Marantz SR7007 A/V Receiver Page 2

A low rumble ran through Dark Tide, with Halle Berry as a shark expert on a boat full of volatile men. The rumble modulated according to the mood of the characters from almost subliminal to aggressive. Here Marantz’s decision to adopt Audyssey paid dividends: The room-corrected bass effect was so cleanly pitched and ideally proportioned that it was a constant pleasure to listen to. Vocalizations by fractious humans were typically Marantz-clear in the center channel, while the barking of a vast seal colony was one of the more memorable soundfield effects.

The Woman in Black is noteworthy for the supernatural shocks, with accompanying sound effects, that pursue Daniel Radcliffe through a haunted house. Thanks to the receiver’s dynamic prowess, these effects would rise out of a background of dead silence to a split second worth of sonic violence and then disappear as abruptly as they arrived. The first time it happened, I jumped, and even the second and third times I was unable to steel myself against the sudden shocks. Eventually the shocks came thicker and faster and the mix became more conventionally busy, but late in the game, I remained unsettled: The last entry in my notes is “spine tingle.” When the receiver and soundtrack weren’t terrorizing me, they offered the gentler pleasures of a moody and smoothly rendered orchestral score, sensations of enveloping rain punctuated by thunder, and still more scrupulously pitched ominous rumbling.

Bridesmaids relies almost entirely on the human voice for its storytelling. Deborah Harry’s pouty lead vocal in Blondie’s “Rip Her to Shreds” kicks off the story, and the receiver lost no time strutting its ability to make music feel—well, musical. Comedy alpha-woman Kristen Wiig dominates the dialogue as both lead character and Oscar-nominated cowriter of the script, forming it into a nervous laughing brook that became one of the most subtle but pleasing sonic elements of the movie demos. The system’s natural reproduction of dialogue humanized the characters. A more etched system might have nailed the words but missed the human feeling.

Putting It All Together
Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s Tarkus (on vinyl) brought together several of the receiver’s most desirable attributes. I won’t say the frequency response was ruler-flat—that’s for the measurements to determine—but it felt natural and right to me. The soundtrack’s layering of timbre-rich keyboard instruments was as impressive as I’ve ever heard, and I’ve played this record on every system I’ve owned since childhood. The Audyssey-tweaked rhythm section presentation was tight and disciplined, easily improving over the non-room-corrected systems of my youth. But it also called attention to the low-frequency component of Keith Emerson’s whooping Moog and the percolating snap of his Hammond. Imaging was impressive at any volume, held together even at high volumes, and was especially delectable when Greg Lake’s silver-trumpet vocals were doubletracked.

The receiver continued to flatter the human voice—masses of them—in A Sea Symphony by Vaughan Williams, performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the baton of Robert Spano. The Telarc DSD recording may have lost some of its state-of-the-art resolution in this CD release, especially in the strings, and the receiver didn’t attempt to gussy it up with faux-enhancement. But that didn’t prevent the Marantz from floating the chorus between the speakers in luminous near-holography, giving the libretto from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass a palpable physical presence.

James Blood Ulmer’s Are You Glad to Be in America? (the short answer is yes) practically cries out for room correction. I’ve always found the LP’s dual rhythm section of Ronald Shannon Jackson and G. Calvin Weston a little overwhelming. However, by taming my room’s standing-wave bass bloat, Audyssey brought it into proportion with the rest of the music without depriving it of its rollicking, relentlessly forward-moving propulsion. The receiver conjured a little more texture out of Ulmer’s typically warm guitar tone than I’m used to hearing, giving it an almost vocal-like feel. In toto, it produced a fine combination of balance and excitement.

