While most gadgets continue to get slimmer and more compact, AV receivers have stubbornly remained bulky, heavy, and complicated. Marantz's slimline receivers have been a welcome exception, and the company has updated its NR series with two new models, the NR1403 and NR1603.
They're both packed with six HDMI inputs and Audyssey MultEQ automatic speaker calibration, with the NR1603 adding networking features, including AirPlay, DLNA, and built-in streaming apps for Pandora, Sirius/XM, and Flickr. Here's a detailed breakdown of both receivers' feature set:
Key features of the Marantz NR1403:
Key step-up features of the Marantz NR1603:
CNET didn't review last year's NR1602, but we did review the
Of course we'll need to listen to these receivers before we can make any final recommendations, but the Marantz NR1403 looks like the best overall value from the initial product information. It's just $400, looks better than pretty much any other AV receiver, and ditches step-up features that most people won't need: 7.1 channels, analog video upconversion, second-zone functionality. AirPlay is a nice step up on the NR1603, but you can always add a