Marantz just introduced two incredibly affordable, incredibly connected new receivers—the NR1504 and NR1604—both with advanced networking capabilities including Apple AirPlay, a wealth of inputs (six HDMI inputs on the NR1504; seven on the NR1604), mobile app control, and (best of all, in my opinion), the sort of incredibly slim-line chassis for which Marantz has become known in the past few years.
I mean, seriously, just look at your receiver. No back at the Marantz. Now back at your receiver. Now back at the Marantz. More importantly, look at their back panels. See any flab or wasted space on the back of this baby?
What’s astonishing is that within such a compact chassis, Marantz manages to pack in five (1504) or seven (1604) channels of discrete, high-current amplification capable of driving even low-impedance loads. Granted, the rated specs don’t seem staggering compared to other receivers—50 watts per channel on the 1504; 70 watts per channel on the 1604, with two channels driven—but that should be more than enough to drive most speakers in a mid-sized room. Especially the sort of speakers that most listeners will use with gear at this price point.
In addition, both models feature integrated Pandora, SiriusXM, and Spotify, and a front-panel USB port that will accept audio from and charge iOS devices. There’s also an optional Bluetooth adapter if you’re not into the whole AirPlay thing.
The 1604 is also a pretty capable mutli-zone device; you can even use the two additional channels as a powered second zone, if you only need 5.1 capabilities in your main listening room. The 1604 also improves video capabilities with 4K upconversion and pass-through.
My only reservation is that room correction on both models is limited to Audyssey MultEQ, not the more advanced MultEQ XT (XT32 is pretty much out of the question at this price point). For the money, it’s understandable, but I’ve found that Plane Jane MultEQ does more harm to the audio signal than good in most rooms, whereas XT does a better job of dealing with acoustical issues without deadening the sound so severely (in my opinion).
Either way, for $499 and $649, respectively, the NR1504 and NR1604 are a heck of a deal, especially for audio gear with this pedigree.