Marantz SR7015 AV receiver Review: center of gravity
Why Marantz SR7015? In fact, the answer is quite simple: its cost is approximately equal to the average cost of a stereo setup. However, if we take into account both the amplifier, DAC and streamer, the amount may turn out to be even larger. Anyway.
Recently, among consumers of various media content, there has been a tendency to simplify the composition of the home system. Simplification here does not mean a deterioration in the characteristics of the system, but rather its universalization. A good example of this is replacing a ton of stereo components with one single AV receiver, which, in addition to listening to stereo recordings, opens the door to the world of multi-channel audio for the user.
But such universalization can cause a lot of fears: will there be enough “magic” in the sound of the receiver for me? And if he simplifies something there? To answer such questions, we had to resort to the test of one of the serious players in the AV receiver niche – the Marantz SR7015.
- Marantz in history
- Marantz SR 7015: first look
- Back panel as a reason for a separate chapter
- Network functionality and inner world
Marantz in history
As a world famous brand, Marantz was formed quickly enough, since at the time of the founding of the company (1953) passions for high-quality audio reproduction were already boiling. The founder of the company, Saul Bernard Marantz, skillfully fueled these passions with his developments, the news about which quickly spread due to their unusual design and original engineering solutions. However, not everything was smooth and simple, the brand changed owners several times. I think that as a result, he only benefited from this – after all, each of the companies that owned Marantz at different times contributed to the development of the brand – both from the media and from the technical side.
And, of course, it is impossible to pass by such a person as Ken Ishiwata – his contribution was colossal, and the name will be mentioned in thematic publishing houses for a long time. Today, all Marantz audio components are engineered in Japan (with the exception of the Marantz TT15S1 – designed and built in Germany) at the Shirakawa Audio Works Research Center under the direction of Yoshinari Ogata, who took over from Ishiwata.
Thus, Marantz devices in their modern incarnation are the fruits of many years of research by engineers who had something to be inspired by: after going through many marketing vicissitudes and business plans, the brand was able to preserve the most important thing for which, in fact, everything was started – high-quality sound.
Marantz SR 7015: first look
Universalization in our case has hefty dimensions and looks very impressive. But the impressive size did not prevent to give aesthetics to the appearance – it turned out very pretty and minimalistic. Marantz SR7015 well combines in its large body the proprietary features of the appearance, and the competent implementation of the front panel gives it harmony.
In the center is a small round display with switchable blue backlighting, on which, frankly, it is difficult to see anything. Most likely, it carries more an aesthetic load than a functional one. On the sides of the display there are two selectors with the main functionality: on the left – the volume knob, on the right – the input selection. Above the display is the brand logo and model name.
That’s all, except for the round power button below the input selector. The rest of the elements are purely Marantz design solutions: two chiseled lines intersect the circular selectors, another line conventionally divides the SR7015 in half. The side matte edges are rounded, the same part that is between them is more glossy and shiny.
The impracticality of a small round display is deliberately admitted, since in addition to the menu that the Marantz SR7015 can display on the TV screen, there is another large and much more informative display, which is hidden in a secluded place – behind a hinged cover on the front panel.
There you will also find access to some function buttons and “hot” connectors that can come in handy at any unexpected moment: USB port, HDMI, headphone and microphone jack for audio auto-calibration, as well as three RCA analog audio/video signals.
Such a decision – to hide all these elements and the main display behind a hinged cover – came in very handy, since, firstly, in the initial state, the receiver does not look like a spacecraft control panel, and secondly, a large informative display can distract from the screen when watching a movie in a dark room. For such a design move, we give the Marantz SR7015 stylists a five stars.
Back panel as a reason for a separate chapter
The Marantz SR7015 has a huge variety of inputs and outputs, as befits every confident receiver. Therefore, perhaps, we will have to group them and serve them to the reader in portions, so that we all together do not drown in the abundance of technical data.
The terminals for connecting the speaker cables turned out to be of quite decent size, and they are designed both for connecting standard “bananas” and for crimping the wire without any ferrules.
Until we delve deeper into the rest of the switching, it is worth clarifying right away that the Marantz SR7015 has 11 pairs of terminals on the rear panel for connecting acoustics, but there are 9 amplifiers inside. The processor is able to process all 11 channels of surround sound, but only nine will sound at the same time, depending on from the set surround mode and the specific configuration selected. If there is a need to use all 11 channels at the same time, you should buy a stereo power supply or use an amplifier with a pass-through channel. It is also possible to activate the Bi-amping mode by reassigning a pair of built-in amplifiers to help the main acoustics. In the on-screen menu, all these options are shown clearly and it will not be difficult to do everything according to the mind, even for a user who does not have much experience in setting up receivers.
Above the speaker terminals, there are unexpectedly many RCA inputs for receiving audio/video signals. Perhaps it’s time to leave this format, since nowadays any self-respecting device already has an HDMI connector on board. Therefore, so many connectors of this format are hardly ever needed. But what if Marantz engineers know something that we don’t?
