Receivers

Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 7.1 A/V Receiver

ARTICLE INDEX

 

The SR7002 Remote Control

Marantz SR7002 & 8002 Remote

The 7002 includes 2 remotes, a simplified second room remote and a universal remote.  Like the receiver itself, the RC8001SR universal remote tries to do everything.  It includes codes for common components, the ability to learn remote codes, macro capability and a small OSD.  I never really became comfortable with the remote during the review period due to the small and hard to read (at least for me - even if backlit) buttons and paged access to functions on the OSD.  I think back to the old cryptic 8 in 1 remote from Radio Shack that I learned by touch in the early 90’s. If I owned the 7002 and used this remote daily, I would eventually learn the ins and outs of its operation - just as I did with my ancient Radio Shack remote.  However, I would not expect many people to pick it up and use it intuitively.  Case in point, Mom scratched her head for a few minutes until I rescued her and turned the volume down.

The RC101 remote provided for the second room had a streamlined look and feel compared to the main remote.  However, unless you plan on installing IR repeaters and using the second room option, it isn’t very useful day to day.  Mine ended up back in the box.

While not necessarily a hand held remote, the 7002 provides an RS-232 serial input.  This allows control of the receiver by and external device.  This would be typical in higher-end professional installation with custom automation and control of a theater.  The manual also notes that this serial input may be used for future firmware upgrades.  It’s nice to see future proofing features.

Other Features

While I doubt that I am covering every feature, the Marantz has some other nice additions.  If you have an XM subscription, the Marantz has you covered with its built in support.  However, if you want HD-Radio you’ll need to step up to the top of the Marantz line, the 8002.

The 7002 also offers M-Dax (Dynamic Audio Expander) to improve the sound of compressed audio.  Surprising, especially considering how widespread they are, the iPod and iPhone were not supported.  I played a few MP3 encoded at 192Kbps to test M-Dax and preferred the unprocessed sound.

Finally, the Marantz supports multi room audio and video.  The Marantz can directly drive a pair of speakers using its internal amps or it can send both audio and video to an external amplifier and monitor in the second room using composite cables.  The provided second room remote can select the desired signal to route to the remote location.  Note that you may need some extra hardware such as an IR receiver (available from Marantz) to control this remote operation, well, remotely.  Editorially, I never understood multi room audio. Doesn’t everyone have a progression of ‘trickle down’ home theaters?  The cool stuff starts in the main theater and eventually works it way out to the garage as the next best thing is obtained.  Using multi room interferes may interfere with this ‘natural’ flow!

Ergonomics

Before I dive into specifics, I want to point out that while the Marantz does provide some assistance in setup and tons of features it is, like many feature laden products, a complicated piece of equipment.  If my dog-eared manual is any indication, you will be spending time digging through the manual to get the most of the Marantz.  The good news is that I found the manual to be clearly written.

On Screen Display (OSD)

One of the main things that bothered me regarding the 7002’s ergonomics was the user interface. 
Myfirst tip is, before you try to do any sort of setup, connect the receiver to your TV.  The small display on the receiver itself provides some help but it is tough to use, compared to the available on screen display (OSD).  Referring to the screen capture above, the OSD provided isn’t very pretty or fast, at least compared to today’s top interfaces like the PS3, but it is functional and makes setup easier.

For day to day operations such as choosing a surround mode, selecting sources, or even changing the volume the user feedback is limited to the small display on the receiver itself – no OSD is available via HDMI.  Personally, when I am watching my big screen, I don’t want to start squinting at the itty bitty receiver display to change or verify my surround sound choice.