A lot of A/V receivers are second only to your TV in terms of how much of your viewing space they take up. Most people may not notice, but for aesthetically minded viewers — or those with limited console space — a more compact receiver may be a better fit. We’ve long been a fan of Marantz’s smaller-footprint models, and are happy to announce they are getting even better, with two new Alexa-powered receivers hitting store shelves.
Following up on last year’s NR1608 and NR1508, the new NR1609 and NR1509 models keep the same feature set and audio quality, adding voice control on top. Both models are ready for hi-res audio, with support for ALAC, FLAC, and WAV lossless files up to 24-bit / 192-kHz, as well as DSD 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz formats. They can also act as the hub of a wireless multiroom audio system, with Bluetooth, AirPlay, and Denon’s HEOS supported. Pass-through of the latest video formats — including 4K and high dynamic range (HDR) in HDR10, Dolby Vision, and Hybrid Log Gamma — is also offered by both new units.
This isn’t the first Marantz A/V receiver to come with Amazon Alexa integration — models like last year’s SR8012 offered Amazon’s voice control service on board. To use it, just download the HEOS Home Entertainment Alexa skill, which will then allow you to control volume, playback, switch inputs, and more.
In terms of differences, the NR1509 is the more minimalist of the two receivers. It offers fewer features and channels, and is for those looking for a simple, easy to use 5.1 or 5.2-channel setup. That isn’t to say it won’t be a great audio centerpiece: This model has 50 watts per channel of power, six HDMI inputs, and even a dedicated phono channel to hook up your turntable. It also features built-in streaming service integration, with Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, and Deezer support built-in.
You’ll find all these features in the NR1609, but the larger receiver bumps up the channel count to 7.2 and a total of eight HDMI inputs. Some things you’ll find here that you won’t find in the NR1509 are support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and DTS Virtual:X object-based surround sound, 1080p to 4K upscaling, and built-in Audyssey MultEQ automatic room calibration, which makes setup a breeze.
If you’re looking to grab a compact receiver for your viewing space, you won’t have to wait: Both models are available now via physical retailers or the Marantz website. The Marantz NR1609 is priced at $750, while the NR1509 retails for $550.