- Written by Lee Hower
- Published on 10 March 2008
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.
Samsung BD-P1400 Blu-Ray Player
Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD player
DirecTV H20 HD receiver
Sony ES SCD-222ES SACD player
Sonos ZP80 Zone Player (Apple lossless encoded files)
Microsoft Xbox 360
Panasonic PT-AE900U projector
Custom built 5-channel speakers (2-way, Vifa drivers)
SVS CS-Plus 20-34 subwoofer