Thursday, 22 December 2022 07:51

REVIEW: Marantz CINEMA 70s – an elegant AV-receiver moving outside main street Featured

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Marantz has just expanded their new design-line with a series of components in the CINEMA AV series. We have borrowed the smallest of them for review – the compact slimline model CINEMA 70s.

 

Marantz made a spring release in mid-autumn this year, as is often the case with new generations of AV products. And although the products are certainly based on Marantz's eventually very long traditions with AV-products, there was quite a ground-breaking novelty with the whole series this time. Because although we should have naturally seen this coming for a while for the AV series as well, it was inevitably refreshing to have this new design concept on the AV receivers as well. And what's more, there is a design innovation on the CINEMA series over the new HiFI-components that can easily be overlooked at first glance.

THE NEW DESIGN-LINE

When Marantz launched its first generation of renewal almost two years ago, it happened with two stereo models. The amplifier MODEL 30 is a class D amplifier and the other model is the SACD player SACD 30n. Both of these models are very exciting products, which perhaps primarily appeal to the upper end of the audiophile market.

And earlier this year, the new design range was supplemented by two new models which must be assumed to have a significantly wider appeal due to their far more moderate price range. We are then talking about the integrated class A/B current amplifier MODEL 40n, which we tested this summer, and the pure CD player CD 60.

THE CINEMA FAMILY

Before we go any further, I would like to make a brief presentation of the rest of the CINEMA family. The three first to arrive are CINEMA 50, 60 and 70s, where the latter is our test specimen. It may appear that the most important difference between the Cinema 60 and the Cinema 70s is the cabinet height and the power amplifier section, in addition to the fact that the CINEMA 60 has an additional analogue, optical and coax audio input, and also a more advanced room-correction in MultEQ XT over MultEQ. The price difference is also quite moderate, where the 10,499 NOK for the CINEMA 70s is increased by 3,500 NOK for the CINEMA 60. But if you need the nominal doubling of power in the CINEMA 60 over the smallest AV-receiver, it might be a good investment.

With CINEMA 50, it starts to happen quite a lot. This is an AV receiver that pretends to satisfy hardcore home cinema enthusiasts, with both larger amplifiers in several channels, 11.4 processing and a number of other novelties that we will discuss in a later section. A price tag of NOK 20,499 can make it tempting for those initially considering a CINEMA 60 to stretch a little further.

Some time after the new year, the currently largest AV receiver will also arrive. The CINEMA 40 has a price tag of 28,999, and it is rumored that in a while there may be an even hotter model named CINEMA 30, but these are unconfirmed rumours. What has been confirmed, however, is that a pure processor with the name AV 10, and a power amplifier with the name AMP 10, will come sometime in the new year.

You may read more about the CINEMA series in our news article in connection with the launch. And then it is tempting to add that, at the time of writing, it may look as if the CINEMA series is particularly aggressively priced in Norway, if we assume a typical dollar or euro "rate".

SLIM LINE

The Slimline concept is gradually well incorporated at Marantz, and as far as we know it already started in 2009 with the model NR1501. And the concept has been simple and understandable – a full-blooded AV receiver that towers over the living room, and which tends to have somewhat less power than typical AV receivers in its price range, but which still maintains a high sound quality.

Eventually, the NR1501 got a number of direct successors and we wrote about one of these in the form of the NR1506 in 2015, which ended with the NR1510 in 2019. In addition, the 7-channel version 1710 was launched the same year, along with the stereo version NR1200 with full HDMI was launched. The following year, the NR1710 was replaced by the NR1711 , and this year saw the completely new CINEMA 70s model in terms of design.

THE TERRAIN

There has been happening a lot in the world of AV-receivers since I reviewed one of CINEMA 70's progenitors at roughly the same price approx. 20 years ago. The Marantz SR7300 naturally had a very different set of facilities to the CINEMA 70s, and Circle Surround was one of those codecs I was a bit intrigued by at the time, as a competent upscaling of a stereo signal to 5.1 reproduction.

In the meantime, AV receivers have had both a tremendous boom and perhaps an almost equally large drop in volume. The days when most of the amps sold were AV receivers are definitely gone. But some manufacturers are still holding the fort, and the two cousins ​​Denon and Marantz are probably the ones who have been on the field the most along with Yamaha - the manufacturer that had the DSP-AZ2 which was my very first test object in Audiophile.no in 2002, and also the third AV receiver in the series from Yamaha in my possession.

What have previously been extremely fierce competitors in the AV market - Onkyo and Marantz, have had their challenges in a severe setback, and Harman Kardon has also been a manufacturer that in its heyday was extremely popular among lots of entusiasts,  including me. They are now completely out of the AV receivers' hunting fields. Even Sony has scaled back its involvement in this sector, although they are not completely out. The excellent ES receivers are missed among many in the market. Sony still makes good and interesting products, but there is a long time between each new launch.

Therefore, there are not very many current competitors in the relevant price range for CINEMA 70s. Yamaha has the RX-A2A which costs a few hundred NOK more. It has more nominal power, but lacks Marantz's pre-out for all channels. Denon has the AVR-X2800H for a grand less than the CINEMA 70s with many of the same features, but also a good number of differences.

NAD has always been a dark horse in this sector, and has had characteristics that typically stood out from the crowd. They have previously also had budget models that have gone lower in price than the segment we are in now, but of today's models in the Norwegian market, it starts around 50% higher than the CINEMA 70s, with the model T758 V3I. More of a possible competitor to CINEMA 60, in other words.

When, after the launch in mid-November, I expressed my interest in reviewing one of the newcomers in Marantz's CINEMA series, it was the most expensive CINEMA 50 model and the least expensive CINEMA 70s that appeared to me to be the most interresting candidates. CINEMA 50 because it has many interesting novelties, such as 4 individually adjusted subwoofer outputs that can be set up with control of the deep bass to the subwoofer that is physically closest to the speaker where the bass originates. Or as Dirac Live.

