Price (RRP): $799
Reviewer: Thomas Bartlett
Just because Marantz is one of the most famous names in high-end audio over the last few decades doesn’t mean that its prices are stratospheric. Of course, it has high end models, but the SR-3001 sells for just under $800. The even more budget conscious can consider the 5.1 channel SR-301, which costs a hundred dollars less.
The SR-3001 is a full-blown 7.1 channel home theatre receiver. It offers 70 watts on each of its channels, and packs all the digital decoders necessary to make use of these channels.
What it lacks are such leading edge features as HDMI inputs (you have to jump up to the $1,200 SR-4001 for that). But you do get a couple of component video inputs with a wide bandwidth for delivering high definition video. You also get a couple of S-Video inputs and plenty of composite video ones. It’s a little light on for digital audio inputs: one optical and two coaxial. That might make it difficult to use to best effect all the different sources you could want.
It also has one unusual feature: HDCD decoding. This is a form of digital sound on a limited range of CDs that extends the format’s performance (it provides a greater dynamic range than regular CDs). HDCDs are compatible with normal home theatre receivers and CD players, but lose their performance boost.
You don’t get an on-screen display, nor automatic setup, so it’s best to work step by step through the comprehensive user manual. There is an adjustable crossover frequency for the subwoofer, so the receiver delivers excellent performance even with a satellite/subwoofer combination. However there is no AV synchronisation adjustment, so if you find that with your current display the voices and lips don’t quite match, it may be better to look elsewhere.