Marantz NR1501 Build Quality
The receiver is quite attractive. It's not as tiny and "toy-like" as some of those infamous Class-D receivers that were (are?) popular for those looking to save space and heat. In the case of the Marantz NR1501 it really does seem like they truly are saving space without sacrificing too much. The receiver is a full 2-inches shorter than its elder brother, the SR5004, and an inch less in depth to boot. It maintains that nice rounded front edge that puts a lot of other mainstream AV receivers to shame – the products just looks a high end piece worthy of recognition. We popped open the hood of the NR1501 and found a full-size EI power transformer and a large heat sink that really defied our imaginations of what could fit into such a small container. In addition, all of the channels use dual push pull transistors instead of a chip amp (in fact, no current Marantz receivers use chip amps). Many manufacturers (like Yamaha, for example) are now saving costs by using chip-based amplifiers in their $600 and under receivers. Kudos.
Marantz NR1501 Inside Views
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On the video side I'm switching Satellite (HDMI), DVD (Component), iPhone (Component) to a Plasma via a single HDMI.
The system is great for the space and price. FYI, $599 will get you a MR1601 now. You can still pickup used NR1501 for a lot less.
I live in a small (450 sq ft) city studio, so I don't need power. Given my space constraints and neighbors, I've given up on big speakers and critical listening - I'm using a JMlab 5.1 mini-speaker system and mostly play straight from the iPod (can't remember the last time I even turned my SACD player on). I basically want another receiver like this JVC - decent HDMI and upconversion capabilities. Simplicity of cabling and operation are key.
When I move to a larger place, I'll get back to my old setup (top shelf receiver, real speakers, and a 110" projector). In the meantime, is there anything on the market that's an improvement on a NOS D402?
The Marantz sure seems nicer on the audio side, but it doesn't take up any space to put a decent video processor in these chassis. I guess I should be thankful I don't have a good excuse to replace my 402.
Did you spend any time with the MRAC system. I'm a little curious as to how accurate it is and how the EQ portion performed.