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  1. #1
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    Review: Marantz SR-5600 receiver (long)


    I purchased the Marantz SR-5600 as a demo from my local audio shop for $350. The unit retailed for $650, and can be found on accessories4less.com as a refurb for $340.This unit replaces a new Pioneer VSX-1016 that I was very unhappy with.

    I unpacked the receiver and was first impressed with the quality look and feel. At 30 pounds it was a chore to lift and mount in my equipment rack. Itís extremely deep and with the component cables installed does protrude out an inch or so. Next, I made all the connections to my 7.1 setup with includes 2 Revel Performa F30s (6ohm), a single Revel Performa M20 (6ohm), and 4 Infinity Primus 150, and a Def Tech PL15+ 15Ē subwoofer. The speaker connections were of good quality, but not as solid as the Pioneer it replaced. Because the Marantz is a 05 model, it lacks HDMI connection. Not a big deal for me at this time. After making all video and audio connections (this unit does upconvert to component) I spend most of my time watching TV and listening to Directv XM channels.

    I know these speakers well and where the Pioneer failed in music quality, the Marantz took the handoff and continued on the path to better sound. The warm detailed sound returned.which as I remember is very similar in sound to my former HK reciever. The soundstage is huge, much wider and fuller than the Pioneer. The harsh highs and lack on warmth heard on the Pioneer was removed and it was obvious to my ears which receiver was made for audiophiles and which for mainstream stores like BB and CC. While only rated at 90 watts per channel the 5600 never has run out of steam in my open basement.

    The remote however lacked many nice features like backlighting, large volume control and large bold lettering. It doesnít even feel good in you hand like the Pioneer remote. Looking online for a better Marantz remote I discovered for $100 bucks you can get the much nicer backlight remote that comes with the SR-7*** series receivers. I purchased one and never looked back.

    Now, some other observations Iíve made since owning this receiver 5 weeks. The display on the receiver is much more sophisticated looking than the Pioneer and the older HK. The lettering looks smoother and doesnít have all the bling found on the Pioneer. Just the information you need and you can alternate the displayÖsay you are watching a DVD. You can choose to display either DVD or Video3 or DTS-ES. This is a nice touch since I like to know which matrix Iím using whether its PLIIx Music, DTS:Neo6 Music or Circle Surround. Yes, Marantz includes the CS surround modes. I tried them and they sound fine in my basement HT. The onscreen menu makes setup a breeze and one of my favorite optionsÖis the on screen display while watching TV. It displays the volume each time a change is made and if you change, say PLII to DTS:Neo, the display informs you of the change. This feature is even used when upconverting to component cable.

    Overall, Iím highly impressed with the SR-5600. Itís the first Marantz in my home theater and will not be the last. By no means am I an expert. Iíve owned/own about 10 receivers and really like this gem. It lacks auto-calibration, but those havenít worked for me in the past so again, not a deal breaker. Itís basic black exterior and smooth display looks high-end. It has the features I need and doesnít have stuff I don't. Although, the remote lacks in many areas the sound is where it counts and this unit delivers in droves. Whether youíre into music or HT, this receiver will satisfy. At less than $400, you cannot ask for more.

  2. #2
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Hey Tarheel,

    Nice write-up.
    Sorry to hear about your experience with the Pioneer. I really liked the VSX-1015 model I toyed with for a few days...I wouldn't say it sounded just as good as the likes of Denon, Yamaha, HK, Marantz, etc, but it was such a solid performer for so much cheaper that I chalked it up to personal preference. I'm not too big on "warm" sounding electronics. I really thought Pioneer was on to something.

    The last few months I've seen nothing but complaints about the 1016 model. Every time I'd think of you. There's a bit of buzz going around some web forums that Pioneer cheaped out on the components inside after the big success the 1014 and 1015 model had, but left the price pretty much the same. Who knows for sure? Reviews aren't nearly as glossy as the last 2 though.

