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Review and Measurements of Marantz AV8805 AV Processor

BigVU's

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Yeah seems like I will be looking for unicorns in either case - I'm screwed unless someone knows some leprechauns? No? Eh well... maybe one these Big VU vintage amps will get posted and I can snag it for something reasonable and reduce the risk...

When you say the Hitachi - cheapish - you mean the asking price or the amp?

Garage sales - yep - been combing the local adds on craigslist as well for something.

I also think I am going to have to go window shopping in the local nose bleed costs hifi store. Assuming these are true hifi right? See if I can get a few samplings of what it sounds like. The more I read up in this forum the more I am discovering I am a wannabe audiophile - ha. I doubt they will have an oppo - vintage McIntosh or Technics paired with a 5Ch for listening - as that would be sorta against the grain of commissions on sales.

In the end - a Marantz 8802 or 7702 with dirty dacs and all maybe where I land. It is in the budget rangish and likely to match my Klipsch RF's for both stereo and surround with atmos because who doesn't want to be in a sound bubble of effects for movies. And while there are tons of other pre/po's perhaps this will just be enough progression with out going into the bank for a loan.

I will share as it develops in case someone else reading these can feel where I am coming from in this.
 

Sal1950

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There are (so far) no measurements available as it's a new product... but I'm really curious about this offering from monoprice: Monolith by Monoprice HTP-1 16 Channel Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro3D Home Theater Processor w/Dirac
Emotiva also has a new one in the wings at a lower cost but there's no word on the DRC that I could find? Maybe the cheaper cost is about extra cost downloads for Dirac Live or Full. Some interesting new multich gear coming soon.
https://emotiva.com/collections/processors/products/xmc-2
Will do. Certainly some one who works on these vintage models would have a good idea based on what they see coming in.
@restorer-john should be along soon to chime in on your vintage gear questions. The big VU stuff can go way back in years but I'm sure there's some fully transparent stuff available. Many amps since the late 80s early 90s have been clear as glass and nothing to worry over, just get the best speakers you can afford.
In the end - a Marantz 8802 or 7702 with dirty dacs and all maybe where I land. It is in the budget rangish and likely to match my Klipsch RF's for both stereo and surround with atmos because who doesn't want to be in a sound bubble of effects for movies. And while there are tons of other pre/po's perhaps this will just be enough progression with out going into the bank for a loan.
I wouldn't sweat too much over the DAC's, the audibility of their measurable issues is debatable. My 7703 sounds just fine to me, as did the 7701 I had before it. A word of advice on your choice, I would lean towards a used 7703 or 7704 over the 8802, they include Audyssey Editor app which is a big plus over the stock Audyssey for room correction.
 

Thomas_A

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A short question. Does anyone know of tests made ok Marantz slim-line seies of AV amps? I currently use the NR1506. Previously I had another Marantz that I had to return because of it being noisy and I replaced it at that time with a HK AV amp. The current Marantz is not poor lke the previous one. But I would like to upgrade and need a slim-line AV alp with some options to adjust some room modes in the bass region. The later Marantz slim-line models allow for that but I don’t know anything about the overall performance.
 

Sal1950

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The later Marantz slim-line models allow for that but I don’t know anything about the overall performance.
Unfortunately neither does anyone else. No one is doing any in depth measurements of this type gear today with only some minor exceptions like this one. The good news is as long as you don't stress this too bad it should give you reasonable service for the money invested. But without good measurement it's impossible to separate the better from the also ran. Wish I could be of more help.
 

Thomas_A

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Unfortunately neither does anyone else. No one is doing any in depth measurements of this type gear today with only some minor exceptions like this one. The good news is as long as you don't stress this too bad it should give you reasonable service for the money invested. But without good measurement it's impossible to separate the better from the also ran. Wish I could be of more help.
Thanks. Yes I am also aware of its limited power which may give some clipping especially movie sounds. I run the main speakers and surrounds with this and use Rotel power amp for the two subs @ 60 Hz crossover.
 

digicidal

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Yeah, I'd have to guess (and that would be all it could be without measurements) that the 15/16 series slimline models either measure the same or worse than the 8805. Although there is some suggestion that perhaps a 'signature profile' may have been given priority by the designers (or marketing team) it's extremely unlikely that they would knowingly release a lower-priced product that would measure better in many areas than their flagship.

Although the decisions that gear manufacturers make is often confounding... so the possibility is definitely not zero.

When you say the Hitachi - cheapish - you mean the asking price or the amp?
I was referring to the price - at least in relation to most others currently listed and in consideration of their excellent physical condition. I'm neither familiar enough market-wise nor qualified from an engineering perspective to comment on whether that particular model is cheap or not. ;)

Really, although from a price-to-performance perspective the Marantz Pre/Pro units may be somewhat lacking (the 88XX series moreso than the 77XX counterparts) to my mind the small premium was adequate for Japanese manufacturing and the slight value durability found in semi-flagship products. Granted, I got good deals on mine (at closeout) so I'm definitely more forgiving than I might be if I'd spent anything close to MSRP.

