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Performance and Verdict

By Danny Phillips



  • Recommended by TR
Marantz NR1602


Our Score:


The bodywork may be leaner than your average receiver but its sound quality is super-sized. Don’t let that modest power rating fool you either, as the NR1602 is capable of mustering plenty of punch and dynamism from within its slimline frame.

Marantz NR1602

Sliding old favourite Hellboy II: The Golden Army into the tray, the NR1602 turns its DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack into a thing of beauty. The climactic battle between Hellboy and Nuada is a breath-taking maelstrom of effects blaring from all seven speakers. Clanking weaponry, punches, kicks, stomping robotic footsteps – all whipped round the room with authority and dynamism. It’s a real thrill ride.

But it’s not all about brute force. The soundstage also shimmers with detail – nowhere more so than the exquisitely recorded Troll Market scene – plus there’s a control and smoothness to the sound that only comes from an audio brand operating at the top of its game.

Steering is fast-paced and seamless, the soundstage is expansive and dialogue sounds clean and forthright. It’s a really impressive performance across the board, and that extends to music playback too – in stereo mode you get a wonderfully crisp and velvety sound from the NR1602, showing the sort of deftness and musicality you might not expect from a movie-centric amp.


We’re really impressed by the NR1602. Not only is it teeming with features, including DLNA streaming, internet radio, AirPlay and 3D support, but its slimline design is also gorgeous and sound quality is sublime, despite its low-sounding power rating.

It’s also a smooth music streamer, supporting a decent range of formats and AirPlay works flawlessly, providing a brilliant way of unlocking music on your Apple device or computer.

Granted, other AV receivers in this price bracket offer even more for a lower price. The Onkyo TX-NR609, for example, gets you Pro Logic IIz, Audyssey DSX, Wi-Fi dongle support, 4K2K video scaling, more connections, greater power, THX Select2 Plus certification and Spotify into the bargain for under £500. But we fancy the Marantz just edges it in terms of sophistication and musical refinement, plus it’s a lot nicer to look at.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 9
  • Sound Quality 9
  • Value 8


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.


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.


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!


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?


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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