But the CINEMA 70s also stood out to me as one of the most interesting, due to a moderate price in a slimline cabinet, and properties that can make it extra relevant as a preamplifier/processor. Since CINEMA 70s was the earliest available, I landed on it. And in this test it will be tested both as a complete amplifier/AV receiver, and as a preamplifier/processor with external power amplifiers.

DESIGN AND FINISH

As indicated earlier, the design of the CINEMA series builds heavily on the design of the HiFi series which started two years ago with the MODEL 30 and SACD 30n. But there are some simplifications that distinguish the CINEMA series from the HiFi series. Firstly, the central plate that forms the background for the control wheels, buttons and the iconic Marantz porthole in the center has been increased in height so that it covers the entire height. This means that the rear aluminum plate with a kind of "hammered" structure also ends where the central plate ends, in contrast to the HiFi components where the hammered aluminum plate in the background is continuous also above and below the central plate.

On the two most affordable models, the central plate is also made of a robust plastic, while those on the CINEMA 50 are made of aluminium. The latter also has a lid that can be opened, and which hides operating buttons. The CINEMA 50 also has the elegant light behind an overhang on the front plate which provides a discreet illumination of the hammered plate, a feature recognizable from the new stereo amplifiers from Marantz.

The CINEMA 70s has thus saved on some details compared to the most expensive models in the CINEMA series, but that does not prevent most of the exclusive Premium feeling I experienced with the MODEL 40n basically being taken care of. In terms of design, these harmonize totally, and that can be an important feature. Because precisely CINEMA 70s can be an excellent combination with MODEL 30 or 40n for a combined AV and HighEnd stereo setup, where these stereo amplifiers offer AMP-direct as an HT-Bypass.

The back plate also has a neat structure, and gives a good feeling of quality. At the same time, it is somewhat obvious that you now are in the middle class, and not HighEnd. Among other things, compared to the MODEL 40n, there are not as expensive terminals.

But the overall look of the CINEMA 70s is excellent, making it a worthy entry into what is tempting to consider the market's most elegant series of AV receivers.

CONNECTIONS

The number of connections reflects to some extent that this is a slimline AV receiver. That is to say, the most die-hard home cinema enthusiasts may not get all their wishes fulfilled, but that is hardly the primary target group for CINEMA 70s.

HDMI

HDMI has become the almost overriding interface for both sound and image in our time, and both composite and component video inputs are totally absent on the CINEMA 70n. In contrast, it has 6 HDMI inputs, of which there are 3 which supports 8k/60Hz or 4k/120Hz. Denon and Marantz were the first to support 8k/60Hz and 4k/120Hz in the series launched two years ago. Then there was only one input that supported this bandwidth, and in addition they had some bad luck with the supplier of HDMI circuits and had some errors with them.

On this year's CINEMA series, three of the inputs support 8k/60Hz and 4k/120Hz, and that should be sufficient for the most extreme home theater and gaming enthusiasts.

The number of HDMI outputs is limited to 1, but it may in return be used as ARC/eARC at the same time.

Other inputs

Digital audio inputs are limited to one optical and one coax. This is therefore one of the points where big brother CINEMA 60 stands out with two of each.

There are three analog inputs, and that is sufficient for the vast majority of AV receivers in this segment. Many will not need analogue inputs at all, but flexibility is always a good thing.

AD check

As always on amplifiers that contain a digital part, we test whether the signals coming in via the analogue inputs are AD-converted, and this time it was a flop the first time around. A time delay of approx. 11-12ms. gave a clear indication of AD conversion. But after various attempts to repeat this with different settings, it failed - no time delay and no AD conversion. Not even with H/V front speaker defined as small was an AD conversion revealed. In any case, this is hardly of any practical importance - sort under nice to know.

And then the CINEMA 70s have an MM input for turntables, and we have not measured it. And there is little reason to suspect that this input is being AD-converted.

BLUETOOTH

The Bluetooth implementation on the Cinema 70s has a lot in common with that on the MODEL 40n. This means that Bluetooth 4.2 is available, and that the only codec is SBC.

But there is a very important feauture on the CINEMA 70s, and that is that in addition to being able to receive a Bluetooth signal from e.g. a mobile device, this AV receiver also has a Bluetooth transmitter. It allows you to send Bluetooth signal to a set of wireless headphones. A very useful feature, but as is so often the case when it comes to blue teeth, you have to do some work up front. Inside the Setup menu you will find settings for Bluetooth Transmitter under General. Here you may activate the BT transmitter, in addition to choosing whether there should only be sound via bluetooth, or whether it should also play via the speakers. It is also in this department that you pair one or more BT headphones. But be aware that the menu item Bluetooth Transmitter has for some reason been dropped in Web Control, so here you have to enter the menu using the remote control.

When this job is done, I find that the CINEMA 70s automatically connects to a set of headphones that are already paired with the receiver as soon as I turn on the headphones in question. In that situation, you can also enter the "Option" menu via a dedicated button on the remote control to choose whether there should be sound reproduction via bluetooth only, or via bluetooth + speakers. Or to disconnect the headphones.

HEOS

As you may know, HEOS is Marantz and Denon's streaming engine, and was already launched in the summer of 2014. And who knows - maybe there will be even more brands in Sound United's portfolio with HEOS compatibility before long?

HEOS started as an independent product brand, but has gradually been incorporated into Denon's product range with various smart speakers and soundbars. And at the same time, HEOS is the name of this flow motor, which has been fine-tuned for a number of years. And the advantage of HEOS is for the same reason that you can use this ecosystem across several products.

For most of us, the streaming services are probably the most important part of HEOS, although the ecosystem also offers internet radio and DLNA. Among the streaming services we consider particularly relevant in Norway, only three have direct support in HEOS – Spotify (Connect), TIDAL and Deezer. In the MODEL 40n test, we pointed out that TIDAL has not yet received support for its version of Connect in HEOS, and that still applies.

