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Marantz SR6014 AVR Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Marantz SR6014 Audio/Video Receiver. It was purchased new and kindly drop shipped to me. It costs US $1,500.

The SR6014 looks just like all the other Marantz AV products:

Marantz SR6014 AVR Home Theater Airplay Dolby Atmos Surround Audio Video Review.jpg

I must say, as iconic as the round display is, coming from testing the Denon AVR-X4700H, it was a big step backward. It is so small and shows so little information. It is clearly form over function.

The back panel has some legacy and in my opinion useless inputs:

Marantz SR6014 AVR Home Theater Airplay Dolby Atmos Surround Back Panel Connectors Input HDMI ...jpg


In use, I was pleasantly surprised how robust the amplification in this AVR is. No matter how much I pushed it into clipping during testing, it kept going with out shutting down. Other AVRs have very delicate amplifiers that shut down if you just look at them wrong.

Typical of recent Denon and Marantz (part of same family) AVRs I have tested, the right side gets warm even if you are not using the amplifier. So you better allow it to get plenty of air flow if you want it to live long.

Note: as a courtesy I submitted my measurements to Sound United/Denon-Marnatz engineering and they have verified that they measure the same.

AVR DAC Audio Measurements
Testing of a recent Denon AVR-X4700H showed that if you feed it stereo content using multichannel HDMI, and only configure two channels (i.e. using the AVR as a stereo system), noise floor substantially goes up. Sorry to report the same issue exist with the Marantz SR6104. To get full performance, you must configure all 8 output speakers as being there and give up channel mapping/mixing. That is how I tested the unit. Denon & Marantz engineering is investigating the issue here and hopefully we will get a fix for it. Therefore for all of these tests, I configure the unit as being in 7.1 mode even though my source content is strictly stereo.

A common problem with many AVRs is that even if you use the preamp out, the internal amplifier stays active and should it reach its maximum power, it will clip and drag down the delicate DAC circuits down with it. Fortunately the Marantz SR6104 similar to Denon AVRs that we have tested allows the two front channels to be decoupled from their amplifier. All the testing is performed this way unless noted otherwise.

Here is our dashboard with 7.1 speaker configuration. Notice the noise floor at -130 dB (this is an artificial number but let's stay with it):

Marantz SR6014 AVR Home Theater HDMI 2 In 8 Out Audio Measurements.png


Setting the speaker config to just 2 channels, raises the noise floor by almost 20 dB to -110:

Marantz SR6014 AVR Home Theater HDMI 2 In 2 Out Audio Measurements.png


Unlike Denon AVR-X4700 though, our SINAD which incorporates distortion and noise does not improve at all. Reason? Distortion is so high that it is dwarfing noise. Notice the third harmonic peaking up to -80 dB. This is whopping 16 dB higher than noise floor of CD format!

I believe this is due to an extra buffer stage that Marantz team adds to the basic platform used in Denon products. As far as I can tell, it is just a distortion factory with no added value. You can see the comparison to similar Denon AVR-X3600H:

Best AVR DAC 2020.png


The Denon AVR-X3600 is all the way to the left, achieving the best performance I have measured in an AVR. The Marantz is dead in the middle of the "red" (poor) region. Considering that these are sister products with nearly identical functionality, you can appreciate my disappointment in this regression in the name of value add in Marantz.

Among all products with a DAC, the Marantz falls so far behind the rest that it is not funny:
best stereo DAC in AVR review.png


There are probably 200+ DACs I have tested with better performance!

In case you are wondering if the 6014 is unhappy due to me asking it to produce 2 volts, this is how it performs with other output levels:

Marantz SR6014 AVR Home Theater HDMI 2 In 8 Out THD+N vs Output Level Audio Measurements.png


Best performance is achieved at just 0.7 volts. Hard to find a powerful external amplifier that is happy with just that much output.

Shutting down the internal amplifier does you some good if you need more than 1.45 volts. Below that it doesn't seem to matter (other than the amp using up power and shortening its life and other bits around it).

Here is our dynamic range test, showing the sharp contrast between configuring the AVR for 2 channels versus 7.1 with identical input:

Marantz SR6014 AVR Home Theater HDMI In dynamic range Audio Measurements.png


So much performance is left on the table when you are not operating with all 8 channels. This by the way applies to other Denon and Marantz products as noted earlier.

In our intermodulation test versus level, performance is not too bad until we get to -13 dB or so and then distortion shoots way up, finishing where a phone dongle ends!

