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Review: Marantz SR7009 AV receiver

Marantz SR7009 Review
The Marantz SR7009 is a step higher than the SR6009. The main differences are in dimensions, power, number of speaker connections and number of HDMI output.
4.5/5 - (560 votes)

The Marantz SR7009 is a step higher than the SR6009 but in many respects. The main differences are in the dimensions, power, number of loudspeaker connections, the number of zones, the number of hdmi outputs and the quality of the components used under the bonnet.

The latest version of the SR7009 also receives standard support for Dolby Atmos. Of course this also provides for another (recommended) price tag; 1,699 euros against 1,099 euros. However, you can already buy the SR7009 for 1,399 euros. In this review we only look at the most important differences between both receivers.

Marantz SR7009 – Specifications and features

The Marantz SR7009 AV Receiver has the same features as the SR6009, but goes a step further with sound technologies. The receiver has nine amplifier channels, each with 200 watts (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 1%, 1-ch.) Power. Thanks to the four Digital Sound Processing (DSP) engines, the SR7009 can handle up to 11.2 channels, for full DSX support, DTS Neo: X 11.1 and the latest Dolby Atmos decoding technology . With Dolby Atmos, the listener is surrounded by sound from all sides, even above the head.

The SR7009 has three HDMI outputs and 13.2 channel pre-out functionality. The most advanced Audyssey MultEQ XT32 / LFC (suitable for Pro) allows accurate calibration of the speakers. The device is also equipped with HDAM (Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module) technology and the current-feedback circuit of the manufacturer. The latest HD audio formats such as DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD are of course supported. The system is equipped with Audyssey DSX.

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Support for digital audio files has been expanded, including MP3, WMA, FLAC HD, ALAC, WAV192 / 24 and AAC files. There is also Gapless support for playback without pauses, DSD and AIFF. Wireless streaming is possible through Apple AirPlay but the receiver also comes with antennas that enable streaming via Bluetooth and WiFi. The receiver can be operated with the Marantz remote app and a supplied remote control.

The SR7009 has eight HDMI inputs, one of which is on the front. All connections are equipped with the HDMI 2.0 standard and thus support 4K Ultra HD material with 50 / 60Hz. SD and HD material can be scaled up to 4K resolution by the receiver. Of course there is also support for the display of 3D material. There are three HDMI outputs present so that an extra space can be controlled or you can connect a second screen / projector. At the front of the receiver is a USB port for linking a digital camera, a USB stick or an iPhone / iPad.

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Like many of the other models of this year, the SR7009 also has the ECO mode of Marantz. This significantly reduces power consumption when the receiver is only used for background music or at low level. If more power is needed when watching a movie or listening to harder music, the SR7009 automatically switches to full power mode.

Marantz SR7009 – First impression

At first glance there is not much else on the SR7009 when we compare it with the SR6009, though the device weighs nearly 2.5 kilograms more and is also almost 2.5 centimeters higher. The weight gives a sense of quality and does not immediately cause problems for most people. A higher device can cause problems when you have perfectly fitted the previous receiver. This was the case with us because the SR6009 fitted exactly between the TV and the cabinet. With the arrival of the SR7009, the cabinet had to be lowered by 2 centimeters to ensure that the TV remained fully visible. This is of course no disadvantage of the receiver but it shows that with larger devices and a custom setup every inch is used and you have to take that into account.

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The SR7009 comes just like its smaller brother with a beautifully finished (in our case black) design, which at the bottom is provided with silver colored feet that provide extra stability. We also see the two large buttons for the volume and the inputs, the round screen with information about the input and the volume and the rounded front panel. Around the round display, however, the SR7009 has subtle blue lighting. This has no function but adds a more premium effect to the receiver. A black aluminum flap is placed beneath the display, behind which are various inputs, buttons and even an extra display. The SR7009 shows additional information on this display, for example the title of the song being played or the audio format used. The SR6009 should make it without this display. We also see buttons for surround mode, a / b selection, zone selection, M-Dax and Pure Direct, among other things. In terms of connections, the HDMI port, the USB port, the calibration port, the composite inputs and the headphone output are hidden behind the flap.

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Other equipment

In this review we use a Panasonic ZT60 plasma TV for the display of video material, a Spotify for streaming music, a USB stick with high-res audio, the UD7007 Blu-ray player from Marantz for the reproduction of CDs and Blu-ray discs, and the B & W CM S2 series speaker system for optimal playback of the audio.

Marantz SR7009 – Operation and installation

The installation of the Marantz SR7009 is a piece of cake and compared to the SR6009 there are few notable things to report. You still need to run the two WiFi and Bluetooth antennas on the back of the receiver and you will receive stickers that allow you to label the speaker cables and sources. It must also be said again that the antennas must point up for optimal performance and that this makes your receiver at least 10 centimeters higher. Fortunately, the reduced range with the antennas pointing to the sides and it did not cause problems in our setup.

