Media Streamer

Marantz NA7004 Network Music Streamer

ARTICLE INDEX

The Design

The first thing you notice about the Marantz NA7004 is that it is a full-size audio component. The player weighs just over 14 pounds. The center portion of the front panel is made from brushed aluminum, and the left and right side panels are made from curved resin which gives the player a more refined appearance. On the top edge of the player you will find a silk-screened DLNA certification logo as well as a sticker which states that the NA7004 is compatible with Microsoft Windows 7.

The front of the player is organized around a central control panel which contains a large Organic Electroluminescence Display (OELD) display. The display offers up to three lines of crisp white text and is very easy to read. Under the display are four transport buttons for Reverse Skip, Forward Skip, Stop and Play/Pause. To the right of the display is a set of cursor buttons surrounding an Enter button. Below the cursor controls are buttons for Display, the M-DAX filter and a headphone jack and level control. To the left of the display is a front USB input for an iPod or USB device as well as a small knob which can be used to select the player’s input source. The Power button is on the far left as well as a small LED to let you know that the player is in Standby mode.

Moving on to the back of the player, you find one set of stereo RCA output jacks as well as optical and coaxial digital outputs should you want to bypass the analog stage of the player. There are three additional digital inputs including optical, coaxial, and USB. The digital inputs allow you to use the NA7004 as a D/A converter. Above the digital inputs is the all important LAN connection so the NA7004 can join your home network. The NA7004 does not include support for wireless networking so you need to connect the NA7004 directly to your existing network or purchase a separate wireless networking adapter. The rear panel also contains remote control jacks, an infrared control jack, and an RS-232C connector for integration with remote control systems. The last connection is for the M-XPort, which allows for the connection of an optional wireless RX101 Bluetooth receiver.

A look inside the player provides a small glimpse at what Marantz put into this audio player. The main circuit board, which handles all of the digital inputs, is powered by an Analog Devices SHARC 21367 processor. To the right of the player is a very large circuit board which is dedicated to the analog output stage of the NA7004. This board makes use of symmetric circuit paths for both the left and right channel and also makes use of Marantz-proprietary HDAM-SA2 discrete amplifier modules in the output stage to optimize performance. You can see the network interface circuitry on the small raised board at the rear of the player. The NA7004 also uses a Cirrus Logic CS 4398 24-bit/192 kHz D/A convertor.

The NA7004 provides integration via several software technologies. The NA7004 is a DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) version 1.5 certified DMP (Digital Media Player) and DMR (Digital Media Renderer). This means that the NA7004 not only plays media it finds on a DLNA server, it also receives and renders music sent from a DLNA controller. The NA7004 is also compatible with Windows 7 and supports Microsoft’s Play To functionality which allows you to stream audio directly from a Windows 7 PC. Finally, the NA7004 is certified for Apple’s AirPlay technology which allows you to wirelessly stream music from iTunes as well as Apple devices. The AirPlay technology is available for a separate upgrade fee directly from the Marantz web site. We will explore the DLNA, Play To, and AirPlay functionality in more detail later in the review.

As for internet services, the NA7004 provides access to internet radio via the vTuner service as well as the free Pandora personalized radio service. If you subscribe to the fee-based Napster or Rhapsody music services, then you are in luck because the NA7004 supports those services as well. From a format perspective, the NA7004 supports WMA, MP3, WAV, MPEG-4 AAC, and FLAC.

The inclusion of FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is a welcome addition since the FLAC format is a very popular open source format for the lossless encoding of music. FLAC is also a popular format offered by online music stores that sell high resolution audio tracks.

The remote for the NA7004 is well organized and fits nicely in your hand. The black plastic surface of the remote is textured to make it look like brushed aluminum. The remote is not backlit but does allow you to control the input and volume of a compatible Marantz receiver.

Marantz also provides an application called Wizz App which is available for free on Apple’s App Store. The Wizz App allows you to control the NA7004 from your favorite Apple iPod, iPhone, or iPad.

Marantz also provides a very basic web application which allows for some control directly from a browser. This application was really slow and didn’t provide as much control as the main menus on the NA7004. I would not recommend this as an everyday interface for theNA7004.