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Marantz SR8015 Review (Home Theater AVR)

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Marantz SR8015 11.2 channel 8K AV Receiver (AVR). It was kindly purchased by a member and drop shipped to me. It costs US $3,299 and is the flagship unit from Marantz.

All Marantz AVRs look the same and the 8015 is no exception:
Marantz SR8015 Review 8K Home Theater AVR Audio Video Receiver.jpg


I am not a fan of the port hole display from looks or functionality. It does less and looks worse in my opinion than a wide rectangular display on its sister Denon products. Typical of these products, despite the high cost, the volume control is stiff and has horrible feel. Fortunately you will be using the remote in this application but still, can't this be made a bit better feeling? Surely in a showroom people play with this control.

As is common with Denon and Marantz products, the SR8015 runs hot, really hot. The left row of amps really cooks with the case almost too hot to touch. There are two fans on each side under the row of heatsinks which is nice but they don't come on to keep the unit more comfortable in typical use.

The back panel tries to give the look of high-fidelity with gold color:

Marantz SR8015 Review 8K Home Theater Back Panel AVR Audio Video Receiver.jpg


Can't believe in this day and age they still insist on including component and composite video inputs. I know in retail more connectors seems to be associated with higher value but really, let's leave them behind and make it easier to find what is what in the back.

I have a recent policy of running my measurements by D&M for review but this unit has been tested by Audioholics and since my results are inline with that (but with very different conclusion), I did not do so.

Marantz SR8015 DAC Measurements
As usual we start our AVR testing by creating as straight of a pass through we can from digital input to analog output. Let's start with HDMI and pre-out then:

Marantz SR8015 Measurements HDMI AVR.png


Ah, it is a relief to test the first Marantz AVR that doesn't destroy performance in the name of subjective listening tests they perform. While SINAD could be better still, it is by far the best I have measured in any Marantz AVR/processor:

Best home theater receiver AVR measurements.png


While I tested the unit in pre-amp and pure mode, neither was necessary. It seems that Marantz has solved the problem of amplifier clipping and dragging the DAC performance down at the source (likely an independent power supply). My interface to HDMI in my analyzer software can cause problems of its own so I like to switch to using another digital input that doesn't have this problem, namely, Coax. So let's measure that:

Marantz SR8015 Measurements Coax AVR.png


Strange to lose 3 dB performance here but since most people use HDMI anyway, I guess this is OK.

Edit: forgot to post the distortion+noise versus output level:

Marantz SR8015 THD+N vs Level  Measurements Coax AVR.png


Dynamic range is in line with what we measure in AV products:

Marantz SR8015 Dynamic Range  Measurements Coax AVR.png


Spectrum in our jitter test is not clean but fortunately it is not an audible problem:

Marantz SR8015 Jitter Measurements Coax HDMI AVR.png

IMD distortion test is good, again for an AV product:

Marantz SR8015 IMD distortion Measurements Coax AVR.png


Linearity test shows lack of accuracy starting at 19 bits which is below what I like to see but is in keeping with the rest of the measurements:

Marantz SR8015 Linearity Measurements Coax AVR.png


Multitone test shows what we have seen with the rest of our tests except rising noise floor in lower frequencies:
Marantz SR8015 Multitone Measurements HDMI AVR.png


Sadly now we get to a poor decision on Marantz's part yet again with a super slow DAC reconstruction filter:

Marantz SR8015 DAC Filter Measurements Coax AVR.png


This will generate ultrasonic noise (mirror image of your music) which we can see impacting the THD+N versus frequency which has high bandwidth to include them:

Marantz SR8015 THD+N vs Frequency Measurements Coax AVR.png


This is due to mistaken belief that time domain ringing at higher frequencies matter but there is no listening tests to prove such. Even if Marantz believes in this approach, they should provide a menu option to select one of the standard DAC filters for those of us who like to have the correct approach here.

Marantz SR8015 Amplifier Measurements
Let's start with testing the amplifier using analog input (pure mode) and testing the Front Left and Right channels:
Marantz SR8015 Measurements Analog Amplifier AVR.png


We see the result of the competent amplifier design from D&M with above average performance:

Best AVR Amplifier Review.png


Sadly when I switched to Coax input performance dropped a few notches:

Marantz SR8015 Measurements Coax Amplifier AVR.png


I can't explain this as with SINAD of 98, this conversion should have been transparent. The problem seems to be in more power supply noise appearing with digital input. Anyway, for proper comparison to stand-alone amplifiers, I will continue my testing with analog input.

Dynamic range is good for an AV product:
Marantz SR8015 SNR Measurements Analog Amplifier AVR.png


Frequency response is flat in audible band and quite extended:

Marantz SR8015 Frequency Response Measurements Analog Amplifier AVR.png


Crosstalk is decent:
Marantz SR8015 Crosstalk Measurements Analog Amplifier AVR.png


There is plenty of power to be had in 2-channel mode:

Marantz SR8015 Power into 4 ohm Measurements Analog Amplifier AVR.png


Marantz SR8015 Max and Peak Power into 4 ohm Measurements Analog Amplifier AVR.png



Marantz SR8015 Power into 8 ohm Measurements Analog Amplifier AVR.png


Sweeping at different frequencies shows the predictable performance we expect from class AB amplifiers:

Marantz SR8015 Power into 4 ohm versus distortion and frequency Measurements Analog Amplifier ...png


I wrote on the slide that distortion dominated but thinking now, this may be power supply ripple which rises with power causing the lines to be horizontal rather than dropping down (which they would if the noise was residual).