Installation and menus

With regard to the installation and the set-up assistant, little has changed compared to last year and also with respect to the SR6009. The set-up guides you through the main settings and options of the receiver, including connecting speakers, pairing and assigning peripherals and checking the internet connection.

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The interface is still somewhat outdated and focuses purely on simplicity and structure. Do not expect fancy icons, nice animations or a very slick interface; everything looks simple and boring but does what it has to do. The navigation in the menus is also very smooth and fast, the chance is small that you get lost and functions are clearly indicated.

Audyssey calibration

We have discussed the calibration of a receiver by means of Audyssey many times and we do not go into that any further. The operation is fairly simple; connect the included microphone to the appropriate port behind the front panel, place the microphone on the supplied stand and have the receiver search for the optimal adjustment by placing the microphone at designated listening positions. There are both proponents and opponents of this technique, but we always use it, even if with some small manual adjustments, for example in the volume of individual speakers.

When you use Audyssey MultEQ XT32 on the SR7009, there are two functions that you can switch on and they have a lot of influence on the sound. DynamicEQ and Dynamic Volume. These functions are not changed compared to last year (for the user). Here we discuss the usefulness and the possibilities of these functions. The Audyssey calibration on the SR7009 is suitable for professional calibration, if desired.

Remote control

The remote control that comes with the SR7009 is a different model than the remote control that comes with the SR6009. First there is a display at the top that shows the source selection (and learning function), but there is also room for a select number of buttons with which your TV or a connected device (for example a Blu-ray player) can be operated. The remote control also has a number of ‘smart select’ buttons under which you can set a certain range of options, for example for input, audio mode and volume. With the press of that button, those presets are then used.

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The accessory can also learn from other remote controls and you can use functions to take over functions from other devices, such as a TV or media player. The remote control has a button on the side that activates a subtle backlight and therefore allows you to operate your receiver and connected devices in the dark. The accessory looks some pressure on the first weight but all buttons are placed in a logical position so you quickly know where to go. The remote control is also nice in the hand.

Remote App

You can also operate the SR7009 with the Marantz Remote app for Android and iOS. The application has not changed since last year and adapts to the functions that the receiver offers. For example, we do not see Spotify again, simply because this year Spotify Connect is used and you first need to open the Spotify app on your smartphone or tablet.

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Through the app you can select the desired input, adjust the volume, navigate within linked servers and devices, activate the sleep timer, adjust the sound mode, enter texts where necessary and put your favorite radio stations on the home screen. In addition, a Marantz Blu-ray player can be operated with regard to the basic functions. Although it is a handy app with a fairly stylish appearance, the operation sometimes leaves something to be desired. You do not get a lot of setting possibilities and the response time is painfully slow at times, if a connection can be made. In short, a handy app but there is still something that can be improved and expanded.

Marantz SR7009 – In use

In terms of possibilities and use, the SR7009 is the same on most points as the SR6009, at least with regard to our setup and test method. For this reason, we refer you to our SR6009 review for more information about our experiences with streaming and eco-mode.

Audyssey LFC

In contrast to the SR6009, the SR7009 has an option called Audyssey LFC, an interesting feature to highlight. Audyssey LFC stands for Low Frequency Containment and means that the audio content is dynamically monitored and specific low frequencies are filtered out of the audio. These are the frequencies that can be quite disturbing as they ‘vibrate’ through walls or floors. A useful function for when you live in a noisy apartment complex or the children are already lying on the bed.

Dolby Atmos

Another extra feature of the SR7009 that we need to highlight is the support of Dolby Atmos. The SR7009 allows 7-, 9- or 11-channel Dolby Atmos with a 5.1.2, 5.1.4, 7.1.2, 7.1.4 or 9.1.2 configuration with speakers or speakers fixed to the ceiling with Dolby Atmos. A 5.1.2 or 5.1.4 speaker configuration consists of a traditional 5.1 speaker setup plus two or four speakers mounted overhead or two or four Dolby Atmos speakers. A 7.1.2 or 7.1.4 configuration consists of a 7.1 speaker layout with four loudspeakers mounted overhead or four Dolby Atmos speakers. A 9.1.2 configuration consists of a 9.1 speaker layout with two loudspeakers mounted above the head.

In short, with Dolby Atmos you can make it as crazy as you want. However, a nice investment is required for new speakers. Since we use a ‘standard’ 5.1 channel setup, we were unable to test Dolby Atmos in combination with the SR7009. We will soon discuss our experiences with Dolby Atmos on various receivers.

Marantz SR7009 – Audio quality

It is all about the audio quality, of course, what the SR7009 should excel in. We also played the Bowers & Wilkins CM S2 series loudspeakers briefly with the SR6009 and can therefore draw a nice comparison. In short, the SR7009 offers more stable performance, especially for the CM8 front speakers and especially when the volume is opened a bit further. The receiver itself is less warm than the SR6009 during the control of the speakers and continues to provide crystal clear subtle details, convincing bass and clear midtones at every sound level. The difference is not particularly large but big enough to feel and hear that extra bit of stability and precision.

