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Receiver and Processor Reviews

Anthem MRX 710 7.1 A/V Receiver

Anthem MRX 710 A/V ReceiverAnthem's second-generation MRX receivers now offer more HDMI inputs, dual HDMI outputs, 4K upscaling and pass-through, faster HDMI switching and come in three models with the primary difference being the amount of amplification and number of channels. The entry level receiver is the MRX 310, which offers 80 watts per channel for 5.1 channels. The MRX 510 is the middle receiver in the MRX lineup and offers 100 watts per channel for 7.1 channels. The flagship model is the MRX 710, reviewed here, which offers 120 watts per channel for 7.1 channels. As for other differences between models, the MRX 710 and MRX 510 allow the front left and right speakers to be bi-amped. The MRX 710 and MRX 510 have seven rear and one front-panel HDMI input, while the MRX 310 has seven rear HDMI inputs. All three models support software updates via USB.

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Marantz AV8801 11.2 Surround Sound Processor (SSP)

Marantz AV8801 ProcessorWhile Marantz was showing off their new AV7701 preamplifier at CEDIA 2012 last September, there were already quiet rumors at the show that something else was in the works. I remember being at the show wondering why Marantz wasn't showing any products with the latest Audyssey room correction while their partners over at Denon were offering new products with Audyssey MultEQ XT32 functionality. Just two months later, Marantz put the rumors to rest by officially announcing the AV8801 AV preamplifier/processor. The AV8801 features support for 11.2 channels and includes the latest Audyssey MultEQ XT32 processing. The AV8801 enters the market at a price point which is still well below the premium processors on the market while offering a wide array of functionality. Let's take a closer look at the features of the AV8801 and see how well Marantz's flagship processor performs.

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Marantz AV7701 7.2 A/V Preamp/Processor

Marantz AV7701

Marantz came out with their AV7005 processor a few years ago, which contains almost all of the high-end processing and features that people wanted, but at a lower price-point than almost any processor out there. Now Marantz has some back with the AV7701, a replacement for the AV7005 that brings it up to date with the modern streaming functions of current receivers and processors, and adds a few nice other touches as well while keeping that aggressive price-point. Has this update let Marantz keep this little niche to themselves again? I swapped the AV7701 in for my AV7005 to see if I could tell a difference between the two.

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Pioneer SC-79 9.1 A/V Receiver

Pioneer SC-79 ReceiverThe SC-79 marks the fourth revision of the Pioneer SC-line that I have reviewed. From the beginning I've been impressed with the amount of features they fit inside and the performance they offer. The SC-79 announcement is as excited for a new receiver as I have been. Far from a marginal upgrade, Pioneer went all-out and packed in new features galore. The biggest is a pair of ESS SABRE32 9016 DACs. A single-step below the 9018 used in top-flight two channel audio products, the 9016 is the highest end DAC in a receiver today.

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Pioneer SC68 9.1 A/V Receiver

Pioneer SC68 ReceiverPioneer has been revising and refining their Class D amplifier technology inside of their Elite receivers for a few years now. The performance has kept improving, as it is one of the few receivers out there that actually delivers its rated power output into all channels at once. Pioneer's SC68 is a 9.1 receiver, and yes, there are nine power amplifiers in there, rated at 140 watts each. It weighs only 39 pounds. How do they get that much power in a 39 pound package? The Class D amplifiers.

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Onkyo NR929 9.2 A/V Receiver

Onkyo NR929 A/V ReceiverWhile the TX-NR5010 remains the company's flagship model, the TX-NR929 is Onkyo's most fully-featured receiver released in 2013, carrying the THX Select2 Plus variety. Having both owned and reviewed Onkyo receivers, I was greatly looking forward to putting this model through the paces.

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Classe SSP-800 Surround Sound Processor

Classe SSP-800Classé is considered one of the finest audio product manufacturers in North America. They market preamplifiers, power amplifiers, and surround sound processors (SSPs). The SSP-800 is their current processor. It's been around for awhile, and they have no plans to replace it with a new model in the near future, but there have been some firmware updates along the way. So, I decided that Secrets should have a look and listen to what I was sure would be a fine product. Was I right?

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Sony STR-DN1040 7.1 A/V Receiver

Sony STR-DN1040 ReceiverWhen I turn on the Sony STR-DN1040 and am greeted by a colorful, interactive full screen graphical interface, I am surprised. It is even in high definition! Someone has actually been listening to complaints from users and decided to do something about it. They are trying to make the home theater less complex than the PC of the 1980's. Is the Sony STR-DN1040 just a pretty face or does it have the brains and brawn to go along with its beauty?

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Integra DTR 50.3 THX Select2 Plus 7.2 A/V Receiver

Integra DTR 50.3 THX Select2 Plus ReceiverIntegra has produced a high-quality, high value product in the DTR 50.3 7.2 receiver. It has all the bells and whistles you could ask for in a modern receiver, and still has that clean, neutral Integra sound. Read our review and find out why we say, "Definitely recommended!"

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Pioneer VSX-43 7.1 Elite A/V Receiver

Pioneer VSX-43 Elite ReceiverBack in my college days, I had a roommate that had a nice stereo Pioneer receiver. It cost him a few hundred bucks. Since it was pre-digital, the inputs were pretty basic. Simply hook up to a cassette deck and turntable and we reveled in the audiophile sounds that its 30 watts/channel produced. Ah, the 70's were the "golden era" of audio. Point being, everybody has to start somewhere in their journey to musical nirvana. Fast forward to 2013 and now for around $500 you can get a 7.1 surround, network capable, DSP loaded, phone/Android integrated, Bluetooth, 80 watt/channel Elite receiver from Pioneer. True, the VSX-43 is their entry level Elite receiver, but it is packed with features that would have cost you a lot of money, even just a few years ago. But does the VSX-43 have what it takes to be the brain and brawn you are looking for in a modern home entertainment system?

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NAD T 187 7.1 A/V Processor & T 975 Seven-Channel Power Amplifier

NAD T 187 Surround Processor & T 975 7-channel Power Amplifier

NAD, which stands for New Acoustic Dimension, was founded in 1972 with one simple goal: to reproduce sound as faithfully as possible. Eschewing bells and whistles, NAD products are all about simplicity, value and performance. From their earliest components, like the legendary 3020 integrated amplifier, to today’s multi-channel amps and preamps, they have never wavered from this mantra. Here, we review separates: the NAD T 187 7.1 A/V SSP and the T 975 seven-channel power amplifier.

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