I’d be remiss—as I so often am—if I didn’t single out Audyssey MultEQ XT as one of this product’s highlights. When a manufacturer goes to the expense of licensing a well-designed room correction scheme, it’s doing more than just slapping on a label. Audyssey brings acoustics-savvy resources to the table, combining with Marantz’s traditional amp-designing strength to produce something that’s stronger than the sum of its parts. All I had to do to confirm this was to turn it off: The receiver still had a musical personality, but imaging lost some of its specificity. During these sessions, at least, I invariably turned MultEQ XT back on again, whether listening to music or movies.

Even as its parent company diversifies into other products, Marantz continues to be one of the performance champs of the A/V receiver category. The SR7007 expertly conjures musical magic and cinematic excitement. It also has a great feature set, spearheaded by AirPlay and other treats for the Apple-centric listener. The SR7007 is a great receiver and well worth its price.

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COMMENTS
david.parker83's picture

One other feature available on the top-line model is the "Hybrid PLL Jitter Reducer." This is mentioned in the manual, so I contacted Marantz for more information and a friendly rep explained that it operates on all digital inputs and is only available on the SR7007.

htroig's picture

Thanks for the review of the Marantz. I have liked their products since the late 1970's, but now is when I can afford them.

I have the SR5005 reciver and it is being used as a preamp. What do you recommend as an upgrade for my preamp functionality, the SR5007 reciever or the AV7005 preamp?

Thanks.

corbey's picture

I haven't heard the SR7007 yet, but I've owned the SR6006 now for the past few months. For music, I find that it sounds better and creates a more stable stereo image than some much more expensive two-channel gear I've previously used. Thanks again.

GFelizardo's picture

I can't believe Marantz would AGAIN use Audyssey MultiQ XT in a top of the line model. I first used XT in my Onkyo TX-SR805 FIVE YEARS AGO. XT32 is the new standard. My current Marantz AV7005 also has XT - looking at the specs of the new Marantz receivers and preamps, there is NO compelling reason to change, unless I want to pay $3K for the AV8007. Audyssey XT32 is available on Onkyo/Integra receivers and preamps starting at $1100. Why would I pay for a $3000 preamp to get XT32?
I know Audyssey implementation is not the only factor in sound quality, but XT32 is a big jump from plain XT. I would compare it to listening to my old receiver without room correction, to installing my Onkyo 805 with XT.
I'm disappointed that Mark kind of minimized that the SR7007 had only Audyssey MultiQ XT.

mgida's picture

Hi guys,
to be more precise here are the infos:

- B&W set Cm8/Cm1/CmC/Asw10cm
- Room 20x16x8 ft or 6x5x2.4m
- Purpose music/movies 50/50
- Volume capacity usage max 50%.

Would this avr cover my needs which are more
quality oriented than quantity i.e. pureness vs. loudness

I almost went for a Yamaha a2010 or a3010, but the reviews and the matching (warm sound)with B&W has really raised my interest for this AVR.
One more thing, would it be out of question to consider the weaker SR6007??

I would really appreciate your feedback as I am stock in this sea of choices. I definately do not want a bi-amp, at least for the time being.

Many thanks in advance
MG

pete1's picture

I'd love to have the SR7007 based on Mark's review but my budget only allows the price point of the SR5007. Is the video performance of the SR5007 the same as SR7007? I use an external amp for the front L/C/R channels so amplification is not a concern.

mbroyles's picture

Are you guys planning to review the Denon AVR-3313CI (MSRP $1,200) and/or the Marantz SR-5007 (MSRP $850)? It would be great to be able to compare these two receivers to the SR-7007 and determine if SR-7007 is worth spending the extra money? These three receivers seems to be of similar pedigree. Thanks.

williamsteve987's picture

I was going to buy Marantz SR7007 and I'm glad I read it first.

charles13360's picture

Hi,

Marantz has come a long way since Saul Marantz started building audio products in his Kew Gardens, New York, basement. While Denon has gotten a lot of attention for the latter, including four jam-packed headphone lines, Marantz is also experimenting with new kinds of fun. Marantz has not neglected its longtime status as a maker of great home theater products.

http://showboxappdl.org/

Thank you!

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