• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Review and Measurements of Marantz AV8805 AV Processor

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
19,648
Likes
20,902
Location
Seattle Area
Correction : see the review from HomeThetreHiFi, compare Marantz 8805 with other AV processor which supports more or less similar features (Audyssey processing requires a lot of processing power), and make new conclusions.
I can't find a review of Marantz AV8805 in there. They only have AV8802 which may be a different design. Regardless, they say right in the review: https://hometheaterhifi.com/reviews/receiver-processor/processors/marantz-av8802-processor-review/

1557288998473.png


You see in black and white that 2 volts is not proper for XLR output. And why they tested at 5 volt which is even higher than what I tested.

Bryston 4b sensitivity at 1.4V for 250W at 8 ohm (it has switchable gain 23dB or 29dB).
Not correct. From the manual:

1557289307143.png


You need 3.46 volts for full power in low gain mode, not 1.4 volt. Even in high gain you won't achieve full power at 1.4 volts (1.73 volts is needed).

Regardless, there are no standards for power amplifier gain. Since XLR is a professional standard, let's go to venerable rane.com for verification: https://www.rane.com/note135.html

1557289974671.png


4 dBu = 1.2 volts. 20 dBu = 7.7 volts (RMS).

So as you see, 4 volts RMS that I test at is not at all extreme.

Bottom line: my reviews don't cater to spec verification. They follow standardized norms and apples vs apples comparison. We can't grade on a curve especially when we are talking such an expensive processor.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
19,648
Likes
20,902
Location
Seattle Area
The reason why you’ve got higher FR with slow roll off could be something like Pioneer’s Legato Link http://www.soundfountain.com/amb/cd25pioneer.html - take a look at the last graph on the bottom of the table with graphs (resulting characteristic), doesn’t it look similar (except of the sharp deep, which could be masked in our case by upsampling or using other methods)? It is not a bug (a programming issue performed unintentionally), I would call it “a trick” ... they do it intentionally.
That was nothing but a slow roll off filter with some fantasy graphs to represent it. Read this: http://marlene-d.blogspot.com/2012/01/pioneers-legatolink-wadia-spline.html

1557291091245.png


We have DACs that have such filters. When they do, it is a selectable option with the alternative of sharp cut off.
 

vert

Member
Joined
May 30, 2018
Messages
82
Likes
31
Location
Switzerland
I'm only able to understand a small part of Amir's technical data and procedures, but FWIW, my DAC and my Marantz AV receiver have a similar AK 44xx DAC chip; when I got the Marantz, I thought the DAC would perhaps be redundant for music listening, but it turned out music sounds much better with it than without. The way I compared was through headphones, simply switching the relevant AVR inputs, and Audirvana outputs on my PC as quick as possible. Hard to say "how better" without sounding foolish, but it does sound cleaner and more delineated and dimensional with, than without the DAC.
 

LTig

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
425
Likes
476
Location
Europe
Ok I will tell you a secret - to do the Audyssey processing at 48kHz the AV processor downsamples (and probably upsamples in the case of 44.1kHz) the input signal to 48 kHz, no matter what was the sampling rate at the input. [..]
Regardless of the final samplerate at the DAC chip any upsampling process has to adhere to the Shannon criterium of the incoming samplerate.

To tell you another secret: almost every DAC used for audio does internal upsampling to higher samplerates to simplify the analog reconstruction filter. Probably all of them do this right. When the AVR8805 does not upsample correctly then it's the fault of the Marantz.
 

LTig

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
425
Likes
476
Location
Europe
[..]
The reason why you’ve got higher FR with slow roll off could be something like Pioneer’s Legato Link http://www.soundfountain.com/amb/cd25pioneer.html - take a look at the last graph on the bottom of the table with graphs (resulting characteristic), doesn’t it look similar (except of the sharp deep, which could be masked in our case by upsampling or using other methods)? It is not a bug (a programming issue performed unintentionally), I would call it “a trick” ... they do it intentionally.
They did it intentionally to separate their brand from others, and it was a design error. According to Shannon there is no frequency content in a sampled signal higher or equal to half of the sample rate (for CD this is 22.05 kHz). All analog signals must be (and is) lowpass filtered. Hence it is impossible to recreate those lost frequencies.