The good news is that all three streaming services that are supported directly work with gapless playback, and this also applies to playback from the other streaming services via AirPlay 2. That is to say - for Deezer, I experience a small slip of a fraction of a second. And unlike with the MODEL 40n where this only happened when the music is selected via the 3rd party app for Windows, it also happens with the original HEOS app. A bit of an interresting phenomenon.

Marantz has not succumbed to the temptation to create a user interface for HEOS where it is planned to be able to browse the respective streaming services via the remote - a feature that would be an excellent choice for an AV receiver where a connected screen is standard.

There is a decent HEOS app for Windows called Heos Remote , developed by a third party - a gentleman named Daniel Vistisen. It works for the most part, although it is not perfect.

You can also stream from your mobile with the three other streaming services Qobuz, Apple Music and Youtube Music, but then it will be via Bluetooth or AirPlay 2. I have a strong desire that at least Qobuz will be incorporated into the HEOS ecosystem during the upcoming year .

ROON

On the other hand, you can make use of any Qobuz subscription together with CINEMA 70s and HEOS if you also subscribe to Roon. For CINEMA 70s, Roon is Tested , which means that it can connect to Roon via AirPlay 2.

PRE-AMP MODE

Now we come to one of the real treats with this compact AV receiver. Because a receiver in this segment having a full set of Pre-out for 7 channels, plus two subwoofers is quite unusual - you usually have to go up in price to get this.

But Marantz has taken this one big step further. In the setup menu, you have the option to configure whether the respective effect stages should be switched off, and this can be configured individually for paired channel sets. That is for front, center, surround and surround back / height channels. The advantage of this is not only that you may save power, you also get a cleaner signal via pre-out by setting these channels to "Pre-out Only". Marantz claims that with the power amplifiers activated, you can only get a signal up to 1.8 volts from the pre-out terminals before distortion increases noticeably if you use the "Speaker + Pre Out" mode, meaning that the power stages are activated.

This property is therefore of very high importance for those who wish to use the CINEMA 70s as a pure preamplifier and processor, or as a combination where the built-in amplifiers are only used for some channels, while e.g. the front channels are run as Pre-out only , with external power amplifiers.

AMPLIFIERS

CINEMA 70s has 7 power levels onboard. And it is somewhat surprising that such a compact slimline AV receiver does not use class D, but has class AB. The power is nominally at 50 watts into 8 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, with THD: 0.08%, and 2 channels powered. At the same time, Denon and Marantz have a policy where they guarantee that a minimum of 70% of this effect will be achieved when operating in five channels. That means 35 watts simultaneously in 5 channels.

This is of course not very much power, but many will be surprised at how well it goes. Especially if one or two subwoofers are used, and all the speakers are defined as small, with a crossover frequency set somewhat above 20Hz. And the higher, the better in this particular context.

REMOTE CONTROL

The remote control of an AV receiver is almost always an Achilles' heel on one or more points and the main reason for this is that it always has to be compromised due to the fact that you want to have as many functions as possible directly accessible, while at the same time the surface on which they can be laid out is limited. And furthermore, it should preferably not be too large and heavy. I once had a high-end universal controller from Marantz called the RC-2000 - I guess I still have it lying around somewhere in the house. And it handled most things imaginable and unimaginable, including via a large display and programmable functions. But the catch was that it became so large and heavy that it was a bit demanding to use for that reason.

The new remote controls in the CINEMA series are apparently identical for all models, and are also confusingly similar to the remote control of the HiFi series. And here the contrast on the writing is much better than on the test copy of the MODEL 40n that I had on test earlier this year. But it is still a bit demanding to read all the text for us who have turned sixty-six and have +2 in reading glasses.

The remote control is otherwise a very pleasant acquaintance, has good ergonomics and a moderately good range and transmission strength. But it is a keen supporter of an absolute clear line of sight between the remote control and the receiver. At this point, I've experienced more forgiving remote controls on other AV receivers.

SETUP MENU

The On Screen display linked to the Setup menu is a pleasant acquaintance, and has been modernized compared to its predecessors. It's not overly fancy, but has a clean and appealing background color, and in no way flashbacks to the teletext of the previous century.

The structure is logically set up, and it is quite easy to find the various settings.

Audyssey MultEQ

It is Audyssey's room correction that applies to all receivers from Marantz and Denon, and it initially offers few surprises. On CINEMA 70s it is the simplest version from Audyssey called MultEQ, while CINEMA 60 has MultEQ XT and Cinema 50 + more expensive models have MultEQ XT32. If you want to really go all-in with MultEQ and room correction, you have the option of purchasing the fairly new PC app MultEQ-X. It costs USD 199 per license. unit, but according to Audyssey it offers fewer options on the base MultEQ than on the more advanced versions MultEQ XT/XT32.

I myself have no personal experience with the PC app MultEQ-X, but I have some experience with the iOS and Android app MultEQ editor app. It provides a valuable addition to the standard features, among other things in the form of being able to save and upload different MultEQ -settings, in the same way as under Speaker Preset which is described further down. This app may initially give the impression that the Speaker Preset is redundant, but it is not. Because if you want to upload a pre-stored "preset" from your mobile, it usually takes a minute or two to upload, and this does not invite to frequent changes, in the same way as the two Speaker Presets that are stored in the receiver.

And even this MultEQ app for iOS and Android offers quite extensive capabilities beyond the standard capabilities. You have the opportunity to:

  • Visualized spatial correction result, with frequency curve for each individual channel
  • Choice between two different high-frequency roll-off
  • Midrange compensation on/off for all speaker pairs. This midrange compensation is a topic that has been highly debated with Audyssey.
  • Curve Editor for each speaker pair, which allows you to customize your own target curve.

