In recent months we have been looking at two receivers from the new line-ups of Denon and Marantz; the AVR-X6300H top model with no less than 11 amplified channels, and the NR1607 entry-level AV receiver with a slim design. In this step-up review we look at some larger models from the line-up of Marantz SR5011, SR6011 and SR7011. We go deeper into the differences, the possibilities and of course the audio quality.
These are the Marantz SR5011, SR6011 and SR7011
Marantz announced three new AV receivers for the home cinema in the summer of 2016; the SR5011 with 7-channel amplification, the SR6011 with 9-channel amplification and the SR7011 with 9-channel amplification and Heos support. All three receivers still use the distinctive Marantz design, with two large buttons, the rounded aluminum front and the round display in the middle.
Of course all three receivers are fully equipped for streaming media, both from streaming services and via the home network. WiFi and bluetooth are available to stream directly from your computer, your smartphone or a NAS music, and of course integration of Spotify Connect can not be missed. The SR7011 even comes with Heos support , which means that the receiver can become part of your Heos multiroom setup and that you can stream music via the Heos app. All receivers can be operated via the free Marantz AVR Remote app and have support for the latest audio formats.
The SR5011 is the smallest model with 7 reinforced channels and a power of 100 Watt per channel (at 8 Ohm). The receiver can display MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC (up to 192 kHz / 24 bit), ALAC and DSD 2.8MHz and “Double DSD” 5.6 MHz files via USB and your network. With AirPlay, WiFi, bluetooth and Spotify Connect you have access to almost all streaming services and media. Support for Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Pro Logic IIz, DTS-HD, Dolby Atmos and DTS: X is also available. Audyssey MultEQ ensures the optimum adjustment of the receiver with the included microphone. Audyssey Dynamic Volume also offers real-time volume control and Audyssey Dynamic EQ enhances the surround sound of the system at low volumes.
The SR5011 features 4K Ultra HD upscaling up to 30Hz and comes with eight hda 2.2a inputs with hdcp 2.2, one of which is located on the front. There is therefore full support for HDR and Ultra HD material, including the BT.2020 color range. There are two HDMI outputs, plus five analog inputs, a 7.2 channel pre-output, two subwoofer outputs, two optical inputs and two coaxial inputs. There is an amplified output for a second zone (only audio from USB, network and analogue), but also a pre-output for a second zone when you use all seven amplifiers in the main zone. THE SR5011 is now for sale for about 600 euros.
A step higher we see the SR6011 back, with the same features as the SR5011 but with 9-channel amplification. For example, a 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos arrangement is possible. If you connect an extra stereo amplifier, you can even extend it to a 7.1.4 setup. The receiver has a capacity of 110 watts per channel (at 8 Ohm). In addition, the receiver has a phono input, Audyssey MultEQ XT32 for advanced calibration with additional measuring points, Audyssey Sub EQ HT for setting the DPS filter of the subwoofers and Audyssey Low Frequency Containment that optimizes the audio output without making the neighbors inconvenient fall.
One of the two HDMI outputs can also be used for a second zone and the receiver can upscale all signals to 4K Ultra HD 50 / 60Hz material. Instead of the 7.2-channel pre-output, the SR6011 has an 11.2-channel pre-output. The receiver also comes with gold-plated connectors and an extra composite input as well as an additional analogue input. Regarding the appearance we see a flap at the front, behind which are a number of connections and control buttons. The SR6011 can now be purchased for 1,149 euros.
The top model in the line-up is the SR7011, a 9-channel receiver with a capacity of 125 watts per channel (at 8 Ohm). This receiver comes with all the features of the SR5011 and SR6011 but also has the possibility to perform an update for Auro 3D. With this paid update (149 euros) you can also listen to 3D audio content from Auro 3D. In addition, the receiver is equipped with Heos support, which means that you can make the receiver part of your Heos multiroom network, and you can stream your music via the Heos app. As with the SR6011, 11-channel processing is present, which means that you can control a 7.1.4 set-up using an external stereo amplifier.
