• Music Servers and Preamp Processors / Receivers

    The numbers don't lie. Many music lovers can't afford a separate two channel system for audio and a multi-channel system for movies. Those of us knuckle dragging card carrying audiophiles have opted for the two channel system only while most civilians went the other way with a music and movie system in one. The system one selects is insignificant. Whatever enables one to enjoy this wonderful hobby of ours is just fine with me and should be just fine with all rational audiophiles. High quality music reproduction in the home can be accomplished with any well executed system. There are definitely less than stellar separates-based systems that sound vastly inferior to a well executed preamp processor or receiver. That said a well designed system of separate components is pretty tough to beat in my experience. Shortly after CES 2011 in January I started looking at preamp processors and receivers as an option for the computer audiophile without a dedicated system of separate components. I wasn't searching for a processor that could sonically better an equivalent separate component. Rather I was simply looking for a processor with several options for interfacing with a music server. I found the product I was looking for in the Marantz AV7005 Preamp Processor ($1,500 USD).




     

    Marantz AV7005 Preamp Processor

    First and foremost this is not a review of the AV7005. There are many other A/V sites that can give this product the full attention it deserves much better than Computer Audiophile. Plus I'm much more passionate about audio and interfacing music servers with high end audio systems. Writing a review about a topic or component that one is not passionate about is a recipe for disaster and is usually spotted by readers after the first few sentences. Thus I will share my experience and opinions about using the Marantz AV7005 in my system as a DAC and preamp processor connected to my McIntosh MC275 tube amplifier, Verity Audio loudspeakers, and a few different music servers.
       


     

    Experience & Opinion

    One look at the rear of the Marantz AV7005 and the average person would throw his hands up in surrender. There are so many inputs and outputs on this and all the processors and receivers that it can get quite confusing. I used four different digital input types and the L/R balanced analog outputs of the AV7005.


    • Ethernet UPnP/DLNA

    • Of all the inputs I was most excited about the AV7005's Ethernet DLNA/UPnP capabilities. I was ready to send multi-channel audio and all kinds of high resolution two channel music to the unit from a Windows based computer. It turns out I was a bit too optimistic. I used Windows 7 with J River Media Center 16 to send audio over Ethernet. JRMC automatically recognizes the Marantz AV7005 as a DLNA/UPnP renderer capable of accepting audio via Ethernet. The AV7005 simply appears as a separate Zone selectable on the left side of the screen. Once the AV7005 is selected the user browses and plays music as if it was being output to a directly connected DAC. Mac OS X DLNA/UPnP software is way behind the capabilities of J River Media Center. Knowing this ahead of time I opted to try Windows only for DLNA/UPnP playback. This Windows / JRMC 16 combination sending audio via Ethernet worked well for the most part. Every once in awhile I would lose my connection to the Marantz processor within JRMC. To regain the connection I simply had to reselect the AV7005 within application. I can't say whether the problem originated from JRMC or the AV7005 or both. My guess is the AV7005 was the problem as I've used JRMC many times via Ethernet without this problem. One additional reason I recommend using Windows based servers when sending audio over Ethernet to the AV7005 is this processor's lackluster support for codecs and sample rates. FLAC is the best format to use with the AV7005. Both 16 and 24 bit music with frequencies from 32 kHz through 96 kHz are supported only when sending FLAC files to the processor. WMA, MP3, WAV, and AAC are all limited to 32 kHz through 48 kHz playback. Multi-channel playback is a different story. I purchased several tracks from the Laurence Juber Guitar Noir album in every possible multi-channel format available from Mark Waldrep's iTrax.com website. The only multi-channel files I was able to feed the AV7005 over Ethernet, and have the processor actually read as multi-channel, were 16 bit / 44.1 kHz DTS encoded WAV files. Other multi-channel files were read as two channel by the AV7005 or as unplayable because the processor doesn't accept 24/96 WAV files. I did convert some of these WAV files to FLAC in an effort to play higher resolution multi-channel music but I was just as unsuccessful. In addition to sending music to the AV7005 from a PC the AV7005 can also pull files from a UPnP server like Twonky or Asset UPnP. I spent about ten minutes browsing my UPnP server via the front panel before deciding it was the absolute last way I would use the AV7005 to play music. I did connect a display to the AV7005 briefly but I still consider the interface for pulling music to the unit is less than good.

