Marantz SR7010 A/V Receiver Review

Audio Performance
Video Performance
PRICE $2,199

Nine amp channels
Atmos-ready, upgradable for DTS:X, Auro-3D
Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room correction
USB jack not PC compatible

The Marantz SR7010 has nine amp channels, Dolby Atmos decoding, DTS:X upgradability, and even Auro-3D upgradability, making it as future-proof as a receiver can currently be.

The Marantz SR7010 is the fifth Dolby Atmos receiver I’ve reviewed. However, to be frank, it’s only the second one that matters to me. Most of the Atmos receivers occupying my rack’s guest berth have been seven-channel models limited to 5.1.2-channel Atmos, with just a single pair of height channels in the front. Only the nine-channel Pioneer Elite SC-89 and this Marantz have provided what I deem the minimum acceptable Atmos experience utilizing 5.1.4 channels, with height channels in both front and back.

This review also marks my second exposure to Atmos-enabled speakers—which attempt to bounce height effects off the ceiling—and my first exposure to Atmos add-ons, in the form of the Klipsch RP-140SA. Adding the Klipsches to my existing Paradigm monitors enabled me to incorporate the Paradigms, my longtime reference speakers, into Atmos demos for the first time. Before this, I had relied on the Pioneer SP-EBS73-LR, an Atmos-enabled integrated monitor, with the height drivers built into the top. I would use the Pioneers for Atmos and the Paradigms for 5.1 and stereo. Now I can use the Paradigm/Klipsch team for all demos.

True, the elegant form of the Pioneers makes the Paradigm/Klipsch combo look like a Frankenstein monster. But adding Atmos to the speakers that are hardwired into my frame of reference was worth the trouble. A dedicated review of the Klipsches is in the works.

Top of the Heap
Marantz offers five new receivers, including three full-size SR models and two slimline NR models. They are the SR7010 ($2,199), SR6010 ($1,399), SR5010 ($899), NR1606 ($699), and NR1506 ($499). The top four support Atmos. However, the SR7010’s nine amp channels make it the only one to natively support Atmos 5.1.4. The SR6010 requires two channels of external amplifi- cation to accomplish the same, and the SR5010 and NR1606 are seven-channel models supporting Atmos 5.1.2 only. Bottom line: If you’re serious about Atmos, either invest in the SR7010 or seek nine-channel joy elsewhere.

The SR7010 is slated to ultimately support three of the latest surround formats. It plays Dolby Atmos out of the box and can be upgraded for DTS:X and Auro-3D. DTS:X competes with Dolby Atmos much as DTS- HD Master Audio competes with Dolby TrueHD (and the original DTS competes with Dolby Digital). Which one is the better format is a question we’ll probably be sorting out for years. The DTS:X software update wasn’t available in time for this review but is scheduled to arrive in 2016.

Auro-3D is a much smaller competitor in the race. This format, from Auro Technologies of Belgium, supports not one but two height layers (in addition to the floor speakers), and, unlike DTS:X, its requirements cannot be satisfied with an existing Atmos speaker layout. Although Auro-3D has been around since 2006 and doesn’t require an update to be compatible with existing Blu-ray players, it’s supported on only a handful of Blu-ray titles. However, I must tell you that the two Auro-3D demos I’ve heard at CES 2015 and CEDIA 2015 were both jolly convincing. Whether Auro-3D will ever be a contenda is somewhere between debatable and dubious, but the extra height layer is a provocative idea. Incidentally, if you want to run 10.1 Auro-3D on the nine-channel Marantz, you’ll need an extra amp for the additional height channel.

The SR7010 is rated at 125 watts with two channels driven. How it will fare with more channels going at once will make our Test Bench measurements interesting reading. Ultra HD fanatics may rest assured that the receiver has the latest HDMI 2.0a connectivity with the metadata that supports HDR10 picture-quality improvements plus HDCP 2.2 anti-copying technology to ensure that the receiver will pass UHD signals from any source component. Rarer is the ISF certification, which allows a qualified installer to make subtle video tweaks.

Like an ever-increasing number of receivers, the SR7010 has what I call the wireless triple threat (though one reader suggests it should be called the triple treat): Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth. DLNA accesses music from Wi-Fi- or Ethernet-connected devices such as a PC or a NAS drive. If that isn’t enough music-streaming gratification, the FM section also tunes in digital terrestrial HD Radio (which supports DTS Neural Surround). Back in the wired world, the front-panel USB port can connect either an iOS device or a flash drive, with audio files including lossless FLAC and DSD. That’s a whole grab bag of fun. The only omission is a dedicated USB DAC input that accepts direct signals from a PC or Mac. Granted, this remains a rare feature on AVRs, but a receiver costing north of $2,000 should cover all bases.