The SR7011 is equipped with the complete Audyssey Platinum package with DSP algorithms and with Audyssey MultEQ XT32 it can perform automatic calibration of the room acoustics with 8 measuring points. The receiver can amplify a second and third zone or use pre-out for audio and video. There are also additional analog and component connections for a second zone. There are eight HDMI inputs, and three outputs (two for main zone, and one for zone 2). The SR7011 is slightly higher than the SR6011 and has an extra display behind the flap at the front with advanced information about, for example, activated speakers, audio modes and played songs. The SR7011 can be purchased for a price of 1,799 euros.
The main differences
The Marantz SR5011 is basically a fully equipped AV receiver, with various streaming options, a large number of connection options, the possibility for a second zone and support for the latest (high resolution) audio formats. The receiver can accommodate up to a 7-channel speaker setup. The most important steps you take when you choose the SR6011 are the extra power, two additional amplified channels, a phono connection, more advanced calibration options and a complete extra zone for both audio and video. The SR6011 can control a 9-channel speaker setup, and even an 11-channel setup when you pair an external stereo amplifier.
Do you get the SR7011 in house you get the same possibilities in terms of speaker setup but then again with more power. This is the only receiver with Heos support, which is a big plus when you go for a multiroom setup and simply stream music from different services. Auro 3D is a paid option for the real home cinema fan, and audio and video can be sent to a second or even third zone. With the SR7011 you get a remote control with display and backlight for the keys.
But, of course that is not all, because under the bonnet a lot will change when you switch from the SR5011 to the SR6011 or to the SR7011. The quality and capacity of the internal components is also improving. Without diving into the technical details, we see larger feeds when we go up in the line-up. There are also heavier capacitors and other rectifiers in proportion as you come higher up in the line-up. You can read what this has to do with the audio quality under the heading.
In this review we use an LG E6V-series OLED TV for the display of video material, Spotify for streaming music, a USB stick with high-res audio, the Panasonic DMP-UB900 Ultra HD Blu-ray player for the playback of CDs and (Ultra HD) Blu-ray discs, and the B & W CM S2 series speaker system for optimal playback of the audio.
In the field of design, the receivers are still equipped with the characteristic Marantz elements. This is how we see the black or gold-colored finish, the curved front and the round display. The SR5011 is the smallest and lightest model, followed by the SR6011 and the SR7011. As we go higher in the series, we also see that some things change at the front. For example, the SR5011 has a number of buttons and inputs that are in sight. With the SR6011 these are neatly concealed behind a flap.
The valve of the SR7011 is slightly larger because behind it is a display hidden where you can see the entire menu and information about, for example, the audio mode or the song being played. We also see here a number of extra shortcuts and navigation buttons. Generally the build quality is the same for all models, although we have the idea that the rotary knobs on the SR5011 have less resistance and therefore feel a bit cheaper. With the design and the build quality of the receivers it is all right. The heavy weight, the metal front, the premium finish and the stable placement through the black legs give the whole a high-end look and feel. No bells and whistles but clean lines, subtle design elements and just what you need to comfortably place and operate the receivers.
The remote controls and app
Marantz supplies a remote control with the SR5011 and SR6011 which is fairly simple for ‘receiver concepts’. No display, no LEDs; just a remote control with all the buttons to comfortably operate the hub of your home theater system. All important functions are directly accessible via the remote control. The accessory is not very special and backlighting was nice (buttons light up a little if they had enough light) but otherwise the remote control is well in hand, the buttons have a good ‘travel’ and the device responds quickly to input.
The remote control of the SR7011 is somewhat larger, equipped with control buttons for other devices (TV and player for example) and has a display on which the chosen source appears. An additional advantage is that this remote can illuminate its buttons by means of a button on the side. The layout of the remote control looks a little less complex but you do have direct access to your most important devices, zones and functions. An all-in-one remote with which the operation is ideal.
