone, iPad, or iPod. There are now two component video inputs and one output as well as analogue video to HDMI upconversion. The same pre-outs are on board (2.1) but the additional channels (seven sets of five-way binding posts) can be assigned to front height channels via Dolby's ProLogic IIz. The NR1603 has an improved GUI with richer graphics, multi-platform support, and an enhanced feature set for faster browsing. Lastly, the NR1603 supports a second zone of audio through the internal amps.

Conclusion

The Marantz NR1403 is a bare bones receiver with some of the best bones we've ever seen. With discrete amplification, tons of HDMI inputs, and Audyssey MultEQ, it is a new buyer's dream at $400. But if you want more, Marantz has it with the NR1603. Adding video upconversion, two channels of amplification, a second zone, Apple AirPlay and other streaming options, you are getting a lot for your additional $250. Add to that the attractive slimline case and you've got a product that will be turning heads not only of first time buyers but those that are looking for a second (or third) receiver.

For more information please visit www.marantz.com.

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About the author:

As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Kandiru posts on November 26, 2012 19:29
Our 1403 refurb from ac4less is the centerpiece of the guestroom. Great sound for a tiny piece, no overheating for this Onkyo/Integra badge polisher
Rdhjfkcca posts on November 22, 2012 23:03
It sounds as though they didn't unfortunately.



solarux posts on November 22, 2012 09:57
j_garcia, post: 924951
Depends on the size of your room. At a stated 97.7 dB sensitivity, I'd say anything could power those comfortably in a typical room.

Hi, and Thanks,
The Room(s) are Living-Room (16x16), and Dining-Room(16x16).
Combined, they're approx. 16x32x8(Height), the wall between Living and Dining cuts it in half, but is mostly wide Open. It's a big rectangle.

The F-30's are kiddie-cornered on the living-room side, (corner-to-corner) across the (shorter) far 16' side, with the SW-112 subwoofer positioned about halfway along the longer 32' wall, just on the living-room side.
But mostly, we're sitting in the Living-room side for listening to music, …

We recently moved, so I ditched our old bookshelf speakers, since they sounded almost useless now, in our bigger Living/Dining room, compared to our new Klipsch towers.
j_garcia posts on November 20, 2012 10:55
rickster, post: 924861
Would either of these Rx's (@50W(rms) per/channel) be enough to drive my Klipsch F-30's comfortably , …?

Depends on the size of your room. At a stated 97.7 dB sensitivity, I'd say anything could power those comfortably in a typical room.
solarux posts on November 20, 2012 05:04
Watt's up ?

Would either of these Rx's (@50W(rms) per/channel) be enough to drive my Klipsch F-30's comfortably , …?
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