Auto setup and room calibration have become indispensable features to those who would rather not own an SPL meter. Marantz has not only licensed Audyssey, still the class act of the field in my opinion; it has paid extra for the best version, Audyssey MultEQ XT32. This maximizes filter resolution and applies the results to all channels, including subwoofers. Marantz and stablemate Denon even supply a cardboard tripod for the setup microphone.

Associated equipment included my five Paradigm Reference Studio 20 v.4 monitors, the four Klipsch RP-140SA Atmos-enabled add-on speakers, an Oppo BDP-83SE universal disc player for Blu-ray, and a Panasonic DMP-BD87 Blu-ray player for Netflix streaming. All movie demos were on Blu-ray Disc.

No Personality Shifts
Befitting a top-of-the-line receiver, the SR7010 ran my speakers of average sensitivity (plus the Atmos add-ons) with room to spare, playing as loudly as I care to listen, even with all nine channels singing. One benefit of pairing a high-quality amplifier section with Audyssey’s top room-correction scheme was that the results were great in any conceivable mode, whether it was the movie-friendly Audyssey Reference, the music-friendly Audyssey Flat, or the direct mode with no room correction at all. Unvarnished, the receiver had a slightly polite top end, a euphonic midrange, and excellent bass for a receiver. With Audyssey room correction, imaging improved, but the receiver maintained its strong suits, avoiding the jarring personality shifts and tradeoffs between modes that have been known to characterize receivers with less refined amps and lower-resolution room correction.

(201) 762-6500

Warrior24_7's picture

The ESS Sabre 9016 DAC in Yamaha and Pioneer recievers and processors like the CX-5100 are superior to those in the Marantz.

quadruplekewl's picture

Is this true? I actually just ordered both, believe it or not, and plan on comparing them.

The sr6010 came today and I am loving the social network soundtrack on it. Going to see how it does on a movie later tonight.

Got the aventage 2060 coming tomorrow. Can't wait to see how these two compare. That new yamaha stuff is fire.

20hzandbelow's picture

How did the the aventage 2060 and the marantz sr6010 compare? which one did you keep and why?
I find myself facing a similar dilemma

20hzandbelow's picture

How did the the aventage 2060 and the marantz sr6010 compare? which one did you keep and why?
I find myself facing a similar dilemma

anakinskye's picture

Pioneer? They have been using the same faulty firmware chips for the last 5 years. I would not suggest Pioneer to anyone. I have and SC 57 that's absolutely useless without a $600 repair. They've known about it and CONTINUE to use the same chip.

tboe77's picture

I just read your review of the Marantz SR7010 receiver. I was particularly intrigued by your described usage of the Klipsch RP-140SA Atmos speakers. I am writing today to ask you about using them along with the Paradigm speakers that you also have in your system.

I run a 5.1 channel system, with the 5 main channels all consisting of Paradigm Reference Studio Series (version 4) speakers. The main L/R are Studio 40s, the centre is a CC-690, and the surrounds are a pair of Studio 20s.

Can you please tell me more about your placement of the Klipsch speakers? In photos, it looks like they are intended to be placed on top of the main L/R and surround L/R speakers. It also looks like they are meant to be placed on a flat surface and, as we both know, the Paradigm Studio speakers' cabinets have curved tops. I thought this would preclude proper placement of Atmos modules, like the Klipsch RP-140SAs. Do you have them sitting on top of your Studio 20s? If so, did you have to do anything special to place them securely? Does the "hump" on the top, front side of the speaker, above the tweeter, affect the angle of the Atmos speaker, if placed on top of the Studio speaker? If so, did you do anything to correct this?

If you do not have the Atmos speakers placed on top of your Studio 20's, how and where do you have them placed? On separate stands?

In either case, would it be possible for you to share some pictures of your setup?

Also, can you comment on the sound quality of the Klipsch speakers, and how well they blend with the Paradigms?

I'm not very handy, so I haven't seriously considered installing in-ceiling speakers for Atmos. As I mentioned before, I thought the shape of the Studio speakers' cabinets would preclude proper placement of Atmos modules, like these Klipsch units. These perceived limitations had me thinking that an upgrade to an Atmos capable system would have to wait until I could afford to purchase all new speakers, but your article has given me hope that there may be an easier, less costly option, without sacrificing too much sound quality.

I know I'm asking for a lot of information, but if you could spare a few minutes to share what you've learned about the Klipsch Atmos speakers, it could have a big impact on my planned upgrade path.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration. I always enjoy reading your articles. Please keep them coming!



