Before Christmas we reviewed Marantz’ sensational SR6005, which wowed us with its classy looks, extensive features and powerhouse audio performance. Sitting before us now is the its bigger brother, the SR7005, another seven-channel amp that adds even more features to the list and cranks up the power from 110W to 125W per channel. Its range-topping status is reflected in a hefty price tag, but Marantz doesn’t usually short-change punters in this price class and we’re hoping that the S7005 is no exception.
As ever we start with design and the first thing that jumps out is the SR7005’s size. By regular AV receiver standards it’s enormous, with a chunky 187mm-high fascia that might necessitate a rethink of your AV furniture. True home cinema heads won’t care about that though, particularly when it’s styled as attractively as this. Marantz has opted for a classic look with hints of retro chic in the circular display panel that shows the current volume and selected input, illuminated by a ring of gentle blue light. Yes the digits are on the small side, but don’t worry – there’s a bigger display hidden beneath the drop-down flap below. Clever.
The rest of the fascia is pretty tasty too. It curves gently on both sides, making it more elegant than your average AV receiver, while the vertical grooves, large knobs and brushed black finish are pure class (it’s equally stylish in the alternative silver finish).
Adding to this elegant look is the lack of clutter on the front panel – the flap mentioned above also hides a range of auxiliary connections and up-close controls. Under here you’ll find an HDMI input, an optical digital audio input and composite/stereo audio inputs, all of which will come in handy for those devices you only use from time to time. There’s also a USB port that lets you connect an iPod directly and lets you play WMA, MP3, WAV, AAC and FLAC from USB memory devices. Completing the front socket line-up are ports for headphones and the setup microphone.
On the back is a veritable feast of sockets, as befits a receiver of the SR7005’s high-end status. The first thing we always look for is the number and type of HDMI inputs on offer and the SR7005 is endowed with five at the rear and another on the front, all of which are v1.4 and therefore ready to handle 3D content from Blu-ray players. You even get two HDMI v1.4 outputs, which are useful if you want to feed two different TVs simultaneously, (or a TV and projector) and one of them supports the Audio Return Channel feature.
As for the other connections, you get four digital audio inputs (two coaxial, two optical) and one optical output, 7.1-channel analogue inputs, seven-channel pre-outs with two sub outs, seven analogue stereo inputs and four outputs, four composite video inputs and three outputs, plus four component video inputs and two outputs. Some of these audio and video outputs are designated for use in a second or third zone. Vinyl lovers will be pleased to see a signal ground terminal for a turntable, plus there are remote control ports for custom install use and a proprietary M-XPort for the RX101 Bluetooth receiver. It really does have all bases covered but then you’d expect nothing less for well over a grand.
You’ll also notice that there’s an Ethernet port on the back – that’s because the SR7005 is a DLNA-certified receiver, which means you can play music or view photos stored on networked PCs, as well as listen to vTuner internet radio and access Napster, Flickr and Last.fm. With this and its USB/iPod/Bluetooth support, the SR7005 really is a cutting-edge entertainment hub.