Marantz AVR Remote App
Together with the new receivers for this year, Marantz also released a new app. The Marantz 2016 AVR Remote app is suitable for Android and iOS, and makes it possible to control the receiver completely. You can actually put the remote control away because the app is basically a combination of the buttons on your remote control and the receiver’s interface. From the menu in the app you can access all the functions of the receiver, and if there is a source you can use the app to change the volume, select a next number, scroll through lists, search songs, search for radio stations, etc. Actually it is complete operation, with one app. You have to find your way, but it is a fast and smoothly working app that lets you do everything from the couch or chair. If we did not have the remote control at hand, then the app was a great alternative.
Installation and use
The installation and use of a Marantz receiver has remained virtually unchanged for years. Of course there are functions and improvements are implemented, but in the basis we see the same interface with the same structure. The installation is a piece of cake; place the receiver in place, connect the antennas for bluetooth and WiFi (take into account enough space above the receiver for these antennas), connect your equipment and speakers and get started with the settings.
It is not bad at all that we have known Marantz’s interface for years. The menu of a receiver should be mainly functional and clear, without bells and whistles or beautiful graphics, and that is exactly what the interface on these receivers is. Moreover, this simple interface makes the operation a lot easier; you know exactly where you need to be and all institutions are clearly defined. The navigation in all menus is very smooth and fast, the chance is small that you get lost and functions are clearly indicated.
When you switch on the receiver for the first time you will be guided through a set-up menu. Here you can, among other things, connect to your WiFi network and perform the Audyssey calibration. You will also receive tips and advice about connecting components and connecting your speakers. It is also a very simple set-up but exactly what you need to get started quickly. The set-up can, if you want to do it right away with full calibration, take half an hour, but then the receiver is in the base well.
You have two options for optimally setting up the receiver and the connected speakers for the room in which the whole is located. You can work with measuring equipment yourself or you can use the Audyssey calibration. Put simply, you connect the included microphone to the appropriate port on the front, 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 supporters and opponents of this technique; it remains a matter of taste. In our space Audyssey calibration gave an excellent result, but since the space is acoustically optimized, we preferred to input measured values ourselves.
As far as the possibilities are concerned, the three receivers differ from each other, as already indicated above. There are also important differences in the speaker layout. We have a 7.1.4-channel Dolby Atmos setup in the test roomand this setup can not be used in combination with one of these receivers. The SR5011 is a 7-channel receiver and can therefore control up to 7 loudspeakers. This can for example take the form of a 5.1-channel setup with a second zone (two loudspeakers in a second zone), a 7.1-channel setup or a 5.1.2-channel Dolby Atmos setup with two height / top loudspeakers. The SR7011 and SR6011 are 9-channel receivers, so that in addition to these setups you can also create a 5.1.4 or a 7.1.2 setup with Dolby Atmos. However, you can control the 7.1.4-channel setup but for this you have to connect a separate stereo amplifier (via analogue tulip cables) and connect the two additional height channels. At this moment the Denon is AVR-X6300H the only receiver that can amplify 11 channels and thus control a full Atmos setup.
A receiver is of course a hub for all your media, both physical media and online services. Marantz already handles this with the SR5011, with various possibilities to display all your media. Physically this is possible with all models via analogue or digital connected media players and a USB stick.
All three receivers have various streaming options. You can use WiFi to connect a NAS or other network drive in your home network, you can stream via Bluetooth via all mobile devices and if you have an iOS device you can use AirPlay to play your content via the receiver. If your PC and / or NAS is DLNA-certified and is connected to your home network, linking is a piece of cake. The receiver sees the devices within a few seconds so you can get started almost immediately. Depending on the structure you keep on your NAS or PC, files can be found quickly. The quality is more than excellent and the file support leaves little to be desired. Full support for high-resolution audio formats is available through all paths.
