Music in the Round #47 Page 2

Unlike some pre-pros, which enforce the subtle high-frequency rolloff of Audyssey's standard response curve, the AV7005 offers the additional options of Audyssey Flat (no HF rolloff) and Audyssey Byp. L/R (no EQ for the L/R channels). Marantz also makes it easy to choose a preference by allowing the user to scroll through these options, along with Audyssey Off and Manual (I never used it), with a single button on the remote. Each of the Audyssey options opened up the width and depth of the frontal soundstage and enhanced the immersive illusion, whether of ambience or of the performers spread around me. Audyssey Flat was clean but a tiny bit aggressive in the highs. Audyssey Byp. L/R somewhat compromised the integration of the frontal soundstage with the surround channels. Like Goldilocks, I found the choice easy: Audyssey's standard curve gave me a very cohesive, balanced sound.

The Marantz AV8003, which came with only Audyssey MultEQ and not the AV7005's more advanced MultEQ XT, was unable to apply Audyssey to bitstreamed high-definition codecs. To apply Audyssey to 24-bit/96kHz signals with the AV8003, the disc player had to be set to transcode dts MA and Dolby TrueHD into PCM. However, Marantz has stated that the AV7005 can apply Audyssey to bitstreamed HD codecs at 24/96, and my experience confirms that. Moreover, the AV7005 could successfully handle multichannel PCM up to 24/192, whether from SACD, DVD-Audio, dts MA, or Dolby TrueHD, while also applying Audyssey. This is particularly important for music listeners who want the most from their SACDs, as the AV7005 can't accept DSD directly. The Marantz happily accepted 24/88.2 from the Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player and 24/176.4 from the Sony XA5400ES SACD player, Audyssey remaining effective all the while.

In principle, Audyssey's DSX, DynamicEQ, and DynamicVolume enhancements do not appeal to me. My bias is to play the hand I'm dealt: Don't extract/synthesize more channels than are in the source signal, and don't mess with the dynamics or frequency response to compensate for level settings. Still, I found these enhancements to be reasonable responses to acknowledged problems.

To assess DSX, I set up a temporary Wide configuration, with the Right-Wide speaker in the middle of a doorway and the Left-Wide speaker perched in front of a window. With two-channel music sources expanded to 5.1 by DPL IIx Music or dts NEO:6 Music, DSX Wide slightly expanded the soundstage and improved the blend with the surrounds in a very pleasing way. It also seemed to entail zero compromise in the transparency—or any other attribute—of the main channels. I still prefer to listen to two-channel sources in two channels, but the many who prefer to expand stereo to ersatz surround may find this useful. With discrete multichannel sources the effect was minimal, but with no downsides other than cost and convenience. It's entirely possible that adding height channels might have had a greater impact, but there's no way to accommodate them in my space, even temporarily.

Dynamic EQ, on the other hand, was very effective and highly useful for all sources—except music! With a 0dB reference level, switching in Dynamic EQ during a TV broadcast or film restored fullness to the bass and presence to voices and sounds, and made listening at less than reference levels refreshing and exciting. I don't usually set the TV or movies at reference level, so Dynamic EQ provided a welcome frisson that greatly increased my enjoyment of NFL broadcasts, and I could thoroughly enjoy movies at levels as much as 10dB lower than I usually do.

With music, however, Dynamic EQ, though effective, wasn't all that enjoyable. Using the handy button on the remote, I tried all its settings and ended up with a reference setting of 5dB, as Marantz recommends for classical music of wide dynamic range. DEQ did bring out details and bass lines that, due to the ear's loss of sensitivity at the extremes of the audioband, tend to get lost at low volumes. I can understand that many who must or prefer to listen only at low levels would find this a boon, especially for music of compressed dynamic range, such as many pop recordings. With these and movies and TV, DEQ should be considered a necessity. However, I listen mostly to classical music of wide dynamic range, which means that I rarely need the compensation DEQ provides, and that I'm very sensitive to its rejiggering of tonal balances. Given a good recording in which the performers' attention to balance has been preserved, it's difficult for me to accept that it would sound the same if the performers played more softly. (I'll leave the discussion of DynamicVolume to the home-theater folks. I believe it is incompatible with serious music listening.)

I didn't assess most of the AV7005's radio functions, which include AM, FM, HD, and Sirius tuners, but I was impressed with its ability to stream music from my PC, the Internet, and USB-attached media. Internet-radio sound was easily the equal of that of the Logitech Squeezebox Touch, and the OSD display made navigation a breeze. The Rhapsody and Pandora streaming services, too, were excellent with the AV7005. However, what I found even more impressive was the Marantz's performance with high-resolution FLAC audio files, such as those I've downloaded from the 2L and Linn labels, as well as discs I've ripped to my portable drive. A particularly delightful surprise was hearing, in full 5.1, a bunch of dts discs I'd ripped to WAV. Now, all I need is a way to do the same for SACD!

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Kal Rubinson's picture
Ooops.

It has been pointed out to me that I mentioned using the built in Audyssey MultEQ XT prior to using the Pro kit but failed to comment on the latter.

FWIW, MultEQ Pro didn't seem to make much difference over XT with the current setup. What was a more significant improvement was the addition of the Audyssey SubEQ for the two subs. I reported on that product earlier: http://forum.stereophile.com/content/music-round-40-page-2

Kal

Ashok's picture
Hi Kal, I have a very basic

Hi Kal,

I have a very basic question. Does this pre-pro (or any other) have an "Auto" setting for audio playback?

