Marantz AV7005 Surround Processor and MM7055 Amplifier


Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $2,700 At A Glance: Receiver priced, separates performance and power • Next-gen Internet connectivity and versatility • Sophisticated sonics, simplified setup

Everybody’s Been Burned

Are you weighed down by a boat anchor of an expensive, powerful, but obsolete A/V receiver that doesn’t have HDMI inputs or processing for the latest lossless audio formats? You’re not alone. Everybody’s been burned by fast-moving technological change. You could unload your boat anchor for a few hundred dollars on eBay or AudiogoN and start over. But should you? Consider that today’s cost-conscious race-to-the-bottom A/V receivers and even some separates seem to be getting cheaper but worse sounding, not better. But if Marantz’s AV7005 surround processor and MM7055 amplifier are as good as the hype suggests, this could be the way to go. And in case of future obsolescence, at least now you’re into separates, which makes upgrades a less pricey proposition.

Writing about home theater and tech isn’t exactly Moby Dick, but most of us try to inject some drama into the proceedings by building to a conclusive assessment. Marantz’s AV7005 is so good, it deserves an up-front conclusion: It’s among the most enjoyable pieces of A/V gear I’ve had the pleasure to use and review, regardless of price. And given the price, it’s a no-brainer Top Pick.

Why
For starters, all of the elegant-looking AV7005’s bells and whistles ring and tweet as promised. Its feature set is remarkably complete, it’s easy to set up and use, and it sounds good. On a 100-inch screen, its analog and digital upconversion to 1080p and overall video processing seem well accomplished, although the measurements might say otherwise. (See HT Labs Measures.)

Aesthetically, the AV7005 looks great. It sports Marantz’s sculpted, black anodized faceplate and iconic round source and volume display encircled by a subtle blue LED ring. The AV7005 has been sitting on the top shelf of my A/V rack for weeks now, and I still enjoy looking at it. Behind the front-panel door, you’ll find a large, easy-to-read florescent display flanked by well-spaced buttons on one side and a round cursor control and more buttons on the other. HDMI, TosLink, USB, and old-school composite video and stereo analog inputs are arrayed across the bottom. A series of well-chosen rectangular push buttons is located above that. You won’t need the instruction manual to use the front-panel controls.

The backlit remote packs a lot of small buttons into a long, narrow space. Still, with its black backdrop, well-marked white buttons, and intuitive layout, I found it remarkably easy to use. For instance, the buttons that switch between the two HDMI outputs and between the digital and 7.1-channel analog passthrough are usefully placed near the top of the remote. Want to compare the output unequalized and through Audyssey processing? There’s a remote button for that.

The AV7005’s feature set is unusually complete and most likely beyond the capabilities of the rest of your current system. Its six HDMI 1.4a input jacks will pass 3D signals. One of the two HDMI outputs includes an HDMI Control function. This automatically turns a connected compatible display device on and off and returns its digital audio output to the surround processor. For example, you won’t need to run a long length of TosLink cable back to the AV7005 if you have an antenna connected to a television that’s on the other side of the room. Of course, your set must be HDMI Control ready (mine’s not).

The 7.1-channel surround processor includes Audyssey DSX and Dolby Pro Logic IIz. These both offer height enhancement if you’ve got a pair of speakers installed above your main front speakers (I don’t). DSX also includes processing for a pair of width speakers (not going to happen in my living room). You can also use two of the available channels to biamplify the front speakers or do surround back channels, although with 7.1 channels, you can’t have it all (as if your significant other would let you).

The AV7005 is DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) 1.5 compliant. This means you can connect a LAN cable to the Ethernet port to access your PC’s media server (Windows only) and stream music and photos from your network-connected Windows computer. (My computer is a Mac, so I use Apple TV connected to an HDMI input, which does the same thing, but of course, it’s easier.)

An Internet-accessible firmware update ($50) allows Apple AirPlay compatibility for wireless connections to Apple iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and PC and Mac computers. It accesses iTunes and streams content through the AV7005. You’ll be able to control it from any location within your network.

Access the Internet, and you can set up Pandora, Rhapsody, and Napster music accounts and Flickr photos, or listen to 14,000 pre-loaded vTuner Internet radio stations from around the world. Don’t get too excited, though. I tuned into a station from some exotic Arab city and got the same pop crap we get here.

COMPANY INFO
Marantz America, Inc
(201) 762-6500
ARTICLE CONTENTS
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COMMENTS
schalliol's picture

I appreciate your suggestion to use your old AVR if you can. I have a Sony STR-DA3100ES, which really does amplify well for my Paradigm Reference Studio 60s & cc-690 v.5. I use a Philips Pronto remote I can customize to make this work well as a system. I would really enjoy having the simplification of the MM7055 however, and I'm sure it's a better amp.

Even though I have a Mac Mini hooked up to the unit, I find the AirPlay to be really quite nice. Just last night I was looking through something on my iPad and there was a little video I wanted to see. I simply changed the output to the AV7005 with a quick tap and the AV7005 turned on and I could listen to the video on the system. Unfortunately the AirPlay on the AV7005 doesn't (at least yet) support video, so one has to watch locally, but since it's already in the hand, it's really not a big deal.

adumadu's picture

Hi Michael,

I did not buy Marantz AV8003/MM8003 as it was out of my budget at that time but AV7005/MM7055 seems to be reasonably priced.

Now I can find AV8003 combo for the price of AV7005 combo. I do understand that AV7005 offers more bell and whistles like HDMI 1.4, Audyssey XT, USB port but from the pure sound quality perspective is there any major difference between two as reading your AV8003 review was pretty good compared with this combo.

