AV Re­ceiver of the Year un­der $1000

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The AV re­ceiver of to­day is a long way from the AV re­ceiver of old, which pro­vided just am­pli­fier chan­nels and a ra­dio tuner, with in­puts for other sources (with up to five ca­bles per source!). HDMI has sim­pli­fied the in­put process, while the use of more ef­fi­cient Class-D am­pli­fi­ca­tion has made it pos­si­ble to re­duce heatsink­ing and there­fore size. Yet most re­ceivers are still dou­ble the height of a hi-fi stereo am­pli­fier.

Marantz is among the few to take ad­van­tage of this to de­liver an AV re­ceiver which is de­scribed as ‘slim­line’, al­though since it’s the height that’s re­duced rather than width, we pre­fer the term ‘short-ar­sed’. Both the NR1609 ($1299) and our win­ner here, the NR1509 at $999, have this use­ful size ad­van­tage, yet there’s re­mark­ably lit­tle in terms of com­pro­mise over a larger de­sign. The NR1509 has five chan­nels of am­pli­fi­ca­tion, enough for stan­dard 5.1-chan­nel sur­round sound, though not for the newer in­no­va­tion of height chan­nels, so it sup­ports Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Mas­ter Au­dio, but not Dolby At­mos or DTS:X - for those you’d need to step up to the seven chan­nels of the NR1609.

But the NR1509 is fully com­pat­i­ble with Ul­tra High Def­i­ni­tion (4K) sources, in­clud­ing 60Hz con­tent, and High Dy­namic Range in both HDR and Dolby Vi­sion, across all six of its HDMI in­puts. There are three line-level au­dio in­puts which can be used with com­pos­ite video in­puts or for au­dio sources; just one each of op­ti­cal and coax­ial dig­i­tal in­puts (per­haps the only in­put lim­i­ta­tion for some users, but you do get a phono in­put for a turntable, hoorah!).

Per­haps the big­gest bonus is that even at this level Marantz has in­cluded the HEOS plat­form, bring­ing full stream­ing abil­i­ties, Blue­tooth, AirPlay, high-res au­dio play­back, Spo­tify Con­nect and other stream­ing ser­vices, app con­trol and even voice con­trol from both Alexa and Google de­vices. The in­clu­sion of HEOS po­ten­tially puts the NR1509 at the heart of a wire­less mul­ti­room sys­tem.

The sin­gle big­gest limit over larger re­ceivers is the power rat­ing, which is 50W per chan­nel at hi-fi spec­i­fi­ca­tion, whereas larger re­ceivers quote far higher. But Marantz is one of the world’s great

JUDGES’ COM­MENT “Space-sav­ing size is just the start of this five-chan­nel Marantz re­ceiver with full-UHD com­pat­i­bil­ity plus HEOS stream­ing and mul­ti­room abil­i­ties. If you’re not go­ing At­mos, it’s a bar­gain.

am­pli­fier mak­ers, and we found those 50W chan­nels to have plenty of con­trol when driv­ing speak­ers of av­er­age or higher sen­si­tiv­ity; you might need more for tough speak­ers or a gi­ant room, but for a mod­er­ate home cin­ema set-up, and cer­tainly a lounge room with 5.1-chan­nel sur­round, the NR1509 is ideal - dé­cor­friendly, a fair se­lec­tion of in­puts, the whizz-bang ad­di­tion of HEOS stream­ing and mul­ti­room, and the ca­chet and qual­ity of Marantz be­hind the am­pli­fi­ca­tion cir­cuits. This is why we’ve re­turned to this range of ‘slim­line’ re­ceivers year af­ter year in our Awards.

More info: www.marantz.com.au

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