    I owned a few Marantz receivers (4 and 5 receivers ago now, wow). I wasn't very lucky with them in the end, but I really liked the sound quality when they worked. D&M holdings bought them shortly after my experience from some other business that wasn't even in the audio industy at the time. Conveniently enough, I haven't heard any Marantz quality complaints since I gave up on them. Just my luck. Anyway. They're one of the staple names in audio, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

    Glad you're satisfied again, at least.

  3. #3
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    thanks Kex, i'm not surprised by the reaction to the 1016. When i did my research i read about
    the new amp technology and such and how much better it was over the 1015, etc. Well, i'm guessing they cheaped out big time and pulled one over on us.
    I wasn't going to write this for fear of being stoned to death by Pioneer fans, but during my down time between selling the 1016 and getting the 5600, i used my bedroom Sherwood 6.1 receiver i bought at CC for $120 and guess what??? It was very close in audio performance and i mean very close. To
    me that was proof. I'd love to hear the 1015 against the 1016.

  4. #4
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    I have recently purchased a Marantz receiver and have been very pleased with it aside from an HDMI issue that I am working to resolve. One comment on D&M Holdings, I have called their customer support number and everytime I have dealt with someone that was very helpful. In some cases if the customer support individual couldn't answer my question, they transferred me to an engineer that really knew the product. To me this is very very valuable and is hard to find these days.

  5. #5
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel_
    thanks Kex, i'm not surprised by the reaction to the 1016. When i did my research i read about
    the new amp technology and such and how much better it was over the 1015, etc. Well, i'm guessing they cheaped out big time and pulled one over on us.
    I wasn't going to write this for fear of being stoned to death by Pioneer fans, but during my down time between selling the 1016 and getting the 5600, i used my bedroom Sherwood 6.1 receiver i bought at CC for $120 and guess what??? It was very close in audio performance and i mean very close. To
    me that was proof. I'd love to hear the 1015 against the 1016.
    What? They CHANGED the amp in the 1016? That's a rather significant platform design. Hmmm.
    Well, I still can't help but wonder if it's not a bad offering for the $400 or so I see it going for. That doesn't buy much from Denon, Yamaha, HK, etc, unless you get a good deal on a floor model . Nice snarf, by the way.

  6. #6
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    Great right up, Tarheel! I'm actually a bit surprised you drive your Revel's with an AVR (any AVR, btw). My speakers had the life sucked out of them with my Denon, a situation remedied with the addition of a separate amp. Not to take anything away from the Marantz, but have you ever considered adding an outboard amp to see if there is any improvement? Revel's are capable of considerable resolution and it would be interesting to see what, if any, benefit could be realized.

    Anywho, congrats again. It's always nice to get the music back .

  7. #7
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    Great right up, Tarheel! I'm actually a bit surprised you drive your Revel's with an AVR (any AVR, btw). My speakers had the life sucked out of them with my Denon, a situation remedied with the addition of a separate amp. Not to take anything away from the Marantz, but have you ever considered adding an outboard amp to see if there is any improvement? Revel's are capable of considerable resolution and it would be interesting to see what, if any, benefit could be realized.

    Anywho, congrats again. It's always nice to get the music back .
    I've always wondered that myself. I know a few people who love matching PS Audio with Revel speakers. I'm sure they sound great with the Marantz, but ya never know.

    Hey Tarheel...Audiogon is your friend.

  8. #8
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    Top and Kex,
    A few years back i was driving the Revels with a large stereo amp (NAD 218THX) which was 225x2 (i think). Anyway, it had tons of power, but never sounded 'right' to me. I sold it and moved to a Rotel stereo amp and the sound was fantastic. Sold that as well..what the hell am I doing??
    well along came two girls and the budget went quicker then clean diapers...i'm keeping an eye on either a Sherbourn or Rotel amp. It's just hard to justify a >$1000 on a separate amp. Hard to sell the other half as well.

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