Marantz home theater receivers are known for their great audio performance and outstanding build quality. But of course, the company will always find some room for improvement whether it is adding new features or putting some premium features in more affordable models. This 2013, Marantz is doing both by releasing the Marantz SR5008 and SR6008 models which both have the proprietary HyperDynamic Amplifier Module for improved audio fidelity. However, the SR7007 which was Marantz’s consumer flagship model of 2012 will still be on the retail channels for the foreseeable future since they still provide more HDMI inputs and better multi-zone support. While the SR7007 is a bit cheaper than the time the model first came out, Marantz also released the Marantz SR7008 which is basically the successor of the SR7007. It costs $1,999 which is $200 more than the SR7007 and it has several key improvements that should entice the enthusiast crowd.
The Marantz SR7008 is more of an internal upgrade than anything else and as a result, the front panel design looks the same as its predecessor. But if you are upgrading from a lower-end model, there are some impressive differences to take note of. First off, the Marantz SR7008 looks and feels massive weighing close to 28 pounds. Marantz is also giving this receiver the “star and circle” design treatment where the upper info display is shaped like a porthole and it has a cool bluish glow when you turn the receiver on.
On the outside, all you can really see is the two knobs and display although it doesn’t display a lot information. But unlike the cheaper Marantz receivers, the small circular display isn’t a compromise as there is larger display hidden beneath the folding door and it has a more traditional rectangular look. The display beneath the folding door is surrounded by several buttons and connection ports. As you can expect from a flagship model, the front panel features an HDMI input, USB port and set of aux inputs.
The back of the receiver shows some nice improvements over the older model. There are 11 sets of binding posts rather than 9 offering more multi-zone flexibility. Properly connecting the wires to these pre-outs can be confusing in an ordinary receiver so Marantz simplified things by organizing the pre-outs in color-coded sections. The number of HDMI ports remain the same (6 HDMI ins and 3 HDMI outs) as the SR7007 but can still be considered a big upgrade over any lower-end Marantz receiver.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
Another specification that the SR7008 shares with the SR7007 is the power output which is 125 watts per channel. However, the Marantz SR7008 features 9 discrete internal amplifiers so it can process a huge 9.2-channel system. It also manages to produce this kind of power with low distortion and impressively wide dynamic range. With the available pre-outs, you can set up 2 other sound systems in 2 different rooms each playing a different source. You can also hook up both a projector and a TV via HDMI and still have a free HDMI port for outputting a different video source to a display located in another room.
Like its cheaper siblings, the SR7008 uses Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module circuits with Current Feedback technology to increase the slew rate and deliver even better dynamic range. But exclusive to the Marantz SR7008 is an improved version of the Audyssey calibration technology called MultEQ XT32. This room acoustic measurement technology is more effective in harmonizing the room’s acoustics. With the help of the Audyssey LFC or Low Frequency Containment, the subwoofer can perform at a reduced output without sacrificing the tonal range. This can be useful if you want to enjoy clear sound at night without the extra bass which could disturb neighboring rooms. Audyssey Sub EQ HT also adds support calibrating speaker systems with 2 subwoofers. It is these enhancements that make the SR7008 a very appealing choice.
Enthusiasts should be very familiar with setting up the receiver but the Marantz Setup Assistant feature is still present to ensure that no mistakes are ever made throughout the installation. You get all the instructions and illustrations you need on the TV screen to get the job done. Usability is also simple since the remote control features dedicated buttons that switch to the source you want. With the Marantz Remote App, the receiver also gives you the luxury of controlling it with your iOS or Android device. Navigating the interface is also very simple and it works over Wi-Fi. However, the Marantz SR7008 doesn’t have built-in wireless LAN so you have to position the wireless router close to the receiver unless you have a longer Ethernet cable.
Once the SR7008 is connected to the local network, any iOS devices in the network can use AirPlay to stream music tracks to the receiver. Windows 7 and Windows 8 systems can also take advantage of the DLNA 1.5 compliance to stream audio in a similar fashion. Other devices that don’t have Wi-Fi are out of luck although the USB port and you can still try Bluetooth if you connected the optional Bluetooth adapter that is sold separately. You can also connect to Pandora, vTuner or SiriusXM Internet Radio if you enjoy those online services. If Internet radio isn’t your thing, you can use the Marantz SR7008 to capture HD radio signals.
If you have a 3D display or 4K Ultra HD TV, you won’t have to worry about compatibility if you have any Marantz 2012 or 2013 receiver. The receiver can properly route the 3D and 4K signals from a connected Blu-ray player to a supported TV. For lower resolution sources, the receiver can also upscale these signals so they look much better on the 4K display.
The features of the Marantz SR7008 aren’t enough to make the SR7007 obsolete since the price difference of the SR7008 and SR6008 is pretty wide at the moment. But the Marantz SR7008 can be seen as the answer for those people looking for a 9.2-channel receiver with Marantz’s signature technologies and Audyssey’s innovative improvements.
Update: There is a newer model > Marantz SR7011