If you thought all AV receivers were hulking black boxes that gobble up space in your AV rack, think again. The NR1602 is one of two slimline receivers in Marantz’s range, which bring a touch of space-saving elegance to your system. The NR1602 is the step-up version, adding features not found on the NR1402, with an approximate price difference of £180 between them.
The NR1602 is a 7.1-channel receiver with 7 x 50W of amplification under the bonnet. Naturally, it’s 3D-ready and elsewhere on the feature list is a range of networking capabilities - including built-in AirPlay support and internet radio. The 5.1-channel NR1402 lacks these functions.
Marantz makes some of the best-looking receivers in the business, and the NR1602 is no exception. The obvious eye-catcher is the unit’s slim dimensions, measuring just 105mm from top to bottom. But it’s the curved panels at either end of the fascia that really make it stand out, adding a touch of sophistication that perfectly matches Marantz Blu-ray players like the UD7006. It’s available in a choice of black or silver-gold.
The display panel on the front is excellent – nicely sized and full of helpful information – and it’s flanked by large input and volume dials, but beneath it is a rather cluttered bank of buttons and sockets, which could have done with being hidden behind a flap. The keys let you control often-used functions and menus, while sockets include a USB port (more on that later), a headphone jack and a port for the setup mic.
The slimmed-down rear panel doesn’t leave as much room for connections as most receivers, but Marantz has certainly crammed lots into the space. There are four HDMI inputs and one output, all v1.4 with Audio Return Channel support.
You also get two component and three composite video inputs, plus an output for each, 2.1-channel pre-outs, three sets of analogue stereo inputs plus two digital audio inputs (one optical and one coaxial).
Rounding it off are remote control in/out, Ethernet, FM/AM antenna inputs and Marantz’s M-XPort, which allows you to connect the optional RX-101 Bluetooth receiver (which in turn will receive signals from the IS301 Bluetooth iPod dock). Alternatively, you can connect your Apple device to the USB port on the front.