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Marantz NR1501 Slimline Receiver Preview

Marantz NR1501 Slimline Receiver

Marantz NR1501 Slimline Receiver


  • Product Name: NR1501
  • Manufacturer: Marantz
  • Review Date: September 02, 2009 02:30
  • MSRP: $599.99
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • 7 ch Discrete Analog Amplifier (50 watts x 7) in Slim Design Chassis
  • HDMI 1.3 x4 Inputs / x1 Output
  • Decoding of Dolby TrueHD, dts-HD Master Audio
  • Transcoding of all Analog sources to HDMI
  • Independent Audio Board for Improved Sound
  • Simple Set-up with MRAC Auto Calibration
  • Component Video x3 Inputs / x1 Output
  • Analog Audio Inputs x5, Digital Audio Inputs x3
  • Marantz Remote D-Bus In/Out Jacks
  • Detachable Power Cord
  • On Screen Display through HDMI out
  • Glow Key, Precode Remote Control
  • Available Option Rack Mount Kit RMK1501NR

NR1501-front.jpgHow many of your friends are more worried about form than function? How many will tell you how great their speakers are because they are so small or so rock-shaped? How many have bought an entertainment center without any idea or thought into how they are going to shove gear into it? For all those people (and more) the normal sized receiver just isn't going to cut it. They need (or want) something smaller. While they would probably listen to the pimple-faced Best Buy employee over you, you now have an option that will at least perform well.

Marantz has been on a product release kick lately. The $599 NR1501 is by far one of the most affordable items in their stable. In fact, aside from a few Blu-ray players and an integrated amp, it is the cheapest thing they sell. But "cheap" from Marantz doesn't equate into lower standards. The NR1501 has 4 HDMI 1.3 inputs and 1 output with analogue upconversion to HDMI. The unit sports 50 watts into seven channels which is more than enough to drive the types of speakers that are likely to be paired with this sort of receiver. Component video inputs are aplenty (3 in/1 out) as are digital audio (3 - 2 optical, 1 coaxial) and analogue audio (5). While other thin form receivers may offer you just a few inputs assuming that you won't really need them (and to cut their costs), Marantz is offering a full-fledged receiver.

When Marantz says that their receiver is slim, they aren't kidding. At just over 4" tall and 13" deep, it'll fit nearly anywhere. And the depth is really important here. It would be easy to make a receiver thin without (adversely) affecting the depth. The depth is where most people run into problems as they tend to forget to add the distance the connector and cables add when a receiver is actually in use. 

There are many convenience features with the NR1501. Other than the HDMI upconversion, you've got Marantz' proprietary room calibration system which will identify your speakers and set levels and distances. While we expect the subwoofer distance to be off (it may not), generally levels and distance of the other speakers is pretty close with these systems. This is a real help for the uninitiated that don't have the skills, equipment, or desire to do this sort of basic setup manually. There is a mini-jack (3.5mm) on the front of the NR1501 for iPod/MP3 player playback. It isn't as sophisticated as a USB port but it will get the job done. As you'd expect, all the latest HD audio sources are supported including Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD.

NR1501-back.jpgThe back panel is well laid out considering the amount of connections they had to place back there. The Center, Left, Right, and Surround speakers all get 5-way binding posts while the Surround Back speakers are relegated to the dreaded spring type. We're actually a bit surprised at that given that it looks like they had the room. While we would have liked to see 5 or 7.1 analogue inputs or pre-outs, there really isn't any room left on the back panel. They would have had to have gotten rid of some of the inputs (we would have gladly sacrificed a few composite/stereo audio but that's just us). Hey, at least they are doing their part to relegate S-video to the great junkyard in the sky - good riddance!


Full featured, tons of inputs, and slim design all with the quality Marantz is known for? The NR1501 is really a no brainer for the the fledgling Audioholic that is working within the constraints of an existing piece of furniture or a spouse's decor. It is also perfect for the consumer that thinks small equates to high tech and doesn't mind spending a little extra. But that little extra nets you a receiver that is unlikely to run out of inputs as your system grows and isn't going to hiccup as you upgrade your speakers. In this case, a little extra nets you a lot of gain.

Check out more info on the Marantz NR1501.

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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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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