The flagship Marantz SR8012 A/V receiver is a wolf in wolf’s clothing

It’s big, it’s brawny, and it makes no apologies. Marantz introduced at CEDIA 2017 this week the Marantz SR8012 A/V receiver, and the new flagship aims to deliver the best surround sound and music experience found in any single component on the market today. What’s more, it’s one of the first A/V receivers to support Amazon Alexa voice control and Denon’s HEOS multiroom wireless audio platform.

The SR8012 and its step-down SR7012 sibling have been completely retuned by Marantz using upgraded parts and processors. While we’ll have to wait to evaluate Marantz’s new receivers to confirm whether they represent a noticeable and positive improvement in sound quality, we will note that, as a product of a corporate acquisition by loudspeaker supplier Sound United, Marantz and Denon receivers are being engineered by a 300-person team that comprises the expertise found within the Polk, Definitive Technology, and Boston Acoustics speaker brands. When more creative audio minds come together, great things can happen.

Marantz Audio

What is not subject to speculation however is the SR8012 and SR7012 A/V receivers’ preparedness for the future of home theater, or their armament of amplifier and processing technologies to support great sound. Both of the receivers offer Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro 3D object-based surround sound, supported by massive power supplies and top-tier, high-resolution 192kHz/32bit digital to analog converters (DACs).

For its part, the SR8012 has 11 discreet channels of amplification at 140 watts per channel, which can be configured to support up to a 7.2.4 surround system, with four independent height channels for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro 3D. That prodigious power is delivered courtesy a massive toroidal transformer which historically means that not only will the Marantz SR8012 A/V receiver offer plenty of headroom for explosive home theater action sequences, it will also be exceptionally, quickly, and musically dynamic, as that power can be delivered almost instantaneously — the kind of performance usually reserved for much more expensive, separate components.

The SR7012, meanwhile, offers 125 watts per channel and can power up to a 5.2.4 speaker system. Outside of the modest power drop and two fewer channels, the differences between the two receivers is negligible.

marantz sr8012 av receiver sr7012 specs performance price and receivers rear ports

Marantz is  quick to point out that every single one of the SR8012 and SR7012’s eight HDMI inputs is fully compliant with the latest HDMI and HDCP 2.2 specifications. Both models also support 4K Ultra HD 60Hz video, 4:4:4 Pure Color sub-sampling, High Dynamic Range (HDR), 21:9 video, 3D, BT.2020 pass-through, and Dolby Vision pass-through support.

Rounding out the already impressive feature set is the immediate availability of Amazon Alexa voice control using an Amazon Echo speaker or Fire TV product. For now, only basic controls like volume adjustment, power on/off, and track skipping are supported, but come November 2017, the two receivers will support recently-announced Alexa multiroom audio support through Denon’s HEOS system, allowing users to launch and power streaming services like Spotify using voice commands, coordinated and commanded by either of the two A/V receivers.

A HEOS system could be composed of multiple available Denon HEOS wireless speakers or amplifiers available now, or any new products announced in the future, as Polk, Definitive Technology, and Marantz are brought into the Denon HEOS fold. Sources for this multiroom wireless distribution could range from streaming services, to analog sources like a CD player or turntable (thanks to an included MM phono input).

The Marantz SR8012 A/V receiver is expected to be priced at $3,000, available in September 2017, while the Marantz SR7012 A/V receiver is expected to come out at $2,200, also available this month.

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