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Marantz NR1510 AVR Review

Rate this AVR:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 221 81.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 41 15.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 3 1.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 8 2.9%

  • Total voters
    273

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of Marantz NR1510 5.2 4K slim Home Theater AV Receiver. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $799.
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Review Dolby.jpg

I have been wanting to test a slim AVR for a long time as they much better fit under a TV in a living room than the monster that regular AVR line has become with so many channels that never gets used in this application (there is an NR170 with two more channels for Atmos). I also like the more traditional look of this Marantz compared to their regular line with the obscure porthole for the display and such. Here is the back panel:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Back Panel Review Dolby.jpg


During my testing, the unit hardly got warm to touch which again, makes it a great fit to stick in a cabinet below the TV.

Marantz NR1510 DAC Measurements
Let's start with our divide and concur test of the DAC subsystem using the pre-out and HDMI input with volume adjusted to get 2 volts out:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater HDMI Measurement.png

Not a good start. We not only have a lot of distortion spikes, but also what looks to be jitter around our 1 kHz tone. That high distortion sets SINAD which naturally places the NR1510 vey low in the rankings:
Best slim compact AVR DAC Review.png


Toslink performance is the same:

Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Toslink Measurement.png


In case you are curious about lower levels performing better, they do:

Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater THD+N vs Level HDMI Measurement.png


Fortunately noise performance is much better:

Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Toslink Dynamic Range Measurement.png


Then again IMD test shows a noise level that is not competitive with even budget desktop products:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Toslink IMD Measurement.png


Multitone shows lots of spurious tones:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Multitone Measurement.png


Jitter as noted, is not great:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Jitter Measurement.png


Linearity suffers from a 180 Hz power supply spike that is very close to measurement test tone of 200 Hz:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Toslink Linearity Measurement.png


Perhaps the worst news is frequency response:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Toslink Frequency Response Measurement.png


Caused by what we have seen before: Marantz's decision to use an ultra low DAC reconstruction filter:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Toslink Filter Response Measurement.png


This brings savagery to the wideband noise+distortion test vs frequency:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Toslink THD vs Frequency Measurement.png


If the company wants to continue selecting this ill-advised filter, I hope they at least add an option in the menu to change it to the default for the DAC chip they have used.

Marantz NR1510 Amplifier Measurements
Let's start with digital Toslink input:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Amplifier Toslink In Measurement.png


And compare to analog:

Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Amplifier Analog In Measurement.png


We pick up good bit of performance sadly. It should really be the other way around as the most often used input would be digital. But let's give the unit benefit of doubt and continue with analog input. Even so, the NR1510 manages to land at the bottom of our rankings:
Best slim compact AVR Amplifier Review.png


I was surprised to see that even with normal processing mode, nothing was digitized:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Amplifier Analog In Frequency Response M...png


The input is "multichannel" so I guess they tried to keep the "purity" of that but not letting you process that for bass management or auto-EQ.

SNR is "OK" but nothing to write home about:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Amplifier Analog In SNR Measurement.png


Multitone is poor as you can predict:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Amplifier Analog In Multitone Measurement.png


Crosstalk should be better especially since the input is not subject to processing:

Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Amplifier Analog In Crosstalk Measurement.png


I had set the ECO mode to OFF and was surprised to see the unit produce very little power:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Amplifier Analog In Power into 4 ohm Mea...png


On a whim, I set it to "Auto" and then it started to produce full power! Seems like a bug to fix. And yes, I had to go back and re-measure everything up to this point with that setting as it did improve SNR.

Here is our max and peak output which is healthy:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Amplifier Analog In Max and Peak Power i...png


Here is our 8 ohm results:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Amplifier Analog In Power into 8 ohm Mea...png


Finally, let's see how it varies with frequency:
Marantz NR1510 Slim AV Surround Receiver Home Theater Amplifier Analog In Power into 4 ohm vs ...png


We see that hump starting at just 3 to 5 watts which may be due to some kind of rail switching to get more power while staying efficient at lower power levels.