The receivers feature Spotify Connect allowing you to stream your Spotify numbers through the receiver, while you use your smartphone purely for operation and all other things. If that is not enough, you can search and listen to Internet radio stations, in addition to the traditional AM and FM channels. All these options work smoothly and well, but of course make sure you have a stable internet connection.
However, the SR7011 is the ultimate model if you use different services to stream music and also like to hear your music throughout the house. This model comes with support for Heos, Denon’s multiroom system. Via the Heos app you get access to even more services. You can play music from your mobile phone or a NAS via the app but also from services such as Deezer, Tidal, Spotify and TuneIn. You do not necessarily need several Heos speakers for this; the SR7011 is seen as a playback point and is therefore sufficient to get started. If you have more Heos equipment at home, you can easily display your music in multiple rooms and operate all your speakers (and the receiver) with the app.
Now that we have mentioned all the differences, similarities and advantages and disadvantages in terms of features, use and possibilities, there remains an important part; the audio quality. Looking at the specifications on paper, that audio reproduction should improve as we get higher in the line-up, but is that also the case and is that difference obvious? In our test room and home cinema, which is fully optimized in acoustics, we have the Bowers & Wilkins CM S2 series, accompanied by four AM-1 loudspeakers for the top channels and two CWM663 loudspeakers for the sides. The subwoofer is in this case the Bowers & Wilkins ASW610XP.
We used the Marantz SR5011 in two setups; a 5.1.2 Atmos setup and a stereo setup. We also listened to films as well as to high resolution music through USB and the network.
We start with the movie Deadpool on Ultra HD Blu-ray and in Dolby Atmos. The loudspeaker setup is not optimal for Atmos, but the SR5011 knows how to keep itself standing and we get a lively and convincing Atmos experience. The sound field is wide and high enough to make you feel like you’re in the action, although we do miss these two extra height channels a bit. But, of course that is a choice. With the straps that the SR5011 has, he is in any case fine. Surround effects come with sufficient dynamics and detail, it is lacking in controlled low. The really controlled deep tones, and also the lower tones from the front speakers, lack strength and flexibility. Dialogues come without too much depth and emotion. Generally, the surround experience is above average on average; with clear dialogues, a wide and deep sound field and dynamic surround effects. In the low and the high we miss something, especially subtle details and controlled punches that give a film that extra dynamic.
In the field of music, we can largely take over the conclusion from above. Especially when we use hi-res audio files (from Muse, The Beatles and Norah Jones, among others) that little bit of flexibility is a loss in both low and high. The stereo field is wide, but compared to, for example, the Denon AVR-X6300H or Marantz SR7011 you have a little less the idea of standing in front of the artist in the studio or concert hall. Voice is more divided over the space than really placed in front of your nose. Instruments are also placed less tightly in the room. The dynamic songs of Muse lacks that low, tight punch and you will notice from time to time that the receiver gets it at higher volumes difficult to give all that action and dynamics super tight and controlled. That all sounds a bit negative, but of course we build on two better models, which we compare the view with. In isolation, the SR5011 is a very good receiver, which is particularly suitable for small or medium-sized home theaters. The somewhat higher volumes and dynamic hi-res music lack flexibility and subtle details, and at low we miss the tight and controlled punch.
We used the Marantz SR6011 in two setups; a 5.1.4 Atmos setup and a stereo setup. We also listened to films as well as to high resolution music through USB and the network.
Of course we have subjected the SR6011 to exactly the same content as the SR5011, starting with the Atmos audio track from Deadpool. The receiver now has the advantage of being able to control two additional speakers above the listening position and that certainly benefits the Atmos effect. This gives us a little more the idea that the effects that are above the listening position move through space, more like a 3D audio experience. In general, the sound field also feels slightly wider and higher, and therefore slightly more realistic and vivid. The receiver has less trouble with the bass, these are reproduced with more punch and flexibility. And besides that there is much more color and life in dialogues. All in all, the Atmos experience is impressive, with seamless transitions between the speakers, a tight dialogue, powerful bass and overall a slightly more stable reproduction than with the SR5011.
