|Marantz SR8001 Receiver|
|Home Theater AV Receivers AV Receivers|
|Written by Ken Taraszka, MD|
|Thursday, 01 November 2007|
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Music And Movies
To test the Marantz SR8001 out on some two-channel audio, I opted for Muse’s Black Holes and Revelations. The song “Supermassive Black Hole” gave me all I could want. The eerie nature of the vocals and full fill of the background was excellent. This disc is unusual, in that some things such as the deep bass groove are very well recorded, while other parts of the song are heavily distorted. The Marantz kept everything as it was meant to be. The Basis 150 sub did a solid job holding the deep bass lines together, while the highs remained smooth. This alone is impressive, as this is an album riddled with upper end and for a receiver to do it smoothly is rare. “Soldier’s Poem” continued to show the smooth detail of the highs the SR8001 can reproduce, while keeping it separate from the deep bass line and giving all the elements plenty of air to breathe. The soundstage produced by this set-up was very wide and pleasant to listen to. I never felt the sound to be fatiguing and truly enjoyed listening to music from the Marantz. The echoes of the flamenco guitar at the start of “Hoodoo” were great and the depth of the lowest notes was clearly covered. The vocals freely came from the center of the soundstage and had great warmth to them at the start, escalating in stress and edge as the song continued. The acoustic guitar at the end of the track was amazing.
Next I cued up the concert Blu-ray disc of Nine Inch Nails Live – Beside You in Time (Interscope) to test the receiver’s true capabilities. I ran uncompressed 5.1-channel PCM audio directly to the SR8001 via the HDMI output of my Samsung BDP-1200 for this piece. The song “Terrible Lie” had sounds coming from all over the room and the loud passages exhibited intense dynamics, even at extreme listening levels. The chaos of sound in “Wish” was amazing. Every note was appreciable and the explosions of sound were off the charts. The Marantz SR8001 treated me to extreme volume with clarity during my playing of this disc, at levels I’d not have expected from a simple system.
I started off movie watching with the DVD The Last King of Scotland (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment), a fictional film about the rise and fall of real-life Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. This movie is full of everything from remote jungle scenes to intense battles and the Marantz gave a solid presentation thoughout. The jungle sequences accurately portrayed the subtle nuances of rustling of leaves, giving the feeling of being in the bushes. The intense explosions during the attacks had authority and excellent dynamics. Planes flying overhead smoothly passed across the room and African background music filled the room. Voices were clear and easily discerned, even during the chaotic scenes. I tried to compare the scaling of the SR8001 to my Denon 5910CI, but both of these, when run to 480p, also went through the processor of my Panasonic plasma, so I was unable to truly compare them. However, I saw no difference between the two.
Due to some changes in my systems, I swapped out the Samsung BDP-1200 for my Sony BDP-S1 and connected it via the HDMI cable. I fired up the Demi Moore classic G.I. Jane (Buena Vista Home Entertainment) on Blu-ray. I ran the audio via uncompressed 5.1 out through the HDMI cable to the SR8001 and occasionally switched back and forth between that and the Dolby Digital feed. The scene that really impressed me was the essay sequence, where the thunderheads fill the soundstage and are sharply contrasted by the opera music used to put the trainees to sleep. The rumble of the thunder was wonderfully realistic and the aria had great timbre to it. When I compared the uncompressed 5.1 feed to the Dolby Digital, the sound closed in and sounded compressed with the Dolby Digital track, it just didn’t have the life and air of the uncompressed feed. Later in the film, during the training scenes in the rain, the falling drops seemed very real. Rain and crickets filled the room and in fact expanded beyond it to make for a lifelike experience. Explosions and gunfire tracked well across the soundstage and carried great attack and weight, while the vocals remained clear. The video through the SR8001 was as good as when connected directly to my display.