- Manufacturer & Model:
- Marantz SR7012 9.2-Channel Network AV Receiver
- 11.2 channels of processing, onboard decoding of Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D, user-friendly installation guide and Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room correction, multiple functionality add-ons including Audyssey's MultEQ Editor and Marantz's HEOS apps, powerful 4K friendly audio and video performance.
- Marantz's new SR7012 Network AV Receiver delivers high-level performance at a reasonable price point. It carries a wide range of modern features, including 11.2 channels of processing and decoding of all three immersive audio formats, for perfect integration into any modern 4K home theater system. User friendliness is boosted by Marantz's excellent Setup Assistant and Audyssey's onboard MultEQ XT32 room correction suite, along with several apps that streamline sound output and overall ease of use. Performance was nothing short of excellent, making the SR-7012 one of the industry's top AV receivers.
Buying a topline receiver isn’t for the faint of heart, especially when considering the inevitable four-figure price tag. But for those enthusiasts with demanding home theaters – or dreams of expanding to an immersive system with at least 11 channels – picking from the best of the best is the only real option. Several years ago, that meant finding one of a handful of 7.1.4 capable models and taking the plunge. Current buyers, however, are faced with a much more difficult task, searching for the perfect balance of price, native onboard processing and amplification, room correction, streaming and whole-home audio capabilities, and user-friendliness, all amongst several tiers of models manufactured by a broad range of brands. Case in point is Marantz, which now offers two pathways to a 7.1.4 receiver experience, having replaced its former flagship AVR (and only 11-channel model) with this year’s SR7012 AV Receiver while adding a new flagship design.
Due to a rather unique set of circumstances, the SR7012 has been integrated in my reference system for several months, making it one of the longest tenured review products to remain a constant in my theater room. And while the receiver doesn’t technically carry Marantz’s flagship torch, it’s every bit worthy of boasting top-tier high performance status.
Marantz, now a member of the Sound United family, entered 2018 by officially upping its immersive game. This year, the company has five receivers and processors capable of directing at least 11 channels of audio, spanning price points ranging from $2,199 (AV7703 and SR7012) to $4,499 (AV8805). Its current receiver class is headlined by the company’s first true 11.2-channel model (SR8012, $2,999), which houses 11 amplifier stages for complete standalone performance. The SR7012 also offers 11 channels of processing, but can only natively power nine, necessitating the use of an outboard amp for 7.1.4 speaker arrangements. The price difference between the two equates to $800 large, which is a huge savings for buyers that currently own a dedicated amplifier or plan on beefing up their system’s main channels with supplementary external amps.
Additionally, Marantz has removed its previously required $199 Auro activation fee on all 2018 Auro capable receivers and processors. That means the company’s new gear arrives with Auro performance ready to rock out of the box. Note: this review partially addresses the SR7012’s Auro capabilities, with a larger separate analysis of Auro-3D due to be published in the next few weeks.
The SR7012’s feature set is rich, satisfying most every major home theater performance parameter required by larger 4K multichannel and immersive sound systems. At its heart lies reference-class 32-bit AKM DACs paired with an amp section that employs Marantz’s exclusive HDAM (Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module) and Current Feedback topology for dynamic top-end sonic performance. Overall power output is rated at 125 watts per channel (8 ohms, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.05%, 2ch driven), with nine internal amplifier stages capable of natively running 7.1.2 and 5.1.4 immersive speaker arrays, along with a variety of other common configurations across three different zones. Of course, that doesn’t take into account the near limitless streaming functionality of the SR7012’s onboard HEOS technology, which allows for HEOS enabled speakers and receivers to be linked and controlled as part of a whole-home audio system.
The SR7012’s sound quality is enhanced by Audyssey’s premier MultEQ XT32 room correction suite, a package that offers impressive subwoofer equalization in addition to other DSP features such as Dynamic Volume (eliminates sudden jumps in volume), Dynamic EQ (balanced clarity at any volume level), and Low Frequency Containment (helps to control ultra-deep bass output). Audyssey’s functionality and impact is highly tweakable thanks to the MultEQ Editor app ($19.99, Google Play and iTunes), which is designed to streamline the correction process while allowing room measurement results to be viewed. It also allows owners to set target curves and directly dictate which frequency range is corrected, making it possible for an owner to only apply correction below a room’s transition frequency (roughly 250 Hz).