Marantz SR6014 AVR Home Theater HDMI In IMD Audio Measurements.png


Here is our 32 test tones to simulate "music:"
Marantz SR6014 AVR Home Theater HDMI In Multitone Audio Measurements.png


Linearity is less than ideal although it clears the hurdle for 16 bit music:
Marantz SR6014 AVR Home Theater HDMI In Linearity Audio Measurements.png


Jitter and spurious tones are typical of other AVRs and Denon products:
Marantz SR6014 AVR Home Theater HDMI In Jitter Audio Measurements.png


I thought I was done at this point with any bad news but more was waiting for me in the form of the DAC reconstruction filter:

Marantz SR6014 AVR Home Theater HDMI In Dac Filter Audio Measurements.png


An ideal filter would sharply go down where the vertical red line is. The filter used in this AVR basically ignores the sampling theorem and has the slowest filter you can imagine. Now, the problems it creates are in ultrasonic range so maybe we can ignore that. What we can't ignore is that it is not flat in the audible band either:

Marantz SR6014 AVR Home Theater HDMI 2 In 8 Out Frequency Response Audio Measurements.png


That's right. It starts to roll off the high frequencies at just 10 kHz! By 20 kHz, you are down nearly 3 dB. It is kind of sacrilegious in solid state electronics to not have flat response in audible band. To go and on purpose butcher the bandwidth makes no sense to me.

Our last test is noise and distortion relative to frequency:

Marantz SR6014 AVR Home Theater HDMI In THD+N vs Freq Audio Measurements.png


The red line shows what happens when you have such a slow filter. This is just bad engineering. I know there is a fad going on that "slow" reconstruction filters are better but that is an audiophile myth. To sacrifice real performance for that, and not allow an option for the user to override with a better filter makes no sense to me.

Streaming Audio Performance
I ran a couple of tests, streaming 24-bit content using the HEOS app starting with our Dashboard:

Marantz SR6014 AVR Home Theater Airplay Heos Audio Measurements.png


Note that above is in pure direct. I did not have time to investigate it but it seemed like in "Auto" mode SINAD would drop to just 59! In other modes Pure Direct does nothing in this regard.

Jitter test shows similar performance to Coax input (and hence a bit better than HDMI though not in any audible way):
Marantz SR6014 AVR Home Theater Heos Jitter Audio Measurements.png


AVR Amplifier Measurements
CD input into the SR6014 shows once again that there is no digitization, giving us a more direct path into the amplifier:
Marantz SR6104 Home Theater AVR Amplifier CD Input Frequency Response Audio Measurements.png


So I opted to use this input for my tests as it makes comparison with straight amplifiers easier.

Here is our dashboard:

Marantz SR6104 Home Theater AVR Amplifier CD Input Audio Measurements.png


Notice that I adjusted the volume control for 29 dB gain which is the "THX standard." At reference level, it has a gain of 26 dB which results in negligible improvement in performance (SINAD goes from 83 to 84).

Here is how the 6014 ranks among other AVRs and all amplifiers:

Best AVR Amplifier Review 2020.png


Best Stereo Amplifier 2020.png


So above average.

Dynamic range at 5 watts and full power are such:

Marantz SR6104 Home Theater AVR Amplifier CD Input SNR Audio Measurements.png


These are not very good numbers.

Crosstalk is audibly OK but not technically given the higher amount in low frequencies:
Marantz SR6104 Home Theater AVR Amplifier CD Input Crosstalk Audio Measurements.png


Power into 4 ohm looks like this:
Marantz SR6104 Home Theater AVR Amplifier CD Input Power into 4 ohm Audio Measurements.png


If we allow the distortion to rise to 1%, this is the power we get for continuous versus peak:
Marantz SR6104 Home Theater AVR Amplifier CD Input Max and Peak Burst Power Audio Measurements.png


That is nearly 500 watts peak out of two channels. Not bad at all!

Varying the frequency gives us the usual variations in class AB products (good):
Marantz SR6104 Home Theater AVR Amplifier CD Input Power vs frequency vs distortion Audio Meas...png


Note however that you loose good bit of power at 20 Hz where you need it most. But this is typical.

In 8 ohm we get:
Marantz SR6104 Home Theater AVR Amplifier CD Input Power into 8 ohm Audio Measurements.png


Conclusions
Marantz takes one of the best AVRs we have tested, the Denon AVR-X3600H and reduces its performance into mediocrity in many areas. It seems that they are following audiophile fads, ignoring good engineering and proper audio research and science. I understand the need for differentiation but for heaven's sake, please don't sacrifice performance for it. Make the chassis out of gold or something. But please leave the active circuits alone. You have a good platform. Please don't ruin it this way.

Needless to say, I can't recommend the Marantz SR6014.

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

I am multitasking. As I am typing this, I am measuring another speaker. Once this review is done, then I have to work on that one past midnight. Feel sorry for me? Good. Please ready in your paypal pocket and donate what you can using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
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Ucftechguru

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#3
Yikes! It did not perform well at all. I’m glad you gave Marantz a chance to test on their own before the low scores were cemented. Kudos to them for getting back to you so fast. I hope their eyes are open and they decide to raise the bar A LOT with their next product cycle. Amir is beyond fair in his reviews. Some even higher end brands score just as low as this Marantz. However, I was hoping for better. It’s a shame. I’ll be returning the 6014 I recently purchased knowing this review was in the queue. Now my hope is with the Denon 3700h. ‍
 
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#4
Great review! Again disappointing results from Marantz. Maybe the newly launched 2020 models would perform better.
And we also have the new Nad T778 to check, but until then no breakthrough in AVR performance... Still struggling
 

Vasr

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#5
Good write-up.

So Marantz is the Oldsmobile of Sound United.

