Marantz has a strong showing in the AV receiver sector this year, placing the focus on design and sound quality, but also extending network capabilities and improving usability. Given the shared Denon and Marantz DNA, it’s unsurprising to find many of the same features on these models as Denon’s new gear, but that doesn’t make them any less alluring.
The company has introduced four new models, three of which are network-enabled. Top of the tree is the SR6006, a £849 machine that packs 7 x 110W of power and seven HDMI v1.4 inputs. But networking functionality is again the key point of the SR6006 – a point underlined by a very slick and surprisingly glitch-free demonstration at D&M’s press event. It’s fully DLNA 1.5 certified, allowing you to stream a wide range of audio formats (up to FLAC-HD) and access Napster, Last.fm and Flickr. It also features support for AirPlay and Windows7 PlayTo, and can be controlled from an iPhone using the Marantz Wizz app, which is updated every two months. Like Denon, Marantz will make Android and iPad apps available in the last quarter of 2011.
Marantz has also gone down the ease-of-use route on the SR6006 with a new Advanced GUI (not found on the other new models), overlaid onto the picture, as well as a Setup Wizard that pops up when you first power up the receiver and walks you through each setup stage step-by-step using colourful graphics.
Elsewhere it boasts Audyssey’s MultEQ XT Pro and DSX, phono input for all you vinyl lovers out there. The SR6006 is backed up by the SR5006, a £629, 7 x 100W model with 6 HDMI inputs, MultEQ XT, Dolby Pro Logic IIz, M-DAX2 and an iPod-compatible USB input. It also supports AirPlay. Marantz has also taken great pains to drive down power consumption in standby, using dedicated power supplies for each section to get the figure down to 3W.
If you prefer your AV receivers a little less bulky, Marantz's new slimline models are worth investigating. They don’t offer as much power but will slot into your AV cabinet a lot more easily. The £529 NR1602 in the most advanced, boasting 7 x 50W power output, 4 HDMI inputs, MultEQ, DLNA with AirPlay and all the new easy setup features. A cheaper version, NR1402 (£349) offers all the same networking features but is a five channel affair (5 x 50W).
Marantz also has a pair of serious-looking new Blu-ray players on offer this year. The £799 UD7006 and £499 UD5005 are both universal players, which means they can play Blu-ray, DVD, SACD and DVD-Audio, while the UD7006 adds the same step-up features as Denon’s DBP2012UD and like Denon’s decks these will also benefit from a YouTube software update in July.