Marantz NR1605 AV-receiver

The Marantz NR1605 is the most recent upgrade to the increasingly popular slimline AVR line of the brand. With revenue of traditional home cinema receivers shrinking faster compared to the crown jewels of a skinnydipping Inuit, AV brands happen to be looking for ways to curry favour with disenchanted cinemaniacs. One alternative would be to add Wi Fi and Bluetooth, the other would be to adopt a skimpier form factor. Here Marantz has done both.

A cursory glance might suggest there's not much else to separate the Marantz NR1605 version from its NR1604 forerunner. The chubby-cheeked makeup look not changed, matching other separates from the brand. There's still just one HDMI output signal, though. The rear also offers three composite video inputs, two component inputs and a trio of stereo connectors plus single optical/coaxial digital input signals. There are stereo pre-outs for a second zone and also the primary stereo pair. A front fascia USB may be used to stream music files from any drive that was linked.

The receiver now supports 4K 60Hz HDMI 2.0 passthrough via those rear HDMIs, expecting a time when you will really have a 2160p source, and offers 4K upscaling (to 30Hz) should you not trust your screen to do the job for you. This optimistically includes 4:4:4 colour space support.

Other connections include M-Xport and Ethernet accessory dock with 6v electricity output signal. Speaker binding posts are chunky, and there is a pre-outside for the front left/rights. System integrators can take advantage of the 12V trigger output signal. If you do not desire a 7-channel speaker settings, you can opt to run 5.1 in a main room and stereo to a second zone, or biamp your main stereo pair.

Of course, the biggest difference from last season's model is the supply of integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which shows itself in the kind of double pop up aerials. You could get away with keeping the aerials recessed, although in truth these erections rather undermine the receiver aesthetic that is traditional. Nevertheless, the Marantz 1605's Wifi doesn't see 5GHz networks, just 2.4GHz.

The system's user interface is glossier than an otter's pocket. In the outset, the NR1605 guides you through settings, gradually prompting Audyssey calibration, which comes MultEQ flavoured and sources, as well as speaker set up. This necessitates multiple position measurements to calibrate levels, distances and settings that are related. While a cardboard microphone stand contraption is flatpacked, you will be better offer by means of a camera tripod when you have one (the microphone has a standard tripod bush), as it is possible to measure at precisely the correct height for your own seating.

Going on a Audyssey

I am slowly warming to the versatility of MultEQ. Although I discovered conquering it altogether can lead to a somewhat fuller and sometimes exciting sound here the chief Reference setting does a strong job.

James McAvoy's opening monologue to Filth (Bluray) provides a good comparator. McAvoy appears to be standing nearer to the mic, with MultEQ participated he moves back, his diction apparently becoming a little clearer, with Audyssey MultEQ away.

When the pirate skips make their first strategy on Captain Philips (Blu-ray), Henry Jackman's score picks up tempo, pitter pattering across the front soundstage. With Audyssey MultEQ on Reference placing, the sea spray is not narrow, the voices of would be assailants fighting to be heard in the mixture. Turn MultEQ to Flat, where sound calibration is optimised for a slightly smaller listening room, as well as the combination is better acted, almost clinically clear. Turn MultEQ off completely and also the actions becomes a great deal more heavy, and the seas harsher. Though fundamental dialogue stays clear, switching to MultEQ Left/Right Bypass, the soundstage retains weight in the stereo pair.

During playback, a helpful Info button pulls up a picture diagnostic, showing source, sound way, sign format (FLAC etc), Audyssey style and active speaker map.

Power on tap

It does seem a tad more dynamic than its forerunner, while the NR1605 won't blow the bloody doors off. The powerplant rated into 8ohms of the AVR, is agile. As Vin Diesel races through the gears at the beginning of Fast & Furious 6 (Bluray), the NR1605 does not have any problem keeping pace and accelerating hard.

Network ticks the right boxes. The model supports Spotify Connect is AirPlay compliant, and has internet radio services registered. The latter are divided into types and location, as is the standard. For bitrates wouldn't go amiss, I can't help feeling a filter.

File support is broad, together with the receiver playing AIFF, MP3, FLAC WMA, AAC, ALAC and 192KHz from a network NAS. DSD (2.8MHz) plays with extreme clarity from a linked USB drive, but Double DSD isn't recognised.

Overall usability is great. HDMI passthrough means you will not need to induct reluctant relatives to the home cinema system master club, simply so they can operate their set-top box of alternative. Passthrough could be set to last input selected or a specific default. Menus are reactive and the user interface intuitive. There's an automobile standby mode which turns the AVR off when it's not used.

It goes without saying the NR1605 will handle all current, popular surround formats, including DTS-HD Master Audio as well as the Dolby TrueHD family. While it's not Atmos able, you'll be able to implement Dolby Pro-Logic IIz if you like front height speakers to back backs.

Wi Fi functionality works well. The receiver didn't drop a connection although it did need to be reconfigured after a software update. Given the choice though, I would still always choose to make use of Ethernet for networking.

There aren't any swathes of DSP to contend with. Audio presets are restricted to Music Picture and Games manners, with all- channel stereo, Dolby PLII, DTS Neo 6: Music and Virtual choices; all have various characteristics. If nothing appeals there is always Direct. A worldwide All Zone Stereo mode can governs Multiroom playback.

The receiver also manages surprisingly well having a complex classical DSD download from 2L.

Processed through the Multichannel Stereo mode, your joint will shortly be jumping. Although both Pro Logic and DTS music processing apparently don't have any awareness of tempo the AVR's Virtual surround style is likewise fun.

This update to Marantz's NR line is totally successful. There is seemingly no overt sonic penalty and also the increased characteristic spread and connectivity options make this an easy receiver to live with. Capable of dynamic stereo, an energetic multichannel performance and adequate streaming functionality, this AV receiver is a real world star. I rate it the greatest Marantz NR release.

Marantz NR1605 AV-receiver photo