If you do not lowpass filter before the sampling takes place frequencies higher than half the samplerate will be folded back into the sampled frequency region (e.g. a sinus of 24 kHz would appear as 24 - 2 * (24-22.05) = 20.1 kHz - those 22.05 kHz act like a mirror) which is wrong because
  1. it adds inharmonic distortion which is much worse then harmonic distortion,
  2. it cannot be removed later.
After the sampling process the sampled data contain not only the audio signal but also its folded back sibling. The DA-process therefore creates both the audio signal and its folded back sibling. The sibling contains just inharmonic distortion (see above) and therefore must be removed by means of an analog reconstruction filter. Failing to do this correctly leaves inharmonic distortion in the audio signal.

It's proven mathematics, though not simple or easy to understand.
 
Joined
Mar 22, 2019
Messages
73
Likes
11
Thanks for your detailed response, Amir. So you position yourself as a Supreme Court judge who makes a final decision what level a manufacturer shall use in it’s product specification, and your judgment is based on comparison of AV processors with DACs (i.e. “apples” and “oranges”)? Who gave you such kind of authority?
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...essor.6926/page-17#lg=attachment25866&slide=0
Right from your own link: THEY determine how sensitive the amplifier is. They, not you. Thus, Bryston 4b has two modes, low sensitivity and high sensitivity ones. Why do you refer specifically low sensitivity mode, if high sensitivity one can be used to match output capabilities of 8805?
Now to the level issue. Could you please point me to the standard, which obligates manufacturers to use 2V RMS as unbalanced output, and 4V RMS as balanced? Those values are just “typically used” AFAIK. Rane defines levels as follows: https://rane.com/note145.html
4dBu (1.23V RMS) as professional audio reference level, and -10dBu as commercial audio reference level. Is Marantz a professional item? Of course, no, but it can still output the professional reference level (and more).
Everything above the reference level and maximum output level is headroom.
The manufacturer must state whether the spec is for balanced or unbalanced use (usually balanced operation results in 6 dB more swing); what distortion was used for determination (with the preferred value being 1% THD); over what frequency range is this spec valid (prefer 20 Hz -- 20 kHz; watch out for just 1 kHz specs); and what load impedance is guaranteed (2k ohms or greater is preferred; 600 ohm operation is obsolete and no longer required except for specialized applications, with broadcast and telecommunications noted as two of them).
Didn’t Marantz stated the maximum output level? Yes, they did. Does 8805 meet the Specification? Yes, it does.
This is Rane’s statement regarding THD measurements:
Full disclosure specs will test harmonic distortion over the entire 20 Hz to 20 kHz audio range (this is done easily by sweeping and plotting the results), at the pro audio level of +4 dBu. For all signal processing equipment, except mic preamps, the preferred gain setting is unity.
Did you follow it? Obviously, no.
Now, let’s check which multichannel amps can not be mated with 8805 due to it’s “low rated” maximum output level? I did’t find any, did you? The difference in headroom is irrelevant.
 
Joined
Mar 22, 2019
Messages
73
Likes
11
To tell you another secret: almost every DAC used for audio does internal upsampling to higher samplerates to simplify the analog reconstruction filter. Probably all of them do this right. When the AVR8805 does not upsample correctly then it's the fault of the Marantz.
I already know that “secret”, and even used NOS DAC some time ago, but found upsampling DACs like dCS for example, way better sounding. Thanks though.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
19,648
Likes
20,902
Location
Seattle Area
Thanks for your detailed response, Amir. So you position yourself as a Supreme Court judge who makes a final decision what level a manufacturer shall use in it’s product specification, and your judgment is based on comparison of AV processors with DACs (i.e. “apples” and “oranges”)? Who gave you such kind of authority?
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...essor.6926/page-17#lg=attachment25866&slide=0
Right from your own link: THEY determine how sensitive the amplifier is. They, not you. Thus, Bryston 4b has two modes, low sensitivity and high sensitivity ones. Why do you refer specifically low sensitivity mode, if high sensitivity one can be used to match output capabilities of 8805?
Again, there is misunderstanding. I am not testing power amplifiers. I am testing DAC performance. Between a DAC and a power amplifier is a pre-amplifier which adapts the output of the DAC/CD player to that of the power amplifier. So the two do not need to match since you don't listen at max volume anyway.