But the second section of RCA connectors can be very useful: these are the outputs from the preamplifier for all channels – in case we want to use external amplification. Two subwoofer outputs are almost lost here.
It’s nice to see the concern for vinyl lovers – among the abundance of RCA, you can find an input for an MM phono amplifier and a “ground” terminal.
Finally, let’s move on to those connectors, the number of which plays one of the most important roles when choosing an AV receiver – HDMI. The Marantz SR7015 had as many of them as all the others: eight for incoming signals (we saw one of them on the front panel, in the secret room) and three for outgoing ones.
One of the HDMI inputs and two HDMI outputs support 8K / 60Hz and 4K / 120Hz video resolutions. Also, one of the outputs has eARC support – without this, a modern receiver is completely nowhere. All other HDMI outputs support 4K / 60Hz and many other useful protocols: HDR10, HLG, HDR10 +, Dolby Vision, ALLM, VRR, QMS, and QFT. Perhaps some of the abbreviations will seem unfamiliar to you or not needed at all, but it’s nice to have all this. So to speak, with a margin.
To receive a digital signal, the Marantz SR7015 has two optical and two coaxial ports – this should be enough. This also includes the LAN port for connecting the device to the Internet.
Auxiliary connectors include two 12V trigger connectors, an IR sensor input and an external control RS232 port. The rear panel is crowned with two antennas on the sides – for confident interaction with other devices via dual-band Wi-Fi (including support for Apple Air Play 2) and Bluetooth.
It seems that we found so much on the back panel, but still something is missing… Did you notice too? The Marantz SR7015 has no radio! It turns out that now it is not an AV receiver at all, but an audio/video amplifier. What a twist! It turns out that a place was found for a dozen practically unnecessary analog inputs, but not for a radio.
This is where the moment of criticism ends. Overall impressions of the Marantz SR7015 appearance are very positive. It is immediately clear who is the most important and the most stylish in the rack. By the way, this AV amplifier is available in black and silver-gold.
Network functionality and inner world
AV receivers (and amplifiers) are, without exaggeration, one of the most versatile and sophisticated devices on the market today. Not only does the SR7015 have its own settings menu, which is displayed on the connected screen – there is also a mobile application.
The good news is that the Heos application is quickly mastered by almost any user, since there is nothing complicated there. A minute to register an account – and all the functionality is available to us.
By the way, there is one caveat here: Heos provides access only to those streaming services that are officially based in the country of account registration. Therefore, if you use Tidal, when registering, specify the country in which Tidal is officially available for your account. For example, USA.
And one more thing: Heos is not friendly with MQA (reproduces, but “does not disclose”), and the Deezer HiFi subscription will turn into a regular one – there is no support for it either. But there is full support for Spotify and Amazon Music HD, which is rare in our area. Otherwise, Heos is nothing at all: it controls the multiroom (you can combine devices with the Heos module into one network), and, in addition to streaming, plays music from a local server.
As for its own menu, which the Marantz SR7015 displays on the connected screen, then the user is greeted with a convenient and understandable guide – the “installation assistant”, which will be very useful during the initial setup.
The interior, which is responsible for audio playback, is very nicely arranged. As mentioned earlier, the circuitry uses nine discrete high-current amplifiers, which provide quite decent power at the output.
In addition, the Marantz SR7015 is equipped with proprietary HDAM modules and current feedback – a combination of these technologies determines the sound that is already called proprietary from Marantz.
Two 32-bit AKM AK4458 DACs are responsible for the sound. As a result, processing of ALAC, FLAC and WAV is available with parameters up to 24 bit / 192 kHz, as well as DSD up to 5.6 MHz inclusive. With regards to multichannel audio – without a doubt, all modern formats are available.
Two ADI Griffin Lite (ADSP 21573) processors are responsible for their correct processing, which were borrowed from the top models of Marantz cinema processors and preamplifiers: the AV8805 and AV7706. I must say, the approach is very serious.
The Marantz SR7015 successfully builds a soundscape in any room. And if the level of her well-being does not meet your expectations, then the Audyssey MultEQ XT32 automatic sound calibration system comes to the rescue.
In addition to the general calibration, you can separately match two subwoofers, and then fine tune the sound using auxiliary programs from the same Audyssey and save all the settings in a separate preset. For sophisticated audio/videophiles, there is a very large space for experimentation.
After all of the above, very high expectations were formed regarding sound quality. First of all, let’s evaluate the Marantz SR7015 ability as a multi-channel sound source.
To do this, the following system was assembled: Definitive Technology BP9080X floor speakers at the front and BP9060 at the rear, Definitive Technology CS9060 center channel speakers, Canton Pro XL.3 high-altitude surround sound modules and a Canton Sub 1500R active subwoofer. By the way, you can refuse from a low-frequency device in this system – the low-frequency potential of the BP9080X is quite enough. All switching was built on German InAkustik cables.
An excerpt from the famous film was taken for the role of the reference film series, where cowboys successfully fought with inept aliens with the help of horses and revolvers.
