Marantz SR7012 Review

Marantz SR7012 Review

Marantz’s second largest receiver SR7012 has everything on board for a full-blown home theater –
including all 3D sound decoders.

Auro 3D sound was and is only available from Marantz from the 7000 series. With the predecessors one had to go for it however 150 euro additionally. This is over now, because the SR7012 has already integrated the popular with home theater enthusiasts sound format from the factory. And that without extra charge, because more than its predecessor SR7011 (test in 7-2017) costs the new not synonymous. 1,800 euros are due, which presents the beefy receiver almost as a bargain.

However, there are still more than 9 power amplifiers, 11 built-in amplifiers are currently reserved for the receiver flagship SR8012. Otherwise, the little brother has pretty much everything on board, what a modern home theater needs – from the multi-room system HEOS on the latest 4K HDMI standards with Dolby Vision and HLG to 11.2-channel processing for full-blown 3D sound home theater. More channels can currently only Denons exception flagship AVC-X8500H process with 15.2 processing and 13 power amplifiers. However, that costs twice as much. In addition, the engineers donated the SR7012 improved 192kHz / 32bit DACs from AKM with clock jitter elimination and retuned the sound. By firmware update will soon be the new 3D sound upmixer DTS Virtual: X and the eARC function will be submitted later. With the latter, HD and 3D sound from the TV via HDMI can also be routed to the receiver.

On our rather short wish list is a radio receiver for DAB +, followed by an improved equalizer (more on that later).

Marantz SR7012 Remote Control

Well-known friends: The remote control has large and clearly structured keys. At the touch of a button, the encoder is even illuminated. The buttons for decoder selection are highlighted in color.

 

Marantz SR7012 Equipment and practice

The appearance has not changed in comparison to its predecessor, the available in black or silver gold Marantz still comes with a beefy front and the striking, centrally located display eye therefore. Again sits under the flap, a second display with higher information value, the channel matrix display can even choose between signal input and active speakers. Behind the thick metal panel – the curved cheeks are unfortunately only made of plastic – hide an HDMI, CVBS and a stereo RCA input and jacks for headphones, measuring microphone and the USB stick. The big dials for volume and source selection should sit a bit tighter for our taste, but run around.

Marantz SR7012 Rear

Well equipped: 11 pairs of speakers can be wired, 9 of them run at the same time. The 7.2.4 pre-outs allow full-fledged 3D sound, the 7.1 input is rarely found today. The abundant number of video and audio interfaces is also sufficient for XXL home theaters. The screw-on antennas ensure optimum wireless reception.

Excellent is the operation of the receiver, which succeeds thanks to informative and clear on-screen menus comfortably and intuitively – even if these often times slightly delayed respond to our inputs and thus tend to erroneous entries. The successful remote scores with clarity, large buttons and a backlight. Alternatively, the SR7012 can be controlled via the “2016 AVR Remote App” as well as the HEOS app for iOS and Android devices, which is particularly suitable for multiroom solutions.

11.2 boxes for Atmos and Co.

With 9 built-in power stages, the Marantz SR7012 fires 5.1.4 or 7.1.2 setups, due to its 11.2 processing, 7.2.4 configurations are possible when connecting 2 external amplifiers. The 4 height boxes for 3D sound can be defined as ceiling, height or Dolby-Enabled speakers and combined with each other. The latter can be positioned at the front, on the rears or back-rears. In 5.1.5 mode with Auro 3D Voice-of-God Ceiling Channel, the over-head speaker needs to be powered by an external amplifier. Unused amplifiers can be used as usual for the bi-amping or the sound of two adjoining rooms, whereby in Hörzone 2 also HDMI signals are available.

Three under one roof: the boxing setup

With the Marantz SR7012, the speaker setup for Dolby Atmos, DTS: X and Auro 3D can be varied in many ways. Up to 9.2 speakers supplied the car alone, with the help of an additional stereo amplifier even play up to 11.2 speakers at the same time.

Dolby Atmos and DTS: X also works with 4 top boxes. Auro 3D requires front heights and can not be used with this configuration.

Multiroom: The Marantz can also sound 2 adjoining rooms. In the example shown, a 5.2 set in the main room and listening zone 3 play simultaneously.

Dolby Atmos, DTS: X and Auro 3D work with 4 height boxes. In 7.2.4 mode, a pair of speakers rely on external amplifiers.

Marantz SR7012

Decoder choice: Auro 3D is on board, cross-format upmixing is possible with a few exceptions.

As in the past, all speakers are calibrated using Audyssey’s best MultEQ XT32 measurement system, with three different sound curves (Flat, Reference, L / R Bypass) to choose from. “Flat” and “Reference” can be displayed as graphics. In addition, with the 20 Euro Audyssey MultEQ Editor app for Android and iOS devices you can save as many measurements as you like, design target curves according to your personal taste and set various other parameters influencing the sound. A useful addition, as we find, especially as the equalizer in the SR7012 has some limitations.

Marantz SR7012

The info button names the input signal and shows, among other things, the currently active speaker channels.

Although the “Flat” Audyssey curve can be copied to the equalizer, the sound changes. The 9-band equalizer can also be switched on only with disabled Audyssey and only regulates between quite high 63 hertz and 16 kilohertz. The two subwoofers can not be adjusted at all.