Music

The Marantz SR7009 offers, as mentioned, various possibilities for reproducing audio. So you can access your DLNA server via WiFi, you can stream music via Bluetooth, there is support for Spotify Connect and you can stream music from Apple devices thanks to Airplay. It is also possible to connect a USB stick, for example for high-res audio.

In the field of streaming, the SR7009 has very few stitches. With heavily compressed content, the layer is often just a bit too much, something that can be partially absorbed by adjusting the M-Dax setting to ‘low’. In general compressed music is fairly well restored and you get a wide sound field with convincing vocals and enough details. However, that bit of ‘body’ and acoustics is lacking, creating a distance between the artist and the listener.

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For us, Bluetooth is often the last choice for streaming audio, especially because of the lower quality and the limited range. The SR7009 can easily stream via Bluetooth at a distance of about 9 meters and the quality is not even a setback. Again, the real ‘body’ of music is missing and the sound field is less wide and dynamic, but if AirPlay, WiFi or USB are not options, you get a very nice audio reproduction with Bluetooth.

Spotify Connect is an ideal function to display your favorite music without having to actively use your smartphone or tablet. The quality leaves little to be desired. The SR7009 is able to reproduce a dynamic audio image, with penetrating but not over-the-top layer, warm but clear vocals and plenty of room to display subtle details.

However, if you use higher quality files, for example FLAC or DSD, then the receiver will really show what is possible. Every subtle detail is audible, low tones are displayed at exactly the right level and you get the feeling that the artist is directly ahead of you in the recording studio because of the clarity and spatial acoustics. Even in classical music, the Marantz SR7009 knows how to keep itself in an impressive position, does not get into trouble with dynamic passages and knows how to keep instruments clearly separate. At deep low is not exaggerated but you definitely get the desired impact.

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Do you still have CDs with your favorite music and do not you think it’s about the steps to digital files or streaming services? Then it is good to know that the SR7009 also handles fine CDs. We have used the UD7007 Blu-ray player from Marantz and these two work perfectly together to get the most out of your audio output. The SR7009 easily handles all genres, from classical music to pop and rock. The receiver is able to produce a very dynamic and rich sound, with impressive detail and a broad soundstage. Vocals appear warm but detailed and powerful, while individual instruments are easily distinguishable. Also with CDs, the receiver finds the perfect balance between a powerful display and subtle details.

Movie

As indicated in the introduction, we use a 5.1 channel setup, with Bowers & Wilkins CM S2 series loudspeakers. A 5.1 set-up is still the most common arrangement with consumers and therefore an excellent reference. So we do not use all the channels and possibilities of the SR7009 but with 5.1 channel sound you get with the SR7009 a very impressive surround experience so you are completely drawn into a movie or series.

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The SR7009 manages to create a very wide sound field with convincing space between the speakers that are filled with surround effects. The receiver provides a completely filled space in which audio objects seem to move freely, as if the speakers are moving themselves. Dialogs are clear and full of emotion, without being snowed under by audio effects or the music track, the chaos around it. Although we as Dutch people often read the subtitles, intelligible dialogue is really a valuable addition. All subtle details in voices, surround effects and music scores are preserved and perfectly separated. The action in space is so natural that you can easily follow effects and movements from left to right and from front to back. The low tones are well received and let you vibrate from the couch without having to search directly for the volume knob, and in combination with realistic surround effects you get a very good film experience. Even if you turn up the volume a bit further, the receiver will stay in place and the audio reproduction will remain dynamic and intact.

Marantz SR7009 – Conclusion

You will not be surprised that we can only be really enthusiastic about the SR7009. This receiver knows how to steer our speakers with a little more stability and power, so that the audio reproduction at every volume level remains detailed and cared for, full of emotion and its own character. The extra features that the SR7009 offers compared to the SR6009 are not for everyone. For example, Dolby Atmos requires an extra investment in speakers and you only use the extra zone options if you actually want to have audio in multiple rooms. In terms of features it is therefore a consideration whether you actually need it, but looking at pure audio reproduction in combination with the better speakers, the SR7009 is a small but convincing step forward.

All extra features such as WiFi, bluetooth, Spotify Connect, the Remote App, the advanced remote control and the extra display are useful and absolutely an added value, but there is also room for improvement. As we already indicated in the SR6009 review, the Remote App is ready for an update that brings additional functions and the receiver’s interface can get a lick of paint.

But, all in all, we have little to complain about the SR7009. This model offers, for a price of 1.699 euro, impressive performance and enough possibilities to form the center of your home cinema system. This receiver does what it has to do and then also with class.

Cons

  • Remote App not stable and extensive enough
  • More space needed for antennas
  • Interface can use lick of paint

Pros

  • Very good audio quality
  • Premium look and feel
  • Richly equipped in terms of features and functions

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