|Marantz SR7200 Receiver|
|Home Theater AV Receivers AV Receivers|
|Written by Richard Elen|
|Monday, 01 July 2002|
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At a suggested price of just $849.99 US, the Marantz SR7200 AV Surround Receiver offers excellent value for money, with impressive power (six channels x 105 watts into eight ohms), high-resolution D/A converters, and a wealth of surround features,- plus an excellent sound almost indistinguishable from the company’s more expensive offerings.
Installation and Setup
Modern AV receivers are getting more and more complex. As this receiver can handle a 6.1 surround system with dual zone/dual source capability, the Marantz SR7200 has more ins and outs than most. But once you’re armed with the 30-page (per language) manual, and a clearly labeled rear panel, installation and configuration are entirely straightforward. There’s a fold-out rear panel diagram in the book, and a list with good descriptions of where everything’s supposed to go.
Loudspeaker connections, of which there are several, six main (system A) outputs including surround (rear) center for the main system and a stereo pair of system B outputs - are on good large binding posts with banana plug capability, and unlike a lot of receivers, they handled my extremely thick front speaker cables with relative ease. There are preamp out jacks for an external amplifier, a line level sub output, line level stereo outs to connect a second zone amplifier, a multitude of digital and analog input connections, about which more in a moment, and even DC control outputs to activate devices such as a screen lowering system, etc., plus video, S-video and component video switching. All these facilities are very impressive for a unit at this price point.
Meanwhile, the inputs that are present include stereo analog record and play inputs for tape, VCR and CD-R/MD, plus stereo analog inputs for CD player, DVD, TV and satellite receiver. There is also a seven-channel analog input that bypasses all the internal processing in the receiver: ideal for connecting your DVD-Audio or Super Audio CD (SACD) player. On the digital I/O front, there are optical (TOSLink) and coaxial (S/PDIF) outputs, along with no less than two optical and three coax inputs, each of which can be assigned to a different function. - For example, you can assign your CD player to any convenient digital input, your digital satellite receiver to another, and so on. Note that if you still have a laserdisc player, the RF output must be demodulated before connecting to a coax digital input.
Video switching is similarly comprehensive. The unit handles four composite, four S-Video and two component inputs, with corresponding outputs. As is usual with such systems, there is no conversion between the three types of video: the component outputs will only deliver signals fed to the component inputs and not to the S-Video inputs, for example. There is a composite video output for a monitor in the second zone, as well as main composite and S-video monitor outs.
All this I/O flexibility means that hooking up my diverse peripherals is straightforward. Analog audio from my DVD-A and SACD players goes, via a custom made switch box, to the seven-channel input, while the digital outputs from the two devices go to an optical in (from the SACD player when it is replaying CDs) and a coax in (when the DVD player is playing DVD-Video discs). Then it’s digital optical and S-video for the satellite receiver, component video from the DVD-A player plus optical and S-video and from the multi-standard DVD-V player, analog stereo audio and composite video to and from the VCR, and finally all three video format outputs to different inputs on my Sony WEGA TV.
Before considering the rest of the installation -and the configuration of the 7200, a brief word on the remote control unit. Regular readers will know that I am very hard on the majority of remotes supplied with receivers. The reason for this is simple: I have the coolest remote you could hope to own, an original Philips Pronto. In fact, the only thing better than my Pronto would be a newer Pronto. Marantz has created remotes that are in the same league as the Pronto that they call the RC5000, RC5000i, RC5200 and RC9200. With one of these devices, you can either teach the unit how to control virtually anything (it already knows Philips/Marantz codes) or go to one of several websites (such as remotecentral.com) and download control interfaces for a vast number of common and not-so-common consumer audio components, including, incidentally, the SR7200. Apart from messing with the 7200’s supplied remote for review purposes, I actually used the Pronto to very successfully control the unit in everyday use.
All this said, the Marantz-supplied remote with the 7200 is an excellent device, in a convenient long thin package with luminous buttons that actually light up quite well, and a significantly large 1.5 x 1.75-inch LCD display that tells you what device and parameters you are trying to control (see picture).
The remote has buttons to control 11 common types of device, including the 7200 itself, and features an ingenious jog wheel that selects 10 of the current device’s parameters to adjust. The names of controllable devices can be entered into the remote (if you can reduce them to five characters) and it can learn any command the device’s original remote can throw at it, up to 330 of them. The only thing wrong with this is that if you have a reasonable number of devices, especially complicated ones like DVD players, you’ll be there all week teaching the remote all the codes. You only have to do it once, but even so, it would have been nice if the remote also had a code library for common manufacturers and devices.
One very neat feature of the system is that you can control a device by pressing its button once; press it a second time and the receiver switches to that input, so you can control a device without listening to it (or watching it), a feature I use quite a bit. Press two different source buttons in succession and the receiver will select the first as the video source and the second as the audio, which is- quite useful from time to time. The remote also allows the storage of macros.
The SR7200 has a comprehensive onscreen display, again a pleasant feature to encounter on a unit in this price bracket. Despite the usual crude fonts that everyone’s onscreen displays seem to have (with the possible exception of Philips), the OSD is stable and does not degrade the video. Main settings are also echoed in a scrolling display on the unit’s front panel and you can turn off the OSD if you don’t want it.
From the OSD main menu, you can select surround mode, channel level, multi-room setup, system setup and speaker setup. The OSD tells you when main system parameters change, such as altering the main volume or switching to a different input combination.
There are three system setup screens, which allow you to assign the five digital inputs to specific devices instead of analog (such as your CD player, DVD player or satellite receiver), and configure the DC control outputs. There are also three speaker setup screens: the first for speaker size (large or small, plus the presence or absence of speakers, including center, rear and sub), the second for speaker distance (delays), and the third for speaker level with a test noise signal (you can also tweak levels numerically from the Channel Level Control screen).
One thing I noticed is that the sub crossover frequency is fixed at 100 Hz,- a good choice of frequency. While we might find it desirable to have a variable crossover setting, it is very unusual to find that on something this price. Another screen allows configuration of the multi-room capability.
The tuner is capably sensitive on both AM and FM and includes a useful auto-preset capability that finds and stores all the signals that are strong enough to come through clearly.