As to being the authority, no, I don't design the gear. I measure them and those measurements show that the de-facto standard in stand-alone DACs is 4 volts over XLR output. No, this is not cast in stone as audio is more screwed up than we can count. But it is a convention. Here is Benchmark Audio on this point: https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/application_notes/balanced-vs-unbalanced-analog-interfaces

1557374016213.png


As you see he a) confirms that 4 volts is typical in high-end consumer gear and b) even that is too poor. John would have a heart-attack if you tried to justify to him nearly half as much output. :)

Here is Chord saying the same:

1557374463754.png


Think about it as 0 to 60 time for car acceleration. There is no law that mandates it but it is the convention.

And please don't miss the important point I made in my answer to you: we can only compare DACs if they are outputting the same voltage. You can't take Marantz's spec'ed output and compare it to DACs that output 4 volts. As I explained, those DACs get even better numbers at lower output voltage and hence, leave the Marantz even more in dust.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
19,648
Likes
20,902
Location
Seattle Area
1. You have performed measurements only at 4.12V RMS output level, which is an overkill for a processor with officially max rated output at 2.4V RMS (in the specification). It us unclear why you have decided to use specifically overloading level for the tests, there is no reasonable cause.
Reviewer from HomeTheatreHiFi, who gave Marantz 8802 “Best of Award for the year 2015” (Marantz 8805 just has some additional features, the design is pretty much similar), performed the measurements properly, just before the max output level at 2.05V, and the level of distortions was WAY lower comparing to your measurements.
I had to re-read what you wrote here.

First you say the rated output is 2.4 volt which the manual does state. Then you say the best number was achieved at 2.05 volt??? What happened to 2.4 volts? At 2.4 volts, this is Marantz's spec:

1557375969185.png


I measured using 4.1 volt output THD+N of 0.002% which is better than Marantz spec:

1557376018488.png


Marantz spec translates into 86 dB SINAD would put the unit squarely in the forth and worst performing bucket of DACs I have ever tested.

As to hometheaterhifi review, this is the note that goes with their DAC measurement:

1557376436136.png


-5 dBFS??? All my tests are at 0 dBFS. Using lower values avoids digital and analog saturation. And no way is 2 volt RMS is representative output level for a balanced DAC.

And note this in their review:

1557376877441.png


So they see the same issues I did.

Bottom line remains: no way is the Marantz is a state-of-the-art DAC/processor. It may look it for people who count connectors and go by size of such products. But clearly its engineer is way behind stand-alone DACs as low as $99.
 
Joined
Mar 22, 2019
Messages
73
Likes
11
And please don't miss the important point I made in my answer to you: we can only compare DACs if they are outputting the same voltage. You can't take Marantz's spec'ed output and compare it to DACs that output 4 volts. As I explained, those DACs get even better numbers at lower output voltage and hence, leave the Marantz even more in dust.
There is no dust as soon as we start talking about multichannel formats. For stereo - maybe, but your “dust” has nothing to do with the real life, the reserve in DAC is not required for multichannel amplifiers, and not even for multichannel pre-amplifiers.
You see in black and white that 2 volts is not proper for XLR output.
This is true ONLY for an amp with 20V/V, for an amp with 300 watt rated power at 4 ohms (2 channel driven) and sensitivity 1V in balanced mode, 2V is an overkill already.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 22, 2019
Messages
73
Likes
11
Again, there is misunderstanding. I am not testing power amplifiers. I am testing DAC performance. Between a DAC and a power amplifier is a pre-amplifier which adapts the output of the DAC/CD player to that of the power amplifier. So the two do not need to match since you don't listen at max volume anyway.
I don’t listen at max anyway, this is true. If your DAC has a level adjustment (like most DAC do), there will be no problem, but why do we need that amount of headroom if it is not used? If the DAC doesn’t have a volume adjustment, it could be a problem - overloading of the input stage of that pre-amp (not all of them will absorb that level).
 
