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The Marantz Cinema 30 is the SR8015 Replacement We’ve Been Waiting For

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Marantz Cinema 30

Marantz Cinema 30

Summary

  • Product Name: Cinema 30 11.4-Channel AVR
  • Manufacturer: Marantz
  • Review Date: February 01, 2024 00:00
  • MSRP: $4,500
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now

  • Audyssey MultEQ X PC and Dirac Live Bass Control
  • Number of Powered Channels: 11
  • Number of Processing Channels: 13.4
  • 4 Independent subwoofer outputs
  • Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.05% 2ch Drive): 140W
  • Dimensions: 17.4 x 17.6 x 7.5 inches
  • Weight: 42.8 lbs

Marantz Cinema 30 Introduction

When the Marantz Cinema Series AVR lineup was announced in the fall of 2022, fans of the brand were quick to notice that the top model, the $3,500 Cinema 40, was not a direct replacement for the company’s previous flagship AVR, the highly-regarded SR8015 (priced at $3,200 when reviewed in 2020). Although priced slightly higher than the SR8015, the Cinema 40 offers only 9 channels of amplification and 11.1 channels of processing, compared to the SR8015’s 11 channels of amplification and 13.1 channels of processing. The Cinema 40 still looks like an impressive piece of gear, and it has garnered favorable reviews. But there’s no denying that its built-in amps are less powerful than those found in the SR8015, and that the user would need to add a separate stereo power amplifier in order to accommodate a 7.1.4-channel setup, which is the gold standard for Dolby Atmos home theater. Many enthusiasts hoped and expected that Marantz would eventually release a proper SR8015 replacement with all of that AVR’s power and performance, combined with must-have Cinema Series features, like 4 independent subwoofer outputs and Dirac Live compatibility. And that is precisely what we have with the new Marantz Cinema 30 AV receiver ($4,500).

Side Note: Marantz’s naming convention can be somewhat confusing. Higher-end models have lower numbers in their names. This applies to the Cinema Series AVR receivers, as well as to the brand’s two-channel electronics. So if you were wondering why the Marantz Model 30 integrated amp costs more than the new Model 50, now you know.

Marantz Cinema 30: Amplifier Design

Marantz Cinema 30 inside

Built in Marantz’s famed production facility in Shirakawa, Japan, the Cinema 30 comes with a confidence-boosting five-year warranty. This new reference-grade AVR “represents the pinnacle of Marantz’s celebrated approach to AVR design (and) distills all of the timeless yet progressive design, unrivaled performance, and technological excellence of Marantz’s product philosophy into one outstanding component,” according to the company. Like the venerable SR8015, the Cinema 30 AVR features 11 channels of Class AB amplification with a rating of 140 watts per channel (with 2 channels driven). Both receivers use a symmetrical, monolithic amplifier design, which Marantz says is the most advanced amplifier layout available in the AVR category. In fact, the amplifier section in the Cinema 30 looks like a copy/paste from the SR8015, with the same ratings, the same power consumption, and an identical-looking layout. We have yet to confirm this with Marantz, but photos suggest that the Cinema 30 features the same 835VA toroidal transformer as its predecessor, along with the same 22,000uFx 2 81V power supply capacitors, dual rows of heatsinks, and 4 low-noise cooling fans. That’s not a complaint — the SR8015 delivered superb amplifier performance. Both subjective sound quality and objective measurements were excellent. In his favorable review, Chief Audioholic Gene DellaSala discovered that the SR8015 easily exceeded all promised power ratings, putting out over 150 watts into 8 ohms and 220 watts into 4 ohms when operating in stereo mode (full bandwidth 20Hz to 20kHz at <1% THD). In order to satisfy Marantz’s “70% guarantee,” a receiver must deliver 70% of the 2-channel rating when powering 5 channels, so Gene expected to see 98 watts per channel with 5 channels driven. Instead, he found that the SR8015 delivered 122 watts with 5 channels driven, and 101 watts with 7 channels driven at <1% THD+N! To exceed the promised 5-channel performance with 7 channels driven is no small feat, and we expect the Cinema 30 to replicate this impressive accomplishment.

Cinema 30 front open

Offered in the same Black and Silver Gold finishes as other current Marantz products, the Cinema 30 carries on the company’s new design language, first introduced with the Model 30 integrated amp. The sculpted front panel features selectable side illumination and retains the iconic porthole display, which is complemented by a larger display hidden behind a fold-down panel. Marantz says the unit is built to the highest standards, with a multi-layer chassis that incorporates extensive use of copper. Each amplifier channel is mounted on a separate PCB opposite the power supplies, delivering “remarkably clean and instantaneous low-distortion power,” according to Marantz. As mentioned above, the 11 channels of onboard amplification are sufficient to power the most common speaker configurations, but the Cinema 30 actually offers 13 channels of processing, allowing the user to add one more pair of speakers — front wides perhaps — by adding an external stereo power amp. The Cinema 30’s HDAM SA-2 preamplifier stage promises the “characteristic warmth and musicality” that Marantz is known for. The selectable preamp mode can improve sound quality further by disconnecting any unused power-amp channels when external power amplifiers are being used.

