Well folks, I have good news and bad news for those of you with the 7001/8001 needing firmware upgrades.
The Bad news is I also sent mine in and it took me a month to get it back. And I sent mine into the biggest "Super Service Center" Marantz has in Ill. which is called Service Wide Technologies.
Brief history: I bought it new from AVS at the end of June. I immediately checked the FW, and found it to be version h50. Knowing that a member here, zapp! got his 8001 upgraded to h52 a couple a weeks earlier, I figured I could just send mine in and get it done. But the key was that he lives in Singapore! I live here in the states (S.F. Bay Area).
In any case, when I contacted the Marantz Tech. dept. and told them I wanted the latest FW, they said send it in to your local service center in Calif. and they will take care of it for you. He then gave me the 3 centers in Calif. I contacted all of them. And two days later, only one of them returned my call. He told me to send it to Service Wide as he did not have the capacity to do the upgrade. I then called Marantz back and asked if this was the proper thing to do and they said yes! I then called SWT, filled out their online form, and immediately sent it in using 2-day FedEx so I could get it back asap.
They received it on 7-11-07. I kept checking to see when they
would ship it back, they kept saying it was on the Techs. bench with
multiple problems. Long story short, I got Marantz involved 2-3 weeks
into the process, and after many emails and phone calls I finally find out from
service wide, that a service bulletin for the new firmware did not
even get posted to the US service centers until 7-20-07. And Service Wide did not even get the actual FW until after my constant "badgering" a little over a week ago. I have been in direct contact with both the main manager at Service Wide and the VP of Marketing at Marantz (Kevin Zarow) during this process, both were very stand up people and when all the facts were brought to there attention they made things happen.
So the Good News is, I just got my 7001 back (on Fri.) and it indeed has the h52 FW. Marantz and SWT were both very understanding and know that this wait time was unacceptable. And at least Service Wide now has the latest FW to upgrade the units with. Kevin Z. at Marantz said that as far as he knew I was the first one in the U.S. to have this upgrade performed. And he knows that there are a lot of followers on this board. That and my non-stop persistence, he said had a lot to do with getting this FW released in the U.S. as soon as it was. How true that is, I don't know. But, I do know this, Marantz in now HIGHLY aware of this, and if you send your unit to Service Wide Tech. they definitely have the FW upgrade!
Good luck all!