Marantz receivers are often the choice for people that want a different looking AV receiver. All of the company’s products in the SR series boast a pretty unconventional design and the Marantz SR5009, which is the newest addition to the family, still keeps this design language. While the older model SR5008 may sound like an interesting proposition if priced lower than its original retail price at $899 but the SR5009 offers a few big additions that are enough for this home theater receiver to catch up with the big leagues. In fact, the Marantz SR5009 could very well be one of the most suitable receivers for under $1,000.
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Marantz continues its little design tradition that the company started in 2012. This approach divides the black home theater receiver design in 3 sections with the larger middle section having a brushed metal finish and a circular display which does not have much room for textual information but is unique nevertheless.
On the left and right areas of the front panel lie 2 knobs which are similarly sized to the circular display and serve as the input selector and volume control respectively. There is a sense of simplicity to this design too as there is only a single row of buttons on the near bottom of the SR5009. Just above this row of buttons is the phones jack while the AUX HDMI port and USB port rest below this row. Located on the right of this row of buttons is the standard arrangement of other AUX inputs and mic jack for calibration purposes. This won’t surprise fans of older Marantz models since it looks very much the same from the front.
Marantz did make some minor changes to the back of the Marantz SR5009. As far as connectivity goes, you get a little bit more than the older model thanks to the additional HDMI input as well as a second HDMI output. This gives a grand total of 8 HDMI inputs including the one on the front. The sets of component video inputs and pre outs for Zone 2 have been bunched up leaving more empty space on the back of the receiver. Also noticeable is the two external antennas on the upper corners of the back portion which are linked to the new wireless networking capabilities of the SR5009.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
Built-in wireless connectivity is the biggest new addition to the Marantz SR5009 and it is about time that this midrange receiver is hopping aboard this train. Many of today’s midrange and even some entry-level home theater receivers have built-in Wi-Fi but the best that the older Marantz SR5008 could do was offer AirPlay support and that only worked if you connected the receiver to the router via Ethernet. The SR5009 can act like any other wireless computer or mobile device in the house allowing easy access to Web services like Spotify, SiriusXM and Pandora as well as support for wireless streaming from a portable device.
AirPlay support is retained as well as DLNA compatibility so ordinary desktop and laptop computers can stream to the Marantz SR5009. Even Bluetooth support is built in so you no longer have to spend $99 on a separate Bluetooth receiver. As far as streaming goes, you can practically throw any audio file format at it from the common MP3, WMA, FLAC HD and WAV formats to ALAC and AAC. It is even possible to enjoy classical recordings and live concerts which often come in the form of DSD, AIFF and gapless formats. Another big improvement is on each of the HDMI ports where they now conform to the HDMI 2.0 specifications. This opens up 4K Ultra HD passthrough at 60 Hz.
The rest of the features are similar to the older Marantz models and that is important because Marantz AV receivers are known to be easy to set up thanks to the intuitive Setup Assistant. The iOS and Android Marantz Remote apps are still compatible with this receiver so you can easily change the settings of the SR5009 from anywhere in the house as long as there is wireless signal. Marantz also recently launched a tablet-optimized version for the iPad, Android tablets and even Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets.
The HDAM or Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module continues to be one of the main selling points of the Marantz SR5009 for those that are concerned of the receiver’s performance. In fact, this exclusive Marantz technology has been updated to provide as much as 10 dB of signal-to-noise improvement over previous models. Treble details have also been enhanced with an ultra wide-brand response of 100 kHz, -3 dB. Compared to home theater receivers without the technology, the SR5009 provides better dynamic range and improved audio fidelity without the need to increase the power rating.
Audyssey’s trio of technologies are brought to the Marantz SR5009 too although it is now under the “Audyssey Silver” label just to better show to consumers that the receiver can drastically improve the performance of the connected speakers. The Audyssey MultEQ XT automatic room correction system still works the same as it can calibrate a room using high precision digital filters. Up to 8 locations in the same room can be measured. The SR5009 can also even out the volume levels of different programming segments such as commercials through the use of the Audyssey Dynamic Volume technology. Finally the Audyssey Dynamic EQ technology keeps the audio details very clear no matter what the current volume level is.
The SR5008 indicated Marantz desire to improve the technologies and inner hardware of the receiver so the performance matches up to its unique design. Its biggest weakness was the feature set and that was a pretty big deal since wireless features do matter a lot as more people stick to smartphones, tablets and pocket WI-Fi devices. The Marantz SR5009 clearly addresses these issues and even throws in a number of other improvements like HDMI 2.0 support. The SR5009 finally catches up to the competition and puts some pressure on some competitors since this new midrange receiver looks great and is attractively priced.
Update: There is a newer model > Marantz SR5012