Marantz has recently renovated its home theater product line, introducing the next generation of the Cinema series. The Marantz Cinema 70s, our first reviewed product from the Cinema series, despite being an entry-level model, has already impressed us with the charm of the Cinema series.
The Cinema 70s AV Receiver features a new design, GUI interface, and remote control, making the product design more refined.
Furthermore, the Marantz Cinema 70s offers a special slim design, providing the most practical core theater functionalities at an affordable price. It is an excellent choice for budget-conscious individuals.
As home theaters have evolved, AV receivers have become increasingly feature-rich and physically larger, with prices soaring. However, many average consumers may only require some of those features.
For many, core theater functionalities are sufficient, and coupled with budget constraints, having a product on the market that is minimalist, practical, and affordable would offer better value for such consumers.
For this reason, Marantz has been dedicating a spot in its AV receiver product line for the past few years to introduce slim models that cater to consumers who desire a simplified design with essential home theater functionalities while omitting fancy or rarely used features, all at an affordable price.
For instance, the NR1711 AV Receiver, launched in 2020, represented this approach. In late 2022, Marantz introduced the new generation of AV receivers under the Cinema series, featuring an entry-level slim model, which is the subject of this review—the Cinema 70s. It serves as the successor to the NR1711.
In recent years, Marantz has desired to develop into a premium brand. Their previously released two-channel audio equipment, such as the CD 60 player and the Model 40n integrated amplifier, features new and distinctive designs.
These products adopt a slim form factor with prominently featured front panels, complemented by beautiful diamond-patterned decorations on the sides (resembling water ripples). Marantz has truly carved out its path in the sea of uniform designs.
The Cinema series continues this design style, featuring a prominently featured front panel with beautiful diamond-patterned decorations on the sides, complemented by a circular porthole display screen on the front, giving it an elegant appearance.
Among the models in the Cinema series, the Marantz Cinema 70s AV Receiver stands out with its premium quality feel. Its compact height, less than half the height of many AV receivers, makes it aesthetically pleasing when placed in any setting.
Although Marantz Cinema 70s is the most entry-level model in the Cinema series, it still adopts a 7.2 channel design, capable of decoding Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D. Unlike earlier entry-level models that only support traditional 5.1 channels, this is significant because it provides 7.2 channels, allowing you to set up a 5.2.2 home theater system.
This means you can install two overhead speakers in the ceiling, creating a highly immersive 3D surround sound experience. Additionally, the subwoofer can accommodate two speakers, delivering fuller and more powerful low frequencies.
For entry-level or budget-conscious consumers, these features are already considered luxurious configurations, which the Marantz Cinema 70s can directly provide.
If you are limited by room decoration or budget constraints and cannot install speakers in the ceiling, you can pursue 3D spatial sound effects. The Cinema 70s supports virtual overhead sound functions such as Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization and DTS Virtual: X. In other words, it can simulate overhead channels using flat speakers, allowing you to experience a surround sound with height and spatiality. In this case, the additional two channels can be used in two ways.
One option is configuring a 7.2 system by adding a pair of “rear surround” speakers to enhance the surround sound behind the seating area. The other option is to utilize the built-in Zone 2 functionality, allowing these two channels to drive speakers in another area, making efficient use of the channels.
Regarding driving capability, Marantz Cinema 70s is an entry-level product, so its power output specifications could be more eye-catching. The official specifications indicate 50 watts per channel (8 ohms, 20Hz~20kHz, 0.08% 2ch) and 100 watts (6 ohms, 1kHz, 10% 1ch). However, you are setting up a system in a typical small to medium-sized living room in Taiwan. This power output is generally sufficient if you are not pairing it with particularly demanding speakers.
The Cinema 70s, despite being the entry-level model in the Cinema series, still features a 7.2 channel design capable of decoding Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D. This significantly improved compared to earlier entry-level models that only supported traditional 5.1 channels. Providing 7.2 channels means you can create a 5.2.2 theater system, installing two overhead speakers in the ceiling and achieving a heightened 3D surround sound experience.
Additionally, the subwoofer can accommodate two speakers, providing more robust and powerful low-frequency performance. These features are considered luxurious configurations for entry-level or budget-constrained consumers, and the Marantz Cinema 70s can fulfill these requirements directly.
If you cannot install speakers in the ceiling due to decor restrictions or budget constraints, you don’t have to give up on experiencing 3D spatial sound. The Cinema 70s supports virtual overhead sound functionalities, such as Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization and DTS Virtual: X. This means it can simulate the effect of overhead channels using flat speakers, allowing you to enjoy a surround sound experience with height and enhanced spaciousness.
In this scenario, the extra two channels can be used in two ways: either to build a 7.2 system by adding a pair of “rear surround” speakers to enhance the surround sound experience behind the seating area or to utilize the built-in Zone 2 functionality, allowing these two channels to drive speakers in another area, ensuring efficient utilization of the channels.