Joined
Mar 22, 2019
Messages
73
Likes
11
As to being the authority, no, I don't design the gear. I measure them and those measurements show that the de-facto standard in stand-alone DACs is 4 volts over XLR output.
Yes, it is a misunderstanding on your side. There is no de-facto standard, there is a “typically used level”, which is overused by the manufacturer’s specification. The specification is the LAW, not a “typically used level”.
Here is Benchmark Audio on this point:
Didn’you notice? They are talking about the professional audio, where +4dBu is a reference level. For commercial audio -10 dBu is a reference level - ref the Rane note above.

Then you say the best number was achieved at 2.05 volt??? What happened to 2.4 volts? At 2.4 volts, this is Marantz's spec:
That is their decision to test in the normal mode, just below the rated one. Why should they test at maximum level - you said we never listen at that level anyway. That they verified the overloading capabilities at 5V, which is also their choice.

-5 dBFS??? All my tests are at 0 dBFS. Using lower values avoids digital and analog saturation. And no way is 2 volt RMS is representative output level for a balanced DAC.
It means you overload not only the analog output, but also a digital circuit, but they did it correctly. What is 0 dB FS level? It is a level of absolute max in the digital domain, level of clipping for CD, and so on. Any normal fluctuation in values of components (in commercial audio usual tolerance for them is +/-5%), and difference in devices of the same type and brand can lead to clipping and higher distortions. Your measurements at 0 dB FS have no value - they are valid only for that particular device you have tested, they can not be approximated to other devices of the same type.
Besides, there is a STANDARD in stone, defined in the AES17 document:
8.5.1 Total harmonic distortion and noise versus frequency
The measurement should be conducted with a sine wave at – 1,0 dB FS and repeated with a sine wave at – 20 dB FS.
 
Joined
Mar 22, 2019
Messages
73
Likes
11
Bottom line remains: no way is the Marantz is a state-of-the-art DAC/processor. It may look it for people who count connectors and go by size of such products. But clearly its engineer is way behind stand-alone DACs as low as $99.
Wrong conclusion based on a wrong measurement. I don’t own 8805, I own 8802A, but I have service manuals for both units and can compare them. The DAC and analog output part is identical. This is why I decided not to upgrade at this moment - I have no need in HEOS. But I listen to my system almost every day, and I enjoy the sounding of multichannel records, but only with the good sound quality ones. I also have two DACs - Benchmark DAC1 and Melokin 9.1 (modified), I use them (mostly Melokin, such as it sounds better for me) connected through SPDF output of Oppo 203 also using headphones and stereo records.
Before I was ignoring reviews with “golden ears” talking preferring ones with measurements.
When I found your website, I was really excited. But now I understand that your measurements are useless for me, shall I stop trusting my ears and follow your “conclusions” getting rid of all I enjoy listening almost every day?
No way, I would rather trust this “golden ears” review https://hometheaterreview.com/marantz-av8805-av-preamp-reviewed/ performed by Brian Kahn - or previously mentioned review for 8802, both of them match my listening experience and understanding of the processes.
While the nuances in space, rhythm, and detail still place the PS Audio ahead, the Marantz AV8805 easily exceeded the DACs in my various Oppo players (BDP-83SE, BDP-95, and UDP-203) and came extremely close to the reference DAC.
I don’t use DACs in Oppo 203 at all and agree with Brian.
 
Last edited:

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
19,648
Likes
20,902
Location
Seattle Area
I am tired of arguing with you. You clearly are not listening. I could have done three other reviews for the amount of time it has taken to explain all this to you. :(

So do this: tell us what measurements from wherever shows this processor to be state-of-the-art in its DAC and pre-amplification.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
19,648
Likes
20,902
Location
Seattle Area
But now I understand that your measurements are useless for me, shall I stop trusting my ears and follow your “conclusions” getting rid of all I enjoy listening? No way, I would rather trust this “golden ears” review https://hometheaterreview.com/marantz-av8805-av-preamp-reviewed/ performed by Brian Kahn - or previously mentioned review for 8802, both of them match my listening experience and understanding of the processes.
All this time you argue with me on measurements and all you wanted to go by was someone else's impression of gear? Why in the heck did you lead me on with all that talk about measurements, levels and such if all you wanted was someone's subjective opinion with no way to verify its correctness whatsoever?