That more stable reproduction becomes even more clear as soon as we activate the stereo set-up. Here we experience a clearer distinction between different instruments and voices in space, a wider sound field and an even tighter bass. The vocals are also perfectly placed for you, which gives you a lot more the idea that the song is played in front of you. The overall picture is more alive and the receiver has much less trouble with higher volumes to keep everything tight, organized and dynamic. Still, there is even more to get out of the front speakers, especially when it comes to subtle details that give you that little bit extra feeling close to the shot. The SR6011 can fill our test room without too much difficulty with a beautiful display of music, with a warm (but not too woolly) timbre and a wider audio stage.
We used the Marantz SR7011 in two setups, just like the SR6011; a 5.1.4 Atmos setup and a stereo setup. We also listened to films as well as to high resolution music through USB and the network.
When we provide the SR7011 with the Atmos signal, it seems that there is not much difference in the first instance, but as we get further into the film it is noticeable that a step has been made. The receiver knows how to create a convincingly wide and high sound field with plenty of space between the speakers that is filled with surround effects. This provides a completely filled space in which audio objects can move freely. Although you seem to be in the middle of it, it is possible to distinguish between the soundtrack, the dialogues and the effects. It does not become a big chaos so that elements are snowed under. Dialogs are warm, clear and filled with emotion, without being overwhelmed by overwhelming effects or music. Subtle details in dialogues, audio effects and music are retained and are put down tightly. The low tones contain a bit more punch and provide a deep and tight low range where you do not vibrate from the couch but feel it in your stomach. At high volume, this receiver knows how to provide a medium to large home cinema with an impressive surround experience.
The SR7011 also convinces us with stereo audio material. Every subtle detail is audible, low tones are reproduced accurately and with sufficient force, and the clarity and spatial sound field make you feel as if the artist is directly ahead of you in the recording studio or concert hall. If you do not know better than this receiver gives you the idea that there are some speakers in the room. The stereo sound surrounds you with a lot of power and flexibility at the same time, and we like to experience that. The receiver does not get into trouble with dynamic passages and knows how to give instruments and voices a clear position in the room. The SR7011 gets a bit more out of the front speakers and controls them with more ease and flexibility. This ensures a wider range with an audio stage that has more life.
If we take everything together, the differences between the SR5011, SR6011 and SR7011 are clear, and we can also show the usage scenarios for the various receivers. The SR5011 is basically an excellent receiver for a small or medium-sized home theater in which Dolby Atmos plays no (big) role of significance, you have a small surround setup and you have enough local media, AirPlay, bluetooth and Spotify for streaming from your music to your receiver. The receiver offers convincing surround sound and can reproduce your music with sufficient dynamics and a wide sound field.
The SR6011 is a receiver for the people who want to tackle it more seriously, with a larger set-up (and / or perhaps better speakers), a slightly larger room that needs to be filled with good sound and perhaps an extra zone for audio and video. The receiver shows a clear step forward in the field of audio quality. You get a broader and higher sound field, a better placement of audio in the room, tighter bass and a more stable reproduction. The receiver brings more life into the sound and also manages to provide a controlled and dynamic display at higher volumes.
The SR7011 is for the real home cinema enthusiasts who want to provide a medium to large home cinema system with an impressive audio reproduction, and who want to benefit from the Heos support by streaming music from various (online) sources and possibly even to different spaces. This receiver makes the room look bigger than it is, it sends the speakers with remarkable ease, creates tight bass and lets subtle details come to life in an impressively well-arranged sound field. Is the receiver the center of your audio and video sources in house, do you want to enjoy high quality audio and you have the right speakers for it, then the SR7011 is an absolute must.