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Marantz AV7705 Home Theater Processor Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Marantz AV7705 UHD Home Theater Audio Video Processor. It is on kind loan from a member. The AV7705 costs US $2,200 from Amazon with free shipping. From what I have read this unit is current until October of 2020.

The design is typical of Marantz AV products:

Marantz AV7705 UHD AV Processor Home Theater Surround Review.jpg

Typical of these processors, the back panel is full of connectors (they sell by the number of these seemingly):

Marantz AV7705 UHD AV Processor Home Theater Surround Back Panel Connectors Review.jpg

Despite its massive size, the box is not that heavy and has fair bit of empty space to one end.

I reset the unit for testing and then used the front panel buttons to configure it. This was a super pain. The 4-way control has poor debounce and sensitivity making it so difficult to navigate using it. I don't know how something as simple as this escapes the quality assurance people at a Japanese company.

I am always happy to see XLR outputs. This is doubly nice here as connection to remote subs over these may cause nasty ground loops that are hard to remove. Note that this is a double insulated device and has no safety ground.

Coax Input Audio Measurements
I performed most of my testing with S/PDIF coax input. I then performed a couple of sanity checks using HDMI that I show in the next section. Testing using HDMI forces me to route my display though the AVR which usually screws up the refresh rate, dynamic range or both. So I try to keep that testing to the minimum.

Here is our dashboard with the volume set to nominal 4 volts that audio DACs support (all testing is in Pure Direct mode unless said otherwise):

Marantz AV7705 UHD AV Processor Home Theater Surround4 volt Audio Measurements.png


It is quite a bad result. When I reviewed the Marantz AV8805, people complained that the company only specs the unit at 2.4 volts so I should have tested it that way. I don't agree but to keep the fighting at minimum, here is that performance:

Marantz AV7705 UHD AV Processor Home Theater Surround 2.4 volt Audio Measurements.png


While this beats Marantz spec for THD+N, it is still nothing to write home about as is not what one needs for just 16 bit audio:
Best Audio DAC 2020 Review.png


Among AVRs, using the lower 2.4 value of SINAD we get:

Best Home Theater AVR Processor 2020 Review.png


So middle of the road but that is not saying much.

Dynamic range was decent:
Marantz AV7705 UHD AV Processor Home Theater Surround 4 volt Dynamic Range Audio Measurements.png


Jitter and noise test shows many, many sources of interference:
Marantz AV7705 UHD AV Processor Home Theater Surround 4 volt Jitter and noise Audio Measurements.png


While the levels are low, these sources of noise are dependently likely on what the unit is doing. They could very well get worse given lack of attention to proper isolation of sensitive audio circuits from the rest of the unit.

Multitone shows increasing distortion with frequency:
Marantz AV7705 UHD AV Processor Home Theater Surround 4 volt Multitone Audio Measurements.png


Intermodulation distortion relative to digital input level shows the issues with output overload:

Marantz AV7705 UHD AV Processor Home Theater Surround 4 volt IMD distortion Audio Measurements.png


At full output, you get something like 12 volt output but it is *severely* distorted. I have no idea what Marantz was thinking in designing an output stage that goes that high but is distorted during most of its range. Keeping the display level below 82 gives you the graph in pink. It is not nearly as good as my $250 desktop DAC and headphone amplifier (dashed blue).

Linearity as with AV8805 is surprisingly good:

Marantz AV7705 UHD AV Processor Home Theater Surround 4 volt Linearity Audio Measurements.png


Sweeping input frequency and measuring THD+N with wide bandwidth of 90 kHz gives us the same awful picture as with AV8805:
Marantz AV7705 UHD AV Processor Home Theater Surround 4 volt THD vs Freq Audio Measurements.png


Distortion is not actually going up but rather, there are ultrasonic components due to very weak reconstruction filter:
Marantz AV7705 UHD AV Processor Home Theater Surround 4 volt Filter Response Audio Measurements.png


That's not all though. The filter does a number in the audible band as well:
Marantz AV7705 UHD AV Processor Home Theater Surround Frequency Response Audio Measurements.png


I don't usually run this test with DACs since they are usually very flat to 20 kHz. Not here. That slow filter truncates your audible high frequencies while taking its time to filter out the ultrasonic components. A failed grade if I ever saw one. I suspect the same is true of AV8805 as well.