As mentioned, the SR7012 is rather unique because of its Auro-3D decoding capabilities. It also can decode both DTS:X and Dolby Atmos immersive sound codecs. Of course, the receiver is compatible with every popular legacy codec found under the sun, including DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD, while offering access to Dolby, Auro, and DTS upmixers for expanded multichannel and immersive audio presentations. On the Hi-Res audio front, the SR7012 can decode up to 24-bit/192 kHz ALAC, FLAC, and WAV files, as well as DSD 2.8 MHz and 5.6 MHz, in addition to well-known compressed file types (MP3, WMA, and AAC).
Inputs and Outputs
Connectivity wise, Marantz has packed the SR7012 with options you’d expect from a leading 4K receiver. It houses eight HDMI inputs (seven back, one front) and three HDMI outputs (two main, one zone), all of which support HDCP 2.2, 4K 60Hz video, 3D, 4:4:4 color sub-sampling, High Dynamic Range (including HDR10, Hybrid Log Gamma, and Dolby Vision), Audio Return Channel and Enhanced Audio Return Channel, and BT.2020 passthrough. This means the SR7012 can easily serve as an AV hub for a 4K system, perfectly integrating with all currently available UHD displays and sources without handicapping the user experience.
The backside of the SR7012 presents six sets of RCA inputs (including phono), 7.1 multi-channel inputs, 11.2 multi-channel pre-outs, 11 speaker terminals, AM/FM antenna connections, dual component video inputs, and four digital inputs (two optical, two coaxial). While the front side houses a stereo headphone jack, a single USB audio port, and convenient RCA stereo inputs (a major plus for fans of Room EQ Wizard).
Wirelessly speaking, the SR7012 carries built-in Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz/5 GHz) for networked music access (including PCM up to 24-bit/192kHz and DSD up to 5.6 MHz), the aforementioned HEOS multi-room audio technology, Bluetooth, AirPlay, and onboard access to the likes of TIDAL, Spotify Connect, Dezeer, SiriusXM, and Pandora. Owners can even link the SR7012 with their Amazon Alexa account for convenient voice command functionality.
Out of the Box
No surprises in the SR7012’s packaging department, as Marantz provides an unboxing experience on par with its status in the industry. High quality materials – including a thick double walled box and form fitting Styrofoam – delivered the receiver in pristine condition. Notable items shipped include: a quick start guide, color coded cable labels, a backlit remote control, a microphone, AM/FM antennae, and a cardboard Audyssey microphone stand.
While a full manual isn’t included, owners can gain quick (searchable) access to the manual by visiting Marantz online.
You can watch the entire unboxing process by clicking on the video below.
Initial out-of-box impressions were quite good; the SR7012 feels solid in the hands (31 lbs) and sports Marantz’s classic stylized look. The front side’s visual symmetry is anchored by two large knobs and a circular edge-lit LED display window, all of which are horizontally aligned across a brushed aluminum faceplate centered between subtly curved matte finished sides. The bottom half of the faceplate flips down to reveal a larger information rich LED display and a host of input connections and controls. As previously discussed, the backside is loaded with connection options – including quality speaker posts that accept bare wire, banana plugs, and spade connectors – that are logically labeled for easy set up. In fact, Marantz has included color coding above its speaker posts to match colors found on the provided cable labels. Nice touch.
Being a professed stickler of tangible aspects associated with high-end products, I was only able to find one shortcoming: the large volume and input selector knobs. Visually, the knobs have presence. But their tactile feedback is a tad on the light side, falling short of the smooth and heavy feel I was hoping to find.
Intuitiveness and ease of integration are huge factors when setting up a receiver, both of which are easily challenged by shelving the manual and blindly wading into new waters. Luckily, Marantz’s well designed onscreen Setup Assistant proved to be pure gold, scoring high marks for its simple user-friendly instructions and interface. The Assistant quickly guided me through establishing a speaker layout and Wi-Fi connection (along with other important tasks) before dumping me into Audyssey’s MultEQ XT32 calibration process.