After going through the setup procedure with a measuring microphone at 3 - 6 different measuring points where the first point is in the sweetspot, you may choose which setting you want to activate – Reference, L/R bypass, flat or off. Marantz recommends the Reference setting, which is the result after frequency measurements of speakers and room, but with a slight roll-off at the top. But for those of us who have a bit of an audiophile inclination - or should we call it "neuroses" - it could be tempting to resort to L/R bypass . As the name more than suggests, Audyssey is skipped on the right and left front channels, while reference settings are used on all other channels.

If you choose the setting Off , all room correcting settings will be dropped. But of course all settings for distances/delays and crossover frequencies for the various speakers still remain activated.

Subwoofer

As mentioned above, there are two subwoofer outputs on the CINEMA 70s. This is very convenient if you want to connect two subwoofers, as I did with my two Klipsch R-110SWs. But it is worth noting that there is an identical signal coming from the two subwoofer outputs. And thus some may perceive it as slightly misleading that Marantz defines the CINEMA 70s and CINEMA 60 as 7.2 receivers. It usually describes a receiver with a processor that processes the signal to the two outputs differently, with separate delay and frequency response adapted to the respective positions of the two subwoofers.

To get independent processing for two or more(!) subwoofers, you have to upgrade to the CINEMA 50 model, but then you get 4 independent subwoofer channels in return (and you thought it was a struggle to get permission to drag two subwoofers into living room...). This option on CINEMA 50 and better models is a real treat. Not only does it allow for individual adaptation of four subs, it also provides the option to set up the bass manager in a mode where the sub that is physically closest to the speaker that has the original signal is to relieve it at the bottom. I have no idea how this works in practice, but it is tempting to assume that it has greater value the higher you divide the signal in bass manager for speakers defined as small. But ok - now I must have been dreaming a bit - this does not apply to CINEMA 70s.

Speaker Preset

However, what also applies to CINEMA 70s is the option to store two completely independent speaker setups. And for my setup in Sommerhuset in Fredrikstad, this is an absolutely ideal situation. In the living area, the furnishing is organised in a way that allows for two different sweet spots, both of which are centrally located in relation to both the speaker setup and the screen, but which have very different distances. One is in a chair that is placed quite close to the front speakers and TV, and where the listening position forms approx. an equilateral triangle with the front speakers. The other position is located a couple of meters further back, in a sofa close to the back wall in the living room. The closest listening position is my preferred place when listening to music, while with the latter position it is easier to achieve godd results with an Atmos setup.

And here we are at the essence. Because in a normal situation I will have to make a choice about which of these two listening positions I will use for the calibration. But not with CINEMA 70s, because I get the option to save two different Speaker Presets. It basically requires me to run the Audyssey calibration for two rounds – one for Preset 1 , and one for Preset 2 , but this is only done once. And to switch between Preset 1 and 2, you only need to enter Option via the dedicated button on the remote control. Or if you want even easier access to Preset 1 and 2 , you can save them as two presets under Smart Select, together with the most used inputs.

APPS

Marantz has added a separate app called Marantz AVR Remote. It comes in both iOS and Android versions, and I've tried both versions with success.

WEB CONTROL

But you can also access a menu in Windows. This is done by entering the IP address of the CINEMA 70s, which you can find in the setup menu under the section Network > Information. When you enter the IP address in the address field in the internet browser, a menu similar to when you press Setup on the remote control appears. It does not offer more options, but in many situations it can be far more convenient. But please note that there are certain functions that are not included in Web Control.

THE HEADPHONE OUTPUT 

Before we get down to the main part of the listening test, with the obligatory test trail via TIDAL, we do a round with the headphone output, similar to what we did in the test of the MODEL 40n. The headphone output on an AV receiver must probably be considered a slightly subordinate area, which is not subject to use by the most audiophile HeadFi enthusiasts. But I have nevertheless put together a test track on TIDAL with 6 tracks, and run a round with four of my favorite headphones.

  1. DOMIQUE FILS-AIMÈ. BIRDS - NAMELESS
  2. BILLIE EILISH. TV - GUITAR SONGS
  3. BOB DYLAN. MAN IN THE LONG BLEU COAT – OH MERCY
  4. JOHANNES MOSES. PARTY: FRATRES – ALONE TOGETHER
  5. THE CHIAROSCURO QUARTET. STRING QUARTET – BEETHOVEN STRING QUARTETS
  6. JENNIFER WARNES. BALLAD OF THE RUNAWAY HORSE – FAMOUS BLUE RAINCOAT

Sennheiser HD650

It may lack a bit of refinement compared to a good headphone amplifier, but a small boost in bass is welcome with the HD650. A little surprising that the slight caution in the treble in the headphone output of the CINEMA 70s does not result in significantly less detailed information.

CINEMA 70s have no problem driving the HD650

Denon AH-D7200

The AH-D7200 basically has a slightly marked bass. This will be slightly reinforced, but without it being a problem. Man in the Long Black Coat is beautifully reproduced. Consistently nice warmth, not least on Johannes Moser's interpretation of the Pärt-classic Fratres.

No problem with headroom on the Denon headphones.

 

Hifiman HE400i 2020

These models from Hifiman which have now been discontinued are a bargain compared to their original retail price. These are the headphones that I think are the best match for the headphone output on the CINEMA 70s. They have a tonal balance that matches the sound through the headphone output of the amplifier quite well, although even these headphones could benefit from even more detailed reproduction than what the CINEMA 70s will offer.

The HE400i 2020 are the most demanding regarding power in this assembly, but there is more than enough headroom.

Focal Elear

These are the most recently arrived headphones in my collection. Elear is not particularly demanding to drive. But they have the ability to provide an open and detailed sound image with good perspective, so it is reasonable to describe them as quite revealing, and deserve a high-quality headphone amplifier.

CINEMA 70s drive them well, and with plenty of headroom. Also here, the sound is distinctly dark, with an obvious emphasis on the bass, and a corresponding caution in the treble-region. Listening to Focal Elear via Cinema 70s provides a good sound experience, but these headphones deserve a good headphone amplifier that can present a more detailed reproduction.

