Every company that is making a home theater system has to make it a habit to release updated models every year or else other major competitors will pull away. The question is, what exactly needs to be improved in a home theater system? In 2011, there were plenty of decent home theater receivers that are capable of doing many things in addition to sound amplification. These pricey components for your home theater cost quite a bit especially if you go for the mid-range or high-end models and should last several years judging from the build quality. But new home theater receivers like the Marantz SR5007 boast refined network connectivity features and target people that haven’t bought an AV receiver yet.
Other home theater components are getting cheaper so more people are encouraged to set up their own systems but you will need a fairly powerful home theater receiver if you want to boost the audio quality to audiophile levels. The SR5007 aims to hit the audiophile mark while keeping the price tag well below $1,000.
The design of the Marantz SR5007 is something that you will either love or hate. But there is definitely no denying that the SR5007 is refreshingly different compared to the rest of the many home theater receivers that have similar front panel layouts. Like other AV receivers, the Marantz SR5007 has two large knobs that serve as the controls for master volume and input selector. But the center of the player isn’t the typical rectangular info display that you are used to seeing. Instead, you will find a small circular display that is roughly the same size as the volume and input selector knobs. The information shown on this display is very minimal but it is efficient enough and the SR5007 features its own GUI anyway. Marantz calls this the “Star and Circle Porthole Display” and it was first introduced in the previous generation of Marantz home theater receivers.
Marantz also likes to keep the brushed aluminum front panel minimal by offering just a single row of buttons and just an HDMI port and USB port. This is actually a good move since modern smartphones and other portable devices nowadays use HDMI while iOS devices and flash drives use USB. The back panel is neatly organized so you can easily set up a 7.1-channel home theater system. There are 5 HDMI inputs on the back for a total of 6 HDMI ports and a single HDMI out.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
Since the Marantz SR5007 is the least expensive of the 2012 Marantz SR home theater receivers, the SR5007 targets users that don’t need a lot of bells and whistles but want exceptional audio performance. With 100 watts per channel, the Marantz SR5007 is really capable of big room performance as the amplifiers are fully discrete. The Audyssey MultEQ XT technology backs up the audio capabilities by providing automatic calibration to the connected speakers so you will have a balanced sound even. You don’t even need to adjust the equalizer unless you know what you are doing because the Audyssey Dynamic EQ keeps the bass levels in check even if you lower the volume. You may not even need to touch the volume control even if you change channels frequently because the Audyssey Dynamic Volume sets a comfortable level automatically.
The Marantz SR5007 is designed for the present as well as the future with support for technologies like 3D and 4K. With each HDMI port boasting 3D pass-through technology, you can watch 3D Blu-ray titles in dynamic surround sound. If you plan on getting 4K display or projector in the future, you can use the SR5007 to upscale the content to 4K resolution so it looks much better on the large display.
Multi-zone support is another nice feature of the Marantz SR5007 which allows you to set up a smaller system in another room and hook it up directly to the home theater receiver. With this configuration, you can do something like watching a movie in the main room while someone else listens to music in the other room. Both rooms will get the audio enhancements since the SR5007 is powerful enough to get the job done.
The user experience is pretty good since you can rely on the on-screen “Setup Assistant” which shows off a friendly GUI on the screen that takes you through the steps in installing everything. After you are finished, you can decide how you want to control the Marantz SR5007. If you prefer the traditional way, you can go ahead and use the remote right away because it has batteries out of the box. But if you want more control from anywhere in the house, you can turn your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Android smartphone or tablet into a fully interactive remote. The Marantz Remote app is a free app that shows off a friendly interface so you can control the SR5007 remotely from anywhere as long as there is signal coming from your wireless router. The catch is that you have to hook up the Marantz SR5007 to the wireless router using an Ethernet cable so it can actually receive signals.
The advantage of connecting to the router is the several networking features that the SR5007 offers. With AirPlay support, iOS users can go on ahead and stream music from iTunes to the home theater receiver. If the router is connected to the Internet you can also listen to Internet radio services like vTuner, SiriusXM and Pandora. Music and photo streaming from ordinary PCs is also possible since the Marantz SR5007 is DLNA 1.5 compliant.
If you are looking for a home theater receiver with these features, you might have encountered the slim and attractively-priced Marantz NR1603. The Marantz SR5007 is almost identical to the NR1603 in features but the NR1603 uses up less power. That can be a good or bad thing depending on your needs. The SR5007 is the clear choice here if you need more power because it leads to better overall audio performance. Plus, the Marantz SR5007 features more Audyssey technologies which boosts the audio quality even further.
Update: There is a newer model > Marantz SR5012