- Written by Lee Hower
- Published on 10 March 2008
Marantz has long been known for its focus on producing great sound. Iâ€™ve listened to several of their receivers in the past and have owned two receivers from Marantzâ€™s sister company Denon (both owned by D&M Holdings), including the Denon AVR-4806 currently in my home theater. Marantz markets the SR8002 as both an â€œAudiophileâ€™s Receiverâ€ and a â€œVideophileâ€™s Receiverâ€ so I was eager to try it out in my home theater, which like many rooms these days sees a broad range of usage for movies, music, and games.
Features & Setup
The SR8002 currently represents the top of Marantzâ€™s model line for A/V receivers. Ross Jones previously reviewed the SR8001 receiver which has been replaced by this newer unit. The SR8002 has added HDMI 1.3a support, providing on-board decoding of Dolby TrueHD and dts-HD multi-channel audio signals deeper and broader color space through Deep Color and xvYCC, as well as the ability to receive multi-channel SACD signals over the HDMI connection. It also featuresan HD radio receiver and support for XM Satellite radio signals.
- Codecs:Codecs: DD, DD TrueHD, DD Plus, DD-EX, DPL-IIx, DTS, DTS-ES, DTS HD Master Audio, DTS Discrete 6.1, DTS Matrix 6.1, DTS Neo:6, Circle Surround, HDCD, HD Radio, XM Radio (subscription required)
- Power: 7 x 125 Watts RMS
- Inputs:S-Video, Component Video, Composite Video, Analog RCA Audio, Toslink Audio, Digital Coaxial, Audio, Pre-Ins
- Outputs:HDMI, S-Video, Component Video, Composite Video, Analog RCA, Toslink Audio, Coaxial Digital Audio, Pre-Outs
- MFR: 8 Hz - 100 kHz Â± 3 dB
- Audyssey Room EQ
- THX Select2
- Inputs: (2) HDMI, (1) Component, (1) S-Video, (1) Composite
- Second and Third Zones
- Dimensions: 7.3" H x 17.4" W x 15.6" D
- Weight: 31.1 Pounds
- MSRP: $1,999 USA
In setting up the SR8002, the flexibility of the receiver is immediately and abundantly apparent both in handling video and audio. It has four in / two out HDMI switching, four in / two out component video, conversion of video signals to HDMI (HD signals from component passed thru, 480i signals upconverted to 480p), seven digital audio inputs (includingone on front panel) and two outputs, 7.1 analog input, and 7.1 pre-outs. The amplification section offers similar flexibility, with seven channels rated at 125W each and a THX Select2 rating. The channels can be utilized in a 7.1 configuration, a 5.1 setup with two channels for a 2nd zone, or a 5.1 setup with bi-amping for two of the channels.
The SR8002 utilizes Audyssey MultiEQ software for equalization and room correction. My reference Denon also incorporates Audyssey technology, and Iâ€™ve generally been pleased with the actual in-room performance it provides. While itâ€™s not a panacea for poor room acoustics or mismatched equipment, it can improve most environments and certainly aids in the initial chore of configuring speakers and setting channel levels.
The flexibility of this unit includes customization of input names and pairing virtually any incoming video signal with any audio input. My only nit with the setup menus is that with the exception of a few icons, the user interface remains mostly text driven. I realize that there are limitations when doing setup on the front-panel LCD, but given that the vast majority of receivers provide on-screen display menus, I wish that the user interfaces were a little more graphically oriented to make things easier for the non-power users.
With a black front panel and a well laid out rear panel, the SR8002 slots easily into an equipment cabinet or equipment rack. The front panel display and indicator lights can be dimmed to suit your listening environment. Moving the unit about on your own is certainly manageable, as it weighs in at 33 pounds. Construction is sturdy with a black metal chassis and a large torroidal transformer in plain view alongside all the digital and analog circuitry held inside.
As the command center of a home theater or multi-channel music setup, a receiver like the SR8002 has to cover a great deal of ground. Once inputs are configured and speaker setup complete, operation of this receiver is pretty straightforward.
This review did not include bench testing of video and audio response of the SR8002, but I subjectively evaluated the receiver with a mixture of movies, music, TV programming, and video gaming. I have fewer HD radio broadcasts available within range of my home, so I did not have the opportunity to explore this facet of the SR8002â€™s capability. But during the review period, I sampled everything from the Blu-ray version of 3:10 to Yuma to Beckâ€™s Sea Change multi-channel SACD to Foxâ€™s HD broadcast of the Super Bowl to various HD games on an Xbox 360 and quite a bit in between.
Whether viewed over HDMI or component video connections, images appeared clean and crisp from a variety of mostly HD and the occasional SD sources. I never experienced issues with HDMI synch across various sources, the SR8002, and my Panasonic projector. Like many receivers today, the SR8002 provides adjustable delay to ensure audio and video signals are properly time synchronized, though in my setup I found only small adjustments were required.
Part way through my evaluation of the SR8002, I obtained an HDMI 1.3 capable Blu-ray player which let me try out on-board decoding of advanced audio codecs like Dolby True HD and DTS Master HD. Itâ€™s great that most mid to high end A/V receivers these days provide on-board decoding and I have to admit it was kind of cool to see â€œDOLBY TRUE HDâ€ emblazoned across the front panel. But my ear was hard pressed to discern a meaningful difference between decoding on the receiver versus the player, sending uncompressed multi-channel PCM signals across the HDMI cable. However, having to use only one cable (HDMI) is certainly a benefit compared to having six RCA cables.
All in all, I had few quibbles with either the sound or visual performance of the SR8002. On the audio side, the amplification was more than adequate for my average-sized home theater (approx. 14 x 20â€™), and the unit provides RCA-type pre-outs should one wish to employ separate amplification. The sound is impressively refined for a receiver that must handle quite a bit on both sides of the A/V equation. On the video side, the receiver handled switching and processing of video signals with aplomb. More sophisticated upconversion and de-interlacing of video inputs is available in higher-end separates or dedicated video processors, but certainly not in receivers in this price range.
At an MSRP of $1999, one would be hard pressed to find many receivers that provide the features and refined sound of the Marantz SR8002. Starting with a plethora of inputs and ending with on-board decoding of high definition multi-channel audio and amp channel assignment, the receiver shines in its flexibility in particular. Though ultimately an incremental rather than a revolutionary model upgrade from the SR8001, the SR8002 adds some useful and welcomed improvements like HDMI 1.3 support and HD radio. If youâ€™re looking for a receiver that can do it all, from both the video and audio side, the SR8002 is certainly worth an audition.
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