SPILLELISTE MED HØYTTALERE

Playback setup:

  • Marantz Cinema 70s
  • Marantz MODEL 40n (reference)
  • DynaBel 2s

This time I have selected the old test track that was used in the review of the Marantz MODEL 40n, and ran it once more in a round where the comments with the Marantz CINEMA 70s are supplemented. And there are two reasons for this – firstly, it is exactly the same speakers in the form of DynaBel 2s that have been used, and secondly, it is interesting to see a comparison between these two Marantz models.

And then of course I have disabled all other speakers in the setup in this round, including the two subwoofers, despite the fact that the subs can be good to have on the team in a 2.1 music setup. And the playback mode is Direct.

  1. ERIK FRIEDLANDER. BOHEMIA AFTER DARK – OSCALYPSO
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    I notice a bit of the same tendency as on the opening track, but also experience a slightly different phenomenon. A very good rhythmic precision, which is also manifested in that almost-synchronous instrument reproductions appear very clear, and where even the small offsets in timing become clear. Here, too, it is perhaps more musical finesse than microdynamics that is emphasized. And the similarity with the opening track is a slightly exquisite and refined reproduction of the music
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Distinctly warm reproduction of a track that can often be more characterized by a wealth of detail and precise spatial communication. Pleasant to listen to, although not particularly analytical

  2. NIGEL KENNEDY. VIVALDI: THE NEW FOUR SEASONS: SUMMER: 8 FEAR – VIVALDI: THE NEW FOUR SEASONS
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    In the "Vivaldi passages" there is a striking focus on the melodic. Which is, of course, brutally broken in the Kennedy passages with fierce violence.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Fairly indulgent reproduction also of the distorted Kennedy passages. Surprising musical rendering.

  3. LOUIS ARMSTRONG. ST. JAMES INFIRMARY – SATCHMO PLAYS KING OLIVER
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Exceptionally graceful and lyrical rendition of a track that is usually about completely different parameters. And although Louis Armstrong's vocals are present as just that, there is an additional dimension, in the form of a silky smooth rendering. It is not least manifested in the rendition of the clarinet, which I must admit I do not know who is playing.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: As on the MODEL 40n, the CINEMA 70s provide a distinctly warm reproduction of this masterful track.

  4. ARILD ANDERSEN. PATCH OF LIGHT – HYPERBOREAN
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: 
    Unspeakably beautiful rendition of the strings in this track. It is beginning to manifest that the Model 40n has a special competence in the midrange.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Beautiful reproduction of the strings. And also here, it is obvious that the midrange flourishes, if not quite as much as on the MODEL 40n

  5. ARILD ANDERSEN. HYPERBOREAN – HYPERBOREAN
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: 
    A crystal clear and distinct double bass tuned by Arild Andersen. And also here, Marantz makes it all about the midrange. This must not be misunderstood to mean that the bass is not reproduced deep enough, but the overtone structure shines.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: A physical reproduction of Arild Andersen's bass.

  6. FRANK ZAPPA. RUBBER SHIRT – SHEIK YERBOUTI
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Here it is both fierce and dynamic. And the deep bass is exemplary distinct. Steel control is a description some would ue.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Tight and fine reproduction of the bass. Magic rendered by an AV receiver.

  7. Frank Zappa. Debra Kadabra – Bongo Fury
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Somewhat surprisingly, extra detail is on the menu here. But it must also be noted that the music is perhaps reproduced a little softer than on the most mischievous setups.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: A slightly demanding track that CINEMA 70s gets away with well. This is actually quite beautiful, although I maybe shouldn't use the term "beautiful" on this Captain Beefheart-dominated track.

  8. FRANK ZAPPA. THE PURPLE LAGOON – ZAPPA IN NEW YORK
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Rhythmic and with good presence, is the first thing I register. The bass groove that starts just over a minute into the song is extra engaging. And the bass groove that starts at approx. 10.30 is reproduced quite magically. But frankly speaking, this amplifier is not primarily about bass reproduction. We must try to get back to that more precisely.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Also this classic Zappa track is quite formidable reproduced. It thrives on being played quite loudly, and despite its moderate effect it works well on CINEMA 70s

  9. HELENE GRIMAUD. SILVESTROV: BAGATELLES I – XIII: BAGATELLE I – MEMORY
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    An incredibly good room reproduction in this recording on DG.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Also with CINEMA 70s there is an incredibly great room reproduction of Helene Grimaud's great performance of the Ukrainian composer Silvestrov.

  10. KLEIVE, REIERSRUD, DISSING. KIMER I KLOKKER - DEN SIGNEDE DAG
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    A strikingly soft reproduction, but at the same time there is a lot of air around Povl Dissing's vocals. At the same time, I register that the vocals are a bit raspy at certain places - a new registration. The crescendo in the last verse is reproduced flawlessly. Nearly.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: It is possible to sense a few beads of sweat on the organ pipes in Odense Cathedral at the end of this great track, but it is clearly passed for CINEMA 70s

  11. REIERSRUD, KLEIVE. SPOR 12 – HIMMELSKIP
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Extra air here, and a violent and almost atypical dynamic.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Fantastic reproduction

  12. JAN GARBAREK. MISSION: TO BE WHERE I AM – IT'S OK TO LISTEN TO THE GRAY VOICE
    Marantz MODEL 40n:
    The brush strokes on this reproduction are very precise. And melodious.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: A distinct bass reproduction in an otherwise average performance

  13. JIMI HENDRIX. RED HOUSE – HENDRIX IN THE WEST
    Marantz MODEL 40n: The 
    Model 40n keeps the musical focus on this masterful interpretation of Red House, rather than getting hung up on the limitations of the recording.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Also with CINEMA 70s, there is a music focus that perhaps masks a bit of distortion in the corners?

