Marantz AV8801 Surround Processor & MM8077 Amplifier


AV8801 Surround Processor
Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
 
MM8077 Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: AV8801, $3,599; MM8077, $2,399 At a Glance: Up to 11.2-channel playback with Audyssey DSX and DTS Neo:X Audyssey MultEQ XT32 and Sub EQ HT Apple AirPlay support

As A/V enthusiasts, we are constantly on the lookout for the best audio and video we can find, and when we reach that state of nirvana, we enjoy our equipment until the next CES or CEDIA when we then hear about something new and begin to worry that our system will soon be second best. Writing for Home Theater makes me an unwilling accomplice in this never-ending cycle of upgrade-itis, but truth be told, I’m just as affected by this as the rest of you. Thankfully, I’m able to get my fix by having lots of equipment moving through my rack, but every now and then, I fall in love with a piece and don’t want it to leave my possession.

With nearly nine years of reviewing experience behind me, this Marantz stack is the first product I’ve ever officially reviewed from the brand, but I’ve auditioned various pieces over the years in specialty A/V shops in my area. When Saul Marantz founded the company over 50 years ago, he had a vision to expand the sensory horizons of even the most demanding aficionados. Though the name has passed through several owners over the years and merged with Denon in 2002 to form D&M Holdings, it’s still positioned as a premium brand.

One thing that’s always impressed me about Marantz is that it doesn’t release a slew of new products every year trying to keep up with the arms race of upgrades like other A/V companies. While many competitors will release a new line of AVRs and pre/pros each year, Marantz takes things a little slower. In fact, its last flagship pre/pro, the AV8003, was released in 2008, and although the company released a more modestly priced pre/pro (the AV7005, Home Theater, April 2011), it was in addition to the AV8003 and not meant as a replacement.

Fully Loaded
A lot has changed in five years. In 2008, the AV8003 was well reviewed—Michael Fremer designated it a Top Pick in our October 2008 issue. He raved about its audio prowess but noted that it didn’t offer as many bells and whistles as other similarly priced pre/pros and AVRs offered. The same can’t be said about the AV8801—this baby is packed with a plethora of goodies, including support for an 11.2-channel system, 4K video capability with 3D passthrough, a bevy of streaming services, and Apple’s AirPlay. It’s also the first Marantz product to take advantage of Audyssey’s critically acclaimed MultEQ XT32 room correction technology along with Audyssey Sub EX HT processing, which optimizes dual subwoofer setups.

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Aesthetically, the AV8801 looks a lot like its predecessors with its classy curved front panel and sparse layout that only includes a volume knob on the right, a source select knob on the left, a power on/standby button, and a simple porthole display that shows the current source and volume level. Under a flip-down door are navigation and other controls that include four multizone on/off switches, as well as a large traditional LCD display. You’ll also find hidden there an MHL-compatible HDMI input, an auxiliary analog composite video and stereo input, a headphone jack, a USB input, and the Audyssey setup microphone input.

The rear panel is extremely well laid out and includes more connections than most systems will ever need. Highlights include six HDMI 1.4a inputs and three outputs—two for the main zone (one for a flat panel hanging on the wall and the second for a projection system for movie night) and a Zone 4 output that’s controlled separately. Legacy equipment lovers will enjoy gold-plated connections on all analog inputs/output, and vinyl aficionados will relish the phono input.

Additionally, there are three component video inputs and two outputs, and both XLR and RCA audio outputs to handle up to 11.2 channels of audio simultaneously. While many AVRs and pre/pros will ask you to choose between front height/width or surround back speakers, the AV8801 will let you enjoy 11.2 channels of audio bliss derived by the included Audyssey DSX or DTS Neo:X processing—if your significant other will let you have that many speakers in the family room. Unfortunately, mine won’t.

Rounding out the features on the back panel is a 7.1-channel analog input, a four-port Ethernet hub to connect to your home network (sorry, no Wi-Fi is included), HD Radio (AM/FM) connections, a single set of stereo XLR balanced audio inputs, and a second USB input in case you want to permanently attach a storage device loaded with music and photos to the unit.

