As several Sound+Image awards attest, we’ve maintained a high regard for the Marantz “slimline” series of AV receivers, though really they’re short, rather than slim, but we guess the “short-arse” series wouldn’t sound so marketable.
The latest models aim to maintain the excellent performance of previous models, but with a number of impressive additions — HEOS multiroom integration, and Dolby Vision HDR compatibility (in addition to full 4K/UHD abilities) in both new models, and Dolby Atmos available on the higher of the two models.
Marantz NR1608: $1299
7 x 90W, Dolby Atmos, 8 x HDMI, and HEOS
The NR1608 is just 10.5cm tall, yet includes seven 90W channels of amplification has decoders for both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 3D surround sound, ,and an impressive eight HDMI inputs compatible with 4K up to 60Hz with HDR10, Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log Gamma (this last via future firmware update). The seven channels can be configured to deliver a proper 5.1.2-channel Atmos soundfield, while still compatible with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD soundtracks for conventional 5.1- or 7.1-channel surround.
Audyssey MultEQ simplifies pinpoint-accurate set-up and calibration, while the optional Audyssey MultEQ Editor App can be used to further refine the set-up or tune it.
The NR1608 also streams music from local network storage or the internet using either wired or Wi-Fi networking. As well as Internet radio and services including Deezer, Spotify Connect and Tidal, it can stream from computer or NAS drive at up to 192kHz/24-bit and DSD5.6MHz, while direct streaming options include Bluetooth and Airplay.
HEOS integration can be accessed directly from within the Marantz 2016 AVR Remote app (giving complete control of the receiver), allowing streaming around the house to other HEOS-equipped products.
Marantz NR1508: $999
5 x 85W, Dolby True HD and DTS-HD, 6 x HDMI, HEOS
The NR1508 is a simpler, but still promises high-performance home entertainment and has HEOS integration. A 5.2-channel design, with five discrete 85W channels, it’s compatible with all the same 4K video formats as the 1608, with six HDMI inputs and decoding for Dolby True HD and DTS-HD for conventional surround set-ups. Audyssey MultEQ basic set-up and calibration is featured, and the NR1508 can also be controlled using the Marantz 2016 AVR app.
Network and wireless music streaming includes Ethernet/Wi-Fi capability including access to internet radio, streaming services, and locally stored content at up to 192kHz/24bit and DSD5.6MHz. In addition, the NR1508 features HEOS wireless multiroom audio integration, allowing it to become part of a complete whole-house music system – all controlled by the HEOS app. Direct streaming is again available via Bluetooth or Airplay.
Both these space-saving AV receivers will become available in October.
More info: www.qualifi.com.au