Marantz SR7013 Review
Most AV receivers have built-in streaming music functions, but many audiophiles are only used when playing movies and rarely listen to music. The problem is that the audio quality of the AV receiver is not good enough. Marantz is a Hi-Fi audio manufacturer with a long history. Regardless of the high or low price of AV receivers, Marantz will adopt the Hi-Fi design concept. Marantz SR7013 is an obvious example.
Marantz reduces the electromagnetic noise induced by the SR7013 audio circuit as much as possible and uses its own HDAM module used in the Hi-Fi source and amplifier in the front stage to make the SR7013 play music. It can show pure and delicate sound quality and make the movie sound more realistic.
4K, three-dimensional audio, and IMAX Enhanced
Marantz SR7013 is a 9.2-channel surround amplifier with a built-in 9-channel power amplifier circuit and two subwoofer signal outputs. SR7013 can drive 5.2.4 (5.1.4) or 7.2.2 (7.1.2) channel speakers. The total number of channels processed is 11.2 channels. As long as a two-channel power amplifier is installed or an “integrated amplifier with HT Bypass function” is established, it can support 7.2.4 (7.1.4).
Marantz SR7013 AV receiver continues the panel manufacturing method of Marantz “M-1 Design”. The center of the panel is made of aluminum alloy. The arc-shaped parts on both sides are made of polymer materials, combining the different resonance characteristics of different materials to suppress vibration.
With a small circular window in the middle that displays necessary information, a large input selector knob is displayed to the left-hand side with the power button below. To the right side is the volume dial and below all of this is a metal flap that hides another larger display with more detailed information as well as buttons and direction keys along with source inputs and outputs.
There are Odyssey keys to the left of the display screen. These are buttons for movie music, and game presets as well as an info button speaker switch. There’s also a quarter-inch headphone jack and set up mic jacks on the left of the video inputs. All that remains to the front of the AVR is the Marantz logo and model name.
Around the back of Marantz SR7013 AV receiver are the connections. The rear panel can be quite daunting for even the most advanced enthusiasts. So it is nice to see that morons trying takes some of the difficulty out of setting up the SR 7013 with a logical layout of connections and the speaker binding posts. The design is intuitive, and certain connection tapes are bundled together to make it easy to find what you’re looking for.
Going through the back of the SR 7013, we have the digital audio inputs top-left of the panel with two coax and two optical slots. Below these, we have the triggers with travel outs and RS-232 control port, and remote trigger slots. Further down and below these and across the center are RCA audio inputs with five inputs for stereo analog devices and one fuller stage with the ground for a turntable. You then have 7.1 inputs, 2 zone outputs, and the RCA’s are the 11.2 pre-outs.
The video connections are all positioned to the top left of the backplate. With seven HDMI inputs with extra information on the front and there are also three outputs. The HDMI has a bandwidth of 18 gigabits per second, 4k 4:4:4 compatible, supporting HDR 10, HLG, and Dolby Vision HDR. There’s also support for eARC as well as typical ARC making the Marantz SR 7013 AV receiver one of the most up-to-date AV receivers on the market.
The SR 7013 also includes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi built-in. The two antennas screw into the back of the receiver to make sure signals are strong and uninterrupted.
Versatile Music/Movie Functions
In terms of video, the HDMI input/output interface of the Marantz SR7013 is compatible with 4K/60p, Dolby Vision, HDR, HLG, and BT.2020. It can also convert SD and HD video to 4K output. The decoded output of three-dimensional spatial audio includes Dolby Atmos, DTS-X, and Auro-3D. If users only configure two-channel speakers, they can still use the built-in “DTS Virtual:X” virtual three-dimensional special effects. This content is originated from hifireport.com
SR7013 supports eARC. When using smart TV to watch online videos, such as watching Netflix videos with Dolby Atmos sound, it can return multi-channel digital audio to SR7013 for decoding. The SR7013 is also compatible with “IMAX Enhanced.” This mode can be activated when playing-related UHD BD movies enhance the energy and sound field of the DTS-X surround sound effect and improve immersion. If matched with corresponding IMAX Enhanced display equipment (such as a Sony 4K projector), the display equipment can be enhanced to reduce graininess and noise, calibrate colors with the default IMAX mode, and improve the overall picture quality.
