The road to ultra-high-definition video and a more immersive audio experience has been a rocky one. Although the 4K technology was introduced to home theater receivers well more than 4 years ago, those models already feel very outdated due to evolving HDMI specifications. Then there is the audio front where old high-end models continue to shine but audio companies continue to innovate and put more cinema essences into the home. This usually meant buying a home theater receiver this year meant that somewhat bitter taste when a newer model is introduced the following year. When buying a new high-end home theater receiver, it is most ideal to get the most futureproof model available. One that won’t feel totally outdated in the next couple of years. Now that mainstream 4K content is on the horizon and Ultra HD standards look finalized, 2016 is looking to be the best year to finally invest in a home theater receiver. The Marantz SR7010 aims to capitalize on that opportunity with a vast array of futureproof features.
About the Marantz SR7010
The Marantz SR7010 is the direct successor to the Marantz SR7009 introduced in 2014. It is the company’s new flagship model of the consumer home theater receiver series and it has a MSRP of $2,199. That type of money will get you 9.2-channel receiver fueled by 125 watts per channel, 8 HDMI inputs to play around with and 3 HDMI outputs.
Comparison with the Marantz SR7009
The Marantz SR7010 physically resembles the SR7009 in many ways from the circular display down to the trapdoor design featuring the familiar array of inputs but a lot of things under the hood were improved. All 8 HDMI inputs have the latest HDCP 2.2 and HDMI 2.0a specifications so you can be assured that existing and upcoming 4K content will work with the receiver. Thanks to the HDMI 2.0a specification, High Dynamic Range and 4:4:4 Pure Color sub-sampling is also included. Therefore, if you are really sold with the 4K idea, upgrading to the SR7010 is really the only option since it is impossible even for a firmware update to add these types of capabilities to older Marantz models.
In addition to the Dolby Atmos technology which first made an appearance in the SR7009 model, Marantz also opened the doors to DTS:X which can be viewed as a competing aimed at providing the same deeper surround sound experience without the extra fancy requirements. This feature doesn’t come out of the box but is immediately available via a firmware update. The SR7009, on the other hand, isn’t eligible for the DTS:X upgrade and it could possibly be the improved processing power found in the Marantz SR7010. Yes, each of the channels come with a new 32-bit DAC AK4458VN.
Other minor improvements over the SR7009 include faster 802.11n which was well overdue as streaming FLAC with the SR7009 was a pain due to the limits of 802.11g. It is somewhat puzzling though that Marantz didn’t leapfrog to the latest and speedy 802.11ac standard.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
The SR7010 is the obvious choice if you the highest rated output possible resulting to killer performance. But it is also the only model which exclusively has 9.2 channels and that can be expanded to 11.2 with an external amp. Thanks to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, this offers more possibilities than ever before. If the room allows, you can come up with a setup consisting of 7 speakers, a single subwoofer and 4 ceiling speakers. If that’s too overkill, you can take a multi-room approach where you can take advantage of the 3 HDMI outputs.
The Marantz SR7010 is also the only model in the 2015 consumer home theater receiver family to be eligible for the Auro-3D upgrade. This technology is fully for the hardcore as it takes advantage of 9.1-channel setups to create a highly realistic listening environment that really makes you believe you are part of the experience. Several Blu-ray titles are ready for this new breakthrough Auro-3D can enhance non-supported content too. The only downside is that you have to pay an extra $200 for the upgrade. Owners of the older SR7009 can opt to upgrade to Auro-3D too.
The built-in Wi-Fi of the Marantz SR7010 enables users to stream high quality audio via DLNA or AirPlay. It also supports popular audio streaming services including Spotify Connect, SiriusXM and Pandora.
Audio quality is noticeably better with the SR7010 thanks to the new 32-bit DAC. The HDAM or Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module is also worth pointing out as it is exclusive to Marantz receivers and it makes the music sound warmer without leaving out any details. It still relies on the Audyssey Platinum DSP Suite for its calibration magic and it continues to deliver really encouraging results. Audio improvements are most noticeable when Dolby Atmos is used and it really shows that adding those height channels is no gimmick.
• Pushes the audio performance envelope even further thanks to improved hardware.
• Free upgrade path to DTS:X and with an optional paid upgrade to Auro-3D.
• Still very easy to setup and operate.
• Futureproof on the 4K side of things.
• Does not come with a physical instruction manual.
• Only one USB port and it is found on the front.
The SR7009 was already considered an excellent flagship home theater receiver and it can be bought for cheap these days. However, the improvements of the Marantz SR7010 across the board make this new flagship a better recommendation if you want to be on the cutting edge for years to come.
Update: There is a newer model > Marantz SR7011