All in all I have no regrets in that regard, but I'm not that critical about TV/movie audio... if it's good enough to create decent immersion - then it's all I care about. The only regret I have is that the first one I got was a package deal with a 'free' UD5007... which was "good enough" that I didn't bother ordering a BDP-205 to pair with it when they were available. :facepalm: Although if I had one, then I'd be caught in a debate with myself over whether I wanted it in the 2ch setup or the theater... maybe it's better this way.
 

digicidal

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Emotiva also has a new one in the wings at a lower cost but there's no word on the DRC that I could find? Maybe the cheaper cost is about extra cost downloads for Dirac Live or Full. Some interesting new multich gear coming soon.
https://emotiva.com/collections/processors/products/xmc-2
That is interesting... although I have a long love/hate relationship with Emotiva. I've gotten some good gear from them... some OK gear... and some that were constantly in a cycle of returning (finally turned one sub into a passive after the third amp failed)!

I did pick up a couple of their IcePower amps for my office system (running off the 'extra' 8801A actually). They're good enough and so easy to place and move... I don't expect any issues as they're just boards in boxes though the warranty is nice. I was actually one of the first on the list for the XMC-1... but after nearly an eternity of delays/misc. 'shenanigans' regarding specs, Dirac, pricing, HDMI upgrades, availability - I gave up.

Of course, literally 24 hours after my 8801A arrived... so did the email from Emotiva saying the XMC-1 was ready to order! :mad: (I'm sure you remember those days if you were active on their forums). Lonnie will have to make a processor to beat all others before I'll sign up for that roller-coaster again.
 

Kal Rubinson

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A short question. Does anyone know of tests made ok Marantz slim-line seies of AV amps? I currently use the NR1506. Previously I had another Marantz that I had to return because of it being noisy and I replaced it at that time with a HK AV amp. The current Marantz is not poor lke the previous one. But I would like to upgrade and need a slim-line AV alp with some options to adjust some room modes in the bass region. The later Marantz slim-line models allow for that but I don’t know anything about the overall performance.
I have a 1605 in my workroom and have no complaints. However, it is used only for casual listening and TV. I can say that the Audyssey correction was essential and effective with 3 wall mounted KEF speakers and a mini Velodyne sub.
 

SMc

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Thanks. Yes I am also aware of its limited power which may give some clipping especially movie sounds. I run the main speakers and surrounds with this and use Rotel power amp for the two subs @ 60 Hz crossover.
I have a much older NR 1402 and prefer an outboard amp for the main speakers despite the modest power requirements (NHT C3s in a smallish room). It's outlasted an Integra pre/pro and an Integra receiver both lost to hdmi problems.
 

BigVU's

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The HMA-8500 measures fairly well, though hard to say about any given sample you'd find in the used market considering the age. Those massive meters are impressive however. Same could be said for the Technics. You might try asking @restorer-john his thoughts, as he seems to spend a huge amount of time collecting and repairing 'classic gear'. He's certainly more knowledgeable than I in that area.
So I found this - not sure if we are allowed to post a link but forgive me in advance. This sounds great to me and I assume its not an iphone recording but more camcorder. With the original price of these units 500 to 1000 less than their competitors like technics at the time of manufacturing makes me curious how so? Or why so? Technics SE A100 or SE A5MK2 in comparison don't seem much different. But only have you tube subjective entries to even get a whiff of what they may sound like.


Perhaps - again its the speakers more than the amp or processor and then of course the studio engineer recording magic. Ugg...
 

digicidal

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Perhaps - again its the speakers more than the amp or processor and then of course the studio engineer recording magic. Ugg...
This probably should be in it's own thread more than this one... as it no longer has to do with the 8805 or even Marantz components. But some quick points (summary=you are correct):
1) All you can hear on YouTube (essentially) is the microphone on the device used to record, and your current system used to play the audio.
2) All 'system demonstrations' (even more so live ones) are at least 80% the speakers/room.
3) Price isn't correlative to performance. It's entirely possible that the Hitachi's are superior (don't know) objectively or subjectively than the more expensive Technics counterparts. It is however, slightly less likely to be subjectively better - since in a sighted comparison, price does have a psychological 'value' they contribute (as do shiny chassis of copper or stainless steel, wood grain, brand name, etc).
4) Unless there is an actual problem (design flaw) in components of similar age and target market - their performance is likely to be so close that the objective differences will be very minor, to the point of likely also being inaudible.