Marantz Cinema 30 versus the Cinema 40

Marantz Cinema 40Although the Cinema 30 looks very similar to the Cinema 40, it is not just a Cinema 40 with more amplifier channels. The Cinema 30’s chassis is deeper (17.6 inches, compared to 15.8 inches on the Cinema 40) and uses extensive copper plating not found on the smaller model. There’s also a substantial weight difference; the Cinema 30 weighs in at 42.8 pounds, compared to the Cinema 40 at 33.3 pounds. Some of this extra weight can be attributed to the Cinema 30’s chunky toroidal transformer, and it’s worth pointing out that the Cinema 40 uses an EI core transformer, not a toroid. EI core transformers can still perform admirably, and I don’t like making generalizations, but all things being equal, a toroidal transformer is the preferred option. (Interestingly, the Cinema 30 is still lighter than my old Denon AVR-4308ci, which had only 7 amp channels but weighed over 45 pounds). The Cinema 30 also uses high-performance 32-bit ESS Sabre DACs with built-in jitter reduction, just as you’d find in the Denon AVR-A1H, or in Marantz’s own AV10 surround processor. The Cinema 40 gets by with lesser DAC chips. The Cinema 30’s DACs are coupled to the latest and most powerful Analog Devices SHARC dual DSP chipset. The result is a state-of-the-art digital platform able to “precisely decode and accurately process all forms of incoming audio, from high resolution stereo to the latest forms of immersive audio, including Dolby Atmos, IMAX Enhanced, DTS:X Pro, and Auro 3D,” according to Marantz. Like the Cinema 40, the Cinema 30 includes Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room optimization, which uses an included microphone to handle automatic calibration of speaker sizes, speaker distances, level adjustments, and more. Also like the Cinema 40, the Cinema 30 works with both Dirac Live and Dirac Live Bass Control (available as optional add-ons via licenses downloaded from Dirac’s online store). Dirac Live Bass Control allows for fully-optimized low-frequency integration for up to four independent subwoofers on the Cinema 30, providing “perfectly coherent bass response in even the most challenging room environment,” according to Marantz. Although not inexpensive, Dirac Live and Dirac Live Bass Control have proved themselves to be invaluable tools, and represent the most likely reason why an SR8015 owner might want to upgrade to the Cinema 30.

Marantz Cinema 30: Connectivity and HDMI Features

Marantz Cinema 30 rear

The Cinema 30 provides all the connectivity you’d expect from a flagship AVR in 2024, including seven HDMI inputs that can all support 8K video. There are two independent 8K HDMI outputs, plus a 4K HDMI output for a second zone. There are also multiple analog and digital audio inputs, and everything is easily controlled and configured via Marantz’s new high-resolution user interface. We are happy to see they even left one component video input connection for legacy video sources (something not even the Marantz AV10 offers). Of course, the recently-updated HEOS whole-home multi-room platform handles streaming audio, alongside Spotify Connect and Apple AirPlay 2. The Cinema 30’s bluetooth connectivity includes re-broadcasting audio for use with wireless headphones. You can use Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri to control the Cinema 30 as part of your smart-home, but I’d sooner reach for the backlit aluminum remote control.

Cinema 30 represents a statement of excellence for Marantz in the AVR category and one of the most sophisticated designs the team has created in its 70-year history. I cannot wait to hear how it is received by our loyal customers and specialist reviewers.

— Dave Sheen, President of the Luxury Performance Audio Group, Masimo Consumer

Marantz Cinema 30 vs Denon AVR-A1H

Denon A1HThere's little doubt the flagship in the Masimo line up of AV receivers still belongs to the Denon AVR-A1H (MSRP: $6,500). The 70lbs Denon AVR-A1H has a slightly more powerful amplifier section rated at 150 watts/ch, but most importantly, it's the only AVR that they currently produce that offers 15 channels of amplification and processing. If you prefer a single box solution with 15.4CH of amplification and processing, the Denon A1H is still king of the hill but you'll have to pony up an extra $2k for it to grace your home theater.

If you don't ever plan on breaking the 13CH surround barrier, we'd suggest opting for the sexier and more economical Cinema 30 and adding a high-quality 2CH amp to power your main Left/Right channels so you can have a full fledged 9.4.4 or 7.4.6 speaker layout. This would be a killer combo with separates like performance without breaking bank.

The Cinema 30 is available to pre-order from authorized Marantz dealers, like our friends at Audio Advice.  Shipping is expected to begin in February 2024.

More information: Marantz Cinema 30

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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