The included cardboard Audyssey microphone tower was easy to construct and implement, providing height adjustability and good stability. For my particular speaker arrangement (7.4.4), I asked Audyssey to calibrate a system consisting of seven multichannels, four ceiling mounted height channels, and four subwoofers (deployed at quarter wall positions in the front and the rear of the room). My first stab at Audyssey was performed using the physical remote and the receiver’s on-screen commands. Results we’re excellent, with final channel levels set within 1 to 0.5 decibels of 75dB and – following manual boosts to the sub channels – smoothly controlled bass. Next, I reset the receiver, re-executed the Setup Assistant, and attacked Audyssey using the MultEQ Editor app. The app experience presented a mixed bag of good and bad that certainly tested my patience, largely due to several fatal communication errors that required the entire calibration process to be reinitiated. I was eventually rewarded with another great sounding setup and found that many of the app’s fine control features (e.g. quick access to speaker sizes and crossover controls, browsing basic Audyssey settings, and viewing before and after correction results) were welcomed. The app could use some polish, however, and left a bittersweet taste sizzling on my AV taste buds.
As you can see in the Room EQ Wizard graph below, Audyssey effectively smoothed bass output below 80 Hz and – most importantly – more than met the challenge of equalizing my four sub arrangement.
Pre-Audyssey = Blue, Post-Audyssey = Red
The SR7012’s menu system is lean, which makes day-to-day operation simple enough for novice users. One of the more convenient operational settings allows an owner to preconfigure speaker settings for a 2-channel stereo mode. I used this feature to set up a multichannel configuration with all speakers set to small (subwoofer crossover 80 Hz) and – at the push of a button – a subwooferless stereo setting that instantly set my left and right channels to large.
Before we dive into performance, let’s talk remotes. Users can download the free Marantz 2016 AVR Remote and HEOS apps (iOS/Android), while also having access to the included physical remote. The remote (one of my preferred weapons of choice) deserves praise, as its easy-to-activate backlighting is perfect for a dark theater room environment. And Marantz’s chosen button assignments help to keep the user experience streamlined, with hot button access to audio modes, sources, and other frequently used features.
Equipment used during this review included an iPhone X, a JVC RS520 4K projector, OPPO’s UDP-205 4K Blu-ray Player, an Emotiva XPA-5 amp (for additional height channel support), dual SVS SB16 subs, dual Power Sound Audio XS30 subs, four SVS Prime Elevation speakers, two SVS Ultra Surrounds, two SVS Ultra Bookshelf speakers, two SVS Ultra Towers, and a single SVS Ultra Center channel.
Screenshots of Marantz's HEOS app
Marantz’s SR7012 is a true system anchor that allowed my reference home theater to shine, managing its 7.4.4 speaker array to absolute perfection. The short end of demo sessions was excellent audio laced with clarity and detail, and crystal-clear HDMI video performance that worked flawlessly with a 4K capable projector.
It’s worth highlighting Marantz’s HEOS technology, a platform that allows for wireless streaming between devices, HEOS enabled receivers, and HEOS speakers. While I didn’t test streaming between the SR7012 and a HEOS speaker, I did download HEOS app for access to streaming music accounts directly available on the receiver.
Unlike my rocky Audyssey app experience, the HEOS app delivered five-star performance from install to playback, providing convenient control of the SR7012’s power, zones, source selection, volume, and audio modes. It also opened access to numerous streaming services (Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music, TIDAL, and Sirius XM, just to name a few), USB media, networked music servers, and music stored on my mobile device.
The app made switching between sources simple and quick, and its interface provided logical integrated control over linked content found on streaming services; searching for music and accessing favorites was notably easy on TIDAL. Also, both volume and audio mode controls are embedded into every source interface within the app, allowing for quick switching between various modes and volume adjustments. The ease of these controls led to endless hours of sound mode comparisons, with quick switching between straight stereo and upmixed multichannel music playback.
The SR7012’s stereo capabilities are phenomenal, with solid 2-channel performance across streamed, USB Hi-Res, and disc-based sources. I dove in head first with the Aphex Twin’s Syro “minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]” (TIDAL) and was showered with razor sharp dynamics and a sound stage that seemed to explode in all directions. All the little details of the song popped to delightful levels. I had a similar experience with John Bellion’s The Human Condition (CD). “Overwhelming” proved to be a veritable feast for the ears, largely because its sonic soundstage was mesmerizingly organized, squeaky clean, and punctuated by taught bass right to reference levels. And then there was a waltz through Bruno Mars’s catalog (TIDAL), which had sounds during the hit “Locked Out of Heaven” crawling down my walls.