HDMI Audio Measurements
Our overall performance is the same with HDMI relative to Coax Input:

Marantz AV7705 UHD AV Processor Home Theater Surround 4 volt HDMI Audio Measurements.png


Jitter test shows substantially higher unwanted pulses which is typical as more circuits are lit up inside the unit:

Marantz AV7705 UHD AV Processor Home Theater Surround 4 volt HDMI Jitter and noise Audio Measu...png


Conclusions
Even though the Marantz A8805 had similar performance I gave it a passing grade. Not anymore. There is not one sign of engineering excellence here. More time and effort has been spent lining up gold connectors on the back than to make sure some basic performance targets are achieved. I mean how hard is it to get a 20 kHz flat response? There is no design hygiene whatsoever as indicated in the jitter spectrum.

And why, why can't a Japanese company with such a long history not be able to design an analog output stage for a DAC that delivers 4 volts of output? Have all the designers left and this is some farmed out design to China/Taiwan? I could forgive them for getting networking software wrong but basic analog design? In a $2,200 mostly audio product?

Enough is enough. Marantz and the rest of the AVR manufacturers, please wake up. Don't keep producing substandard products.

Needless to say, I cannot recommend the Marantz AV7705. But it because you want its features, not because it is doing anything special.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Working late on Saturday. Which other reviewer does that? Nobody. So please donate anything you can for my overtime pay using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
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Francis Vaughan

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#3
Marantz have vanished into Sound United, and their products are now essentially identical to Denon. Luckily Sound United ended plans to add Pioneer and Onkyo to the stable. Otherwise the market would have started to look very skewed.

Like most of the purveyors of domestic AV gear, Sound United have decided that there is a market for specialised pre-pro devices. But rather than actually design a proper product, they all simply strip the power amps and power supply out of the unified AV receiver, and add a tiny output board that provides balanced outputs, replacing the speaker terminals with XLRs. No surprise the specs are just as woeful, or that the box is remarkably light. Rather than redesign the DAC stage to provide standard levels (which they could), they just feed a balanced line driver from the unbalanced source they already had intended to drive the internal amplifiers. There is exactly no performance gain with the balanced output, indeed it is likely just a bit worse.

Just to add insult, they will often sell you a dedicated power amp, which is just the same AV receiver, but this time without the signal processing bits, and leaving the power amp in place. Just adding cruddy balanced line receivers to feed the same amplifiers you would have got had you just bought the AV receiver in one box. You have the privilege of paying twice for the same device, and get an arguably poorer result.

The market power weilded by Sound United and the other big AV amp makers is worrying. It is very hard of smaller players to get in, and this seems to be a result of difficulties in licensing DTS and Dolby IP. I supect there is a lot of pressure applied making it hard for a quality product to be marketed. The step up to real pre-pro devices is unreasonably huge.
 

vitalii427

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#6
Marantz have vanished into Sound United, and their products are now essentially identical to Denon. Luckily Sound United ended plans to add Pioneer and Onkyo to the stable. Otherwise the market would have started to look very skewed.

Like most of the purveyors of domestic AV gear, Sound United have decided that there is a market for specialised pre-pro devices. But rather than actually design a proper product, they all simply strip the power amps and power supply out of the unified AV receiver, and add a tiny output board that provides balanced outputs, replacing the speaker terminals with XLRs. No surprise the specs are just as woeful, or that the box is remarkably light. Rather than redesign the DAC stage to provide standard levels (which they could), they just feed a balanced line driver from the unbalanced source they already had intended to drive the internal amplifiers. There is exactly no performance gain with the balanced output, indeed it is likely just a bit worse.

Just to add insult, they will often sell you a dedicated power amp, which is just the same AV receiver, but this time without the signal processing bits, and leaving the power amp in place. Just adding cruddy balanced line receivers to feed the same amplifiers you would have got had you just bought the AV receiver in one box. You have the privilege of paying twice for the same device, and get an arguably poorer result.

The market power weilded by Sound United and the other big AV amp makers is worrying. It is very hard of smaller players to get in, and this seems to be a result of difficulties in licensing DTS and Dolby IP. I supect there is a lot of pressure applied making it hard for a quality product to be marketed. The step up to real pre-pro devices is unreasonably huge.
What’s really interesting to me how good or bad became Classé with its new Delta series under Sound United ownership.
 

maty

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#7
As I have said other times, modern AVR have taken a downturn in sound quality. Still there are incomprehensible things, like Klipsch narrow floorstander loudspeakers 1 tweeter+2 same woofers with the crossover (2-ways instead of 2.5 ways). In this case, American engineers? Those terrible choices do not seem like engineering decisions.
 
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#8
I have one of these, can't say I'm surprised after the 8805, but still..... good news I paid quiet a bit less than MSRP and for movies [it's prime reason I bought it] does very well especially with Audessy Flat engaged.
 

