posted on Tuesday, 8th December 2015 by Steve May
AWE has scored quite a coup signing up exclusive distribution rights for the Marantz SR5010 in the UK and Ireland. Securing a class-leading AV receiver like this for the custom install channel is no mean feat. The SR5010 is well equipped for next generation of home cinema, offering both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support. But that's only half the story...
Marantz SR5010: Specification
The receiver is a seven channel design, which means you can opt for a classic 7.2 surround install or 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos. The model is ready for DTS:X as and when the firmware becomes available. Auro-3D is not an option. When it comes to brawn, it's rated at 180W per channel into 6ohm, 100w p/c into 8ohm.
Connectivity is excellent. There are two HDMI outputs and seven rear-facing inputs, plus a front fascia addition parked alongside a USB port. The HDMI board has selectable pass-through and offers HDCP 2.2 on all inputs with 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 resolution support, plus HDR and BT.2020 compatibility. Legacy connections include two component ins and one out, a quartet of stereo analogue inputs and a set of 7.1 audio phono inputs – the latter is increasingly something of a rarity but certainly adds to AVRs versatility. There’s also 7.2 channel pre-outs, if you want to use the AVR with additional power amps in a more expansive channel configuration. There's second zone analogue audio support.
Control options include RS232, a 12v trigger and IR flasher. It's this level of provision that makes the SR5010 a solid choice for custom installers.
In addition to wired Ethernet there's Wi-Fi (as evidenced by the two erectable aerials on the rear), but perhaps frustratingly there’s no dual band 5GHz support. AirPlay is onboard.
Marantz SR5010: Design and features
Cosmetically, the Marantz offers few surprises – and that’s a good thing. All the familiar company design tropes are present: the wee-small circular display window, curved fascia cheeks and twin Volume and Input Selection dials. It also benefits from the familiar Marantz graphical UI – which now handholds during setup with a very firm grasp.
The receiver employs the Audyssey MultiEQ XT calibration system, which allows multiple listening positions to be balanced and calibrated in one swoop. Once completed you can opt to run with the balance, in Reference or Flat (ugh) modes, switch off altogether, or run a calibrated setup while bypassing the main L/R speakers.
I have a love hate relationship with Audyssey, even to the point of flipping endless between modes depending on content – which is obviously not sensible behaviour. With Audyssey Off the receiver occassionally sounds a tad honky, but without calibration can have more attack and verve. Ultimately much depends on the speakers and room used; experimentation is the key.
There's also Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume, options which generally are best left Off. In addition to Internet Radio there's also Spotify Connect and a DLNA 1.5 compliant network/USB media player to stream DSD, FLAC and AIFF, amongst others.
The Atmos decoder with Dolby Surround upmixer will take any non-Atmos encoded soundtracks and redistribute elements to the Atmos height channel. When DTS:X arrives, a Neural:X upmixer will do much the same thing. Conveniently, DTS:X will work with the standard Atmos speaker configuration.
Marantz SR5010: Performance
The SR5010 does everything you’d expect of a sub-£1K AV receiver. It’s just the ticket for an accomplished ten seat(ish) theatre build.
The opening bombing raid from Unbroken (Blu-ray, Dolby Atmos) is fast becoming a demo favourite. Incoming American planes hove in from the distance as they close in on their Japanese island target. The sequence is all about huge dynamics and whiplash steering. When the flack opens up it’s clear the SR5010 doesn't really quite manage the former (you're gonna need a bigger boat), but the latter presents no problem at all. As strafing Zeros shoot up the screen, the soundstage is awash with metallic mayhem.
The receiver features the latest Marantz HDAM preamp. Kaneda, the opening track of the DVD-A Symphonic Suite Akira, is a multichannel percussive tour de force. A carefully orchestrated cacophony of wooden and metal instruments, driven by rhythmic chants. The SR5010 has the power to propel the piece forward, just about keeping the edges from fraying at the seams.
The multichannel 5.1 mix SACD release of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust allows the SR5010 more room to breath. All channels bob with It Ain't Easy; from the ping pong opening to singalong chorus, it's classic charmer. When playing multichannel music, the Audyssey L/R Bypass mode proves the most effective, retaining the key characteristics of the main stereo pair. For two channel playback, it's tempting to simply turn it off altogether.
Where the SR5010 surprises is in its lightness of touch. Brandenburg Concerto No 3 in G Major (Linn Records), a 24-bit 96kHZ Studio Master, is a vigourous layered field of violins, violas and cellos.The orchestra is crisply delineated. You get the sense that the SR5010 is a lot happier here than at the Nippon Budokan with BabyMetal. Oxygene Part IV, (Linn Records) FLAC 24-bit 48KHz, is positively velveteen. DSD 2.8MHz, played back from USB, is a feast of detail.
Marantz SR5010: Verdict
There’s no doubt that the Marantz SR5010 is a multitalented performer. It shines when it comes to connectivity and control, and the feature spec is bang on the money. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatibility are a must have for any home theatre install in 2016, and there’s (just) enough juice on tap to move modest theatre rooms. But where it really surprises is in its well-rounded audio performance. This is a surprisingly refined sounding AVR, making it a fine choice for movie watching music lovers. In all, highly recommended.
The Marantz SR5010 AV receiver is available now.
Retail price: £749
The Marantz SR5010 is exclusively distributed by AWE. For more stories about AWE’s product portfolio and services, visit our partner page here.
Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics
industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.