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Marantz NR1508 review: The go-to receiver if you want a shorter big black box

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The Good The Marantz NR1508 offers a plethora of features and commendable performance in a compact package. Despite its small size, the receiver sounds completely at home with blockbuster soundtracks. The HEOS system brings multiroom music to the company's entry- to midlevel line for the first time.

The Bad No Dolby Atmos support and lower power than competing receivers. HEOS lags behind competitors such as Sonos and Google Cast in terms of the number of supported services and ease of use, and Play-Fi in the number of products available.

The Bottom Line The Marantz NR1508 serves up a winning combination of performance and features in a sleek (for an AV receiver) package.

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8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Sound 8
  • Value 8

When Marantz debuted its slim-line NR receivers way back in 2009, it was reasonable to assume they'd spark a revolution. Why did receivers need to be huge anyway?

That change didn't quite come, and most receivers are still big and chunky. This year Onkyo and Pioneer did attempt their own slimline units, but neither is as well-built or as powerful as the NR1508 reviewed here.

Marantz is still the original and best, and while little has changed in terms of power or performance, the NR1508 is the most feature-filled example yet. Alongside 4K HDR support on the HDMI ports, it's also one of the first receivers to include Denon's HEOS multi-room music system.

With excellent performance and discreet looks the Marantz NR1508 is still the slim-line receiver to get, but if you're willing to go full-size, the Sony STR-DN1080 is a better receiver overall.

The Marantz is available for $550 or £499, and though Australian availability is yet to be confirmed you can expect it to run AU$1,000 or more.

Two inches shorter, still packs a punch

Sarah Tew/CNET

After eight years Marantz still retains the original, distinguished NR look with only a few minor tweaks. The NR1508 features a black aluminum front panel with rounded resin edges and a pair of control knobs: one for volume and another for source selection. It stands only 4.1 inches high -- compared to the more typical 6.1 for the Sony -- but still manages to fit a large blue LED display onboard. Despite its squat height, it's still a regular 17.3 inches wide and 14.8 inches deep.

While Marantz has made some headway recently with updated onscreen displays, the NR1508 menu is still stuck in the past and not nearly much as as Sony or Yamaha. At least they've now allowed full-screen art from the "Now Playing" screen when you're streaming music.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The remote control is kind of cute (in a remote control-ish way) and offers easy access to all of the receiver's main functions.


Unlike almost every other receiver out there, Marantz's slim-line range is only refreshed every second year. The NR1508 replaces the NR1506, and with a small $50 bump comes the addition of the HEOS multiroom music system. The receiver also includes Airplay and Bluetooth, while a front-mounted USB port lets you play music files from a flash drive or charge your phone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The receiver offers five channels at 50W each, in addition to dual subwoofer outputs. The 1508 supports most surround standards including DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD, but unlike the NR1608 ($800 at Amazon), it lacks playback for height-channel standards Atmos and DTS:X.

Connectivity includes six HDMI inputs (including one on the front) with HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2 for playback of 4K and HDR media, with specific attention paid to Dolby Vision support. In addition, the Marantz offers one optical and one coaxial digital plus three analog inputs.

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