      Overall I'd say two channel playback over Ethernet DLNA/UPnP was good in terms of usability. Certainly not flawless or great but not bad or unusable. Simply good.

       

    • Ethernet Airplay

    • The Marantz AV7005 is advertised as AirPlay compatible. This means the unit is not AirPlay ready right out of the box. AV7005 users must upgrade the firmware then purchase the $49.99 AirPlay package directly from the Marantz website. The actual upgrade and package installation is simple and takes about 40 minutes all together. Based on my experience using the built-in AirPlay implementation of the AV7005 I do not recommend it to anyone. I tried sending music from my MacBook Pro with iTunes and directly from my iPhone 4 to the AV7005 using AirPlay. No matter what I did the audio was choppy with dropouts and frequent complete disconnections playing 16/44.1 material. The Marantz AV7005 was wired to my Gigabit Ethernet switched network as was my MacBook Pro during my tests. This network performs very well for all other streaming including via AirPlay to an AirPort Express as discussed below. I talked to one manufacturer about AirPlay a few weeks ago and was told that AirPlay is far from a finished product from Apple. There are many implementation issues for third party manufacturers trying to incorporate this into a product. If my experience is any indication of what's to come I suggest waiting for the second generation of AirPlay devices unless one can thoroughly test the product in one's home.

      Overall I'd say the built-in AirPlay capability is not ready for prime time.

       

    • Optical S/PDIF (TosLink)

    • The optical input of the AV7005 worked as expected while connected directly to a Mac Pro running OS X 10.6.7. No issues playing stereo content although the optical output of Macs is currently limited to 96 kHz under OS X. Because I was still interested in sending audio to the AV7005 using AirPlay I connected an AirPort Express to the processor via a TosLink to Mini-TosLink cable. This method worked like a charm every time. I highly recommend AV7005 users spend $100 on an AirPort Express, instead of $49.99 on the AirPlay upgrade package from Marantz. It's long been known the AirPort Express does not support high resolution audio. With this in mind I thought I'd play some high resolution 24/96, 24/176.4, and 24/192 music anyway to see what happens. I was able to play music at all the aforementioned sample rates without a hiccup however, as expected, the MacBook Pro / AirPort Express combination only sent 16 bit / 44.1 kHz audio to the AV7005. This was actually a very good thing for fans of playlists. Some DACs don't play a single note when an unsupported sample rate is sent to the component. This silence is often unacceptable when running through a multi-sample rate playlist while party guests are enjoying the music. Using the AirPort Express with AirPlay allows the music to keep rolling albeit with less sound quality. When using an AirPort Express with AirPlay I'd much rather have music playing even if it's downsampled to 16/44.1. I don't expect an AirPort Express to set the high end world on fire in terms of sound quality so I don't use it for serious listening anyway. Sending audio straight from my iPhone 4 via AirPlay and AirPort Express worked without issue as well.

      Overall using an AirPort Express instead of the built-in AirPlay capability was very functional and worked great. No unforeseen issues. The combination worked as designed.