All the tests so far have been in 2-channel mode. Let's now measure power from 1 to 5 channels to see how it scales:

Marantz SR8015 Multichannel Power into 8 ohm Measurements Analog Amplifier AVR.png


What was D&M's promise on 5 channel performance? 70%? If so, we are missing that at 61%. Maybe they measure it differently.

EDIT: the comparison is against 2 channel mode which it achieves.

Conclusions
I was pleased to see Marantz remove many of the compromises they had included in their products in the past in the name of "better sound." The only one left seems to be the slow filter which is the easiest to fix: give us a selectable DAC filter like many budget DACs do. Otherwise, this Marantz AVR performs similarly to its Denon counterparts from audio performance point of view with is a major step forward.

I can recommend the Marantz SR8015 AVR.

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

Appreciate any donations using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
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amirm

amirm

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Oh one note I forgot to include: after my stress test of the amplifier at different sweep frequencies, the unit seemed to lock up. None of the controls would work including the ones on the unit itself. I had to power cycle it to get it back to working condition.
 

Music1969

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Given very similar (good) performance to Denon, by Marantz (finally) can we assume the same team designing Denon's current AVR range also designed this?

I know about D&M but in the past we had differences in performance between the two brands, suggesting possibly different design teams?
 
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amirm

amirm

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70% vs 2ch wattage, which it achieves.

I’m pretty sure you were even the one who corrected me on this a while back.
Hehe. :) I couldn't find their statement on this and had forgotten. Will edit the review.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Given very similar (good) performance to Denon, by Marantz (finally) can we assume the same team designing Denon's current AVR range also designed this?
I think that it was always the same. It is just that marantz would modify the design with their HDAM buffers which usually screwed up the performance. And some other tweaks like the DAC filter.
 

da Choge

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A long-awaited review. Thanks! Turned out far better than I thought it would, even with the da** HDAM. Now, if Marantz would only do a software update to include a choice of DAC reconstruction filters, they would have a competitor to the Denon flagship; and, of course, Marantz is "supposed" to be [marketed as] the "audiophile's" choice.

I'm one who actually likes the Marantz's esthetics, but it is obviously a bad choice as far as everyday functionality.
 

YSC

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looks pretty decent in performance for AVRs, not so good looking in price... and I kept wondering in current products available are there really the need for such hot running AVRs. after all for this price range it would cost a leg and an arm if need to be replaced frequently, and that heat is always a big enemy to electronics.
 

vkvedam

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A consolation prize at least in the end :p for Marantz. Still regretting the decision to go with Marantz over Denon and falling for those days damn HDAMs :facepalm:.
 
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Audio Monkey

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I wonder if the choice of an "extremely slow filter" is Marantz's attempt to produce the warm sound the brand is known for...
 

H-713

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Can I ask why you'd want 11 channels of power amplifiers in one monstrous AVR chassis? I'd rather do the processing in one box, then the amplification in another. Performance is better, you don't have to replace 11 channels of power amplification when you want a receiver with the latest features, and it's not as enormous. I'm also not the target customer for these, so maybe this is the ideal way to do it.

Also, what's with receivers that have crappy volume controls? I've had two Marantz 5.1 receivers (worst purchase I've made in a long time, and I made it twice) and a Yamaha that all had miserable velocity-based rotary encoder volume controls with horrible feel.

IMO, velocity-based rotary encoder controls work OK on power supplies, but they don't make good volume controls. A lot of people don't actually turn the volume knob faster when they want to make drastic level changes. I'd take a DBX VCA volume control over this, and I'm not a fan of the old DBX VCAs. The THAT ones are better, but still not as transparent as I'd like.

Still, the distortion looks quite good on this thing, considering how many power amp channels it has. 0.008% is realistically pretty transparent, but I'd still want to do quite a bit more testing before giving my own approval.
 

Haint

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Can I ask why you'd want 11 channels of power amplifiers in one monstrous AVR chassis? I'd rather do the processing in one box, then the amplification in another. Performance is better, you don't have to replace 11 channels of power amplification when you want a receiver with the latest features, and it's not as enormous. I'm also not the target customer for these, so maybe this is the ideal way to do it.

Also, what's with receivers that have crappy volume controls? I've had two Marantz 5.1 receivers (worst purchase I've made in a long time, and I made it twice) and a Yamaha that all had miserable velocity-based rotary encoder volume controls with horrible feel.

IMO, velocity-based rotary encoder controls work OK on power supplies, but they don't make good volume controls. A lot of people don't actually turn the volume knob faster when they want to make drastic level changes. I'd take a DBX VCA volume control over this, and I'm not a fan of the old DBX VCAs. The THAT ones are better, but still not as transparent as I'd like.

Still, the distortion looks quite good on this thing, considering how many power amp channels it has. 0.008% is realistically pretty transparent, but I'd still want to do quite a bit more testing before giving my own approval.

Prior to Covid and the AKM fire, the equivalent 11 channel Denon (X6500H) routinely sold for $1500, so price and ease of use/setup were a big selling point.
 

bigguyca

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Hi Amir,

Unless I missed it this graph for the SR8015 is missing.

1623041329880.png


May I ask you to provide it?
 

H-713

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Heh... Premap mode. I'm only laughing because of the number of times I've spelled "preamp" premap.
 

Chrispy

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looks pretty decent in performance for AVRs, not so good looking in price... and I kept wondering in current products available are there really the need for such hot running AVRs. after all for this price range it would cost a leg and an arm if need to be replaced frequently, and that heat is always a big enemy to electronics.
Adding a cooling fan is simple and inexpensive.
 

Peternz

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Like I have always thought and said. Home theatre is garbage and if you want good sound from music or movies stick to 2 channels. Yes, for movies two. This philosophy has served me well over the years.
 
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