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Marantz SR8015 Review (Home Theater AVR)

Matthew J Poes

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Most definitely. Those AVR amps are made as cheap as possible, which's quite visible by the materials used. They've clearly spent a lot of time optimizing this design for cost vs performance. On the other hand, it's still staggering that with the number of boards manufactured, a decent 2- or even 4-layer board with all (or mostly) surface mount components is not a cheaper option?
I think it should be cheaper in the long run. My guess is that this is back to certification and engineering costs. Not manufacturing costs. I think that is what they mean when they said the Class AB amp is bought and paid for.

I don’t know how true this really is, but I’ve had engineers at a few of these companies tell me that integrating a lot of this kind of tech into the small chassis of a receiver causes problems and so they have avoided bringing them to market because of that. That some of these devices produce interference that can be problematic and require specific orientation or shielding. Some of the things they told me they couldn’t do they are now doing so it may have been an excuse (or maybe an engineering problem they since solved in a cost effective manner).
 

voodooless

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I think it should be cheaper in the long run. My guess is that this is back to certification and engineering costs. Not manufacturing costs. I think that is what they mean when they said the Class AB amp is bought and paid for.
It will be both. Sure, these designs are probably decades old, every time more optimized for lower const components and lower heat generation while maintaining decent enough performance.

Some of the things they told me they couldn’t do they are now doing so it may have been an excuse (or maybe an engineering problem they since solved in a cost effective manner).
Mostly the last. You sometimes just have to push engineers a bit out of their comfort zone to get something done. Most of them are creatures of habit and don't want to change their paradigms.
 

Marc v E

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Very interesting review. I have a friend who has a preference of Marantz over Denon, because Denon receivers sound to clinical to him.
I've always liked Marantz but am a recent convert to the clean sound of less distortion.
I do wonder though if Denon and Marantz really sound that different tested in a double blind setup?
 

beagleman

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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.

Now if you can just convince the other 99% that do not agree....:)
 

beagleman

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Whatever may be "missing", I find the sound of my 2 channel system immersive and enjoyable when I watch movies. If I really wanted sounds from the side and behind me I would go to a movie theatre. How much do I want it? I want it so much that during the past decade I have been to a movie theatre once. Thats right, one time. So, am I going to spend tens of thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands of $ on something I don't really want and consider a gimmick? No.

What has been the single worst thing that has happened to good quality audio reproduction in the home? Home theatre. A lot of people have spent a lot of money on HT gear and where has it got them? A lot of money spent, a lot of clutter and poor sound quality.
I am not sure why you are proud that you do not like multi channel movie sound. I mean There are lots of things I simply do not care about, but I realize MOST people do.
To me it sounds like you have not experience a good theatre, or multi channel sound system.
 
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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.
I have the Marantz 8013 and had a similar incident.....and not easy to fix. I had to do a power on/off and facotry reset. I wasn't doing a stress test....just listening to the radio. Luckily Marantz has a USB backup for settings and I was able to restore eveything.
 

peng

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A myth to lose.
I helped a friend to put together a nice hi-end system.
He use a B&W 802D speakers, powered by a 250W PASS LANS and the 12 Pre. For HT, he use a DENON 43xx HT receiver, that powers the center and rear. When the pre is set to HT input, the same CD can play through an optical link to the DENON and through the pre, or direct, with XLR from the CD (Luxman T.O.T.L.). They sound identical. It was claimed by experts, for a while (forums and dealers!) that a dedicated Hi-End pre would improve sound significantly. Well after spending a lot of money and adding a Pre - it sounds the same.
It is a good idea to use a good receiver's pre as the system pre, for much less $$ and the same quality.
No matter how convincing and science based, hobbyist in the subjective groups who have been influenced/bombarded by marketing information and hearsay for years, will not likely change their mind.:)
 

Spocko

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Yeah there is no marketing advantage. I also got the impression that moving to class D was way more costly. I had specifically asked if there was any plans to introduce Hypex ncore into the top tier receivers. SU would have the ability to make a licensed custom module that was rated at sat 150 watts x 13 and get the cost way down. However they told me their was no plan for such a thing because the cost of such an amplifier would be many times more than the current amps with more limitations. For example the power supply and amp combo I had in mind would have behaved the way NAD’s does, this current limiting and making it so 4ohm output is only slightly more than 8 ohm. Clipping would be more aggressive and so a special limiting circuit is needed to soften the onset of clipping. I was hopeful this product would come to be but they didn’t seem to see the business case.

I am hopeful someone works out a deal with Bruno to produce a 13 channel Purifi amplifier setup and puts it into a receiver. Kind of like Arcam and Audiocontrol did with the Class G modules. You could get a bit more output and quite a bit lower noise and distortion. Of course, given what we have seen, no chance any receiver with that amp is going to come close to what it is capable of. Nearly none of the receivers are amplifier limited in terms of performance metrics like SINAD. Or if they are, it’s only because their is no incentive to improve given the limitations in the rest of the signal path.
Sounds like NAD could introduce an M-Series 5 or 7-channel amplifier exactly as you described since they have such deep familiarity with this technology now.
 