Sal1950

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#12
I have one of these, can't say I'm surprised after the 8805, but still..... good news I paid quiet a bit less than MSRP and for movies [it's prime reason I bought it] does very well especially with Audessy Flat engaged.
I've got the 7703, two generations earlier. Also what I expected to see, these numbers are typical of these tightly packed designs.
I do understand where Amir is coming from, he's an engineer looking for engineering excellence. On the other hand, to get a bit closer to the real world, as he mentions a couple times after bad outcomes "fortunately not that audible". And in all but the worst possible cases the reality is not audible at all. The FR rolloff is possibly one that could be most audible, but for those of us over 50 our hearing rolls off 3x that at 20khz anyway. LOL

Typical of these processors, the back panel is full of connectors (they sell by the number of these seemingly):
Come buddy, you've taken 2 shots at the number of connectors and IMO those are cheap shots. In a modern multich rig those connections are required. In my little system I use 12 of the 13 output channels provided and a good portion of the available inputs. There's not a single connection I would consider superfluous depending on a users requirements. All in all a well considered switching allotment. Many users are forced to purchase the 8805 to allow for 15.2 connections over this units 13.2, and things only go up from there.

Enough is enough. Marantz and the rest of the AVR manufacturers, please wake up. Don't keep producing substandard products.
I wonder. I sure don't claim to understand the manufacturing costs vs sales of these things but you do seem to give no quarter to the difficulties of design, market demand, etc. In a world of HiFi that offers $10,000 power cords and interconnects, AVP's like this look to be the bargain of the century. Yes some of us have to live in a world where we divide the number of needed channels into the price and get the best we can afford. All kidding aside I don't see anyone being able to do any better at these price points.
There are a number of inconsequential issues with my 7703 I'm not happy with, but SQ, functionality, and reliability over the last 3 years is not in that equation.
As an owner of the 7703 and a 7701 before it, I give them 4 of a 5 star rating. ;)
 

ENG

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#13
I had a Marantz MM7025 two channel PA. It should be 2x140 Watt 8 Ohm. But it could not drive my 3 way medium sensitive floorstanders and the sound were - to be polite - flat and uninspiring. It was sold within a year.
 

MZKM

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#15
Consider changing the title to Processor and not AVR.

Thanks so much for testing at the spec’d voltage.

Now, it makes one wonder, are the performance of all these AVRs poor compared to much cheaper desktop DACs due to no real market demand, or it’s simply too difficult with jamming all the other components inside. Like what % of their customers are using component/composite video inputs and especially for video output?

I still don’t understand why they are using such a slow filter, they aren’t marketing it for it’s “warmth” as some boutique DAC companies do.
 
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SDC

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#16
I hate Marantz :(

And why are they not making multichannel amplifier that goes with it. Stuck with 7 channels for so many years.
 
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Matias

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#17
The search for a modern AVR with reasonable channel count and good measurements continues....
 

Francis Vaughan

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#19
I am waiting for the Chinese to step into AVR design, maybe then can actually get products that don't perform like 1990's technology.
They will see the same issue in licensing DTS and Dolby. Not just those two, but the shadowy vendors of the DSP software that implement these parts of the chain of audio processing. There are a lot of snouts in the trough, and vested interests, presenting barriers to entry. Look at all the badges on the front of the box. Every one of them is getting a cut of the purchase price, and more that don't get a badge.

What is so depressing is that it would not be hard to do this pre-pro properly. Something as simple as a daughter board with a new set of DACs, all living with their own power supply, isolated from all the noise radiating from the processing chain, properly implemented, and feeding quality balanced output drivers. In the grand scheme of things it would not add a great deal to the BOM. The current offering is just insulting.
 

LTig

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#20
This unit seems to be broken - by design. I'm currently preparing a review of the Marantz AV7701 (prepreprepredecessor of the 7705) and that one has no problems to keep THD in spec (0.008% / -82 dB) up to the maximum level of 12V rms @ XLR out and 0 dBFS. Actually THD level is always way below spec, usually around 0.002% / -92 dB or better. I don't want to cludder this review with graphs from another unit so I hide them behind a spoiler.

Input: Coax SPDIF 1 kHz 192 kHz / 24 bit
Output: XLR, with 12 Vrms at Volume = 91.5 and 0 dBFS input

1. THD+N measured versus volume with 0 dBFS input

As one can see THD gets better with volume and not worse.

THD 1kHz 0dBFS vs Vol XLR stereo.png


2.THD+N measured versus dBFS at Volume 91

One can see that the sweet spot of the DAC is -4 to -5 dBFS. And we see a THD hump between -25 dBFS and -5 dBFS.

THD 1kHz Vol 91 vs dBFS XLR stereo.png
Somehow Marantz has been able to deteriorate the output capability of the XLR outputs between the AV7701 and 7705. May rise the second hand price of my AV7701.
 
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