Conclusions
From look, size and functionality, the NR1510 puts a smile on my face. Finally an AVR that doesn't weigh a ton or look like a mini-stove masquerading as an AV Receiver! Alas, the rest of the story is depressing with performance being sub-par in every category and measurement, other than available power. Some of these seem to be by choice (DAC filter) but many other just show low attention to circuit design and quality execution. This is a miss as I think many 2-channel music fans like to have the option of surround in limited package/channels. Upping the performance substantially would give any company a unique offering here. Let's hope D&M takes this advice and produces more peformant products in the future.

Needless to say, I can't recommend the Marantz NR1510 ARV.

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

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radix

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I should point out that this is a refurbished unit for $444. I had mentioned this to @amirm, but that was back in July when we first started discussing reviewing it, but that fact didn't make it into the review. I use it for occasional bedroom TV in a TV hutch, so the size is really important, so I'll likely keep it.
 

Shant

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Is there a pure/direct mode? I wonder if that would make a difference for just analog 2channel inputs.
 

kemmler3D

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Ouch, this shows problems with performance that might actually be audible in realistic scenarios. Like, turning the volume up loud, or having inefficient speakers... you know, rare corner cases like that...
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Is there a pure/direct mode? I wonder if that would make a difference for just analog 2channel inputs.
Yes and it was used throughout the measurements as you see in the graphs. For DAC, it makes a decent improvement. For amplifier, it makes no difference.
 

AndreaT

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What a waste of money and waste of time to install this very sub-par piece of equipment!
I am surprised a manufacturer with the panache of Marantz dares to dupe its customers with a product so poorly performing on the test bench. However, it is a surprise greater still to understand why the superb engineers of Topping/Gustard/SMSL have not yet dared to crack the (large) market for AVRs and multi-multichannel products. Once they do…if they ever do…
Thank you Amir for a great review of a product we better avoid purchasing.
 
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TonyJZX

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this results of this review is probably one of the most unsurprising conclusions i've come across... and further Marantz have been at this for over a decade... I thank the proprieter for actually showing the numbers behind this poor line of equipment

besides the poor performance there's a further kicker, this entire series has poor reliability

the earliest i can find out right now is that they have a lineup from over a decade ago... eg. NR1402, NR1501, NR1603, NR1711

ie. Marantz do very regular upgrades to this chassis adding new features, meaning rapid obsolescence but because of the rapid turnaround they seem to have horrible reliabilty

if you pack so much into a tiny frame AND you persist in sticking in 7 x class A/B amps then expect poor reliability that will most likely send the unit to the knackers on any fault

and because marantz rapidly obsolete these they cant seem to manage to maintain spares

so i would see a heap of these refurbed and really, you wouldnt touch this shit because the whole series is straight to the garbage dump 'designer' hifi trash... i've seen 'open box' 3 month warranty units for something like $250 but you're running on a lifeline after those 3 months

this is from someone who quite likes the marantz house sound but i also have an eye on electronics and production and what it takes to build reliable and somewhat 'sustainable' electronics... and this aint it
 

Rottmannash

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So this unit has 5 channels of A/B amplification and it didn't get warm? Color me surprised.
 

Chrispy

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I should point out that this is a refurbished unit for $444. I had mentioned this to @amirm, but that was back in July when we first started discussing reviewing it, but that fact didn't make it into the review. I use it for occasional bedroom TV in a TV hutch, so the size is really important, so I'll likely keep it.
I'd love to see a comparison of a new vs refurb of same model but ....
 

Chrispy

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It is also interesting how the 2-channel model, NR-1200, sells for the same $ 799: either the 1200 is overpriced or the three extra speaker channels (or all five) of the 1510 are truly inexpensively designed and built.
Or just the economies of scale as to who is interested in only a 2ch unit these days....
 

respice finem

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So this unit has 5 channels of A/B amplification and it didn't get warm? Color me surprised.
It has "eco mode" active by default. IDK if it can completely turn off unused power amps, but my NR 1608 (which was a 7.1) also got only slightly warm in stereo, and was almost cold when idle. BTW, in 2018, its price was 548 € (Amazon.de)
 

nick-v

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The latest model is the Marantz CINEMA 70s. I doubt it would perform much differently, but it would be interesting to see.
 
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