This machine has built-in dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz/5GHz) and Bluetooth in terms of streaming function. It can not only play music files shared by NAS, PC, and portable devices when connected at home but also directly plug in USB storage devices. I have tried to connect the 3TB NTFS format portable hard disk that stores music files, and the music files can be played typically (you can use the remote control or HEOS App to select music). Using the mobile hard disk as a music library can ensure that Hi-Res music files play smoothly and are not affected by the busy network transmission at home.
The music file formats supported by Marantz SR7013 include WMA, MP3, WAV, MPEG-4 AAC, FLAC, Apple Lossless, and DSD (including DSF and DFF). The highest compatible format for Hi-Res multi-bit lossless music files is 192kHz/24bit. DSD is compatible with up to 5.6 MHz sampling rate specification. This machine also supports AirPlay 2, compatible with Apple portable devices for multi-room music playback control in terms of new functions.
The essential thing in the audio part is the Audyssey automatic correction function with the SR7013. Audyssey is the highest requirement to test 8 points near the set listening area and requires the test microphone’s height to be consistent with the ear height. The automatic correction procedure is straightforward to operate. As long as you operate according to the procedure, it is easy to complete. During the test, keep the room relatively quiet, and there should be no considerable noise interference. Otherwise, it will affect the test results. The Audyssey function can help you set the crossover point, delay, channel level, equalization, and other parameters. But if you feel that the test result is not satisfactory, you can still modify it manually to achieve the product you want.
Through the automatic correction function of Audyssey, the sound effect guarantees good sound clarity in general, and the bass is also very clean. It does not sound too exciting and exaggerated. It is not the kind of deliberately emphasized treble and strong bass effect. This kind of sound gives people a good first impression. But it is not very resistant to listening, and the ears can’t stand it after a long time. Or, when watching a movie, it feels excellent, very violent, but when it’s replaced by music, The bass becomes bloated and uncomfortable to listen to. It is precisely because this is not too exciting and exaggerated. Whether I am watching a movie or a music-like Blu-ray disc, the Marantz SR7013 AV receiver can let me watch movies or listen to music easily and comfortably.
Internal Circuit Design
D/A Conversion Circuit to make the Sound More Purified
The digital motherboard of the Marantz SR7013 AV receiver is located at the top of the back half of the machine. The primary circuits include HDMI input and output interface, digital image processing circuit, special HEOS network card, and digital audio processing circuit using four SHARC DSP chips (Analog Devices ADSP-21487).
The digital audio processing circuit also includes Audyssey’s highest-level MultEQ XT32 automatic sound field equalization processing in addition to multi-channel decoding. It can also adopt M-DAX (Marantz Digital Audio Expander) processing in the state of two-channel audio input. Optimize the sound quality of MP3, WMA and AAC compressed audio.
At first glance, the circuit layout of this unit is similar to most AV receivers. But the actual difference is quite a lot, especially in the audio circuit part. At present, most AV receivers install all the digital conversion chips on the digital motherboard. In contrast, the SR7013 only installs the DAC of the subzone (Zone 2, Zone 3) on the digital motherboard and the central zone’s digital conversion circuit (Main Zone).
It is another independent circuit board to reduce the noise interference of the main circuit board. Its digital conversion circuit board is equipped with two AKM 32 bit 8-channel DAC chips AK4458VM. The low-pass filter circuit after the DAC is composed of JRC low-noise dual OPA chips with passive components.
High Slew Rate HDAM Module for Pre-amplification
In the front-end circuit part, the Marantz SR7013 AV receiver uses the HDAM module developed exclusively by Marantz to replace the OPA chip used in most products. This module is a high-speed amplifying circuit composed of discrete components (transistor, resistor, and capacitor), which adopts negative current feedback and has broadband amplification characteristics.
The slew rate (the speed of responding to signal transients) is approximately six times that of general audio amplifier chips (3 times that of medium and high-end Audio OPA). It can react more quickly and sensitively to audio signal changes, showing higher dynamics and rich details.
The Mighty Power Amplifier Circuit
In the Marantz SR7013 AV receiver power amplifier circuit part, this unit’s nine channels all use the same transistor amplifier circuit. Each channel uses a pair of Sanken Darlington crystal 2SB1647/2SD2560 push-pull outputs with comprehensive frequency response characteristics and a maximum current output of 15 amperes.