Two particular albums stood out as musical highlights during my stereo demo romp. The first being the Bleachers MTV Unplugged (TIDAL) release, which exploded into my theater room with pinpoint sharpness, utter liveliness, and amazing realism. From “Let’s Get Married” to the final “I Wanna Get Better,” the band’s acoustic presence and the venue’s adoring crowd were transported into my room with a just-like-being-there presence. The SR7012 pushed clarity right to my ears’ volume tolerances. The second standout listen was Skrillex’s Recess release (CD), which was loaded with striking imaging, a mesmerizing soundstage, and a perfect balance of bass, midrange, and high frequencies. This has been a long-running favorite demo disc in my rotation, and this particular listening session was simply fantastic.
While I spent quite a bit of time exploring the SR7012’s playback capabilities using straight stereo settings, I also dabbled with multichannel upmixing via Dolby Surround, DTS Neural:X, and Auro 2D Surround. Of the three, Neural:X proved to be my least favorite, with sound frequently lacking composure in the front soundstage arena and overly distracting side surround activity. Dolby Surround was more pleasantly subdued, but the true star of the show was Auro’s 2D Surround technology. Auro’s ability to keep front soundstage imaging composed and intact made for a true stereo-like experience, while introducing a wrap-around effect that was less distracting and more ethereal. For buyers that enjoy the benefits of music upmixing, the SR7012’s Auro 2D capabilities are a real bonus and a solid selling point (something that the direct competition – outside of Denon – simply can’t claim).
My investigation of upmixing capabilities bled into movie evaluations, with the included Dolby immersive upmixer igniting 5.1 and 7.1 channel films into fantastical domes of sound. In fact, Dolby’s faux-immersive technology helped to deliver realistic height channel activity to the likes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Blu-ray) and Wind River (Blu-ray). To my ears, it was extremely difficult to hear notable quality differences between upmixed films and those encoded with true Atmos tracks.
The SR7012’s ability to manage a multi-channel film attack – even at reference levels – is on par with the best I’ve heard, helping to lead my theater room into ear-bending states of immersion. Pinpoint bass activity, such as the deep thuds of terror found throughout IT (4K UHD) and the massive foundation cracking explosions of Deepwater Horizon (4K UHD), were controlled to beautifully precise levels. Marantz deserves recognition for its choice of LFE control and – much like the inclusion of Auro 2D upmixing – buyers should consider it to be another high-level selling point.
The receiver’s Atmos and DTS:X capabilities also performed as expected. My ears were abuzz with the terrifying immersion of Sully’s (4K UHD) airplane crash scene and the utter chaos of explosions found throughout The Expendables (4K UHD). And, equally important, the SR7012 didn’t introduce any abnormal delays due to HDMI handshake issues when 4K UHD Blu-ray films were viewed. In addition, video passthrough of both 4K UHD and standard Blu-ray media remained crystal clear and error free.
While the Marantz SR7012 isn’t technically slotted as the company’s top receiver, it possesses the intelligence and performance one would expect from a true flagship design. Owners are provided access to an array of 4K friendly HDMI connections, the convenience of various wireless and HEOS streaming options, Audyssey’s excellent subwoofer EQ, 11 channels of processing, and the added benefit of onboard support for Auro’s sonic technologies. The receiver’s audio and video performance capabilities are top-flight, and Marantz’s take on user-friendliness makes the SR7012 a dream to integrate and use. Taking those factors into account, it’s entirely impossible not to give the SR7012 a resounding stamp of approval. Highly recommended.