Regarding driving power, the Marantz Cinema 70s AV Receiver is positioned as an entry-level product, so its power output specifications are low. The official specifications indicate 50 watts per channel (8 ohms, 20Hz~20kHz, 0.08% 2ch) and 100 watts (6 ohms, 1kHz, 10% 1ch). However, this power output is generally sufficient for setting up a system in a typical small to medium-sized living room in Taiwan, as long as you are not pairing it with particularly demanding speakers.
Since entry-level models have certain limitations, many consumers are concerned about the expandability and upgradability of the equipment. After all, just because you don’t have the budget now doesn’t mean you won’t have it in the future. If the equipment has future expandability, you can gradually enhance your enjoyment more economically.
The Cinema 70s addresses this concern as well. It is equipped with preamp outputs for all 7.2 channels, allowing consumers to upgrade by adding a 7-channel power amplifier in the future, ensuring that the sound performance can reach a higher level without being limited by the existing power amplifier capability.
To cater to such needs, the Marantz Cinema 70s AV Receiver offers a “Speaker Connections” menu where you can select the “Pre-Out Only” mode for each channel. When this mode is enabled, the Cinema 70s will deactivate the power amplifier circuit for that particular channel, allowing only the preamp output circuit to operate. This feature enhances the audio performance and demonstrates thoughtful design. For entry-level consumers, having this functionality is already considered quite luxurious.
Regarding video capabilities, the Cinema 70s has 6 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output. Three inputs and the output support 8K video pass-through (the previous NR1711 only supported one input). The HDMI output of the Cinema 70s also supports eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), enabling playback of audio transmitted from the TV. Regarding high dynamic range (HDR) specifications, the Marantz Cinema 70s supports HDR, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and Dynamic HDR.
In addition to its home theater functionalities, the Cinema 70s offers network streaming music capabilities. It features the HEOS streaming playback interface, which Marantz has used in recent years. This lets you play internet radio, streaming platforms, and AirPlay 2. Moreover, it can be combined with other HEOS-compatible audio equipment to create a multi-room music system.
Moving on to the actual performance testing, I used our in-house reference speakers to set up a 5.2.2 audition system. The 50 watts per channel power output might be insufficient initially, but the results exceeded my expectations.
Even in a room of over eight square meters, the Cinema 70s delivered a significant sound pressure level without sounding weak. The mid-range had a slightly restrained thickness, but adjustments can partially address this. The sound feels rich and impactful by pairing the system with a powerful subwoofer that provides ample energy in the ultra-low frequencies, providing an enjoyable movie-watching experience.
During the testing process, I also found that the Cinema 70s exhibited excellent detail representation, bringing out the subtle elements in movie sound effects and completely presenting them. This outstanding performance allows for a clear sense of space and establishes a great surrounding experience.
For example, when I played the first episode of the fourth season of the Netflix series “Stranger Things,” which begins with a young boy riding a bicycle to deliver newspapers in a suburban area of the United States, this system effortlessly recreated the atmosphere of the scene. The sound effects had excellent spatial presence, allowing me to perceive the movements of the boy riding the bicycle from the left rear to the front of the seating area as he threw the newspapers toward the house.
Each impact had distinct positioning, and with closed eyes, I could easily imagine the relative positions of the bicycle and the house. The overall sound field was expansive, extending beyond the physical locations of the speakers, creating a sensation of the sound permeating through walls. It felt as if I were following the camera through the wide roads of the vast American suburbs. This brief opening sequence alone showcased the exceptional sound performance of the Marantz Cinema 70s.
Another example is when I played the 4K Blu-ray of “Ready Player One.” During the scene where the male and female protagonists go on a virtual date in a dance club, stepping into the club immediately creates a sense of immense space. The sound effects extended beyond the sides of the seating area, and the overhead speakers added a clear sense of height, resulting in a vast 3D audio field.
As the characters jumped and danced on the floating dance floor within the virtual space, the surrounding sound enveloped the entire seating area. When the 101st Legion burst through the roof of the dance club for an assault, I could hear distinct impact sounds coming from above, as if the ceiling had been shattered.
I could hear the gunshot and bullet impact sounds appearing in different positions within the audio-visual space, demonstrating precise localization and movement and a rich and captivating sound experience.
The Marantz Cinema 70s AV Receiver, as the entry-level model in the Cinema series, impresses with its comprehensive features and performance. Despite its compact size and affordable price, it delivers a remarkable 7.2 channel design, decoding capabilities for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D, and the ability to create a captivating 3D surround sound experience.
Overall, the Marantz Cinema 70s is an entry-level AV receiver with a refined design, comprehensive features, and impressive sound performance. It provides an excellent option for budget-conscious consumers who seek a home theater system with core functionalities, expandability, and an enjoyable audio experience.