       

    • Electrical S/PDIF (Coaxial)

    • Going into this AV7005 experiment endeavor I had high hopes for the S/PDIF coaxial input. I hoped it would support all the common sample rates and sound good. Fortunately both of these hopes came to fruition. I used a Mac Pro in combination with a Wavelength Audio WaveLink asynchronous USB to S/PDIF converter to connect to the AV7005's coaxial input. The cables used in this combination were a three meter Wire World Silver Starlight USB and a three meter AudioQuest Eagle Eye 75 Ohm BNC Digital Cable. Sending audio to a DAC or preamp processor using a USB to S/PDIF converter allows the user to ignore the processor's supported file types (WAV, AIFF, FLAC, etc.) unlike sending audio via Ethernet DLNA/UPnP. The playback software already converts the encoded files such as WAV and FLAC to straight PCM before sending it out the computer's USB port. What matters for playback are the sample rates supported by the S/PDIF interface(s). Using iTunes with Amarra 2.2 and Pure Music 1.74a, while hiding Pure Music's Music Server Controls (?H), I played files from 16/44.1 through 24/192 with absolute ease. I really liked the coaxial S/PDIF input on the AV7005. I highly recommend using this input if at all possible. The combination of WaveLink and AV7005 act exactly like every other DAC discussed here in the Computer Audiophile forums. The only important configuration change one must make is setting the processor to Direct Mode. This bypasses all Digital Signal Processing that is designed to change the sound by design.

      Overall this is the best sounding and most functional digital interface on the Marantz AV7005. It's the only interface I would use for serious listening.


     

    Final Thoughts on Using a Preamp Processor or Receiver

    The first thought that comes to mind as I think back on my use of the Marantz AV7005 preamp processor is it's a jack of all trades and master of none. This type of component isn't typically what audiophiles use when going for the absolute best sound quality. Rather this type of component is used where most of its capabilities are needed. It's a cost effective way to meet the needs of the music lover and movie buff. As I said in the opening paragraph, I couldn't care less what components one uses to satisfy one's musical needs. In a pinch I'll take Pearl Jam's Vitology album through an AM radio. It's the music that produces a good feeling in most people. Accepting compromised sound quality isn't something I prefer when I have a choice. I'm not usually in an AM radio requiring pinch or in a position that requires the use of a preamp processor or receiver. Throughout my listening sessions with the Marantz AV7005 I compared its sonic qualities to the Bel Canto DAC 1.5 ($1,395) and the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC ($5,000). In all comparisons with all music the AV7005 could not compete with the DAC 1.5 or the Alpha DAC. The AV7005 smoothed out all music and removed all transient slam from every recording I played. The preamp processor contains very capable internal components but way too many of them to implement at a high level for a reasonable price. Even if the design team had an unlimited budget and no target price it's entirely possible that such a component simply is not capable of besting well designed high end separates. Computer Audiophile readers thinking about going the preamp processor or receiver route instead of separate components should think twice or three times before spending any money on such a component. CA readers without the option of separate components should be happy knowing they can, at a minimum, become computer audiophiles by connecting a music server to a preamp processor or receiver using one or two of the many connection options available.



     


     


    Product Information:

    • Product - Marantz AV7005 Preamp Processor

    • Price - $1,500

    • Product Page - Linklink

    • User Guide - (PDF 28MB)link

    • Spec Sheet - (PDF)link

    • Rear Drawing - (PDF)link

    • AirPlay Document - (PDF)link


     

    Associated Equipment:

     

     

