Setting up a home theater system in a living room takes a lot of planning because of all the wires that need to be dealt with. Bigger home theater systems need more space because some of the components are bigger in size to accommodate larger setups. The AV receiver is one example of a component where the high-end models are very large. However, even the standard ones have to be large since there are many connections found on the back. However, Marantz is attempting a unique take on things by coming up with a slimmer design without removing the most important functions and connectivity options. The Marantz NR1601 AV receiver takes this approach and turns out to be one of the finer looking AV receivers out there.
The average AV receiver is about 6 inches thick but the Marantz NR1601 measures just 4.1 inches thick. The available space on the front is nicely utilized and the layout looks good. The display retains the average size of an ordinary receiver while the two knobs that adjust the volume and allow input selection are large enough to handle. There are some buttons on the front too along with some direction buttons that surround the input button on the center. There are some jacks on both sides of the receiver including the phones, setup mic, and aux input jacks. A USB port is present in the front as well so iPods and other portable devices can be hooked up.
Overall, this is a very symmetrical layout and there is hardly any space left for other functions so the design cannot get any thinner than this. The receiver can be placed on a shelf, cabinet, or other areas that normal receivers cannot fit into. The RMK1501NR rack mount kit is also available as an optional accessory to make the receiver rack mountable.
“So finally this thing was released earlier this month. And by the gods, it does exactly what I had hoped it would do — allow me to pair an optical input with an HDMI source. I can now run one of my computers seamlessly to my 62” DLP with full SPDIF audio! All thanks to this little guy.
One of the principal reasons that I bought this is that I’ve hated how most every receiver out there is HUGE in size. I always wished for something a bit more elegant. I discovered that Marantz would be releasing this slimline model purely by chance! Now it is mine at last… and it’s definitely the most stealthy receiver I’ve ever seen! The front panel can be made to auto-off so, right now, it looks like the unit is completely powerless when it is exactly the opposite.” – Paulmeister(Dallas, USA)
Even with the trimmings, the Marantz NR1601 still has four HDMI inputs that are conveniently labeled so users know what to hook up quickly. An ideal set up would be to hook up a Blu-ray player, DVD player, SAT box, and gaming console. If a universal media player is hooked up instead, an additional HDMI port is freed to allow something else to be hooked up. There are also a few sets of component ports to allow other devices to be hooked up.
The Marantz NR1601 is also quite up-to-date with full support for 3D displays. This means that people that have plans to upgrade to 3D technologies do not have to upgrade their AV receiver if they own a Marantz NR1601. All the HDMI ports have the 1.4a specifications so 3D Blu-ray players can be hooked up as well. In fact, this Marantz model uses a transcoding advanced video processing method to convert the older analog signals that VCRs and old camcorders use to digital signals making the HDMI cable more significant. It also has the surround sound format essentials like Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Pro-Logic IIz, and DTS-HD Master Audio making way for 7.1 speaker configurations.
A few Audyssey technologies are implanted to the device as well including the Audyssey MultEQ Auto EQ Calibration featured in many other models. This feature simply analyzes the room environment so it can automatically correct the settings of any sound configurations hooked up. The Audyssey EQ/Dynamic Volume feature makes sure that the sound quality stays at optimum even when the volume is turned down. This is useful for instances when inputs need to be changed which normally causes volume level shifts.
It is very easy to hook up an iPhone or an iPod to the receiver since there is a dedicated USB port so only a single cable is necessary. The Marantz M-DAX2 signal processing also increases the quality of any compressed music stored in the player. With the optional RX101 Bluetooth Module, the receiver can connect to various other portable devices in order to access audio playlists.
If the 4 HDMI ports are sufficient, the slim design is well worth the $600 price tag. It is a rather basic AV receiver that lacks some of the extra enhancements such as a graphical user interface but it is a fairly new device that consumers can hang on to if they do not plan on expanding the size of their home theater system.
More user reviews:
• “The Marantz NR1601 is the perfect solution for people who want excellent sound quality in a small, clean, uncluttered package. Don’t let the small size stop you from considering it as your main HT solution. The physical quality of the Marantz is outstanding: even the remote is high quality. The soundstage of the Marantz is audiophile quality when listening to two-channel stereo. Way better than my old Denon. I noticed a difference immediately. Wider sound-stage, cleaner highs, lower lows. The Marantz is the same price or more expensive than comparable models that have more inputs and pre-outs and things like that. Even so, I think that you are getting a better quality product. It is a Marantz, you know? Highly Recommended!” – D. Pulsfort (Illinois)
• “I live in an apartment, and pure power is not very important to me as I will can not crank up the volume anyway. This receiver has 50W x 7 while other (which are much bigger) have about 80W x 7 to 120W x 7. Not a big difference to me as I would not use that power. What I was searching for is sound quality, and it is what I’ve got. In addition, this receiver has an USB input which is great for music listening. I didn’t make the final setup yet, but some initial testing revealed the potential of this receiver. Sound was great even without any equalization. And finally, it is very nice looking!” – Rapha (USA)
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