Thanks

branon's picture

Do you think the MM7055 can drive 4 ohm speakers adequately. I am actually looking at the two channel version MM7025 and am bummed that they have avoided 4 ohm ratings. Specially since their integrated amps do have them (PM8004 and PM5004). I love the Marantz sound and looks but their failure to include 4 ohm ratings means that i might end up going with a similar priced Rotel.
I am going to use it to drive a pair of Vienna Acoustics Grand Bachs.

Bob Jones's picture

Michael,

As usual, great review.

I am looking at purchasing an AV7005 and mating it to 2 Emotiva Amps (a XPA-2 (250 w/ch x 2) for the FR & FL and a XPA-5 (200 w / ch x 5) for the remaining 5 of 7 channels. I also plan to purchase an OPPO BD 93 or 95 (not sure which yet). My 2 ch music / multi-channel movies split is about 50% - 50%. So two questions:

1. Will I get noticable improvement for 2 ch music by purchasing the OPPO 95 and running 2 ch music direct and multi-channel via HDMI through the AV7005 or purchase the OPPO 93 and use HDMI for both 2 ch and multi-channel?

2. You mention that the Marantz MM7055 amp is a little underpowered. I realize the Emotivas are not in the same league as your Parasound HALO, but $4,500 is a little over my budget. What is your opinion on the Emotivas over the Marantz?

Thanks for your help.

Bob J.

Toronto, Canada

andre58's picture

Hi Bob, I am thinking of doing the same thing. Either the Marantz or Integra processor with the Emotiva XPA-2 and or XPA-5 and the Oppo - 95 player. I am getting the Legacy Audio Signature speakers and wanted to drive it with some good inexpensive amps.

Just wondering how you made out with the Emotiva's.

Did you look at the Emotiva UMC-1 processor?

Thanks

Andre
Atlanta, GA

Foxxnet's picture

Hi,
You must get thousands of emails. I hope you will answer my question. Its an easy one.

I have 7 Marantz MA500 monoblocks. Are they good enough to use with the new AV 7500 processor or do you recommend I update my amps?

Thanks
Marcel Svizzero

Dov Lidor's picture

which one the MM8003 or the MM7005 is better?

DaleC's picture

My Panasonic TC-P50UT50 does not have the "advanced" video processing of the Panny ST's, and other high-end plasma displays. Am I better off using the processing in the av7005 or sticking with the Panny? Or does the basic Panny processing outperform the AV7005?

Thanks,
DaleC

dmaz1's picture

Michael Fremer,
You wrote:
“The Rotel was a sweet-sounding, sonically accomplished piece that was and is easy to recommend. Since I don’t have it in house, I can’t offer a meaningful and reliable sonic comparison, but I’d say the Marantz and the Rotel are in the same high-echelon sonic league”
“I can hear each instrument separately, including some I never knew were there,” is how they usually put it”
“. It produced rich, warm, satisfying three-dimensional sound that was better than an afterthought from two speakers”
I compared the 2 channel performance of my Rotel RSP 1069 side by side to the Marantz AV7005. At first I was a bit confused – I thought I was doing something wrong. I went back to your review over and over and over again to make sure I did not miss-read or miss-understood anything. I checked all connections, wires, settings and repeated. I even tried playing the same tracks you did. But I just could not get that “rich, warm, satisfying 3 dimensional sound” you mentioned. The details and dynamics that the Rotel produced the Marantz just could not. I could not place the “Marantz AV7005 and the Rotel in the same high-echelon sonic league” – even though I really wanted to!
I am sure you have listened to Rotel units critically and over and over again and have a memory of how they sound. What I really find strange is that you are an audiophile and you could not sonically differentiate the Rotel from Marantz without the Rotel being right next to the Marantz in your house. Yes the Marantz AV 7005 is that far off from being in the high-echelon sonic league in which the Rotel resides in.
The 2 channel performance of the Marantz is good but nowhere near Rotel’s 2 channel performance. The highs are very high – after listening to 2 channel music for about 20 minutes my ears started to fatigue. For a minute I thought I will blow the tweeters off of my B&W 703s. Marantz just could not offer the mid-range detail, the depth and dynamics that Rotel did. Even the bass is a lot smoother and balanced from the Rotel.
Michael, what am I doing wrong here? After reading your review of the Marantz AV7005 I really really want to buy it and like it. In fact after reading your reviews of the Integras, Outlaw Audios, Onkyo processors etc.. – I want to buy them all! How are you getting these amazing results I just cannot get no matter what I do?
Oh one more thing. I also borrowed my friend's Rotel RSP 1570 and compared it to the AV7005. The RSP 1570 sounds exactly the same as my RSP-1069 in the 2 channel category.
Equipment:
B&W 703s
RMB-1075
RSP-1069 / 1572
Sony ES Blu-Ray player.

ChrisandAlex1's picture

Hey Michael,
Thanks for the great review. I have just ordered both of these components and have been wavering on my decision. After reading this review, I feel much better.

My main concern was if I should have spent considerable more money to have an extraordinary setup. I use all Von Schweikert Speakers and I am just now upgrading to their new V-12 Subwoofer. I am hoping that the unique way that this sub works will make up for some of the low end power deficiencies of the amp.

I am also having Dave at Zenwave Audio making me a complete new set of cables and a modified SurgeX power conditioning unit. I really look forward to getting it all put together and enjoy.

Thanks again.

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