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Entertainment Technology Spotlight: Marantz Network Receivers

SES Design Group of Houston features new Marantz AV amp and receiver products

It’s one of the reasons we’re in the Home Technology profession; discovering new and recent products and introducing them to our customers! To that end, SES Design Group is very excited to present a new headphone amplifier with an integrated digital analog converter (the HD-DAC1), plus two home theater networking receivers from last season (the NR1504 and the NR1604), from Marantz, a global leader in audio technology for over half a century.

When your ears demand the very best…

After all these years, audiophiles are actually beginning to make headphones part of their everyday listening. It helps when they’re paired with a proper headphone amplifier, and Marantz has stepped up with its first such product called the HD-DAC1.

The specialty amp features an integrated DAC (digital analog converter) and has the same amplification technology as the Premium 11 Series from Marantz, promising an intense, personalized audio experience. Said to drive high-impedance headphones of up to 600 ohms, it has a three-level gain control, Marantz’s own HDAM-SA2 modules and more. Featuring optical and coaxial digital inputs, the hardware was just introduced at this year’s CEDIA Expo and will be on sale very soon. Let SES Design Group know if you need any additional information on this breakthrough amp.

In the meantime…

The HD-HAC1 reminded us of some great hardware introduced last year that also demands a spotlight. The Marantz NR1604 offers 7-channel surround sound and has AirPlay built-in for wireless streaming directly from iTunes on a Mac or PC, or from an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. It also hosts a significant seven HDMI inputs, five analog video inputs, 3D pass-through and support for next-generation displays capable of reproducing 4K/Ultra HD video. Part of that includes 4K up-conversion from HD sources using a video processor that is also able to up-convert standard definition content to HD.

The NR1604 also includes multi-zone functionality (being that the audio can be pushed from one room to another by using an additional pair of speakers). Configuration options also mean that users can opt to go with a 5.1 setup in one room and have audio play on two other speakers in a different room, making good use of the two extra channels the unit can accommodate. They can also play separately. A movie can be playing on 5.1 in the living room, for example, while someone else listens to music from speakers elsewhere.

The NR1504 doesn’t sport a feature set nearly as robust as the NR1604. It lacks the 4K pass-through and upscaling, and standard definition up-conversion. It does have AirPlay, though, an upgrade over the previous entry-level model, and an impressive six HDMI inputs, including one in the front. The NR1504 is also a 5.1 receiver, not 7.1, so rear surround speakers and powered second zone audio are out of the picture. Still, Marantz sound with Airplay and a host of inputs at a lower price point looks pretty good.

On the networking side, both units are able to stream thousands of Internet radio stations and streaming services like Pandora, Spotify and SiriusXM. Wired connections for iOS devices can be found on the front panel’s USB port, though it’s universal, so it can be used to charge non-Apple devices as well. A USB thumb drive or external hard drive can be plugged into the port to play back stored audio content. Bluetooth isn’t built into the device, so it requires an optional RX-101 wireless adapter to enable streaming from portable devices using the standard. There is no Wi-Fi built-in, nor an adapter to enable it, so Ethernet is the only option unless users want to invest in a wireless bridge.

Both components feature a slim form and a variety of connectivity options. If you have any questions about this or other Marantz products, don’t hesitate to give us a call here at SES Design Group! We have all your Home Automation, Lighting Control, Motorized Shading and Whole House Music covered, from The Woodlands to Afton Oaks to River Oaks and anywhere else in the Greater Houston area.

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