Marantz has introduced an entry-level AV receiver for $600, that has a slim 4.2-inch tall design, but doesn't have as many features as competitors.
Marantz may be better known for its high-end gear, but the company's latest AV receiver offering is surprisingly affordable--at least for Marantz standards.
The recently announced NR1501 has a list price of $600 and it comes with the standard set of features available on midrange AV receivers these days--four HDMI inputs, onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, and analog video upconversion. The NR1501 has an onscreen display, although a quick flip through manual reveals it's the basic white text on a black screen look; many receivers in this price range now feature full graphical user interfaces.
The NR1501 is also a bit smaller than most receivers, coming in at just 4.2-inches high, but that comes at the expense of some back panel functionality--there's no 7.1 analog inputs, multizone functionality, or satellite radio connections. The NR1501 probably isn't the best choice if you're looking to maximize your features on a budget, but it does let you get a reasonably well-equipped receiver with Marantz sound quality for less than $1,000. We'll wait for a hands-on review to see if its worth the sacrifices.