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The AV8801’s build quality is impeccable. It includes a massive toroidal power transformer, Marantz’s renowned HDAM (Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module) and High Current Feedback Technology, and to isolate the electronics, the unit includes a copper-plated chassis. Other than the rounded plastic edge pieces on the front panel, this unit is solid.

The AV8801 is DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) 1.5 compliant, so you can connect the unit to your home network to access a media server to stream music and photos. Or you can venture onto the Net to stream Internet radio from around the world, access Spotify or Pandora, and even connect to your Flickr account to annoy your friends and family with pictures of your latest vacation (or your new surround processor)

In addition to AirPlay support, the iTunes store offers a free Marantz remote control app, so you can control the AV8801 from your iPhone, iTouch, or iPad. This app is extremely useful when using the Media Player functions on the player or for controlling its multizone capabilities. I would love to see Marantz offer the ability to delve further into the user menu while using the iDevice app, but at least the company offers network setup of the unit by entering its IP address into your Web browser. From here, you can set up every audio/video parameter and even download a backup of your settings in case they get modified incorrectly by the babysitter or deviant teenager in your home.

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

Here I am sitting with a great Integra 80.2 that is just over 2 years old and along comes a better sound processor. Then the reviewer admits it's better than his Integra 80.2. Man you are going to cost me money...retirement money no less.

Thanks for the review.

aopu.mohsin's picture

Hi David. Thanks for the review. The AV8801 does seem like one of the best pre/pros in the current market. I was, however, wondering if you noticed/found a great deal of sonic difference between AV8001 and AV7005. Thanks.

David Vaughn's picture
I haven't had an AV7005 in my room, so I can't compare the two. The AV880 does have MultEQ XT32 though, which is technically "better" than MultEQ XT due to more room filters and it should tame a bad room more proficiently.
mikicasellas's picture

Hello David,

How are you?

I need to ask for your kind support on my A/V SYSTEM UPGRADE, with your renown knowledge i hope you can help me out with this.

Thank you in advance for your kind attention to this:

I have the following system that i have been building over two years, i began with the Anthem MRX 700 but as the time were passing i started understanding a lot of which i did not know about the "audiophile world" and as it has been growing in CABLES, SPEAKERS, DAC, computer for audio etc etc. i began to get more involved with audio rather than home theater, as i feel that home theater is more easy to achieve than two channel audio.

1.- Anthem MRX 700 receiver as a preamp
2.- Crown XLS 2000 / 2 channel amp (using it in combo with the Anthem MRX 700 for my front speakers)
3.- Front speakers Golden ear Triton Two Towers (internally powered) (2 Power chords)
4.- Golden ear SuperSat 50c center
5.- Two Paradigm studio's 7 for surrounds
6.- Definitive Technology Super cube II Subwoofer
7.- Calyx 24/192 DAC (need to lower the noise)
8.- Oppo BDP 93 Universal player: for movies, SACD and DVD audio.
9.- MACMini for two channel music
10.- Transparent Music Link Super I/C's RCA
11.- Anti cables Speakers cables
12.- Transparent HDMI cables
13.- Transparent Power chord cable for Anthem receiver
14.- Ridge audio Street USB Poiema
15.- Panamax Power Conditioner

Note: My main goal to achieve: THE BEST "AFFORDABLE" TWO CHANNEL FOR MUSIC and a nice and good Home theater.

Choice #1

Sell the Anthem and get an audio preamp "The STP-SE from Wyred4Sound and two mono blocks from D-Sonic M2-600M 1 x 600 watts" and will work next to the Calyx DAC and my NEW Mac mini (SSD, 8Gb ram USB out put to Calyx DAC) with the rest of my system. And later get a good receiver or keep the Anthem.

Choice #2

Sell the Anthem and get a PRE PRO "The AV8801 from Marantz and two mono blocks from D-Sonic M2-600M 1 x 600 watts" and discard the Calyx DAC. and my NEW Mac mini (connected directly to the AV8801) with the rest of my system.