  14. JOHN ABERCROMBIE. RED AND ORANGE – TIMELESS
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    In addition to the authority of Jan Hammer's synth bass, it is easy to stick to a nice warmth in the reproduction with MODEL 40n
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Nice synth bass, without it drowning out the rest of the instruments. Might miss a bit of sophistication.

  15. JOHN MCLAUGHLIN. EVERY TEAR FROM EVERY EYE – ELECTRIC GUITARIST
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    There will be some bass focus here in the intro as well. Otherwise, there is a very fine rendering of the whole here, not least in the almost synchronous interaction between McLaughlin and Sanborn.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: This track lacks a bit of the air I've experienced on a number of other setups.

  16. JONI MITCHELL. OVERTURE / COTTON AVENUE – DON JUAN`S RECKLESS DAUGHTER
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Steel control in the bass, while maintaining musicality. The bass beat that comes in at 1:45 sharp is insanely precise, and at the same time very melodious.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: The bass of Jaco coming in at 1:45 is precise and nice, but of course not as deep as it would have been with 2x Klipsch subs activated. Joni's vocals are nice, even if they can get a bit sharp in some places.

  17. KARI BREMNES. KANSKJE - DET VI HAR
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Surprisingly unrefined reproduction of Kari's vocals, although it's usually the bass that's all about in this track. It is reproduced flawlessly. When trying again with a slightly lower volume (50), Kari's vocals are also nicely reproduced.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: As a small surprise, there is a bit too much focus on the sound in this recording. Otherwise nice reproduction.

  18. KARI BREMNES. LIKE FÅR DAGEN GÅR NED - OG SÅ KOM RESTEN AV LIVET
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Nicely reproduced, but here too I'm a little uncertain about the timbre of Kari's vocals. But the rest of the spectrum works very well.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Very nice. But there is something raspy behind Kari's vocals.

  19. KARI BREMNES. BARN AV BLÅ KRUKKE - BLÅ KRUKKE
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    An almost strikingly warm reproduction of a track that is typically reproduced with a kind of V-characteristic in the frequency response. If it is better? Well, at the time of writing I think so, but of course that could change. And then another existential question creeps in: is there also slightly limited microdynamics? The question is taken further into the test track for observation.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Fine and balanced reproduction of a track that usually has a V-shape on the frequency response.

  20. KARI BREMNES. A LOVER IN BERLIN – NORWEGIAN MOODS
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    A strikingly less treble-focused reproduction and correspondingly warm sound than what is reproduced via a number of other setups. Some will use the term musically and not analytically. Now this is starting to form a profile that we may see more of in due course.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Nicely balanced reproduction, where the peaks in the treble are slightly smoothed.

  21. KARI BREMNES. DU HAR SETT DEM - MÅNESTEIN
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    The last track for the time being in the Kari sequence of the test track. And here, too, a strikingly restrained treble reproduction appears on a track where I sometimes think it can border on unpleasant. And at the same time we are completely free from the sharpness that many KB recordings suffer from on other setups.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Not as intrusive as this track can often be. And it can be a good fit - let the misery take place elsewhere...

  22. KEITH JARRETT. FOR MILES – BYE BYE BLACKBIRD
    Marantz MODEL 40n:
    Initially, I 'm very excited about what characteristics will appear here. Because this track can have a very analytical reproduction of especially Jack DeJohnette's fabulation on cymbals and other pleasant-sounding elements in the drum setup. It becomes too clear that we are presented with a very fine sound balance, which at the same time ensures a very good reproduction of detail. Also of Gary Peacock's wandering across the neck of the double bass. Keith Jarrett's piano also has a very good tonal balance, without a hint of the unpleasant sound that pianos can get on certain setups and recordings.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Great and comfortable. And not quite as detail-focused as this track can be in combination with a musical rendering.

  23. SIGMUND GROVEN, KNUT BUEN. THE SOUND OF TELEMARK – MYLLARGUTENS BRUREMARSJ
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    This is also a particularly interesting track, because it has an awful lot of sound in the recording from the machine hall in Rjukan. The MODEL 40n manages to tame the reproduction of this very well - it all becomes a clarified and controlled performance.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: I have experienced this reproduced even more distinctly amidst all the sound from Maskinhallen in Rjukan. But this is still clearly approved, and a great musical rendition.

  24. KETIL BJØRNSTAD. LAND - ODYSSEY
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Nice and well-controlled reproduction of this recomposition of Myllarguten's Bruremarsj, where Ketil Bjørnstad and Frode Alnæs have the main direction. The sound image has an extra great musicality compared to some other setups, and warmth is again a key word. Although this may sound like a not particularly demanding track, there is actually quite a large spread in the reproduction on different setups. And the MODEL 40n deserves credit.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Ketil Bjørnstad's piano is very beautifully reproduced in his recomposition of Mylargutens Bruremars. Frode Alnes's guitar sometimes tends to be demanding, but here it goes well.

  25. KETIL BJØRNSTAD. MOREN – SUNRISE
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Here a consistent question tends to be: is the focus on details, or on describing the stairwell. And with MODEL 40n, I don't have a moment's doubt - it is Edvard Munch's description of this small drama in the stairwell that is conveyed. But that does not prevent the details of the music from being given a nice place in the soundscape.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s : Clearly less detail-focused than many other setups. And it works well – it gives more space to the narrative.

  26. KOLBJÖRN FALKEID. ALT – SOLSKINNSDYPET
    DEEP Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Arve Henriksen is brilliantly reproduced here, even before the drama has even started. Kolbjørn Falkeid's recitation somewhat surprisingly has a resonance that I pay particular attention to, while Bjørn Kjellemyr's bass is quite wonderfully rendered.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Here I pay extra attention to Arve Henriksen's beautiful, searching trumpet, before Falkeid's recitation comes in and dominates the arena with its strong message. This is an uncommon great rendition of a milestone of a release.