By "Auto" I mean:

- if presented with a 2-channel signal on an HDMI input, it does not apply any EQ or bass management, and simply sends the signal out on the Front L and R outputs.

- if presented with a multi-channel signal on the same HDMI input, it does apply EQ, and bass management, and sends output on all necessary channels.

I read through the user manual, and could not readily tell if such a mode exists. It seemed to me that if the Surround listening mode was employed, it would create surround channels even if the source was 2 channel.

I suppose I could manually switch to the Direct mode for 2 channel source material, but was hoping that the pre-pro could automatically do this.

Thanks for the review, this device seems like a reasonable entry point into multichannel audio.

Kal Rubinson's picture
Sorry.  There is no way to do

Sorry.  There is no way to do this as you would prefer.  Other prepros, like the Integras, permit one to set a decode preference for each input format for each input and would allow you to prescribe "Direct" for stereo PCM input while programming "Decode" or other options for other formats.

OTOH, the Marantz remote allows easy access to "Direct" as well as the Audyssey options, all of which you must do from the menus with the Integras.

Kal

Bob Jones's picture
OPPO BDP93 or 95 Through the AV7005

Kal,

 

First off, let me congratulate you on a great column.  I also love the "Music In The Round" music reviews at the end of each article.

 

I am leaning toward purchasing an AV7005 (upgrade from a receiver), and also looking at a new OPPO BD player.  I use my current 7.1 system for both movies and 2 channel music (about 50-50%), because of a single room limitation.  I have no SACDs or DVD-As, but would like to start getting more into multi-channel music (to complement my collection of Vinyl, CDs, BDs and various computer music files).  The back half of my system consists of NHT Classic VT-2s (FL & FR), NHT Classic 2C (Center), NHT Classic 2 (SSR, SSL, SRL & SRR), NHT Sub, Classe CA-150 Amp (2ch) and Emotiva XPA-5 Amp (5 channels).

 

So here are my questions:

 

1.  In your MITR article #44, you talk about digital connections from the player to the processor being preferred because of the requirements for level, delay & bass mgm't processing in the digital realm ... is this intended for both multichannel music and 2 channel music, or are the level, delay & bass mgm't functions not really needed for 2 channel music (I would think both would still have common need for room correction requirements?)?

 

2.  Based on my 50 / 50% split usage, do you recommend using HDMI digital from the player to the processor for multi-channel music and analog pass through for the 2 channel music, or digital for all?

 

3. The OPPO BDP-95 apparently has much better DACs and stereo analog outputs ... is it worth twice the price compared to the BDP-93 for my listening application? 

 

I intend to keep the new player and processor for awhile, so I would opt for better components now, rather than having to upgrade in the short term (3 years minimum) ... so if you have better recommendations that are worth the money for either the AV7005 or the OPPOs ... I could afford to spend a little more and therefore, I am all ears!

 

Appreciate your response and keep up the good work on MITR.

 

Thanks & Regards ... Bob

Kal Rubinson's picture
1.  Depends on your speakers,

1.  Depends on your speakers, of course, but my answer is, generally, yes.

2.  Both.

3.  I doubt it if you are using HDMI.

 

Kal

bwfrazer's picture
AV 7005 and OPPO BDP 95

Hi Kal,

 In # 47 you mention that the AV 7005 " can't accept DSD directly" . How can the AV 7005 accept DSD ? considering that the OPPO ( I believe) can send DSD via HDMI.

Can these two components "talk" DSD to one another?

If not, would the Integra DHC 80.2 / Onkyo PR-SC 5508 be a better match for the OPPO? I would prefer the Marantz but if the Integra has more function ability vis a vis DSD then that would be my choice.

 

Thank you for your time. your articles have definitely made my new equipment purchase  an easier task.

Best regards,

Bruce

bwfrazer's picture
Marantz AV7005 and RIAA

Hi Kal.

 

Forgot to ask, on the tape out of the AV7005 is there no RIAA equalisation added? I would like to use Channel D's Vinyl software, with all of its EQ curves, and I would need an out with no EQ added.

Thanks again,

 

Bruce

Kal Rubinson's picture
1.  The Oppo (and all other

1.  The Oppo (and all other HDMI-output players, afaik) will convert DSD to PCM from SACDs for HDMI output.  The Marantz is perfectly happy with this.

2.  The tape-out doesn't add any EQ, RIAA or otherwise.  However, I will bet that the phono input does. 

Kal

srydy's picture
Using a 2 channel amp with av7005

Hi,

I like the features of this pre-pro and would like to pair it with a 2 channel amp (like parasound 2125 or BK ST-140) do you see any challenges in doing this?

Thanks!

Kal Rubinson's picture
No.

No.

Cygnus72's picture
AV7005 analog inputs

   Hi Kal

  I just purchased a Cambridge Azur 751BD because of its excellent DACS. I am starting to wonder if this was a good idea because I need an LPCM input via HDMI to use most receivers built in room correction. So I have two questions on this topic

 1. if i am using LPCM through HDMI I will no longer be using the great DACS in the Cambridge but the so-so DAC in the av7005?

 2. Will the av7005 apply room corection to the analog inputs so I can use the 751s DACS and therefore the bass management on the 751 aswell

 

                                                       thanks

                                                                        Drew S

Kal Rubinson's picture
1. Yes. 2.  No

1. Yes.

2.  No

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