     
    Comments 51 Comments
    1. mjb's Avatar
      mjb -
      That looks like a good solution, but with SPDIF there's no support for the HD formats - if that's an issue.
    1. bleedink's Avatar
      bleedink -
      Curious about your experiences streaming with Jriver. I have come across a few weird issues with the software. One thing I would tell readers, at least from my experience, is that Jriver will only stream out what it thinks windows is capable of outputting...for example if you set the output in windows sound control panel to stereo, that is all you will get from Jriver. You definitely have to have Jriver and Windows all set for 5.1 or what have you. My experience anyway. Soon after I made a few adjustments in Windows I was able to stream 5.1 to my Oppo, though over s/pdif of course multi comes over as stereo. Seems weird that streaming audio would require anything from the OS as it is not being transcoded...simply streamed...time and time again however I've found this to be the case. In all fairness however I am using a mac with bootcamp to stream so the capabilities of a native windows machine might be different for whatever reason. Just something to keep in mind before you try streaming multichannel PCM...
    1. Part-Time Audiophile's Avatar
      Part-Time Audiophile -
      You (vastly?) prefer running a DAC into this pre/pro instead of using the pre/pros onboard DACs. Is that right?
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Scot - I vastly prefer a DAC with volume control like the Bel Canto DAC 1.5 running directly into a power amp.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi bleedink - Thanks for the information. I will test this and get back to everyone here.
    1. bleedink's Avatar
      bleedink -
      It's been one of the curious things about the software. I'd love to know if this is isolated to my components or a function of the server. Appeciate any insight. JRiver forums were mum on the subject.
    1. Russ Reed's Avatar
      Russ Reed -
      With my Sony AVR I use the pre section for volume only. Play straight through the analog direct out avoiding all processing. And use a much superior stand alone DAC. This has been the most bang for the buck to have multi channel for video and good quality 2 channel for music.<br />
      Chris is this approach possible with the Marantz?<br />
      <br />
      Thanks Russ
    1. Paul R's Avatar
      Paul R -
      I wish I had the dollars to send you a good NAD AVR or T175 PrePro. I have a feeling it would be surprising to you, if you have not already heard them. <br />
      <br />
      The only thing I noticed is that it seems a trifle lopsided to compare the DACs in a $1500 Preproc to a $5K Alpha Dac, or even the Bel Canto. Much more likely to be compared to a Music Streamer II I think. <br />
      <br />
      I admit, I tend to run two channel sound through a better DAC, and there is a nice pair of Outlaw monoblocks sitting in a box in the corner waiting for me to unpack them and hook them up. But then, who would expect a little AVR to drive Magenpan 1.7s? (If they ever get here. The T747 does a credible job with the Maggie MMGs. <br />
      <br />
      <br />
      -Paul<br />
      <br />
    1. blindjim's Avatar
      blindjim -
      <br />
      Did I miss that Q already?<br />
      <br />
      Flexibility, value, and the desire for a bunch of bells and whistles, sure intice people to get the one box fits all devices…. Bose made it’s millions promoting exactly that approach.<br />
      <br />
      Always, ghowever, the one size fits all tact is the bottleneck of the system. The limiting factor. Especially if it is a reciever… and no other amps are added on.<br />
      Sure it can be satisfying and at least good, but that’s where it stops too.<br />
      <br />
      A dedicated proc too is likely to diminish the SQ if it competes in the under 2000-3000 plateau, barring a few exceptions.<br />
      <br />
      So I have to ask, Why the pick for the Marantz proc… who else was in the running, or was the Marantz just too good a deal to passup?<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      You were in a rush and crunched for time to shop?<br />
      With $1500 on tap fror a new proc there are a few available… and better still for not much more. Marantz offers as little value in it’s line up as any I’ve seen and heard. In other words, to get the same scale of performance from Integra to Marantz, you’ll pay a lot more for the Marantz to remain on par with a Integra.<br />
      <br />
      The DLNA appelette is a troubling assignment IMO. Just because it passes or decodes mp3’s … So what?<br />
