2008-11-06Detail oriented readers may have noticed that the TPV Audio and Video labs have taken turns using Marantz’s flagship SR9600 A/V receiver to power their respective reference systems. Frankly, we chose the Marantz because it’s a great-sounding component that is, as we said in our original review (Issue 68), “a blockbuster receiver in every sense of the word.” The $4200 SR9600 is a dream component, but at that price it will remain for many of us just that—a dream. But what if I told you Marantz has created a receiver that comes very close to equaling the performance of the SR9600 flagship, and in some respects actually betters it, for less than half the price? This, friends, is precisely what Marantz’s cool new SR8001 AVR manages to do.
Something for Everyone The SR8001 is a THX Select2 Certified, XM radio-ready, 7.1-channel receiver that puts out a healthy 125Wpc and sells for $2000. The THX Select2 rating implies both that the SR8001 meets stringent performance standards and that it includes THX sound processing features designed to help your home theater meet the sound quality standards of a full-sized movie theater.
The SR8001 provides four HDMI 1.2 inputs and two HDMI 1.1 outputs. The receiver can send audio signals to two remote zones, and a component video signal to one of those two zones.
In principle, then, the Marantz could play a Blu-ray disc in your main home theater room, send an A/V feed from a DVD player to the TV in the kids’ playroom, and send an XM Radio program to the sound system in your den—simultaneously. Videophiles will be pleased to discover the SR8001 provides a composite/S-video/component video format converter, as well as a switch-selectable deinterlacer that can convert 480i/576i analog signals for 480p/576p output. The receiver can up-convert analog video signals for HDMI output (though not vice versa), giving older video sources a new lease on life.