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Review and Measurements of Marantz AV8805 AV Processor

digicidal

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I like warmth in sound mostly and full analog seems to sound best to me - just hard to afford that sound with my budget. And movies with out surround - don't think I could go there again.
...
So thinking if possible, separate amps one with a Big VU as a fronts driver with an oppo will give me a enough of both and according to the test results in this article a cleaner sounding system in both situations because of the better DACs...?
Maybe it's just me, but these (bold statements) seem to be somewhat at odds with each other. Some (most?) of the 'warmth' associated with gear is usually found in the distortion... so I would worry that a truly transparent sound might come across as 'dry' or 'anemic' in comparison to vintage gear. I'm not sure how the McIntosh amps measure, but I'm sure the Oppo would surpass them on every level - except power output obviously. :p

In reference to the italicized portion - so you would do analog 5.1/7.1 out to the VSX 56 TXi for movies, and then balanced stereo out from the Oppo to the VU-encrusted power amp for 2ch audio? If not, what would you plan on using for surround? So you don't ever plan on using a sub in your stereo listening I presume (or you have something with high-level inputs)?

Edit.. ah, I see the "separate amps" now... missed that. So a cheaper 5/7ch on the analog outs and the 'bling' one on the dedicated 2ch side. Should work fine that way (essentially using the 205 as your pre-amp). One thing I'm not sure of is the front 2 channels in surround application. I'd check the manual to confirm that the stereo outputs work for both - which I doubt as there are "FR/FL" unbalanced outputs in the surround area. IIRC there is a separate DAC used just for the 2ch... so you might need separate fronts or to switch inputs on the 2ch amp each time. Manual is confusing in this regard, but seems like a non issue. The confusing bit:
The STEREO AUDIO OUT terminals automatically down-mix the multi-channel audio source into the stereo signals. However, STEREO AUDIO OUT will NOT be affected by the “Down Mix” modes and other speaker settings in the Audio Processing section of the Setup Menu (described on page 65).
(pg 15 in the manual). So shouldn't be an issue on 2ch audio regardless... but not sure how that translates in a surround context - i.e. audio processing on all channels except fronts. I missed the chance to get a 205 for retail (but did grab a couple 203s)... and I refuse to pay the premium.
 
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BigVU's

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First, thanks for engaging in the conversation. I do not have the experience with audio that the forum has admittedly. I am not sure I can even say I know what really good hifi sounds like. As I said the Pioneer was like wow for me back in the day. It has a warm sound and provides detail in surround. Subjective of course and there is a lot of that in audio.

On the other hand I really appreciate the objective and scientific logic "Spok" approach that amirm illustrated. Perhaps he uncovered their secret sauce to big box consumer sound and they confirmed it in their response that "they like the sound." If that's the case then I am in the right budget. It may be an older Marantz for me, the dirty warm sound I know and think sounds good in admitted clueless bliss.

If however the forum and the science say - its marketing crap and you will get cleaner sound that you can make warmer with a dirty mode or older big VU amp perhaps (haha) and its equipped with this new hi res audio stuff like in an Oppo then it makes sense I will get a better value.

Either way I appreciate the energy, hours, pain, lessons, money and investment that folks have put into this hobby, profession and passion because I get to vicariously and shamelessly gain information from it and hopefully make the best choice for my world of sound.

I am bit afraid to go into the hifi shop and listen to these 5-20K amps and their 5-20K speakers as I may never be satisfied and end up chasing a unicorn sound that will ever elude my grasp. But man it's so cool!

BTW - anyone have any thoughts on the Hitachi HMA 7500 or 8500 series amps? Or the Technics SE A5 or SE series in general? How do they compare? Big VU's of course.
 
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digicidal

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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

At least as far as inputs and outputs it's comparable to the Marantz flagship, as well as price-wise (esp. since monoprice is likely to have sales knocking $500 off the price every now and then). Dirac vs Audyssey already makes them worth more to me than the Marantz (although I think Audyssey does a decent job for the most part). Unfortunately, they seem to have a real hit-or-miss QC and measurements - at least in the products tested here... so I guess "cautiously optimistic" would best describe my position.

I am bit afraid to go into the hifi shop and listen to these 5-20K amps and their 5-20K speakers as I may never be satisfied and end up chasing a unicorn sound that will ever elude my grasp. But man it's so cool!

BTW - anyone have any thoughts on the Hitachi HMA 7500 or 8500 series amps? Or the Technics SE A5 or SE series in general? How do they compare? Big VU's of course.
I'm in the same boat in that regard... mostly on the speaker side. Although having a set of Pass, Krell, McIntosh, Bryston, etc. monos is still part of the dream... age and a bad back have made me find far more love for efficient, light Class D offerings now. I don't often move gear from room to room (or house to house) but my 3ch Emotiva amp is ~90lbs... Add in the fact that it isn't better in any way (and worse in many) than a trio of Ncore monos weighing ~7lbs each, and the choice is clear IMO.

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.
 
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BigVU's

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Will do. Certainly some one who works on these vintage models would have a good idea based on what they see coming in.

I read a bunch of stuff on them both watched a few sample youtube vids on them. Somewhere I read that Hitachi was one of the OEM or providers for a lot of parts in amplifiers and their line just never took hold.

Trying to understand the whole Mosfet thing as well. Apparently Hitachi was one of the first versions and there was something about their push-pull amplifier design.

In either case these vintage amps still go for a bit of coin? What would a reasonable price even be to consider it worth while to get one of them?
 

digicidal

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As with so many collectables... the older it is and the better the condition... the higher the price. So hard to say really. You might find a bargain at a pawn shop or yard sale in your area... or you might pay a $1K+ premium in a boutique audio store. Looking at ebay, the market seems to run between $500 and $3500 - depending on model and condition. Here's a few current potentials:

Accuphase P-300 Power Amplifier - Super clean, not sure how it sounds/measures though.
Gold Hitachi HMA-7500MKII MOSFET Power Amplifier - cheap(ish)
Same seller, but matched pair with pre included for good price.
McIntosh MC 7270 Stereo Power Amplifier - Beautiful but pricey of course!
Technics SE-A1000 MKII Amplifier & SU-C1000 MKII Pre Amp

Like classic cars, I'd recommend hitting estate sales and auctions in the nearest metro area if you're not in a rush... otherwise, it will be a bit of a gamble, but all the really desirable vintage models have fairly good support from enthusiasts it seems. So although you might have to pay another $500 or so for component replacements/rehab - even if something goes wrong you're likely not left with an expensive paperweight. That's the one real advantage over current consumer gear IMO.

EDIT: If it weren't for impracticality and cost... I'd definitely get this and just put it on a pedestal in the middle of the room... it could sound like crap (though I'm sure it doesn't) and I wouldn't really care. :p Although if it did sound like crap, I'd hide a streamer and a cheap amp in the pedestal and listen to that while looking at the Audio Research. LOL!
 
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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.
 

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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.
 

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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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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?
 

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