      <br />
      It is OK to ladle on tons of audio codecs and video codecs applicable to DVD & Blu Ray replay, but as for file formats? It’s be picky & choosy time.<br />
      <br />
      Having run thru a few reputedly DLNA certified components, and finding them lacking in the folder tree, disc format, and file types allowed, I’ve given up on acquiring anytime soon, a truly plug & play DLNA unit… and have crawled back into my cave and returned to using my personal confusers to accomplish such goals.<br />
      <br />
      In one array, I use the overachieving Hiface plugged directly into the Onkyo 805 recevier and connected to a Vista Laptop via a belken Gold USB 6ft extension cord. Using either Fubar or JR MC 15, with KS or WASAPI as outputs.<br />
      <br />
      I have no drop outs… no hic cups… all file formats play fine… well, except I’ve only a hundred or so MP3s left hanging around… they’re so 90’s!<br />
    1. HiFiGuy528's Avatar
      HiFiGuy528 -
      When I saw this unit hit the market, I was shock by the low price. I saw that because I own the previous version AV8003 which retailed for twice the price. I wondered what corners did Marantz cut to bring the price so low. I searched all over the web and could not find any nudies of this new model. <br />
      <br />
      My Marantz AV8003 is actually a decent machine when compared to my McIntosh MX119. I am starting to think Marantz went the wrong direction with this new model.
    1. soundsolutions11's Avatar
      soundsolutions11 -
      I also contend that it is a very unfair comparison between the Marantz and the BAD DAC or even the Bel Canto DAC. A better comparison would be a Krell Pre Pro, which Krell paid great attention to the analog 2 channel side and the digital decoding DAC's. I use a dual duty system, a 2 channel balanced pre amp, which has Home Theater by pass, to send the signal to the Pre Pro. Perfect for an A/B comparison and the Krell sounds superb in comparison to the 2 channel pre amp, so much so that I have been hesitant to purchase a stand alone DAC. But I will eventually do so because of all the great input from the CA people about their various DAC's. But let's just say I am in no real hurry as the music sounds great as is. I could use it for the 2 channel side of things if it does not sound better than the Pre Pro.
    1. WishTree's Avatar
      WishTree -
      It is a very good review and insightful. I understand that a Prepro at this price range is unable to beat a DAC at the same or higher price range. I guess it would be a surprise if Marantz beats them.. What would be really good to know, which price range DAC does this processor beat. It might so happen that a person who is designing a both Stereo and AV can avoid that price range DAC or if that DAC is the only budget then he can even avoid spending the money on such range of DACs<br />
      <br />
      I have a Classe SSP 30MKII and I have tested it against the Musical Fidelity M1 DAC and the difference is none. <br />
      <br />
      Please share your views from this viewpoint.
    1. blindjim's Avatar
      blindjim -
      With a proc, the concern IMO should be on video switching, first and SQ second... and the SQ should be very good to great... and as said, it ain't happening with budget or entry level procs, usually.<br />
      <br />
      Even if the proc handles all the processing duties, the preamp section is stll the noticeable bottleneck as the prats in use there simply aren't going to be top notch.<br />
      <br />
      There's reasons why these gizmos sell for less $$$4 and have loads of flexibility, connectivity, etc.<br />
      <br />
      But in all, that is an acceptable compromise. <br />
      <br />
      Even feeding my Onkyo TXSR 805 via my BC DAC 3 using HT Magic II ICs, the sQ is but marginally improved and there is indeed a ceiling on the audio purity... albeit, it is better... just marginally.<br />
      <br />
      So I reverted. Put the good stuff back onto the 2ch. rig.<br />
      <br />
      Use the Hiface off the laptop with a $30 USB ext cable, and I'm very happy with the results.... and being reasonable about it.<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
    1. Joshua_j's Avatar
      Joshua_j -
      This is exactly what I was talking about in my previous post. Thank you for the thorough review. It seems like Marantz is far from making things work nicely with today's technology. For what it's worth, I don't understand why people seem to be attacking you (Chris) for choosing to review this.<br />
      Joshua
    1. blindjim's Avatar
