Receivers

Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 7.1 A/V Receiver

ARTICLE INDEX

Setup

You can’t or at least shouldn’t simply slap in a new piece of audio gear in your theater and expect it to perform at its peak.  This goes double for a receiver which is generally considered to be the heart of a system.  In the ‘old days’ (like in the late 90’s when I had purchased my last Yamaha) a proper setup could become quite involved and require extra equipment to do the job right (i.e. an SPL meter to set channel levels and adjust a parametric equalizer). The 7002 offers some key features to simplify the life on the installer ---- in this case me.

Audio

marantz-setup-screen.jpgMarantz’s 7002 features the Audyssey MultEQ system to ease the journey to sound nirvana.  This system analyzes both your speakers and room to optimize their combined performance.  The system is quite easy to use (at least when you run the setup with a monitor attached).  Simply connect the provided microphone to a jack on the front of the unit and choose the “Auto Setup” option from the Speaker Setup Menu.  The Audyssey MultEQ system takes over from there and clicks and pops like R2-D2 big brother (must be a big brother since it’s louder).  After sampling up to 6 spots in your theater speaker sizes, balanced speaker levels (within .5 dB), equalizer settings and distances of the speaker to the listening positions are calculated automatically by Audyssey.  Once complete, you’re ready to pop in a movie and enjoy a calibrated theater.

This was my first experience with the Audyssey automatic speaker setup. I was impressed - with a few caveats.  Most parameters calculated were spot on accurate when I double checked with a tape measure and my Radio Shack SPL meter.  I also found the room-corrected sound, for the lack of a better term, was “light and refreshing”.  The midrange and upper bass regions were clearer and dialog was more intelligible.

My caveat is regarding the speaker size correction.  I was surprised that Audyssey chose to consider all my ERA Design 5 speakers as “Large Speakers”.  The Design 5 LCR’s I used in this setup are rated down to 50Hz.  I found in my previous review (available here on Secrets) that the bass response for the Design 5s began rolling off at 80Hz.  I think a better choice would be to limit the bass that these speakers see.  The good news is that the Marantz 7002 allows you to correct this easily by tweaking the calculated parameters.  For my system’s bass management, I chose a 60Hz High / Low Pass Filter for all my ERA speakers.  Allowing the main speakers to focus on the upper bass regions by sending the low frequency information to the sub resulted in a more solid low end.  The 7002 offered other filter options as well with settings from 60-180Hz in 20Hz steps.

Since I was already tweaking the Audyssey settings, I took a shot at improving the results calculated for the 9 band Equalizer.  After playing around with parameters and listening with and without the equalization, I decided to keep the Audyssey calculated settings due to the superior sound.  In fact, I used these settings for all listening tests.

Finally, to touch upon the audio connections available for setup, there are tons.  Perhaps the most interesting to me was the ability to bi-amp the main speakers …something that can come in handy with big towers. There are also 8 digital (not counting HDMI), 6 analog, 7.1 channel input and even pre-amp outputs for driving external amplifiers.  I think that assortment should satisfy most folks.

Marantz SR7002 Receiver

 

Video

The Marantz 7002 offers a feature that would have been a pretty expensive option a few years ago, video up-conversion.  I had really looked forward to using this feature.  For those of us with a HDTV, all of the cabling to the TV can be reduced to a single HDMI cable.  This means older analog devices (DSS, VCR, etc) using composite, s-video, or component connections or digital HDMI sources can be output as either 480i, 480p, or 1080i via either of the two HDMI outputs on the 7002.  Dropping the cable count can greatly simplify and de-clutter a setup.  Unfortunately, the 7002 does not mention the support of 1080p.  Since the HDMI inputs are modern 1.3a version of the HDMI standard, I assume that no video sources are converted to that resolution but HDMI sources of 1080p would be passed through.  With the gear I had on hand I did not have the capability to check.

Another nice feature of the Marantz that added to its flexibility was the ability to match the various input jacks to any of the seven sources via a functional input mapping.  With input mapping you can ignore the labels for CD, DVD etc on the unit and choose the configuration best suiting your needs.  In addition, you could match your intended use by renaming inputs on the display.  So what you ask?  Here’s what I did.  I assigned one the HDMI input 2 and one of the optical input 2 to AUX1.  I then connected my PC’s DVI output to the HDMI in on the 7702 and the PC’s optical DTS output to the optical input.  Finally, I renamed the source to “HT PC”.  Now when I want to use my home theater PC, I simply select “HT PC” from the Marantz input select menu.  Quite slick.