If you're looking for a slim AVR that maintains a certain level of quality, Marantz has a solution for you—the NR1604 and NR1504.
We begin with the NR1604, the more fully equipped of the two. It offers seven channels of amplification, letting you choose between a 7.1 system, dedicating all the channels for movie watching, or 5.1+2, which lets someone watch a movie in one room in 5.1 while someone else uses the two extra channels for listening to music in another room simultaneously.
The NR1604 also sports an impressive seven HDMI inputs and five analog video inputs, and it offers 3D and 4K pass-through. For those who might be wondering, this model also upscales both high-definition and standard-definition source material to 4K. Not bad for $650.
The more modest NR1504 offers 5.1 surround sound with no 4K pass-through and no 4K upscaling. It includes six HDMI inputs, with one on the front of the unit. With no 4K video scaling and two fewer channels, it comes in at $500.
Marantz has included Airplay with both new units, an upgrade from last year's corresponding models. This lets users stream music wirelessly from iTunes on a Mac or PC as well as any iOS device on the network. Plus, they both offer thousands of Internet radio streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify and SiriusXM. Marantz does not offer built-in WiFi or any adapters for it; the Ethernet port is the only way to access content over the network.
There is a USB input, which can be used to play MP3s on an external storage device. Both units also have a cool feature called Marantz Setup Assistant, which helps you get up and running easy and efficiently using a graphical interface.
Marantz hasn't announced any ship dates for these units, but we are expecting them some time in the late spring or early summer.