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Marantz NR1607 review: Half-height Atmos receiver serves tall order of sound and features

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The Good The Marantz NR1607 offers elegant design and an excellent feature set in a compact enclosure. It's one of the smallest receivers that offers decoding for DTS:X and Dolby Atmos. Home theater sound is involving and music replay is excellent.

The Bad The Marantz isn't able to offer as much power as other receivers at the price. The plastic front panel and knobs feel cheap. The smartphone control app crashes often enough to be annoying. No multiroom music or Chromecast capabilities.

The Bottom Line The low-profile Marantz NR1607's bountiful feature lineup is matched with excellent sound quality, but it's a little pricey.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.6 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Sound 8
  • Value 7

Review Sections

For eight years, Marantz's line of NR receivers has flown in the face of the understanding that a receiver has to be huge to be any good at all. The latest in the line, the NR1607, continues to disprove this assumption while also stuffing an impressive amount of features into a compact box.

With Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and 4K compatibility there is very little -- apart from multiroom music -- that the Marantz NR1607 doesn't do. Performance is very good, and while it still betrays Marantz's musical bias, it's a home theater machine at heart. With a healthy number of connection options and enough power for an average-size system, the NR1607 is for people who want to keep their home theater system discrete.

The only downsides are that it's a little expensive compared with competitors such as the more powerful Yamaha RX-V681 and its own NR1506 labelmate, and the brand new smartphone control app is pretty flaky.

The NR1607 is available in the US for $699, the UK for £549 and Australia for $1,280.

Design

marantz-nr1607-07.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

Marantz debuted its slimline receiver line in 2009 with the NR1501, and followed it swiftly with the NR1601 predecessor to this review. From a design standpoint not much has changed. The NR1607 it's still an elegantly compact unit with the same dimensions that are so much slimmer than your average receiver.

The front of the Marantz is the same as we've seen from the NR1506 -- a plastic fascia with the now-distinctive resin shoulders. The LED readout in the middle is quite large, even more so than the company's SR receivers, which now use a "porthole" design.

After straining under the weight of a black-and-white user interface for many years Marantz now boasts full-color menus. It brings the company's products in line with competitors and is also slightly easier to use than before.

marantz-nr1607-13.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

The remote control is the same friendly design we've seen in previous years and which has now bled over to Denon receivers (the two brands are owned by the same parent company). The NR1607's remote has large buttons and is pretty simple to operate.

Features

Looking for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X in a compact unit? This is the one to get. The NR1607 decodes both "object-based" surround formats in a 5.1.2 configuration, which means it also offers a pair of (usually) overhead fronts.

marantz-nr1607-08.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

The NR1607 also includes eight 4K-compliant HDMI ports (HDCP 2.2/HDMI 2.0a) including one on the front. If you're looking for pass-through buzzwords such as 4:4:4 Pure Color, High Dynamic Range (HDR) or BT.2020, this receiver is primed to do it. It also includes a digital coaxial and optical as well.

As you would expect from a $699 receiver, the Marantz also includes wireless connectivity, namely Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It features compatibility with AirPlay, Pandora, Spotify Connect and internet radio, but lacks the multiroom music features, and Chromecast-built-in, found on competitors.

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