Bounding Unicorns

Marantz SR8000 Receiver


  • 5.1 channels
  • 100 W/ch @ 0.05% THD into 8 ohms
  • Power consumption: 540 W (rear label)
  • No B speaker output
  • MSRP: over $800 in 1999 (based on $800 for SR7000, ~$900-$1000?)


This is a 5.1 receiver with only 5 speaker terminals - there is no B speaker output support.

The receiver comes with a learning remote which is highly regarded in some of the reviews on the internet. They also mentioned that the remote drains batteries very quickly. The remote takes 4x AA batteries which naturally make the remote bulky and heavy. The reason for rapid battery consumption is that the LCD on the remote appears to stay on the entire time.

I haven't spent time reading the manual for the receiver but just grabbing the remote and trying to use it I found that most buttons apparently are not doing anything. For example, I couldn't figure out how to switch sources or sound field programs from the remote without reading the manual (I ultimately did not read the manual at all, I assume it is in fact possible to perform these functions from the remote).

Receiver configuration requires the remote.

This receiver does not have a hum found on RX-V365, Sony STR-DH710 and, surprisingly, on Denon AVR-2803. When the receiver is turned on it is silent as far as I can tell.

Despite only having 5 amplified channels, SR8000 is physically larger than than AVR-2803 - it is significantly deeper, though a tiny bit shorter and about the same width.

Listening Impressions

I tested the SR8000 with Polk Reference 11T towers, comparing it to the Denon AVR-2803 which I purchased together with the SR8000.

The SR8000 produced audible distortion/noise in the lower treble compared to the AVR-2803.

The SR8000 also produced less bass compared to the AVR-2803. On Ever Dream there is a section where the bass guitar just dips into what I would call "audible bass" region, as reproduced by the 11T towers. These bits of bass were not distinguishable when the same section was reproduced with SR8000.

I don't know why SR8000 distorted more than AVR-2803. Perhaps the DACs in the SR8000 are of worse quality than those in the AVR-2803, owing to the SR8000 being a significantly older product.

To determine whether the issue was with the SR8000 or with 11T's I switched to Definitive Technology BP-8 speakers. These generate a prodigious amount of bass and I was curious how SR8000 would perform.

SR8000 + BP-8 combination had more bass than the SR8000 + 11T, as expected. However the SR8000 still seemed to kill off some of the bottom end of the BP-8, compared to the Yamaha RX-V659 they are normally attached to. At the same time there was constant bass presence; my theory is that SR8000 has a bump in mid-bass output and a dip in low bass output. The BP-8 also seemed to have too much treble when paired with the SR8000. This apparent unevenness in response is more pronounced on EDM material than on rock; perhaps this is the "Marantz tuning" in action and maybe it's done for instruments typically present in a rock band, but the result is suboptimal when a variety of instruments as found in EDM is present.


I eventually figured out that half of the "direct" buttons on the remote are not working. Unfortunately these are responsible for, in particular, tone controls.

When I disassembled the remote I was able to activate all of the buttons by shorting them either to themselves or to the ground on LCD frame. I tried cleaning the terminals with some sandpaper, unfortunately I only had 80 grit available which is very coarse and either this didn't work at all or I needed much finer grit.

I got the idea to use macro function of the remote to move the "direct" buttons to the function buttons (the ones that select the sources), but I would need to disassemble the remote again to try this out.

One of the problems with receivers with fancy remotes such as this SR8000 is that when the remotes die, or are misplaced, the receiver becomes unusable. This is unlike receivers with simple remotes, such as many Yamaha models, which are usable with generic replacement remotes available cheaply on Amazon/eBay.