The power circuit adopts a digital/analog separate power supply. The audio circuit is powered by a copper isolation EI transformer. After rectification, two Nichicon 15,000μF/71V electrolytic capacitors are used as the 9-channel power amplifier circuit’s filter capacitors.
Although the switching power supply board responsible for the digital circuit’s power supply is not the power supply of the audio circuit, it still adopts a low-noise design. The operating frequency is near 100kHz and far away from the audio frequency range. The audio circuit is almost entirely immune to the electromagnetic noise of the switching power supply.
The performance of Marantz SR7013 playing two-channel lossless music files is beyond expectations. When listening in Pure Direct mode, the very quiet background makes me feel the delicate texture of natural instruments without increasing the volume. The high-purity sound of SR7013 at this time makes people feel like listening to a Hi-Fi integrated amplifier.
Most AV receiver users are still accustomed to using the equalized state of automatic sound field correction and add a subwoofer (2.1 channel) in the Stereo mode. I used the Stereo and Pure Direct mode to compare and listen. In the automatically set bass mode, adding a subwoofer to sound will not affect the music’s low-frequency balance. Moreover, Audyssey MultEQ XT32 can indeed suppress the low-frequency standing wave’s excessively high energy, making the bass sound strong.
Among the four modes of MultEQ XT32, I tend to listen to music in Flat mode (including multi-channel and two-channel). It is quite close to Pure Direct. The direct and clear sound characteristics are quite similar to the professional monitor system. The high frequency is shiny and not noisy. The middle frequency is slightly warmer, moderately expresses the charm of music, and maintains high resolution. The low frequency has reasonable control, refreshing and fast.
Nowadays, music lovers listen to the music files they own and make full use of Internet streaming, such as YouTube, which has many MVs. Enjoying music in this way is different from “listening to music.” But YouTube audio is mostly AAC compressed audio with a data rate greater than or equal to 128kbps. This time I also tested the YouTube MV. The built-in M-DAX of the SR7013 has a pronounced optimization effect on compressed audio, making the original dry and dull sound richer and smoother. The sound quality is more delicate.
I suggest users try to turn on the Dolby Surround mode when playing YouTube MVs. You will find that many MVs “may” use matrix encodings, such as the official MVs of Camila Cabello – Havana and Maroon 5 – Memories. When Dolby Surround is turned on, you can hear the surround sound effect!
When playing movies using the Marantz SR7013 AV receiver, I suggest users set the MultEQ XT32 of Marantz SR7013 in Reference mode. This mode will make a small roll-off in the upper part of the high frequency, making the movie sound more like a cinema.
Watching Dolby’s test movie clip “Star Wars,” not only the sound image has a clear sense of movement and positioning, but more importantly, the explosive sound effects sound powerful.
Watching the documentary “Planet and Earth II,” the sound effects are all based on the natural environment. The SR7013 presents a visual sound effect. And after upmixing into a panoramic sound effect, the sound’s enveloping and spatial feeling will be stronger.
Compared with AV receivers at comparable prices, I think the Marantz SR7013 AV receiver has three characteristics.
The first is a straightforward and robust midrange. Although the SR7013 did not deliberately increase the super bass output to exaggerate the sense of energy, it can still show the sound’s strength and density with a thick midrange. This is the everyday practice of high-end products.
The second is an excellent sense of space. The movie’s footage of the outdoor scene makes me feel as if the listening space walls and ceiling do not exist. An open and broad sense of space, small, rich sounds are all over the room, and the sense of hierarchy from near to far is very distinct.
The third is very clear sound positioning, especially moving audio and video. When you close your eyes, you can feel how the sound object changes its position, height, and distance as it moves through space. The excellent performance of Marantz SR7013 receiver in the sense of distance and audio and video positioning makes it very good at expressing the sound effect of flying out of the picture. It not only expresses the sense of envelopment but also puts the sound beside you. The sound effects of watching war movies and thrillers are realistic and exciting.
The power and number of channels of the flagship AV receivers of all brands are almost the same. In terms of movie sound effects, each presents a different personality. Converging high pitches and exaggerating low pitches are common practices in AV receivers in the past. Most new high-end models have not adopted this method but adopted a balanced and neutral setting adjustment.
The same is true for Marantz SR7013. However, even when comparing prices tend to be neutral, SR7013 still has a distinctive character. With high-resolution and pure sound, the movie sound effect is shown in detail and realistically. With its excellent performance and reasonable price, it should be our best recommendation.