That's the important part for a true music lover to keep in mind... a good recording, of a piece of music you like a great deal, played on anything other than the worst performing system components (even a 'boom box') will most likely be an enjoyable experience. All the other improvements to the system, room, etc. will be nominal increases in comparison - regardless of how much you spend or how amazing the measurements are. IMO at least.
 
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BigVU's

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Got it... gone off the rails with this. Back to reading more of the reviews on the site! Thanks!
 

Sergei

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This sounds great to me
... get a whiff of what they may sound like.
Interesting combination of a closed box with passive radiator and Heil Air Motion Transformer. I haven't heard the ESS AMT 1a in person, yet all three Youtube videos about them I just watched convey similar stories: pleasant low frequencies due to the woofer + radiator tuning, which appear to bump up the low end; somewhat exaggerated high frequencies due to Heil AMT characteristics, which include noticeable distortions.

If you like the mid and high-frequencies parts of that sound, I'd recommend looking at Adam studio monitors and their consumer line of products (https://www.adam-audio.com/en/). They use a transducer operating on the same principle as the one in ESS AMT 1a, yet with lower distortions.

I owned a bunch of Adam A7, A7X, A8X, A77X over the years. Competent monitors. Guitar Center carries some of their models in the USA. They shall be widely available in Europe. Adam was recently acquired by Focusrite, yet another competent pro audio vendor.

Emotiva speakers (https://emotiva.com/) supposedly produce a sound similar to that of Adam monitors, yet I never owned Emotiva, so I'll leave it to those who did listen to them at length to comment.

If you specifically liked the how the low frequencies sounded, this can be found in several monitors and speakers with passive radiators. The ones that I believe are under-appreciated and thus under-priced are Mackie HR824. They come in two generations. The first generation is especially inexpensive these days, yet sounds darn well IMHO (https://www.zzounds.com/productreview--MACHR824).
 
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digicidal

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If you like the mid and high-frequencies parts of that sound, I'd recommend looking at Adam studio monitors and their consumer line of products (https://www.adam-audio.com/en/). They use a transducer operating on the same principle as the one in ESS AMT 1a, yet with lower distortions.

I owned a bunch of Adam A7, A7X, A8X, A77X over the years. Competent monitors. Guitar Center carries some of their models in the USA. They shall be widely available in Europe. Adam was recently acquired by Focusrite, yet another competent pro audio vendor.
I'm running the very budget-friendly T7V's in my family room (connected to the Marantz 8801A at the moment as well). Though they definitely don't have the more robust build quality and power of the A series... at least 95% of the sound is there - accurate and very full range coupled with a sub crossed at 60Hz. At $250/ea they were a no-brainer for a 3.1 setup. Wasn't aware of the Focusrite acquisition - at least it's another audio-focused company and not some VC firm with profit-over-quality leanings.

It's interesting how different the 8805 is (DAC-wise) in comparison to something like the RME ADI-2 DAC (both AK4490 based)... once again highlighting the differences that implementations bring to a device. Also highlights the fact that price is not necessarily an indicator of performance. Of course, it's apples-to-bananas comparison between the two devices as far as normal use-cases are concerned. Also highlights why I now find pro-audio gear to be "ugly-but-seductive" - the price/performance ratio is better than most of the best consumer offerings.
 

BigVU's

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Angel is the centerfold... not sure even what to think about finding this... Marantz AV8802

Seems even my attempt at audio hi fi is still so little league, bush league, coined, sold out, empty ... How, why, when? Is Walmart the new Hi Fi dealer?
 

digicidal

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Angel is the centerfold... not sure even what to think about finding this... Marantz AV8802
Seems even my attempt at audio hi fi is still so little league, bush league, coined, sold out, empty ... How, why, when? Is Walmart the new Hi Fi dealer?
Well, as it's a close-out discontinued model a couple generations back... I wouldn't read too much into it. Also they are (unsuccessfully for the most part) attempting to compete with Amazon... if they carried them in the store - then I'd probably have to write off the brand forever. :eek: I'd definitely get this one before gambling on Walmart - full warranty (auth reseller) and much better price too (they also have a refurb for even less).

I'm pretty surprised at that price... not sure if that's gouging or it they are really holding their value well. I will say that although I missed out on BT by getting the model before that one, I have come to appreciate the built-in 4 port ethernet hub in mine. One less box required to connect 3 other devices at the rack.
 

vert

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A short question. Does anyone know of tests made ok Marantz slim-line seies of AV amps? I currently use the NR1506. Previously I had another Marantz that I had to return because of it being noisy and I replaced it at that time with a HK AV amp. The current Marantz is not poor lke the previous one. But I would like to upgrade and need a slim-line AV alp with some options to adjust some room modes in the bass region. The later Marantz slim-line models allow for that but I don’t know anything about the overall performance.
It's not often that a question comes along that I can help answer so let me try:)
I have the NR1508 which I bought earlier this year at a friendly price when the '09 came out. A few months earlier I had bought a DAC for my stereo amp, this one
https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/dac-...4khz-asynchronous-usb-xmos-black-p-11961.html

That DAC and the Marantz have a similar AK 44xx chip. I thought I might not need a DAC anymore so did a listening comparison, through headphones, between 1) PC HDMI+Marantz HDMI input vs 2) PC USB+DAC XMOS input + Marantz analog input, switching from the PC, running the Audirvana player, in the Audirvana inputs list. All FLACs, ripped or streamed. My speakers are a pair of Paradigm Atom Monitor bookshelves and a Phonar subwoofer. I use the Audyssey correction.

