Marantz NR1602 review

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Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Marantz NR1602

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Pros

  • Refined and reasonably powerful sound quality
  • Stylish slimline design
  • AirPlay support and smooth music streaming

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi support or video scaling
  • Can get more features for your money elsewhere
  • Remote a little too busy

Key Features

  • 7 x 50W power output
  • AirPlay support
  • DLNA certified
  • Internet radio, Napster, Flickr and Last.fm
  • Audyssey MultEQ auto calibration
  • Manufacturer: Marantz
  • Review Price: £509.90

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 NR1602Marantz 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.

Marantz NR1602

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.

kaled

October 28, 2011, 4:22 pm

"eye-catching feature list, headlined by AirPlay support"

What is the world coming to - this is an AV receiver first and foremost and just like every other technology reviewer, you seem to have to give Apple some free advertising!
Forget the fact that it is completely ridiculous that AirPlay even exists since DNLA can do the same thing - and yet the media heap praise on Apple rather than critise for bringing yet another, prioprietry standard.

Keithe6e

October 28, 2011, 7:40 pm

>> DNLA can do the same thing

No it can't.

The nearest thing I can think of is bluetooth A2DP, but that's audio only.

DNLA is a pull protocol, Airplay & A2DP are more push protocols, learn the difference before ranting.

kaled

October 28, 2011, 7:55 pm

Actually, my Twonky DNLA server software can 'push' content directly to my Marantz SR7005 in exactly the same way as Airplay functions on the receiver.
Indeed I believe Twonky mobile enables just this feature from a mobile phone and presumably tablets too!

Keithe6e

October 29, 2011, 2:24 am

Ah right, as long as it's acting as a DMR. Good point, it's sort of the same thing, and your right another protocol wasn't really needed. But there are plenty of people who would be interested in knowing the device can handle this, so I'm still not sure what's your gripe. Is it any worse than highlighting if a product is DNLA certified?

Gk.pm

October 29, 2011, 7:57 pm

Well the problem with DNLA is it tries to do too much and support everything under the sun, but then - as usual for such things - fails at even minimal usability.

I'm talking from experience because unfortunately I had to build and now maintain a small DNLA setup consisting of a Mac as server, an Onkyo 609 for audio, a WD Live box and a Panasonic LCD TV for video. What a nightmare to get that to even play something.

Had to try 5 different DNLA servers, each with varying amounts of FAIL until I finally settled on a paid commercial one (iSedora) that works 90% of the time. Twonky was among the worse, Tweaky would be a more appropriate name. I spent hours fussing around with that. It's just not a polished product, was very surprised Panasonic even recommended it as their DNLA server of choice.

Even now HD content still needs to be transcoded with obvious artefacts. Lossless audio? Keep dreaming. And that's when the devices aren't complaining they can't see the server.

Recently purchased an iHome IW1 with Airplay from the States to replace my low cost (but very low quality) bluetooth setup. What a joy to use. It really just works.

Almost no setup needed, just choose Wifi and that's it (the iHome even comes with a setup app). Plus it's lossless audio, not the rubbish A2DP.

So no DNLA can't do the same thing. Maybe it could on paper, but in real world user experience it's broken.

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