  27. KETIL BJØRNSTAD. SYLVELINE'S HUS - BERGET DET BLÅ
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    This was a bit in stereo - if not childhood, then at least puberty. And then it happened that the drummer and bass player stood in separate corners. In this case it was Pål Thowsen and Arild Andersen respectively. And on this rendition there is also a somewhat notoriously bright sound. And even if the MODEL 40n can't help us with the stereo set-up, there is some help with the sound balance. The hint of caution revealed in the treble comes in handy on this recording, which was otherwise my awakening in Bjørnstad terrain.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Not quite as good sound balance as with the MODEL 40n, but just as clearly above average.

  28. LEONARD COHEN. HAPPENS TO THE HEART – THANKS FOR THE DANCE
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Great rasping bass in Leonard's vocals.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Very good sound balance that emphasizes the quality of the recording.

  29. LEONARD COHEN. THE STORY OF ISAC – SONGS FROM A ROOM
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    One of the best renditions of Story of Isac I've had since taking this Cohen classic to the test track.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: The CINEMA 70s also reproduce this Cohen track clearly above average.

  30. LYNNI TREE CREAM. SJALU TYPE - STORM
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    An incredibly good reproduction of a very original interpretation of this Lennon classic.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Hard and raw, and it should be on this track.

  31. LYNNI TREE CREAM. VESLEMØY – HAUGTUSSA
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Here I am often exposed to lots of details, but the MODEL 40n focuses more on the whole and music.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Very beautiful. And then I've heard it even more detail-focused, but it's not certain that it will be that much better because of that.

  32. MARY BOINE. CHASING MYSELF INTO REALITY – SEE THE WOMAN
    Marantz MODEL 40n: The 
    MODEL 40n keeps track of the events like few others. Especially in the bass, because a hint of harshness can be felt in Mari's vocals in some places.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: This is a demanding track, and the CINEMA 70s move a bit on the outer edge of steel control here.

  33. MARIANNE BAUDOUIN LIE. MANY THOUSANDS GONE – ATLANTIS, UTOPIA AND ULVEDRØMMER
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Nice and warm sound, which does not mask too much detail.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Great and heartfelt cello sound.

  34. MATS EILERTSEN. ENDLESS – REVERIES AND REVELATIONS
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Here there is often an inferno in details, while the MODEL 40n focuses more on bass, timbre and sound image.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: An exploratory track reproduced well by the CINEMA 70s.

  35. MATS EILERTSEN. SIGNAL – REVERIES AND REVELATIONS
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    An almost magical perspective
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Magical

  36. SIRI SWALLOW BAND. DON`T EXPLAIN – BLACKBIRD
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    A bass guitar that sparkles can't quite mask a hint of sibilant reproduction of Siri's vocals. But duverden™ for an otherwise rendition of this classic from just over 30 years ago.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Not even CINEMA 70s manages to put me off this classic. ANd also here, there is a touch of sibilance in Siri's vocals, but there is often much more in other setups.

  37. BEYONCE. DONT HURT YOURSELF – LEMONADE
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Fierce rendition
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Raw, and it should be. Although it can be a bit excessive in some places.

  38. ØYVIND KRISTIANSEN, JONAS KILMORK VEMØY. FORSAKEN – HYMNS OF COMPASSION
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Masterfully rendered, with an authoritarian bass. Beate S. Lech's vocals often have an embarrassing sibilant sound - here it is almost gone.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: A magnificent track, and Beate S. Lech's vocals are reproduced nicely, despite some sibilance.

  39. RADKA TONEFF. THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS - FAIRYTAILES
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Very nice rendition of a legendary track.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Moderately good reproduction.

  40. ERLEND APNASETH TRIO. VAKE - LOKK
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Magical music with a controlled reproduction.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Nice reproduction.

  41. Maria Joao – Mario Laginha. Horn Please – Cor.
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Magical atmosphere in this track which is beautifully reproduced.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Great and airy reproduction of this mood report

  42. Little Lindfors. Arrival - Till Hades
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Magic reproduction of the highlight of this release
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Light bass and midrange focused reproduction.

  43. Billie Eilish. Your Power – Happier Than Ever
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Good reproduction, although Billie's vocals can become a bit intrusive at high volume
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Surprisingly good reproduction of a demanding track.

  44. Marc Johnson. Freedom Jazz Dance – Overpass
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    A great and precise reproduction, including firm and precise bass.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Marc Johnson's bass is precisely reproduced on the CINEMA 70s as well. And then there are limits to how loud it can play before some of the control is lost.

  45. IRMIN SCHMIDT. KLAVIERSTUCK I – 5 KLAVIERSTUCKE
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    A great recording, which is extra beautifully reproduced on this set-up.
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: I have experienced even more air on other setups.

  46. ANETTE ASKVIK. LIBERTY – LIBERTY
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Nice sound balance, with good warmth in Anette Askvik's vocals, and good depth in the bass
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Great reproduction, and good warmth in the vocals.

  47. JEFF REILY AND PETER ANTHONY TOGNI. AVE VERUM – BLACKWOOD
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    Skinless reproduction
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: It is no problem for the CINEMA 70s to cope with this great and extreme dynamics.

  48. CHIAROSCURO QUARTET. STRING QUARTET NO. 1 – BEETHOVEN: STRING QUARTETS
    Marantz MODEL 40n: 
    It is quite possible that other setups can be at least as precise in telling where each individual string is placed. But these setups are perhaps not quite so good at conveying why they are there...
    Marantz CINEMA 70s: Very nice warmth in the reproduction of this string quartet. And then the precision in the 3D rendering is not quite up to par with the best setups.

 

We listen to all current albums

Here I have selected two fairly fresh and highly fascinating multi-channel recordings, to particularly illustrate CINEMA 70's qualities as a reproducer of music in many channels.

Lasse Thoresen - Sound of the Arctic (Pure Audio Blu-ray – DTS-HD MA)

A fascinating release from 2L, and as always from that edge is a masterpiece of multi-channel release. This time I chose to play the Blu-ray disc via the 5.1 track, and inspired by the films just played in this test, this disc was also played with a reference level - 0dB. This is a level far higher than I usually listen to music, but it was an interesting exercise in this context.

