By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Mahwah, N.J. – Marantz is establishing a new top-end price point in tuner/preamp/surround processors with the shipment of the $3,599-suggested AV8801, which can be paired with the new flagship MM8077 seven-channel power amp at $2,399.
The 11.2-channel component joins the recently shipped $1,699 7.2-channel AV7701 and the $1,599 AV7005 preamp processors in the Marantz lineup of A/V separates and exceeds the price of a previous flagship preamp processor, the $2,999 AV8003, which was discontinued a few years ago, a spokesperson said.
With the new preamp processor and amplifier, the brand’s line of A/V separates consists of three preamp processors and three amps.
The new preamp processor is the brand’s first audio component with 11-channel capability and Marantz’s first component with DTS Neo:X post processing, which adds add two front-height and two front-width channels to a traditional 7.1 home-theater system. The 11.2-channel component supports Neo:X’s full 11.1-channel capabilities, whereas some Neo:X-equipped audio components in the industry support up to 9.1 Neo:X channels.
The AV8801 is also Marantz’ first product to incorporate Audyssey’s XT32 room-equalization technology and Audyssey Sub EQ HT processing, which optimizes sound for dual-subwoofer setups. It’s also Marantz’s first audio component with four-port Ethernet switch.
Like the 7.2-channel AV7701 preamp processor, the flagship features DLNA 1.5 networking, AirPlay, HD Radio, Internet radio, 4K passthrough and up-scaling with GUI overlay, 3D passthrough, optional stereo Bluetooth, two simultaneous HDMI outputs, a third HDMI out for a remote zone, and Audyssey DSX post processing, which adds front-wide and front-height channels to a 5.1 system.
Both preamp/processors also stream photos and audio from networked PCs and connect to broadband modems to stream Internet radio stations, Pandora, SiriusXM Internet radio, Spotify and Flickr.
Compared to the AV7701, the flagship model adds AM-radio band and 4K up-scaling from standard-definition sources, not just from HDMI-connected sources. The flagship also offers 192kHz/32-bit processing compared to 192/24 processing.
Other flagship features include InstaPrevue function, which lets users preview video from connected HDMI sources in multiple picture-in-picture windows. The component’s four-port Ethernet switch connects up to four networked devices, including the preamp processor, to a home network without adding a third-party Ethernet hub. Other connected sources could include network-capable Blu-ray player or game console.
Like the company’s other premium components, the AV8801 features aluminum front panel, traditional Marantz star and illuminated Marantz front porthole display.
With the launch, Marantz now has six home-theater components with AirPlay, not including such AirPlay-equipped products as the NA7004 network DAC, M-CR603 micro system and Consolette tabletop speaker.
To deliver 11 channels of Neo:X surround from the flagship preamp processor, the new $2,399 MM8077 7x150-watt power amp can be paired with the company’s $1,199 MM7705 5x140-watt amp.
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