The sound for 1) was just OK, the sound for 2) is great and comes with this delicate, beautiful 3D presentation that I love, which is absent or much more recessed in 1). It also sounds cleaner to my ears. IWith the 2) configuration I could listen to music for hours, not so with the 1) configuration. Make of that what you will, I have no qualifications and no way to measure anything. But IIRC, other than the 8805's DAC implementation not being ideal, Amir's review mentions something about the HDMI input's performance somewhat leaving to be desired. IIRC also, someone once posted a Polish audio site's measurements of the NR1506 (or was it the NR1504?)'s amp section, and it measured fine. For movies and TV the Marantz is a joy and absolutely fine as it is IMO - although I'd like to try a movie via the DAC, out of curiosity.
 

Sal1950

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That DAC and the Marantz have a similar AK 44xx chip. I thought I might not need a DAC anymore so did a listening comparison, through headphones, between 1) PC HDMI+Marantz HDMI input vs 2) PC USB+DAC XMOS input + Marantz analog input, switching from the PC, running the Audirvana player, in the Audirvana inputs list. All FLACs, ripped or streamed. My speakers are a pair of Paradigm Atom Monitor bookshelves and a Phonar subwoofer. I use the Audyssey correction.
Just a few comments on your listening test.
1. Were you able to level match path 1 and 2 to within 1/4 db or better?
2. The analog inputs still put the signal thru the onboard DAC even if the Direct mode is chosen, more data is being modified with Audyssey.
 

vert

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1. I level matched by ear as best I could. I don't know how to measure levels.
2. Really? Do you know the rationale for this? That wouldn't be occurring, obviously, on my stereo amp, which has no internal DAC. Why different on an AVR? I use the CD RCA input on both. I mentioned Audyssey but it's not relevant here, as it's automatically disengaged when headphones are used. I don't remember if Direct automatically engages in that case on the Marantz, or if I manually engaged it, or not (I would always use the direct mode on the stereo amp).
 

digicidal

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Audyssey is not in the signal chain for Direct or Pure Direct modes... but that doesn't mean it's a pure analog path from inputs to outputs. What both do is disable more/most of the DSP features for audio and video. Depending on the model and feature set this can be somewhat different - like in your stereo receiver. However, in the highest end models PD supposedly also moves the crossover to the analog domain. DM Holdings are quite quiet in the details... for obvious reasons (i.e. someone won't like it - no matter what they implemented).

If "audiophiles" got their way (PD mode makes the processor into an analog preamp with straight wire performance)... support would be innundated by people calling about how their unit "just stopped working" - since hitting that mode would kill all digital inputs. That's not why 99% of their customers buy these after all.

In Direct mode you lose Audyssey, EQ/tone control, Matrix modes, etc. In Pure Direct mode you also lose analog video inputs, displays are turned off (but wake briefly during input changes, etc.), and all video DSP functions (lip sync, resolution & color upsampling, etc.).

It's easy enough to know that it's not fully 'disabled' since you will still have decoding of surround formats and processing of audio from HDMI inputs... which you wouldn't have if it were truly using a separate signal path. It's too bad that the balanced analog inputs are treated essentially the same way on the 880X models... but it makes sense. If everyone got their way, we'd have a fantastic swiss army knife of audio - of course, they'd probably price it north of $7500 as well. Add to that the fact that only 1% of their customers would ever be likely to use those additional features, and it makes sense why it works the way it does.

Still doesn't mean they couldn't have gotten better performance out of the DAC however... but there again "good enough for 99%" probably directed the engineering goals.

@vert - there are quite a few variables in that test that could have affected level, SNR, etc. which could have been detectable. It's also possible psycho-acoustically, that simply knowing there was a 'better' device in the chain made a subjective improvement. The HDMI signal was a DA with decoding, and the USB was a DA-AD-DA conversion... depending on what filters are employed in each device and for which inputs/outputs it's quite likely there was a difference. Whether that difference was more accurate to the source or less is much more debatable without measurements.

None of that changes the fact that you liked the DAC better... so listen that way and enjoy it! I know vinyl is the least accurate source material... but I still prefer it for some recordings. I do prefer to convert it to digital so it is preserved in all it's noisy goodness (and available anywhere in the house or car).
 
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