Mark Fleischmann's picture
I'll be doing a review of the Klipsch/Paradigm combo if you can wait a few months. In the meantime, here are a few things: The Klipsches are resting on top of the Paradigms. The back rubber feet rest on the speaker. The front rubber feet are slightly too short, so the Paradigm's hump supports the front. I may use some kind of putty to raise the back (slightly changing the Klipsch's angle of fire) and to damp the meeting of the two hard surfaces in front, but for now, the Klipsch is just resting on the Paradigm, and it's secure enough (no toddlers here). The Klipsches have a very detailed sound, probably with a more prominent treble than the neutral Paradigms, though we have not measured them yet, so don't take that for gospel. This makes Atmos effects more prominent, which I find helpful, though some future height-aggressive movie soundtrack might change my mind someday. I'm also avoiding ceiling-mount speakers, much as I would love to have them, because I'm a renter and the drilling would violate my lease. More details when I review the Klipsches. Thanks for your curiosity and I hope this will help for now.
tboe77's picture

That helps a lot, Mark! Thank you. I look forward to your review of the Klipsch speakers.

Michael O'Dea's picture

Hi Mark,
Thanks for your detailed review of the Marantz SR7010.
Could you please post the full test bench results for this unit so that an objective comparison can be made with the other av receivers you have reviewed.
Also, I was wondering whether you got a chance to test or use the phono input on this receiver?
If so, is the phono stage worth using or would you be better off using a separate phono pre-amp?
I'm considering purchasing this amp but am concerned about the low phono s/n ratio of 74 dB quoted in the manual. For comparison, here are the phono s/n ratio numbers for the main contenders:
Denon AVR-X6200 - 74 dB
Yamaha RX-A3050 - 95 dB
Sony STR-DA5800ES - 90 dB
Onkyo TX-RZ900 -80 dB
I know that there are other factors that affect the sound quality of the phono stage but these figures are concerning to me.
I wish to use the av receiver predominantly for music but want the functionality of an av receiver over a 2 channel amp. Any thoughts?

With thanks and best wishes.

Mumon's picture

I’ve used the Phono amp on my SR7009 (which is the outgoing model and likely the same hardware) and there’s nothing wrong with it, just a little boring. My “little bear” tube pre-amp is noisier, but more dynamic. You could use the built-in pre to start with, but I’d recommend trying out something else if vinyl is important to you – that would go for any receiver. The pre-amp really does make a difference in the sound you get.

Also: that SR7009 can be had for half what the SR7010 is going for, and is only lacking DTS-X (will this ever matter, who knows?) HDMI 2.2 (so get a switch). I’m running 7.1.4 Atmos through mine, which is a neat trick.

Viking199's picture

Thanks mark, i liked this review, finally i was able to see the calculation with 7 channels driven. I also saw the review of the mm7055 which states 108 watts per channel for 5 channels driven. (i have the mm7055 from my previous set up so i going to use it to power my 2 fronts and center speakers) and keep the 4 surrounds and 4 dolby atmos speakers on the sr7010) leaving 2 channels open in the mm7055 so i could add 2 height speakers if i decide to do the auro 3d. i see this marantz only could drive 11 speakers but it could have 13 speakers and according to the sound mode it will drive 11 speakers if i keep the pa m7055. i do not need too much watts that is why i know they will tell me to get a rotel, emotive or outlaw pa, i live in an apartment so i do not need to much besides i only using this for my living room and not a home theater room in that case i will get a more powerful in your opinion this will be a good set up? at least i will have a little bit of more power than using the sr7010 alone right?

Surround Discography's picture

Mark, Thanks for the article. I recently purchased the SR7010 and have an Oppo BDP-83 (Non SE) and am having an issue with 4.0 audio from bluray's, DTS-CD & DVD-Audio's. The receiver shows 4 speaker playback but I only get the front channels. Pink Floyd's Immersion bluray disc is a good example, switch to 4.0 and only the front channels work, switch to 5.1 all the speakers work. If I hook up my sons Samsung bluray everything works fine. So a another player works indicating the Oppo is at fault.
Since you used a BDP-83 in your review I was wondering if you had a similar issue.

witchdoctor's picture

I own the Marantz 7200 and use Paradigm Active Studio 40's for bed channels and Studio Active 20;s as height channels in an Auro 3D setup. I think you will find auromatic uses the height channels a lot more with movies than with atmos. I noticed your preference for 2 channel stereo over atmos upmixed music. The auromatic upmixer makes both dolby and 2 channel sound flat and uninvolving in comparison.The Paradigm Studio Active 20's are about the same six=ze as your Studio 20's v4. I have mine mounted on tall stands like a DB would use and they work fantastic. I think you would be very happy if you had studio 20 v4's for height channels as well.

schneiderbecket's picture

Where did the graph go?