The music is strongly programmatic, and contains both "visual" images and spectacular drama and dynamics. The reproduction is great, and CINEMA 70s controls this sometimes violent dynamic well.

A visit to playback via Dolby Atmos in 5.1.2 revealed better room information, but at the same time I experienced some extra qualities in the clarity with DTS-HD MA.

Isobel Waller-Bridge, 12 Ensemble – VIII

Isobel Waller-Bridge is a fairly young English composer, known for both film scores and contemporary classical music. On the EP VIII, she has included Ensemble 12 on a recording at Air Studios in London.

The music is played in Dolby Atmos via TIDAL in Apple TV. This involves playback with a reduced resolution in Dolby Digital+, as opposed to typical resolution via Blu-ray

The music on this recording is very fascinating, and has such a similarity to the Sound of the Arctic that it provides strong visual images for those looking for that kind of thing. The sound of the recording is distinctly bright, which is compensated to some extent by CINEMA 70s' attraction towards the slightly warm sound image. Micro dynamics are rendered excellently.

WE SPIN FILM

Trolls (Netflix)

This Norwegian Netflix film premiered on 1 December, and is a spectacular "monster movie". The subject topic is normally miles outside my sphere of interest, but Troll has such a high charm factor, and partly very good acting performances, not least by Gard B. Eidsvold, and Fridtjov Såheim in the role of a hideous defense minister full of verbal domination techniques. And then the film has a number of very interesting scenes with Norwegian nature and geography from the troll's wanderings.

The soundtrack is in Dolby Atmos, and occasionally has intense sound scenes when the troll is out wandering. Here, the AV receiver is put to the test, and of course makes good use of double subwoofers in the set-up. The result is, in any case, an honorable performance of a receiver with, after all, limited power. The sound control is also experienced as good and realistic - to the extent that "realistic" is a relevant term for 50-metre-tall trolls moving from Lesja to Oslo.

Emancipation (Apple TV+)

A sparkling film with Will Smith in the lead role where the filming is also brilliant. Interesting use of almost black/white contributes greatly to giving a visual character. And the soundtrack is very good, in Dolby Atmos.

We are brought right into the heart of the American Civil War, where the main character is forced to participate in the work of the Confederate army, until he succeeds in escaping after receiving rumors of the message from Abraham Lincoln that all black slaves would henceforth be free .

Large parts of the film have the action added to the escape through the swamps of Illinois, while the ending has fierce war scenes after "Peter" has been accepted into the Northern Army. But even played at 0dB, the CINEAM 70s are in full control of the proceedings, helped of course by the fact that two active subwoofers take care of everything below 80Hz.

CINEMA 70s AS PURE PREAMPLIFIER AND PROCESSOR

I initially promised that I would do a round of CINEMA 70s in Pre-amp mode. It happened in the form of me using a Linn Chakra 6100, a 6-channel power amplifier that has served as an amplifier with active tri-amping, and which today goes by the name Linn Majik 6100 with a price tag of NOK 45,000. This was connected to the front and surround channels, while a Linn LK100 was connected to the height channels. Everything via Pre-out, after all channels were set in Pre-amp mode.

The impression of this was that a little better refinement was achieved with Linnforsterkere, while some of the warmth that I experienced with the built-in amplifiers in the CINEMA 70s was neutralized.

OPPSUMMERING LYTTEINNTRYKK

There is quite obvious sound quality presented from the Marantz CINEMA 70s. And the interesting thing is that character traits from MODEL 40n are recognisable, even if we are not quite up to the quality level of MODEL 40n.

In the bass there is a nice and precise reproduction, although this frequency range is perhaps where I missed the MODEL 40n the most. But then we are primarily talking about reproduction where the subwoofer is deactivated. With the subs in operation, it's a completely different picture, something that would otherwise just be missing.

The midrange is perhaps where the recognition from the MODEL 40n is greatest, and the CINEMA 70s has a distinctly warm reproduction. The warmth is remembered as being just as prominent as with the MODEL 40n, while there is naturally even higher precision in the stereo amplifier.

Like the MODEL 40n, the treble is experienced as a bit cautious. This helps to emphasize the warm tonal balance, which suits the loudspeakers DynaBel 2s' clearly analytical tendencies well.

Perspective is well maintained both in stereo and in multi-channel reproduction, and despite a relatively limited effect, it provides good micro-dynamics.

CONCLUSION

The Marantz CINEMA 70s is a sparkling AV receiver in a moderate price range. It has very good sound with a warm character that gives great reproduction of both music and film. And appears to be by far the most elegant AV receiver in its class, which in itself is enough to attract many buyers.

But the CINEMA 70s is not a distinct generalist among AV receivers. Although there are competitors that have more power available onboard, there are other characteristics where the CINEMA 70s point in a particularly appealing direction. I hint to the compact slimline design, the possibility of Pre-Amp mode with pre-out for all channels, definition of two separate Speaker Presets, and an appealing user interface in the GUI. In addition to using CINEMA 70s as a stand-alone AV-receiver, this makes me tempted to both point to the possibility of using the CINEMA 70 as a preamplifier / processor, and to use it in combination with a HighEnd stereo amplifier for the front channels in a music-prioritized setup via AV bypass. And surely each is more natural than pointing to Marantz's own MODEL 30 and MODEL 40n for an extra nice design-wise whole?

The CINEMA 70s is a worthy entry-level model in Marantz's new CINEMA line, and not least a very nice further development of Marantz's slimline concept!

 

Retail price for Marantz CINEMA 70s is NOK 10,499

Read more about CINEMA 70s at Neby HiFi
Read more about Cinema 70s at Marantz

 

Read 19749 times Last modified on Saturday, 24 December 2022 14:07
Karl Erik Sylthe

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