You are welcome to invent your own audio science but don't subject us to it. Sound evaluation by ear is the gold standard in audio science as long as it is controlled. You know, a proper blind AB comparison with levels matched. You listening to someone evaluating audio otherwise has zero, let me repeat, zero value in audio science. You would get thrown out of AES if you went to claim relevance there.

You want to waste thousands of dollars on basis of junk beliefs, do so. But please next time don't drag me into an argument on measurements where at the end of the day, you don't even believe in it.

Good grief.
 
Joined
Mar 22, 2019
Messages
73
Likes
11
So do this: tell us what measurements from wherever shows this processor to be state-of-the-art in its DAC and pre-amplification.
I have tired to argue with you as well. I just pointed you to a standard, and you don’t care - you know better than AES.

I am not claiming that it is state-of the art in it’s DAC and pre-amplification, no way as it is using second level DACs (top ones are AK4497 and ESS9038PRO at the moment) and audio grade, but just ok op amps NJM8080.
It is just acceptable for me to listen to multichannel records and concerts getting pretty close to the level of separate DACs (both of them are not $99 ones), and it is good enough for movies. Exactly like Brian Kahn said.
I NEVER listen at the max level, usually at 60-65%. Once I have adjusted the level to 80% and my neighbors called the police. After that experience my ears feeling was similar to the air pressure change in an aircraft, it was lasting for about 2 hours.
Thus I KNOW that 8802A (and 8805 as I believe) has a huge reserve in output voltage using balance outputs and proper equipment to match it. It sounds clean even at 80% of the volume.
How to make your measurements valuable and objectively matching somebody’s listening experience - it is up to you. My recommendation would be - don’t guess, don’t use speculations, find the standards and follow manufacturer’s specifications.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 22, 2019
Messages
73
Likes
11
you don't even believe in it.
I believe in proper measurements, not in ones performed against standards, manufacturing specifications, and based on some “typically used” levels. Thanks for your time. I am done.
 
Last edited:

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
19,648
Likes
20,902
Location
Seattle Area
It is just acceptable for me to listen to multichannel records and concerts getting pretty close to the level of separate DACs (both of them are not $99 ones), and it is good enough for movies. Exactly like Brian Kahn said.
"Just acceptable" after spending $4,500. There are plenty of just acceptable multi-channel products out there at far lower prices.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
19,648
Likes
20,902
Location
Seattle Area
Besides, there is a STANDARD in stone, defined in the AES17 document:
Which is not -5 dBFS as used in the review you referenced.

Answering anyway, I disagree with AES standard because it didn't take into account today's music which is compressed to hell with near and at 0 dBFS content. In this regard, we better darn well measure at 0 dBFS. I once recommended a $1000 peachtree DAC to my then teenage son to replace his soundblaster internal card. He comes to me and says it is clipping. I say no way. He shows me an MP3 he had of his favorite music that would buzz at peak levels on the Peachtree but not his soundblaster card.

AES standards are created by the industry so at times you want to be careful in accommodations they make for companies. -1 dBFS to allow filter overruns and such is one. So in this regard, my standard is more rigorous.

Note that when 0 dBFS causes problems I usually dial down a dB or two and see if eliminates it and if so, I noted it in the review:



No other reviewer had discovered this until I tested it. The company later responded saying it was an overflow problem once they included MQA. Clearly a problem that needed to be found and noted/fixed. AES 17 recommendations would not have caught it.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
19,648
Likes
20,902
Location
Seattle Area
I believe in proper measurements, not in ones performed against standards, manufacturing specifications, and based on some “typically used” levels.
You lost that battle anyway as my measurements actually show better performance than company specs and still puts it in fourth quartile of all DACs tested. This is the problem with your arguments. You are protesting but not listening to how your own data damns the argument you are making.
 
Top Bottom