Marantz SR-7012 Specifications
Amplifier and Processing
- Number of Poweramps: 9
- Power Output: (8 ohm, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive) 110 W
- Power Output: (8 ohm, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.05% 2ch Drive) 125 W
- Power Output: (6 ohm, 1 kHz, 0.7% 2ch Drive) 165 W
- Power Output: (6 ohm, 1 kHz, 10% 1ch Drive) 235 W
- Max Number of Processing (Preamp) Channels: 11.2
- System Remote Control: RC036SR
- AM/FM Tuner: Yes
- DTS HD Master / DTS:X: Yes
- DTS Neo:X / DTS Neural:X: Yes (11 channel)
- DTS Virtual:X: Yes
- Dolby TrueHD / Dolby Atmos: Yes
- Dolby ProLogic llz: No
- Dolby Surround: Yes
- Auro 3D: Yes
- Audyssey DSX: yes
- Multichannel Stereo: Yes
- Discrete Power Amplifier: Yes
- Power Transformer: Toroidal / EI EI
- Current Feedback Topology: Yes
- Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Modules (HDAM): Yes
- Pure Direct: yes
- Clock Jitter Reducer: Yes
- Gold plated RCA terminals: Yes
- Composite Inputs / Outputs: 3+1 / 2
- Component Inputs / Outputs: 3 / 1
- HDMI Inputs / Outputs: 7+1 / 3
- Analog Inputs / Outputs: 5+1
- Phono (MM) Input: Yes
- Digital Optica Inputs: 2
- Digital Coaxial Inputs: 2
- Multi-Room Analog Outputs: 2
- Multichannel Pre Outputs: 11.2
- Subwoofer Outputs: 2 (independant)
- 7.1 Multichannel Inputs: Yes
- Speaker Terminal: Gold Plated Screw
- Number of Speaker Terminals: 11
- Speaker A / B assignable
- Bi-Amp Drive assignable
- Multi-Room Speaker Terminal assignable
- Front Inputs: Audio / Composite / HDMI / USB
- Front USB Audio: Yes
- Ethernet Ports: Yes
- HEOS Multi-room and Streaming: Yes
- Network Audio Sharing: Yes
- Wi-Fi: Yes
- Bluetooth: Yes
- Dimensions with Antenna Up: 17.3 x 16.2 x 7.3
- AirPlay Audio Streaming: Yes
- Internet radio (TuneIn): Yes
- Spotify / Pandora / SiriusXM / TIDAL: Yes
- Compatible with Remote APP for Smart Phones Marantz 2016 AVR Remote
- Compatible with Remote APP for Tablets Android / iOS / Amazon Kindle
- Audyssey MultEQ XT32: Yes
- Audyssey Dynamic EQ / Dynamic Volume: Yes
- Audyssey LFC: Yes
- Compressed Audio Enhancer (MDAX2): Yes
- Lossy formats (MP3 / WMA / AAC): Yes
- Lossless formats (FLAC / ALAC / WAV): Yes
- Lossless formats (FLAC HD 192/24 / WAV 192/24 / ALAC 192/24): Yes
- DSD Audio Streaming up to DSD5.6
- FLAC HD 192/24: Yes
- WAV 192/24: Yes
- ALAC 192/24: Yes
- HDCP2.2 Support: Yes
- Video Conversion Analog: Yes
- Analog to HDMI Scaling: 480i/576i up to 4K 60/50
- HDMI to HDMI Scaling: up to 4K 60/50
- GUI Overlay on HDMI: Yes
- HDMI: 3D / 4K / CEC / ARC: Yes
- Enhanced ARC: Yes
- HLG / Dolby Vision: Yes
- 3D Signal Pass-Through: Yes
- 4K Signal Pass-Through / Scaling / GUI Overlay: Yes
- HDMI Pass-Through in Standby Mode: Yes
- Picture Adjust / Noise Reduction: Yes
- CEC: Yes
- DSD Audio Capability: Yes
- Audio Return Channel: Yes
- Auto LipSync: Yes
- Gapless Playback (FLAC, WAV ,ALAC ,DSD): Yes
- Weight: 31.1 lbs
- Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior AdminStaff MemberThread Starter
- Jan 20, 2017
- Likes Received:
- Balt/Wash Metro
AV Equipment List
- Yamaha RX-A3050
- Emotiva XPA-5
- OPPO UDP-203
- SVS Ultra Towers
- SVS Ultra Center
- SVS Ultra Surround
- SVS Ultra Bookshelf
- SVS Prime Elevation
- dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
- Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
- JVC RS520
- LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, OPPO Sonica
- SVS Prime Elevation
- Carada Cine-White 0 gain