Marantz AV7005 Surround Processor and MM7055 Amplifier Page 2

When you download the free Marantz Wizz App (as I did), you can control the AV7005 from your iPhone or iPod touch. This is particularly useful for controlling zones two and three (only one of which includes video) from anywhere in your home. It’s also fun to use your phone as a remote in the main zone. Or you can use a Crestron or other control system. With an optional Bluetooth receiver ($100, not available in time for the review), you can stream audio from Bluetooth-enabled devices like iPhones.

The AV7005 includes a moving-magnet phono preamp (yay), an unusually versatile AM/FM HD Radio tuner with 56 presets divided into eight blocks, plus a Sirius/XM port (I get Howard over the Internet and in the car). When you connect an iPod to the front USB port, the GUI provides complete onscreen control via the iPod. Connect a USB stick containing music (FLAC, WAV, MP3, etc.) and/or photos, and more often than not, you’ll have easy-to-use access.

For instance, EMI issued the entire remastered stereo Beatles catalog on a USB dongle that you pull by its stem out of a small green metal apple. Stick the dongle into the AV7005’s front-panel USB port, and you can use the cursor to instantly select any of the albums and tunes. You can be sure these 24-bit/44.1-kilohertz files sound better than anything you can currently download from iTunes. In fact, these files sound considerably better than the CDs. Bit depth rules.

The Marantz’s digital-to-analog converters are spec’d as 24-bit/192-kHz, and signal processing is via an Analog Devices SHARC 32-bit processor. I could go on about the features, the construction, and the all-discrete preamplifier outputs that use Marantz’s self-described Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Modules (HDAM). But there wouldn’t be space to cover the surround processor’s performance. Be assured that despite its relatively low price, the AV7005 is packed with features and appears to be superbly built. I don’t know how Marantz can sell this unit for $1,500.

Of course the AV7005 offers decoding for all of the current lossless audio codecs, video upconversion for lower-resolution sources to 1080p via the HDMI output, and analog upconversion to component video out, all using Anchor Bay 10-bit video processing. The manual references these, but not in any meaningful way. This brings up my only complaints about the AV7005: the manual and the online support (yes I sound like a broken record and will continue to until the industry addresses this).

The product description “one-sheet” you can download from Marantz’s Website claims that the unit has four HDMI inputs. It has six. It says the unit is truly balanced, but a Marantz rep says it isn’t and that the XLR outputs are not really dualdifferential balanced outputs. Three different informational PDFs that Marantz offers for download from its Website turn out to be the same one: RF codes.

As is typical with A/V products, the manual is written in confusing passive-tense construction translated from Japanese. This makes the already difficult-to-understand instructions even more so, and of course it’s laden with acronyms and jargon. The index is a nice addition, but it’s woefully incomplete. Want to set up the radio or have a question about its functioning? Go to “R,” and you’ll find no reference to the radio. Basic radio instructions are located in the manual’s Advanced section, and the detailed radio setup is located in the manual’s Basic Setup instructions.

Some impossible-to-understand graphs may have you tearing your hair out—like one labeled Relationship Between Video Signals and Monitor Output that I defy anyone to understand. Numbers 1 through 21 are listed down the left column. I have absolutely no idea what those numbers refer to, and even if I did, the rest of the grid is maddeningly complex and impossible to decipher, as are many of the manual’s sections.

Even if the manual were a model of instructional clarity, the AV7005 is a complex component. It includes so many features and capabilities, it poses a serious obstacle to setup and enjoyment for anyone who hasn’t previously set up and configured an A/V receiver or surround processor. The industry desperately needs a manual standards committee and/or a clean prose style based on storytelling, not confusing wiring diagrams showing every possible connection, indecipherable grids, and acronym-laden gibberish.

Fortunately
If you have ever set up an A/V receiver or surround processor, setting up and configuring the AV7005 will be surprisingly easy. The graphic user interface (GUI) is excellent, intuitive, and attractive. I connected, configured, and named all of the inputs without cracking the instruction manual—and that’s not something I’ve easily managed with some other review samples. OMG! After I’d watched, listened to, and enjoyed the AV7005 for a few days, I inserted the Audyssey microphone, and the auto EQ ran flawlessly. One area in which the Marantz isn’t up to the very bleeding edge is its inclusion of Audyssey MultEQ XT, when the very latest is MultEQ XT32.

Should you wish, you can manually adjust each speaker’s crossover point and perform manual EQ adjustments to each speaker over a wide range of frequencies. Marantz also includes superfluous video adjustability and processing that duplicates what’s found in any high-performance HDTV. Few people will use these, and those who do will probably mess things up more than improve them. In my opinion, double video processing can do nothing good for the picture, and you’ll be better off bypassing it. Marantz isn’t alone here. It’s an unfortunate industry trend. Fortunately, the AV7005 also includes every useful feature that I can think of; all it excludes is the high price.

Implementation Is the Game
Most of today’s surround processors seem to offer the same or similar feature sets: lossless audio codecs and other licensed audio processing formats; licensed room EQ setup software; off-the-shelf video processing and A/D/D/A chips; and THX certification (or not).

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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