      blindjim -
      <br />
      Gee Joshua I don't see anyone attacking Chris... were some posts deleted?<br />
      <br />
      Any review done here or elsewhere is always a subjective take on the device, accessory or whatever. It’s not cast into stone. Not too many articles which even allow for remarks, as CA reviews do. They have so far, offer subscribers the opportunity to ask about things not covered, or things which might have been misunderstood. I suppose one could also congratulate the writer for whatever too… though I don’t get that part at all. Albeit, I suppose it’s a nice gesture if it was sincerely tendered.<br />
      <br />
      I’ve gotten used to seeing reviewers account for the history of, or the why comes of the device being exposed. Statements like “I saw it at a show recently’ or I knew the designer… perhaps they owned the previous iteration… bought one for a second system or a friend just got one and the writer found it very interesting…. And so on, Yada yada.<br />
      <br />
      Often too, in the greater portion of reviews likewise comparisons are made between the reviewed piece and some other previously reviewed item or some popular similar components.<br />
      <br />
      These two factors seem to elude Chris articles from time to time, partially or completely. No why’s or How comes, and or, no comparisons of similarly reviewed items, or both are left without being addressed entirely.<br />
      <br />
      Not routinely of course… but periodically. As with this one no mention of how it came to be in the CA cave.<br />
      <br />
      Consequently I ask such things as I’m allowed to by virtue of the comments section attched to each of CA’s published reviews.<br />
      <br />
      Unless I know for a fact the reviewer, I’m always at odds to feel a completely objective perspective was demonstrated in the end… especially if or when, the author of said piece closes with some mention of the fact the reviewed item is not being returned. The cynic in me always suspects some chicanery or nepotism, then and there. But that’s just me.<br />
      <br />
      The best part of it all in my opinion is people here are allowed to agree to disagree… on anything… such is the subjective nature of reviews. Even on the technical side or configuration side of the affair.<br />
      <br />
      I would like to have had some insight into “why the Marantz vs ??” or which other units were on the short list… and/or was it bought outright at MSRP? Loaned? A demonstrator? What?<br />
      <br />
      Otherwise… from the article, I’ve come away with only a better feeling about my Onkyo TX SR 805, and my prospective purchase of an Integra or next generation EMotiva X series proc due out later this year…. As my Onkyo 805 rec has trickled down into my BR system.<br />
      <br />
      No processor I’ve seen or heard of yet does it all. Networking yes… supporting all the common and popular file types codecs ?? Disc formats? Lossless file types too? Audio and video?<br />
      <br />
      Marantz from what I’m seeing here and elsewhere is not going to bypass their piece of the entry level buying public pie any longer. So they slipped in a modestly priced and adequately performing machine… that’s it.<br />
      <br />
      Streaming high def multi ch audio and video via HT processors and receivers is just not yet ‘really ready’ for prime time’. <br />
      <br />
      Via HDMI where the PC and it’s joint software are handling the decoding duties… yes. … but by only the Ethernet or Wy Fy? Well it’s coming as this review shows, but it ain’t here… and the accessibility and quality are as well items for concern.<br />
      <br />
      AS for Marantz in general? A friend has one, though it’s a bit more than this reviewed item’s cost, and makes a good showing of itself actually. I’ll go one step better than good as how I heard it… and say pretty nice! Yet, again, straight up interfaces are used, and little or no decoding is being done by my friends Marantz.. An Airport Exp I think, and an Oppo BDP 95 via analog, NAD multi ch Master Series amp, and a pr of JAMO Ref 909 speakers.<br />
      <br />
      Overall any review is good info.. I’ve even totally agreed with a couple pro reviewers quite a lot, as I’ve owned items they have written about… I’ve also vehemently disagreed now and then with some authors on their articles of items I’ve owned or do own currently.<br />
      <br />
      Usually there are questions one can always ask of the author…. If allowed. If so allowed then… we should. They don’t always answer anyhow. No reply actually is an answer if you think about it.<br />
