When space is tight, but you simply refuse to settle for a soundbar, a low-profile AV receiver is the answer. Two new models, the $749, 7.2-channel, Dolby Atmos-capable NR1609 and the $549, 5.2-channel NR1509 , are only 4.1” tall, so you can squeeze them into smaller spaces than regular AVRs.

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Both new AVRs handle the latest 4K HDR UHD video formats and feature the all-important HDCP 2.2 copy protection. There’s support for 4K at 60Hz and HDR with HDR10, hybrid log-gamma, (HLG) and Dolby Vision. Each model comes with one HDMI output, but with the NR1609 you get eight HDMI inputs as compared to six on the NR1509.

On the audio side, these AVRs diverge considerably in capability. The extra $200 for the NR1609 buys you two extra channels of processing and amplification, which in turn grants that the ability to render 3D immersive audio in Dolby Atmos and DTS:X formats.

Aside from the number of amps, audio specs are the same between the two AVRs; each delivers 50 watts into an 8-ohm load with 0.08% THD. And, both models tout the inclusion of a phono input, just in case you want to add a turntable to your system.

These are networked AV receivers equipped with the HEOS wireless multi-room music system. Furthermore, there’s built-in support for Amazon Alexa as well as numerous music streaming services including Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn and numerous others. There’s also support for Bluetooth plus AirPlay.

Marantz's newest AVRs come equipped with Audyssey MultEQ room correction that evens out the peaks and dips in response caused by different room acoustics. Plus, a setup assistant offers an interactive means to ensure your system is configured correctly. Furthermore, the NR1609 works with the $20 Audyssey MultEQ editor app that lets you customize Audyssey to your specific needs or taste.

Another thing the NR1609 offers over NR1509 is IP control and more generally, commercial integrator support, meaning it will play nice with home automation systems.

Slim AV receivers are not for everybody, you give up some connectivity and output power to cram all that tech into a low-profile chassis. But if the choice is between that and a soundbar, the payoff is likely to be worth the effort. So, clearly, if you have room for a larger AVR, then go for it.

However, if you do not have space for a tall box, it’s great to have options like these two four inch tall models, and in particular NR1609, which manages to pack in both 3D immersive sound and app-tweakable room correction, which are key features if you seek an elevated AV experience. Anyhow, that’s what’s new from Marantz for now.



These AV receivers are available to purchase now, here's the rundown on the features, per the press release:

NR1609 & 1509 Features
  • NR1509 boasts a 5-channel discrete power amplifier, 50W per channel (8-ohm, 20Hz – 20kHz, 0.08% THD)
  • 6 HDMI inputs—including one input on the front panel—and one HDMI output with full HDCP 2.2, ARC and CEC support
  • 4K/60 Hz full-rate pass-through, 4:4:4 color resolution, HDR10 and BT.2020, plus Dolby Vision compatibility and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG)
  • NR1509 supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio surround formats
  • Ability to decode high-resolution audio ALAC, FLAC and WAV lossless files up to 24-bit/192-kHz—plus, DSD 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz tracks via networking and front USB
  • Built-in HEOS wireless multi-room audio technology
  • Works with Amazon Alexa via the HEOS Home Entertainment skill
  • Stream Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, Deezer and many others via Bluetooth, AirPlay or the HEOS app
  • Integrated Phono input to connect turntables
  • Built-in Wi-Fi with 2.4GHz/5GHz dual band support (dual antenna)
  • Commercial Integrator support; including IP control, Control 4 SDDP, Web UI, Works with Domotz Pro and Ihiji Invision for remote room monitoring and management, Remote In/Out, Flasher Input
NR1609-Only Features
  • NR1609 boasts a 7-channel discrete power amplifier, 50W per channel (8-ohm, 20Hz – 20kHz, 0.08% THD)
  • 8 HDMI inputs—including one input on the front panel—and one HDMI output with full HDCP 2.2 ARC and CEC support
  • Supports object-based audio formats Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, as well as DTS Virtual:X height virtualization technology only with floor speakers
  • Analog to HDMI up-conversion, 1080p to 4K upscaling capability, Picture Adjustment
  • Commercial Integrator support; including IP control, Control 4 SDDP, Web UI, Works with Domotz Pro and Ihiji Invision for remote room monitoring and management, Remote In/Out, Flasher Input, Zone 2 preouts, ISF image calibration
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