Marantz NR1501

Choosing an AV receiver for your home cinema experience can be tricky. However, is the Marantz NR1501 AV receiver the answer to your technological dilemma? Marantz are perhaps not one of the best known manufacturers on the market, however, they have a good range of products on offer. The NR1501 is a entry level product that will not break the bank, but does it have the functionality one expects even at the lower end of the market place, or does it fall short and make you want to save the money for a rainy day?

Marantz NR1501 Receiver

Marantz NR1501 Receiver | More Details Opens in new window

Design

Marantz is one of the few manufacturers not to have a double thickness unit which has become the norm for AV receivers across the board. However, the NR1501 is half the height and looks no taller then an old fashioned video player. In fact, it could well be the shell of a video player which has been given a new interior to provide AV receiver capabilities. It doesn’t look bad and will certainly sit on a narrower shelf than most of its peers.

Marantz has gone for a very symmetrical front panel, which has a large control knob on either side and a mirror run of 4 small buttons, a center larger button and then 4 on the other side. There are three jack points on the front which is not always what we like to see, as this leads naturally to wires trailing from the front of the unit which does not look good. However, one is for headphones and the other two are not really required for daily use, so, on this occasion, we will let them off. The finish is traditional black, and the large easy-to-read LED display features white lettering and looks rather like a video tape sticking out of the unit as it is just a bit too prominent for our liking. Overall, we are happy to give the unit a thumbs up. The smaller design in a clever idea, and if the unit performs at an expected level, it’s going to be bang on the money for the average home user that just wants an easy set up home cinema experience.

Actual user review:
“I bought this to replace a Sony STRG810. I compared the Marantz NR1501 model to a Marantz SR6004 and the audio quality was similar except the SR6004 was a bit more full at 110 watts per channel. I also compared the Marantz NR1501 to a Harmon Kardon AVR254 and the Marantz sounded much better. I am very pleased with how warm and clear the sound quality is. The 50 watt NR1501 is more than enough to power my reference series Klipsch speakers in my living room.” – A.Philip (USA)

Features

This is a 7-channel receiver. The watts per channel are only 50 which is slightly low, but remember this is a level entry receiver, and when you consider the standard home speaker set up then actually 50 watts should be more than adequate to power them. Considering the target market this is looking to be a good unit, and we were pleased to see that the set up has been made easy and features automatic calibration. This means that for most people the unit takes care of itself, seeking your speakers and then setting the system accordingly, which is clever and is technology supplied by Marantz themselves, but there is still the scope to play if you have a bit more knowledge of AV receivers and just can not accept the presets given by the receiver. The Marantz NR1501 is not packed as full of technologies as some of the better known AV receiver manufacturers units. However, that said, what it does have performs well, and it offers up an excellent sound performance with the benefit of DTS-HD Master Audio, and the visual output is handled well by Dolby HD.

From the back the Marantz NR1501 is one of the neater AV receivers we have seen, and there are a good amount of connectors on offer, which are laid out in regimented order and clearly marked up making it easy to see what is what. On the front of the unit, one of the other previously mentioned jacks is a mini-jack which does mean that you get out of the box connectivity for your iPod or MP3 player which doesn’t offer the interface or sophistication of the USB connector, but does mean that you can instantly playback any of your stored tunes.

Bottom Line

To better this unit you will have to leave the level entry class and step up to a much more sophisticated piece of kit, but then if you wanted to do that then you are looking in the wrong place to start with! The Marantz NR1501 has plenty of connectors, so if you find your feet in the world of AV receivers and want to expand your home cinema experience, this little box is more than capable of taking it, plus you will get brownie points for bringing home such a natty little box that will not dominate the entertainment unit but sit quietly in an unassuming fashion and not spoil the decor of the room!

Average User Rating:
More user reviews:
I thought the NR1501 wouldn’t sound particularly great due to the lower power (50W per channel), but apparently Marantz greatly underrates their equipment and cuts off the rating before any distortion occurs. Whatever the reason, in any event, this receiver had the smoothest, cleanest and clearest sounding tone of all of them. I tried it side by side, with the same speakers in the store VS. the Denon 1910 and the Onkyo TX-SR507 and was continually amazed by how rich and clear everything sounded. I went with the Marantz. You can’t even come close to this quality of sound. The volume can be so low that my wife can sleep with the door open, and you can still clearly discern the voices of people on TV when using the amp. Everything balances great. Dark Side of the Moon and OK Computer sparkled with this setup (my two main reference CD’s for sound). To sum that up, get it. Unless you’re dropping 1500 for a receiving I don’t think you can beat the quality of this. As long as you have smaller speakers and reasonable sized room, this is the deal.” – W.Schmidt (CA,USA)

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Purchased this receiver after spending a considerable amount of time putting together a home theater system. Listened many receivers and actually purchased a Harman Kardon 255 from Amazon. For the price the Marantz NR 1501 blew all of these away – it has a great feature set and works very reliably. My main criteria for home theater was to listen to music and then movies second. Musically it is awesome with a warm detailed sound – the HK 255 sounded like listening to music in a metal pipe – even my wife noticed how bad the HK 255 sounded. For movies, which we watch a lot of, it doesn’t disappoint with plenty of power to fill our family room/ kitchen area (14 x 28 ft). Volume goes from 1 – 100 and listening to movies in the 50 – 60 range is pretty loud and that is from the Playstation PS3 which is a little on the low side when it comes to volume output. I have it matched to B&W M1s up front and a pair of Orb Audios in the rear with a REL T2 sub. Features wise it is excellent with enough HDMI inputs for my setup. HDMI video is passed through nicely with no loss of video quality from my PS3 as far as I can tell.” – S.Crow (CA,USA)

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