It was definitely an interesting experience. He showed that the line that audiophiles call “involvement” fully applies to cinema systems: about the second minute of viewing, there was a desire to go to the buffet for popcorn and soda.
Of course, the big screen has made its contribution here, there is no need to argue. But sound, sound! The special effects capture the attention completely, without a trace, right up to the desire to look back to see where the enemy fighter has crashed.
We will leave the development of low-frequency effects on the conscience of the active bass drivers of Definitive Technology. But there is a feeling that their conscience is clear: frequent explosions made the clothes vibrate, the bass completely filled the room.
The rest of the range of special effects was really impressive: legible, down to the slightest rustle of sand under the alien’s foot, and at the same time with full immersion in a 3D scene on dynamic moments.
It is clear that such a test for the Marantz SR7015 is not a test at all, but a normal mode of operation. So let’s get back to our versatility: the luxurious Canton Reference 5K 3-way floor standing speakers put everything in its place.
The source of the musical material was a local server (there were several nice tracks in DSD), Tidal and an ordinary flash drive, for which the “hot” connector that is hidden under the hinged cover was immediately useful.
Here the Marantz SR7015 entered a dangerous path: audiophile claims to sound are sometimes very specific. There were doubts that the Marantz SR7015 was familiar with the words “overtone”, “release”, “articulation” and other, no less sophisticated parameters that we often endow the sound with.
In order not to torment the venerable audience, I will immediately announce the result: Marantz SR7015 is able to give a pleasant experience of listening to music in stereo. We were pleased with the dynamic abilities and control of acoustics – every detail is scrupulously worked out, leaving enough space for large-scale images. Well, the signature style of Marantz is read here: musical and delicate, but with a fair dose of audiophilia.
It was not possible to find any genre binding. Marantz easily gave the drive to rock compositions, then caressed with female jazz vocals, and finally cheered up with electronics. When it came to judging stage positioning, air, vocals and instruments, the SR7015 happily demonstrated it all. Simply put, we heard everything for which we love high-quality sound-reproducing equipment.
Such tests are very compromising in nature: after the test, there was a desire to become an active participant in such universalization.
The Marantz SR7015 perfectly demonstrates that theatrical specialization of the device is not an obstacle for good engineers to do everything competently so that the stereo also sounds worthy.
The Marantz SR7015 will definitely become the center of attraction in the home: and not only in terms of watching movies and listening to stereo recordings. Modern trends are pushing artists every day to record music in Dolby Atmos and Auro 3D – and this is definitely a new experience!
In general, Marantz has turned out to be an excellent tool for immersing yourself in media content, which is ready to respond positively to any modern challenges.
Number of processor channels – 11.2
Number of power amplification channels – 9
125 W per channel (8 ohms, two channels, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% THD), 165 W per channel (6 ohms, two channels, 1 kHz, 0.7% THD)
Discrete Amplifiers – Yes
Input sensitivity/impedance – 200 mV / 47 kΩ
Frequency range 10 Hz – 100 kHz (+1, -3 dB, Pure Direct mode)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio – 100 dB (Pure Direct Mode)
Built-in decoders (main) Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, Auro-3D, DTS-HD Master, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby ProLogic IIz, Audyssey DSX, DTS-ES , DTS 96/24, DTS Neo: X, DTS-Neo: 6
DAC AK4458 (32 bit) in all channels
Audyssey MultEQ-XT 32 Auto Calibration, Audyssey LFC
Upscaling up to 8K
FM tuner with RDS
USB compatibility iPod Classic, iPod Nano (up to 7th generation), iPod Touch (up to 5th generation), iPhone (up to 5th generation);
formatting USB drives FAT16 / FAT32
Modes for Best Pure Direct Audio Quality
Supported audio file formats (USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi) MP3, WMA, AAC, ALAC (24 bit / 96 kHz), FLAC, FLAC HD (24 bit / 192 kHz), WAV (up to 24 bit / 192 kHz), DSD 2.8 MHz, DSD 5.6 MHz, JPEG
Gapless play mode for WAV and FLAC
MDAX 2 Compressed Audio Enhancer
Inputs 8 HDMI / HDCP2.3 (one on the front panel), USB (iPod / iPhone, storage devices, 4 composite video (one on the front panel), 3 component, 7.1 channel, 7 linear RCA (one on the front panel), for MM pickups, 2 coaxial, 2 optical
Outputs 3 x HDMI (one with eARC), composite, component, 11.2-channel output from the processor, for 2 zones, for 2 subwoofers, 6.3 mm for headphones, remote control, 2 x DC 12 Volt / 150 mA
Optional Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay2
Other Ethernet port, RS232, IR input, remote control, sockets for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antennas, grounding socket
The ability to rename inputs is
Output terminals for acoustics connection 11 pairs of screw terminals
Voice control support Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri
Receiver control using the Marantz Remote App
Number of additional zones 2
Power consumption 710W
Minimum power consumption in standby mode 0.2W
Dimensions (WxHxD) 440x185x411mm
Official site: www.marantz.com