The Good The Marantz NR1403's is significantly thinner than most AV receivers. It packs in six HDMI inputs, which is the most you'll find at this price level. And despite the compact design, its sound quality is comparable to the best we've heard this year.
The Bad There's no built-in Wi-Fi or Ethernet, so features like smartphone control and integrated streaming are missing. There's also no built-in Bluetooth, so you'll need a separate device for wireless audio streaming.
The Bottom Line The Marantz NR1403 is a slim, handsome AV receiver with excellent sound and plenty of HDMI connectivity, although it lacks built-in networking.
A slim, simple receiver without frills
AV receivers, with their giant metal chassis and overwhelming back panels. The Marantz NR1403 ($400) seems like a reaction to that, with a slimline design and sparse back panel that's decidedly different than your typical mainstream AV receiver's. There are sacrifices made in the spirit of simplification, most notably the lack of any networking capability, which rules out gee-whiz features like smartphone control and integrated streaming services. On the other hand, it's well-stocked with HDMI connectivity for the price, offering up six inputs, including a front-panel port. And despite the small size, its sound quality is excellent, comparing with some of the top 2013 models we've listened to.
Overall, if you're not interested in networking (and there are), the Marantz NR1403 strikes us as an excellent value, especially if you appreciate its svelte profile.
Design: Slim and stylish
If you're frustrated by big, boxy AV receivers on the market, the Marantz NR1403 is a breath of fresh air. The difference starts with the "slimline" design that comes in at just 4.1 inches tall; for comparison, the is 6.8 inches tall. The NR1403 also just plain looks nice, with a subtly curved front panel that doesn't give the harsh impression that most of the "big metal box" models do. The one catch with the NR1403's handsome look is that while it is short, it is relatively wide (17.3 inches) and deep (14.4 inches). The NR1403 could also lose even the few front-panel buttons it has, but that's a nitpick on what is another rarity: a great-looking AV receiver.