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"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...".

The design philosophy seems to be saying, 'our clients will have to replace this in a few years anyway so who cares?'. Multi-channel, other than dedicated home theater setups, seems to be a wasted effort. For this amount of cash, I'm buying better quality two channel gear.
 

peng

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Sounds like NAD could introduce an M-Series 5 or 7-channel amplifier exactly as you described since they have such deep familiarity with this technology now.
Marantz has already started on this path with some of their integrated amps (2 ch of course). I think it is a matter of time for them to join the likes of NAD.
 

Spocko

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So you guys turn off any fans, air conditioners, heaters when you listen to music in your house? Turn off the refrigerator?
Isn't this what an anechoic chamber is supposed to be? Hey @Matthew J Poes didn't you go completely crazy bringing the noise floor in your basement down to inaudibility? Inspired by your passion, I've gone to similar pains to eliminate household noise: (1) no usage of the fridge and microwave between 7pm and 8pm, or (2) walking across the creaky boards upstairs (they've been marked so that you can walk around them, mostly sidling with your back to the wall). Those who live by this ethos of absolute ambient silence would indeed be disappointed by the fan noise - which takes us to Amir's point about variable fan speed: for years PCs have employed variable speed fans that adjust to the temperature, turning off completely below a certain temperature.
 

Spocko

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Very interesting review. I have a friend who has a preference of Marantz over Denon, because Denon receivers sound to clinical to him.
LOL but wait he could easily reduce the "clinical" sound by playing with the Audyssey app - that's exactly what it's supposed to be used for!
 

Spocko

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Whatever may be "missing", I find the sound of my 2 channel system immersive and enjoyable when I watch movies. If I really wanted sounds from the side and behind me I would go to a movie theatre. How much do I want it? I want it so much that during the past decade I have been to a movie theatre once. Thats right, one time. So, am I going to spend tens of thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands of $ on something I don't really want and consider a gimmick? No.

What has been the single worst thing that has happened to good quality audio reproduction in the home? Home theatre. A lot of people have spent a lot of money on HT gear and where has it got them? A lot of money spent, a lot of clutter and poor sound quality.
Ah, so there it is - you're not a cinema enthusiast who would like to hear what the movie director and sound engineer intended. Nothing wrong with that! As you intimated, surround sound is a gimmick poorly executed, unimpressive. And I completely agree as most Atmos mixes are poor just like most pop music in the 2010's were poorly compressed in response to the loudness war - but there are gems out there. Mission Impossible: Fallout is one such gem.
 

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bo_knows

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No, I am sure it sounds great. The point is that if you took the money you spent on your entire HT rig and spent it on a 2 channel system it would make your Denon whatever sound rather average by comparison. That is all.
People have different priorities and I respect that. All power to you if you need to hear noises behind your head.
Hi Peternz,

I see your view and I respect it and will not argue how you would have a hard time finding the better separates that would outperform significantly my AVR for $3000 (this is what I paid for it). Yes, there's a center channel and some small KEF surround speakers cost but it's not larger by any means. I had hi-end equipment in the past (some of the components were considered to be the state of the art at that time by Stereophile) and the current "mid-fi" system is outperforming it in some aspects (better bass, details, and imaging for sure).
This is due to advances in engineering and technologies. I'm sure that current room location (ground floor vs upper floor), and acoustical treatments a big contributor as well. It's also possible that my view and taste for music reproduction have changed (Dynaudio vs KEF).

Two channel system.jpg
 
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peng

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Hi Peternz,

I see your view and I respect it and will not argue how you would have a hard time finding the better separates that would outperform significantly my AVR for $3000 (this is what I paid for it). Yes, there's a center channel and some small KEF surround speakers cost but it's not larger by any means. I had hi-end equipment in the past (some of the components were considered to be the state of the art at that time) and the current "mid-fi" system is outperforming it in some aspects (better bass, details, and imaging for sure).
This is due to advances in engineering and technologies. I'm sure that current room location (ground floor vs upper floor), and acoustical treatments a big contributor as well. It's also possible that my view and taste for music reproduction have changed (Dynaudio vs KEF).

View attachment 134521
I would go further and say that in a simple level matched, direct mode, using analog inputs single blind test in 2 channel stereo mode, he would not be able to tell it apart from whatever two channel rig he may opt to use as long as his gear has bench test results to show it is design for accuracy/transparency. And I would bet 3:1. Obviously it's easy for me to say, as it will never happen.
 
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bo_knows

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I would go further and say that in a simple level matched, direct mode, using analog inputs single blind test in 2 channel stereo mode, he would not be able to tell it apart from whatever two channel rig he may opt to use as long as his gear has bench test results to show it is design for accuracy/transparency. And I would bet 3:1. Obviously its easy for me to say, as it will never happen.
Not to mention that DENON is DEAD QUIET when I place my ear 3-4 inches away from the KEF R500 tweeter and 65 scale level on the volume display.
 
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