Marantz Releases 2020 8K Ready SR-Series AV Receivers
Last month we brought you details of the worlds FIRST 8K ready AV receivers with Denon's new X-Series. We knew it was just a matter of time before Marantz released their own version so it comes as no big surprise that they released information of their own version of 8K receivers with their 2020 SR-Series of AV receivers.
The SR5015, SR6015, SR7015, and SR8015. Designed to deliver impactful and nuanced home cinema and listening experiences, the 8K-ready AV receiver line offers the most musical sound from any source, including home theater, vinyl and streaming media. Like all Marantz products, the 2020 SR-Series AVRs are extensively tuned by world-renowned acousticians at state-of-the-art facilities, producing Marantz’s unique audiophile-quality sound. This, paired with the AV industry’s latest array of technologies, enables more immersion, visual beauty and detailed power than ever before.
When Marantz introduced the SR8012 at the 2017 CEDIA Expo, I had high hopes that they were serious about making a top-notch AV receiver with a meaty amp section again and I wasn't dissapointed. Audioholics President Gene DellaSala conducted a full in depth review of the SR8012. He found that, "The build quality is top notch as can be seen with the large torodial power supply, and dual heat sinks with monolithic amp construction and premium grade parts throughout the chassis. It has plenty of power to drive all but the most difficult speakers in the largest of rooms. In those cases, you could always make use of the pristine preouts to power up to external amplification."
High accolades for someone who can choose pretty much any AV receiver he wants in his home theater systems.
From the numbers, we're seeing this again with the 2020 SR-Series. All the models have performance amplification featuring high-current discrete power amplifiers on all channels and should deliver Marantz’s signature power output. The new SR-Series uses Marantz' Hyper Dynamic Amplification Module (HDAM) circuitry which, according to Marantz, "Provide optimal fidelity and maximum dynamic range of high-resolution files for stellar sound quality. With low impedance driver capability, the SR-Series offers operational stability with a wide range of speakers providing the clarity and balance users have come to expect from Marantz."
HDMI and Video Enhancements
The new Marantz SR-Series AV receivers take advantage of the latest HDMI technologies thanks to a dedicated “8K” HDMI input enabling 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video pass-through. New HDR format support including HDR10+ and Dynamic HDR, and a new HDMI feature called Quick Media Switching (QMS), which allows a source to instantly switch frame rate to eliminate screen blackout. For exceptional color, clarity and contrast the latest SR Series models still support HDR10, HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) and Dolby Vision, as well as 4:4:4 Pure Color subsampling and BT.2020 pass-through.
Several new features give gamers an edge, including razor sharp motion clarity with 4K/120Hz pass through and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) to reduce frame tearing and improve overall precision. Get a jump on the competition with Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Quick Frame Transport (QFT), each designed to reduce lag and improve stats. See the enemy before they see you with stunning 8K picture quality.
The Marantz SR-Series can also upscale existing HD and 4K content to 8K so more people can experience the power of 8K resolution. They also continue to support eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), which allows lossless and object-based audio transmission like DTS:X and Dolby Atmos from TV apps or connected devices using a single HDMI cable.
For advanced multi-channel home theater applications, the flagship SR8015 supports DTS:X Pro, which will allow you to enjoy up to 13 channels of DTS:X decoding with speaker configurations such as 7.2.6 or 9.2.4. In addition, the SR8015 can decode the latest in IMAX Enhanced films in 7.2.6 or 9.2.4 speaker configurations thanks to newly adopted 13.2 channel processing capabilities with external amplification. The DTS:X Pro feature will be delivered via firmware update later this year. The 2020 SR-Series feature several other 3D audio formats, including Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X, IMAX Enhanced and Auro-3D out-of-box.
The new 2020 SR-Series AV receivers represent the next major step forward in home theater, not just for Marantz, but the entire home entertainment industry. Marantz fans will be some of the first to experience new levels of incredibly sharp image quality, remarkably fast gaming and immersive surround sound. But more importantly, superior Marantz HDAM-SA3 amplification based on decades of extensive tuning transports the listener ever closer to their music.
--Jake Mendel, global brand manager for Marantz.
It looks as though Sound United is adding Pre-Amplifier mode to all their newest receivers which provides a clear signal path and more tolerance in clipping levels by disconnecting internal amplifiers when the receiver is used as an AV processor and all speakers are powered by external amplifiers. After years of testing and measuring AV receiver performance, Gene determined the reason why the preamp outputs on most receivers showed high distortion in an FFT plot when driven above 1.2Vrms. The unloaded amplifiers were being driven into clipping causing distortion to be feedback into the signal chain. This can be seen most recently in our measurements of the Marantz SR8012 as well as many other brands and models we've reviewed over the years.