"MAYBE THE NEW KRELL FOUNDATION"

Note: "stock" Marantz AV8801 or "THE COMPANY UPGRADE" Marantz AV8801-SE??…From the David Schultz Upgrade it supposed to be in a superior level!

Best Regards

Miguel Casellas

David Vaughn's picture
Miguel, Thanks for looking to me for advice, but I'm not the best guy to speak to for 2-channel music. Outside of reviewing a product, I rarely will sit on the couch and listen to music...I'm a movie kind of guy. I suggest you head to Stereophile.com and ask Kal your questions because I think he's better suited in this particular case.
sryounger83's picture

I was hoping to get your help. I currently have a hodgepodge system and am looking to get into a high end system for home theater. I currently have Kef Q7 floor speakers and Kef wall rears with a Def Tech Center and Sub. I am running a Pioneer Elite VSX-84TXSI receiver and B&W wall surround backs. (I know... Hodgepodge) I am looking at getting the following but need to buy it in pieces. What order should I purchase and do you have any recommendations?

1. Marantz AV8801 and MM8077 Pre-amp and Amp
2. Sonus Faber Venere 3.0 Floor speakers (front left and right) and Venere Center Channel
3. Rel R-528
4. Sonus Faber rears and surround backs (4 total)

Should I get the front left/right and center speakers first or the amp and pre-amp?

Your help would be most appreciated. I love this magazine!

David Vaughn's picture
Sorry for such a late reply and I hope you're able to read this. Unfortunately our system doesn't notify us when a new post is made in one of our reviews. As far as your purchase decision goes, I would get the speakers first since you will be living with them a lot longer than any source components you buy. In fact, my speakers are the oldest gear in my system by far and I doubt I'll be upgrading them for at least another 10 years. From there you can then test out amplifiers to find the one that mates best with the speakers, then move on to your pre/pro last. If it were me, I would go 2, 4, , 3, new amp and then 1.
mikicasellas's picture

David,

Thank you for your kind reply, i just read it, sorry for my late response regarding to thank you!

Miguel

tekmiester's picture

I enjoyed the review, however I really would love to hear how it sounds with all eleven channels. I'm curious if it is an insane over the top waste of money or not. Maybe your better half would let you borrow some speaakers...

tekmiester's picture

I enjoyed the review, however I really would love to hear how it sounds with all eleven channels. I'm curious if it is an insane over the top waste of money or not. Maybe your better half would let you borrow some speakers...

Hubert's picture

David, I have a 5.2 system with 5 Gallo Nucleus Reference Strada speakers and 2 Paradigm Seismic 110 subwoofers. The subwoofers have been set up with Paradigm's PBK-1 Perfect Bass Kit.

I am trying to decide whether to replace my Anthem AVM-20 with either the Marantz 7701 or the Marantz 8801 and I have a few questions that I am hoping you can advise on:

1. I don't plan to move beyond a 7.2 system, so the extra channels that the 8801 offers aren't of any value to me.
2. I understand that the addition of Audyssey Sub EQ HT will allow me to equalize and set the delay independently for each subwoofer. Since I am using PBK-1 and my subs are roughly equidistant from the listening position, I assume this is not something that adds value for me. Please correct me if I am wrong.
3. I understand that the upgrade from Audyssey MultEQ XT to Audyssey MultEQ XT32 is significant but that most of the significance is in the lower end. Since I am already using PBK-1, is this really worth more than doubling the price to go to the 8801?
4. Putting aside the difference between Audyssey MultEQ XT and Audyssey MultEQ XT32, is there a noticeable difference in the basic sound quality between the 7701 and the 8801? The price difference is pretty big, but I have been very pleased with the sound quality from my AVM-20 and would hate to be disappointed with whatever I replace it with.

Thank you very much for sharing your insights.

David Vaughn's picture
Sorry for the late response. In your case, I would try out the 7701 first and see how you like it. Buy it from somewhere that has a good return policy. In all honestly, the AV8801 is way overkill for my needs too, but I felt like splurging :)

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