      <br />
      <br />
    1. Forehaven's Avatar
      Forehaven -
      Hey Chris, Thanks for mentioning Laurence Juber's Guitar Noir album. I just downloaded number 2 and 8, both great tracks for me. I'd never heard of the guy before. Nor have I tried iTrax before. I'll be real curious to see how the quality is when I get home tonight.<br />
      <br />
      And BlindJim, I agree about the usefulness in comparisons if possible. I looked actually at this Marantz model as my ht proc pre amp outs/incl the LFE doesn't work anymore. I'm also looking seriously, for ht alone, at the Integra 80.2. The only feature missing that I need, is a bypass so I don't have to constantly change wires when moving from movies to music. The new Audyssey MultiEq XT32 that has two indep. controls for dual subs. Pretty cool. The Marantz does not have the XT32 version.
    1. aybates's Avatar
      aybates -
      Hi Chris,<br />
      <br />
      Thanks for the review (long time reader, first time poster). Your review is like deju vu to me, I have been through all the thought processes you mention in your piece. What I was striving for was the feel of a 2-channel system with HT as just another input. What made it possible for me was the Parasound P7 Pre-Amp and GefenTV AUDDEC. The Parasound P7 has multi-channel analog inputs and integrated base management. The GefenTV AUDDEC takes an HDMI input and outputs HDMI video along with 5.1 channel analog.<br />
      <br />
      Thus my 2-channel signal path is the USB output of my iMac using iTunes/PureMusic, to the USB input of a HTR Music Streamer Pro, to the balanced 2-channel inputs of the Parasound P7.<br />
      <br />
      The 5.1 signal path is HDMI output of an AppleTV (Gen 2), to the HDMI input of the GefenTV AUDDEC, to the analog 5.1 channel inputs of the Parasound P7.<br />
      <br />
      Again this system has the feel of a pure 2-channel system with the added benefit of a multi-channel movie input.<br />
      <br />
      It sounds great too . . .<br />
      <br />
      Andre
    1. blindjim's Avatar
      blindjim -
      I too thought a good bit about a Marantz product for HT control. A few things including an inauspicious and too cool reception via their support arm and their pricey posture pushed me away from acquiring a Marantz proc or Receiver. I felt decidedly too, the ambition of the Marantz was pointed at the audio side of the fence rather than a balance of the two aspects… video and audio. <br />
      <br />
      On the all in one approach or segregation philosophy <br />
      After a lot of anguish and gnashing of teeth, separating the HT and 2 ch scenes better, was my resolution. So I flip speaker wires.. or will as soon as I acquire another set of monos to replace my now sold Dodds. In the interim it’s all HT all day around here in each outfit. The Thor and BC DAC 3 are on vacation or just sleeping. The Sonata IIIs however slid into the Bedroom… just to keep ‘em loosened up. The surrounds rotate thru the office setup to keep them loose as well… and increase my fun factor.<br />
      <br />
      Until the makers of these seemingly all encompassing home entertainment controllers step up to the plate and actually address the Networking facility they are openly promoting currently as a benefit/feature, in an appropriate and thoughtful way, rather than as a ploy (read the fine print… our version of DLNA isn’t exactly up to snuff just yet), and the audio quality gets elevated I’ll continue to stream as I am now from my personal confusers either into a receivers DAC using a change over appliance, like the Hiface or some other modestly priced transformer, or a stand alone DAC. These instances in any event are relegated for very casual settings only.<br />
      <br />
      I think it’ll be a while too. Just as the HD audio tracks being downloaded in 24/96 or greater, are beginning to gain some depth in their repertoire and catalogs, as that facet for album and song title buying matures, maturity in the DLNA & networking aspect of home entertainment processors must see some a meeting of the minds and some streamlining or acceptance of particular audio and video formats collectively, in order for the enterprise to grow. Makers gotta get on board with which file types are to be supported and lossless types must be included. Which word lengths, Bit Detpths, etc. <br />
      <br />