Preamp Mode on Denon/Marantz 2020 AV Receivers YouTube Discussion
We pleaded with AV receiver manufacturers to offer a "preamp mode" that physically disconnects the signal path to the amplifiers for those wanting to use their receivers as a dedicated preamp by connecting external amplification.
If listeners want to tap into separate power sources, the latest Marantz SR Series now support “Pre-Amplifier” mode on the SR6015, SR7015 and SR8015 models. Pre-Amplifier mode provides a clear signal path and more tolerance in clipping levels by disconnecting internal amplifiers when the receiver is used as an AV processor and all speakers are powered by external amplifiers.
Like the new lineup of Denon AV receivers, the new Marantz SR-Series will come with HEOS Built-in, which allows for listening anywhere in the home. The 2020 SR-Series can decode up to 24-bit/192-kHz ALAC, FLAC and WAV lossless files as well as DSD 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz tracks, allowing you to experience high quality content from services like Spotify, Amazon Music HD, TIDAL, TuneIn Internet Radio and more.
Marantz SR-Series AVRs are also Roon Tested certified so you can get more out of their music libraries through the advanced Roon music interface on their PCs and smart devices. Marantz Roon Tested AVRs can be found and setup easily by Roon via AirPlay 2 or hardwired into a Roon Core device. Each receiver features a front-panel USB port that offers convenient audio playback of MP3 and high-resolution audio formats (WAV, FLAC, ALAC and DSD 2.8/5.6 MHz files).
Audyssey Room Calibration
Also like the new Denon receivers, the new SR-Series from Marantz will come with a variety of Audyssey room calibration components. Audyssey MultEQ XT on the SR5015 and MultEQ XT32 on the SR6015, SR7015 and SR8015 models all come with a supplied measurement microphone that allows Audyssey to analyze each speaker's output (including subwoofers) at up to eight measurement locations and generates precision digital filters to optimize each channel for the correct frequency and time domain response. Audyssey Dynamic Volume also smooths out disruptive jumps in volume (such as TV commercials), letting listeners enjoy lower output levels while still enjoying clear dialogue and overall performance. The Audyssey Dynamic EQ provides full-range clarity at any listening level.
Audyssey MultEQ XT32 is adding Low Frequency Containment using advanced psychoacoustic algorithms to deliver more full-range balance, including deep bass, without disturbing neighbors or people in other rooms of the home. Audyssey Sub EQ HT provides individual DSP tailoring of each subwoofer in a dual subwoofer setup for deeper bass with improved definition. Plus, the optional Audyssey MultEQ Editor app available for purchase at the app store, where you can view and adjust settings for detailed tuning.
Advanced Custom Installation Support
Designed with custom integrators in mind, the new SR-Series AVRs boast the latest remote monitoring and management capabilities via Domotz Pro and OvrC, as well as RS232C and IP control capabilities. Web User Interface is also supported providing access to the AV receivers’ setup menu remotely or from a computer on the same network. These programs allow integrators to monitor the status of connected products and troubleshoot remotely from a separate location or on-the-go.
What We Think
So what has been upgraded since 2017? If we look at Marantz' 2020 flagship SR-8015 AV receiver compared to the 2017 SR-8012 there are some significant changes. Just looking at HDMI you get HDMI 2.1 support as well as 8K Pass-through, 8K upscaling, 4K/120Hz pass-through, QMS, QFT, VRR, HDR10+, and Dynamic HDR! With the new model you also get 13.2 Channel Processing, 11 Channel Amplification, Dual Speaker Preset, 13ch Auro 3D, DTS:X Pro, AND one of the things we complained about most; a Pre Amp mode.
It would be hard to go wrong with any of the new Marantz SR-Series of AV receivers. They've got all the newest audio and video upgrades available out of the box before any of the other major competitors So where does the $250 - $700 price difference come in between the similar models of Denon X-Series receivers? A comparison of the major features of the two are listed in the tables below. Each model has similar features and at first glance you might think you're just paying for the Marantz name. Upon closer inspection you'll see that Marantz edges out Denon on power output for the lower models as well as having IMAX enhanced features for the top 3 models and Auro 3D for the top 2.
Denon X-Series Features Comparison Chart Marantz SR-Sereis Features Comparison chart
Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.
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