Marantz SR7012 Surround Parametr

Under “Surround Parameter” various sound circuits can be activated, including for Auro 3D.

As already mentioned, the Marantz can boast of all three 3D-sound decoders and also their Upcomers Dolby Surround, DTS Neural: X and Auro-Matic are among the party. Cross-format upmixing is also possible in most cases, but not with native 3D sound.

DTS Virtual: X – the artificial 3D sound

3D sound without height boxes? And surround sound without rear speakers? – The new surround sound decoder “Virtual: X” by DTS should make it possible.

The name already indicates how this should work, namely virtually. So-called psycho-acoustic computational algorithms manipulate sound signals in order to fool the ears into sound sources that do not physically exist. The concept is not new, soundbars have been using the technology for years to create surround sound from a single box – usually with a rather modest result. Virtual: X goes further and wants to get immersive surround sound into the living room regardless of the number of speakers present. In plain text: music and film sound should sound like with Virtual: X also from stereo speakers similar to those from a 7.1.4 set – so the advertising promise.

Marantz SR7012 DTS

DTS Virtual: X is not activated in the SR7012, but according to Marantz “in the spring” by firmware will be filed later. The photo shows the decoder menu of the Denon AVC-X8500H (test in issue 3-2018).

Incidentally, Dolby sound is not supported by the DTS Virtual: X decoder at the behest of Dolby. Only PCM and DTS signals of any channel configuration, including DTS: X sound, are detected. However, if you change Dolby sound in the player to PCM format, you can also use the Virtual: X decoder with Dolby signals.

Video and multimedia

The video board of the Marantz SR7012 is on the latest HDMI 2.0 booth, with HDMI 2.1 we expect only in the next generation of receivers. Currently all 8 HDMI inputs and 3 HDMI outputs provide 4K / 60p support with HDCP 2.2, lossless 4: 4: 4 color resolution and the main HDR formats Dolby Vision, HDR-10 and HLG. Thanks to the video scaler, the SR7012 also converts analogue or digital image signals to UHD resolution or only grinds through them. The video section has been certified by the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and offers the two compliant “ISF Day” and “ISF Night” image modes. For personal image preferences a sensitive video controller is available for contrast, brightness, saturation, noise reduction and contour sharpness.

Marantz SR7012 HEOS app

The HEOS app has many streaming services, including Amazon Music, Spotify and Deezer.

The SR7012 also offers AirPlay, Bluetooth, DLNA and a USB port in addition to HEOS. The media player also plays high-resolution file formats such as ALAC, FLAC, WAV and DSD (5.6 MHz). Except for the well-functioning tuneIn web radio, all streaming services were outsourced to the HEOS app.

Marantz SR7012 Sound Quality

The Eco mode (“On”) reduces the average power consumption from 340 to 157 watts. With 201 watts per channel for stereo and 90 watts in 7.1 mode (each 4-ohm load), the SR7012 delivers a little less power than its predecessor, yet the performance is enough to even really large home cinemas to fire. The frequency response fell – as with the predecessor SR7011 – even with our Marantz SR-7012 test device to the highest frequencies down to 2 decibels, which costs a point, but in practice contributes to the typical Marantz sound.

The is still unmistakable for the brand in the new vote according to Marantz and played with a smooth sound that does not unpleasant anywhere. In pure-direct mode, bypassing all sound circuits, the Marantz SR7012 played extremely relaxed with the 5.1 SACD “Hell or High Water” by Sara K., loosening instruments from all speakers and creating a believable sound field. Her song sounded corporeal and colorful, standing clearly drawn between the front boxes. The Audyssey setup measured almost all values ​​perfectly, but set the crossover frequencies of our compact 40 Hertz rear speakers too low; By the way, that was already done by the SR7011.

A musical as well as sound technical treat is the concert Blu-ray “Gatti – Stravinsky / Debussy” of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in the Auro-3D-Mix (9.0). Here, the Marantz let each instrument breathe alive and take a generous place in the room, the orchestra shone in all its sonority, without facets disappeared. Equally expansive and locatable, the Marantz heard the sounds of nature in Dolby Atmos trailers. The “Powerful Bass” in the “Amaze” clip, however, had a less good grip on the SR7012 on our Nubert Sub and created unsightly fluttering noise instead of pushing bass tones out loud and full-bodied. At the bottom, we generally lacked some tightness, control and the “blackness” of pithy low tones.

Marantz SR7012 sound

2-channel playback: The menu allows you to configure a separate speaker setup for stereo operation.

In stereo mode, the Japanese coped well with any kind of music. Jazz sounded with contoured, tight double basses; Electronic beats with punch, pressure and wide-ranging synthesizers. In female vocals, the Marantz SR7012 exuded a lot of enamel and body, classic convinced with finely resolved and well-staggered instruments in a large space.

Conclusion

Marantz SR7012 offers an all-inclusive package and is comparatively cheap with 1,800 euros – for which he receives a “highlight” award. Audio and video side shows the 9-channel bolide on the current technology level and Auro 3D as a free gift is a fine thing.

Marantz SR7012 Unboxing

Marantz SR-7012 unboxing and Calibration setup

Marantz SR-7012 Quick Users Review



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