      As it stands, you gotta pick out one based on what they advertise, then actually connect to it and find out for yourself if indeed such things can work or see how the maker thinks it/they should perform in their own environment. I just got a Panasonic BR player, 3D, Streaming video, streaming HD video, uh, DLNA unit. It’ll play MP3s alright… and supposedly some other video formats I do not use. So IMO, the DLNA logo is a non item for me. My Former Sony BDP 550 was no better. The Oppo 93 & 95 appear more formidable units… and so does the whispers on upcoming Emotiva and Integra procs. I will add one of the Oppo straming Blu Ray players, though I’ll debut the 95 first and then decide.<br />
      <br />
      No other review site I know of even attempts to get into the DLNA side of the table as Chris does here… if you take notice. The results here show some promise IMO, yet again, I’m not impressed enough to skip on over to the ???? dealership and snatch one up. Apart from adding a better BR player as in the Oppo. I can wait on the aforementioned upcoming processor releases.<br />
      <br />
      A goodly bit more thought needs be applied commonly, by all the HT PROCESSOR MAKERS in this area, if they wish to avoid another VHS vs. Beta, or HD vs. Blu Ray ‘train wreck’.<br />
      <br />
      I somehow feel this will not happen soon, if at all. The market as usual, places audiophiles at the end of the line regularly. Seeking to clamor and abate the MP3, iPod crowd first.<br />
      <br />
      Personally, I’d ask, So what? What’s an extra chip or two in an already chip festooned forrest, inside those mega feed and multiple deed, switchers anyhow?<br />
    1. Innisfree's Avatar
      Innisfree -
      I like it that this forum is open to discussing receivers and processors. It is not only the video they offer but also the internet radio. I saw president of Netflix on Charlie Rose show other day and he stated it is just a matter of several more years and we'll be streaming ultra high definition Netflix movies to our TVs. Video upgrades, like going from DVD to Blu-ray, will cease being a once in every 10 year occurrence. <br />
      <br />
      If we can contemplate streaming ultra high definition video in several years why can't we stream ultra high resolution audio from radio stations around the world? Why can't consumers have nearly unlimited high resolution downloads available on the internet, and, as referred to elsewhere on this forum, be guaranteed the files are indeed high resolution? <br />
      <br />
      It seems the audio world is rudderless and needs some kind of organizing behemoth like a Netflix to move it forward to where everyone wants it to be.<br />
    1. Paul R's Avatar
      Paul R -
      I am at the point where I think DLNA should be abandoned. <br />
      <br />
      Apple Airplay - at least when using Apple products right now - works much better. <br />
      <br />
      Don't get me wrong, DLNA had great potential. But the companies implementing it are - not experienced - in providing a great user experience. Okay, they are cutting cost corners everywhere and producing crappy products. <br />
      <br />
      Apple on the other hand, eschews some capabilities but almost always provides a great user experience. The few AirPlay enabled devices I have seen worked flawlessly, excepting the Marantz that Chris reviewed. Even it worked when Chris hooked up an Apple Airport Extreme. <br />
      <br />
      NAD, a company I rarely have much bad to say about, produced the a turkey of massive proportions when they based their streaming media player on DLNA. I was given one by a friend who didn't like it, and after playing with it for a hour, packed it up and sent it to our local charity. It was obviously designed by some idiot with a trade magazine in his hand. <br />
      <br />
      I'm not saying Airplay is the <i>only</i> way to go, but I can sit here on my iPad, and watch any movie stored on the iTunes server, flip the video in an instant to a television, Mac, or even my iPhone, play any music in the system, control the music playing on the system, control videos playing on the system, play music from the Internet, and more. And it never seems to crash, get confused, out of sync, or otherwise do things that get in the way of the media I am trying to enjoy. <br />
      <br />
      I cannot say the same thing about DLNA. Even the device we store ripped DVDs on gives me grief every once in a while. (A WD Live Hub). It is DLNA based, and cannot successfully play a movie stored in J. River MC, a product that people usually speak highly of. J.River MC by the way, appears to be unable to play three zones in perfect sync - a task my iPhone can do. <br />
      <br />
      I could go on, I have a lot of bruises. <br />
      <br />
      -Paul<br />