A little background first, I have been playing around with separates for over two years. My previous Anthem AVM50, and Cary 11a were both quite good. While the Anthem offered oodles of options for...
A little background first, I have been playing around with separates for over two years. My previous Anthem AVM50, and Cary 11a were both quite good. While the Anthem offered oodles of options for inputs, my heart fell for the Cary with it's more conviencing sound. I would have liked to try a AVM50v...but now none of that matters. I have found a fantastic workhorse in the Marantz AV8801.
There are a number of cool inputs and streaming options available on the Marantz. A wide selection of control can be had from the remote App, though it comes with some effort for those not use to apps in general like myself (remotes have been my domain till now). A new limitation in my life with the Marantz is the removal of a SPDIF out (Coax and TOSLink). There are four zones potentially. Three HDMI out, though I only use one. And of course eleven balanced (XLR) and eleven unbalanced (RCA) outs.Two subs can be connected and both can be individually set. Lovely!
I consider myself more of butt man, than a ta-ta man. And when it comes to Audio over Video, it is Audio that turns my crank. Which is good because I just leave the video alone to pass through, so I won't get into that, I love my Epson 6010 and trust it. One day I will calibrate.
Audio is my core. And though my speakers are not top of the line or even audiophile midrange, I have fantastic hearing, and they bring me what I want for now. I drive the L, C, R, with 400 watts, I send 200w to the bass drivers and 200w to the mids and highs. I use two channels per the front three main speakers. Every other speaker gets 200w alone. I use a total of fourteen channels, three amps, to drive the speakers. I essentially can hear the breath of pianist during two channel, and the wind in most movies. I love the subtle details, they are addicitive. Once you hear something for the first time in a movie you already know so well, it drives you to seek out more detail in familiar content. I truly feel suspension of disbelief, I am lost frequently in a story.
It is being lost that too can become a much sought after place of escape. For two hours or more I belong to the director, and every story is much more involving for me when the audio draws me in. You can see a beautiful woman sometimes at store as you walk by, and even though you hear nothing you appreciate her beauty, but keep walking. Now on the other hand, give me a beautiful voice (and a good conversation) and I will stop and listen all day to her...even if she tells me to take out garbage and take down the Christmas lights. Not that I am saying my wife is better to be heard, than seen. She is very beautiful too, but perhaps this hole is deep enough now.
Using the Marantz is easy and intuitive enough for those who have navigated a setup menu more than once. I find it layed out easily. I am a no fear type owner. If I want to know what a setting does, I turn it on. If I dislike the effect, I turn it off. That said, I prefer more often than not to enjoy purity. And this baby has boat loads of that! Sound is clean, and filled with wonderful surprising details. I won't tell you it is warm, or coloured, or has the taste of oak nuts. I can't imagine why it would matter. I do enjoy the sound. It is substantial improvement away from my Cary, but most keenly in the quiet background. Dark quite moments are just that.
I am not sure if this helps at all so far. So this is my final thought to leave you with, I can say with a great deal of accuracy we rarely change the volume. The dynamic range is consistant in my theatre. I expect voices to be voice level, and gun shots to scare me. The inclusion of wides and heights has been such a new experience with Neo:X that my wife and I have both found ourselves with quicker heart rates and sweaty palms during movies that are favorites. The intensity in the movie is something I have never felt during playback before. I equate it to true terror, or a message from your nervous system that you are in danger...REACT!!! When Tom Cruise jumps from the sky scraper in MI:4 I cringe. When Batman punches his way through the group of goons in Hong Kong, I flinch. Hell, as the little red sports car in Cars races by I get pumped. We found the intensity has doubled, or trippled. And we now, have turned down our reference of volume to lower than before. I will still move it up for some guy's nights. But it is a very intense experience.
So, yeah...I like the new Marantz AV8801. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in fully maximizing their theatre. It is fun to be in there. I wish I could retire just to watch movies!