I happened to get Marantz AV8801
by chance. I already knew its structure and imagined how it sounds, for it’s no mystery that it’s practically an exact copy of Denon AVR-4520 receiver, but in the form of an AV processor. My client bought it only for its impressive design - Integra DHC-80.3 did not fit into his interior.
At the time of testing, Marantz AV8801 cost about 60% more than Integra DHC-80.3 and Yamaha CX-A5000 – quite a substantial difference, isn’t it? 189000 RUB for Marantz AV8801 and 114000 RUB for Integra DHC-80.3. Well, is it worth it?
The processor looks very attractive both on the outside and the inside. The round window looks unusual and stylish. Visually, the materials are of good quality, neat connectors in the back panel. It is very carefully arranged on the inside. Shielded loops, copper-plated chassis, five PCM1796 D-to-A converters. Pretty copper bolts. To sum up, it is very well assembled.
As far as sound is concerned, I expected no amazing revelations – and in fact I was right. The advantages include smooth sound without any excessive harshness of the treble; soft midrange; mellow natural timbres as for an AV processor. The drawbacks are the relatively low dynamics, the sound is so to say dull; treble is somewhat sandy; sibilants in female voices are a little shrill. but overall sound is still rather smooth.
Control is well executed. The menu is convenient and advanced – it is absolutely clear what and where is connected; it is easy to re-switch anything if needed. Perhaps the remote control could have been better – the Marantz engineers combined the function of main area turn on with the activation of other areas in one button. There are three zones, so when you try to turn on the processor, you happen to activate some area.
This device is not suitable for upgrade. The price for basic article is too high, and the scope of work is too broad. But in general, certain results might be achieved: the existing board with D-to-A converters can yield more than they do now, but the price of the upgraded processor would be much higher than that of an upgraded Integra DHC-80.3 – and most importantly, Integra DHC-80.3 would sound much better.
But in general, I liked this processor: no obvious defects, plus the beautiful design. :)
Author: Timur Sheykhov