2015 Top Picks Of the Year Top Pick of the year

Top Pick of the year

Marantz AV8802 Surround Processor
(June) Forget the UHDTVs: If you really care deeply about home theater, 2015 was the year for audio. After a soft launch in late 2014, object-based surround sound—a huge step forward for theaterphiles—became reality and proved (to us, anyway) that there is an exciting new era afoot. And no product better epitomized these advances and the role of great sound in movie watching than the Marantz AV8802 preamp/processor. Let’s start by giving Marantz credit for telling purchasers in early 2015 that they’d update the hardware for free at a later date to bring the unit into compliance with HDCP 2.2, a critical feature for future Ultra HD Blu-ray and streaming media players. (It now ships with this as the AV8802A.) Then add their forward-thinking inclusion in this 11.1-channel unit of object-based processing for not only Dolby Atmos, but also competitors DTS:X and Auro-3D. Throw in some circuit updates from its predecessor model that noticeably improved sound quality for both movies and music, and the usual kitchen-sink features complement, and you end up with the one item we tested last year that was universally lusted for by everyone on our staff and the one we’d all welcome into our home. That’s about as strong a recommendation as we can make. Our advice to you home theater neophytes: Skip the soundbar and even the A/V receiver, go full tilt out of the gate with separates, and make this baby the center of your audio universe. You’ll never regret it. $3,999, us.marantz.com

Traveler's picture

No OLED? From what I've read in the past QD is supposed to be a cheap but inferior technology, nice to find out that it's performing better than advertised (such a rarity).