I really believe it is engineered to a sound signature spec (rather than just bad engineering) - to serve a loud HT experience without sounding harsh and is unfit for much else.

They should just start a new division to get on the Class D bandwagon and target the Millennials and Gen Z and phase these divisions out over time. Like Oldsmobile.
 

Tks

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#8
Off with the panthers' head. Just looking at the filter alone would get me to do that.

Tks: "ESS has better filters than AKM, they've got a bit of work to do."

Marantz: "Hold my beer"

Great review, lots of deep dive!
 
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#9
So HDAMs don't help to improve any measurement... ouch!!
The comparison with Denon 3600h or 4700h suggest that the cost of HDAM is above 10 dB...for which kind of expectation? a particular sound signature? Any other expectation?
 

Gedeon

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#10
Looking the bright side, the analog outputs are still rather reasonable until 1.2-1.4 volts and the amp section is also able to deliver nice amounts of power.
 

Cahudson42

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#11
One of the differences between this Marantz and the similar Denon is that Marantz has provision for 7.1 line inputs to all amps 'directly'. Making it essentially just a multichannel amp.

Any idea of performance in this mode? 2 channels? All channels driven?
 

Chriz

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#12
Thanks a lot for this review (and many before).

I have to admit that since some time now, one of the first things that I do in the morning (it is 8:00 am here in Europe – probably later when I hit post) is check if there is a new review on ASR to enjoy with my wake up cup of tea... :)

I have been reading these AVR reviews for some time now and I came across two things that are mentioned repeatedly, which do raise questions.

1) There is repeatedly the remark that the CD input is not digitized.
Does this apply to the CD input only? Does that mean that other analogue inputs behave differently?
I was under the assumption that as soon as I switch (I have a Denon 6500 at the moment) to direct or pure direct, all analogue signals are kept in the analogue domain.

2) In this review, it is mentioned that the gain of the Marantz is 26db. At the moment, I have a two-channel amp for my L/Rs connected to the pre-outs, and that external amp has a gain (according to the spec) of 30,5 +-0,5db. I am using a separate preamp/amp for 2channel listening, and connect the Denon via a home theatre input pass thru when watching movies (lucky me the manual says that it has sensitivity of 1.3V, so I guess it reaches max. power at that voltage, which is below the range where things get worse with amps connected (which I cannot disconnect with the 6500).

So my second question is: What exactly does it mean that the AVR has a lower gain. My best guess is that at reference level (measured and set through Audyssey) all is fine, but when I turn down the volume, the relative volume changes between the speakers connected to the external and internal amps respectively. How I understand gain would mean that my L/R, since the external amp has a higher gain, would play (significantly) lower in relation to speakers connected to the internal amps.
How significant is this becoming at let’s say -5db and -10db reference level.

Many thanks, and keep up the excellent work.

Best,
Christoph
 

vkvedam

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#14
Thanks Amir, that sort of hits the nail on the head of my SR6012 (2017), clearly tells me why I prefer Topping D50 into CD Input subjectively. I need a decent two channel amp so that I can decouple the L/R from it and only take the cinema input from and not use it at all for music. What a mess :facepalm:
 

vkvedam

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#15
Thanks a lot for this review (and many before).

1) There is repeatedly the remark that the CD input is not digitized.
Does this apply to the CD input only? Does that mean that other analogue inputs behave differently?
I was under the assumption that as soon as I switch (I have a Denon 6500 at the moment) to direct or pure direct, all analogue signals are kept in the analogue domain.

Best,
Christoph
It applies to all five analogue inputs I presume plus the Phono.
 

audioBliss

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#16
Thanks a lot for this review (and many before).

I have to admit that since some time now, one of the first things that I do in the morning (it is 8:00 am here in Europe – probably later when I hit post) is check if there is a new review on ASR to enjoy with my wake up cup of tea... :)
...
I do the same :)
 

Gedeon

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#17
@amirm, may I ask for a chance to test two things ?

- Does the ECO mode help to avoid that performance drop off in pre-out analog outputs when the amplifier can't be switched off (like older Denon/Marantz models ?)

- Could you also enable bass management and graphic EQ (with a minimum +0.5 gain at 16khz more or less) to check possible impact in SINAD when enabling DSP processing ? I guess most owners have bass management and Room EQ enabled when listening movies and many of them also when listening music.

Thanks.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #18
- Does the ECO mode help to avoid that performance drop off in pre-out analog outputs when the amplifier can't be switched off (like older Denon/Marantz models ?)
I am pretty sure I have tested that and the answer is no. It doesn't help.
 

frangle

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#19
Thanks for the review Amir.

I'm glad I went ahead with the AVR-X3600H to replace my SR7009. My only hesitation was the lack of a 7.1 analog input, but I needn't have worried...
 
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#20
To my opinion you should have investigated more on the drop of sinad listening from heos and not using pure direct mode. Because in pure direct mode you loose the subwoofer and audissey eq so most of people will use heos with other modes (I use stereo mode). Maybe you had m-dax on?

Maybe I should rather use a chromecast plugged into cd input?
 
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