Processors

Marantz AV7701 7.2 A/V Preamp/Processor

ARTICLE INDEX

Design and Setup of the Marantz AV7701

Moving from the AV7005 to the AV7701 was quick and easy, but it also made the changes in features all the more apparent. The output jacks are now gold plated, which is a nice touch, but they are also no longer color-coded for multichannel. I'm not sure if many people besides me use that to hook up cables correctly, but it is a small change. There's a small reduction in analog video inputs as well, but with an increase in HDMI inputs, I doubt anyone is going to miss them. The update to three HDMI outputs, one of which serves a second zone, is nice to see. I found that the HDMI inputs were a bit tight and I would think I had inserted a cable fully only to discover it was still slightly hanging out.

The larger additions are in the audio streaming features that Marantz has added to the AV7701. AirPlay has gone from an optional feature to a built-in function, and Spotify support has been added as well. Marantz has also added support for scaling content to 4K resolutions, though like most people I have no way to test this feature out yet. The iOS apps have also been updated and made it a bit easier to use, and there is an Android version as well.

A big improvement with the Marantz AV7701 is the setup process. Now after you connect it and power it on initially, you are prompted for what devices you have connected. This helps to pare down the selection of inputs on the front panel when switching, as well as name them correctly, and it is a logical feature to have. The AV receiver is probably the most complex device in a system to configure, so anything to improve that is welcome.

Marantz has also improved upon the web interface, where you can connect to the AV7701 from a computer on your home network to do lots of the setup. This is useful, but fell short in a couple areas that would have made it even better. First, I can't able to log into Spotify from the web, and had to enter my credentials with the remote. If you've become paranoid about your passwords recently like I have, making them longer and more complex, it takes a long time with a remote. Doing this from the web GUI seems very logical to me. Strangely enough, you can do this from the iOS app, but not the web browser.

I also don't enjoy having to establish another account to save radio stations on the AV7701. I have enough accounts already; I'd just like to save a few radio stations to the memory and not need a new login to do so. Finally, a couple features in the GUI are mislabeled, like "Search Podcasts" is really "Browse Podcasts", which is totally different. Once again, on the iOS control you can easily save a favorite without logging into another account. It seems the iOS and Android apps are ahead of the web interface now, though I'd like to see the web option catch up.

Overall, setup of the AV7701 is quick and efficient with the new setup routine; though a firmware update takes over half an hour to do, so plan ahead for that. I ran Audyssey, which has the same setup routine as always, and then was ready to go. The Marantz does provide some nice graphs of the Audyssey adjustments, seen below.