The first time I took the new Marantz SR7007 out of the box I was floored. I could not believe all this integrated AV receiver had to offer, and for the price! Wow. Let's do a quick run down of what makes this receiver the best in it's price-point.
Aesthetics: I know! It sounds ridiculous to have this as the first point. But the first thing you see is the receiver itself! I don't know about you, but I hate having something in my audio rack, or sitting within my TV stand that I can't stand looking at. The retro/simple look that Marantz pulls off is incredible elegant. The two dials, combined with a small display are perfect. All of the standard front panel controls you'd expect are nicely hidden by a drop down door.
The ins and outs: OK! Enough about the looks already! The inputs and outputs on this machine are numerous. 7 HDMI inputs. 7! One is on the front, so you can plus in your HDMI enabled device easily and unplug it just as easily, ie. Camcorder, laptop. If you're a tech geek like me, you know how frustrating it can be to not have enough inputs. No problem with this unit. Now, where this gets really interesting, is the outputs. There are 3 HDMI outs, two of which are simultaneous and one being discrete. So what does that mean? When you set up your 120" drop down screen, with your 50" flat panel behind it, they can each be hooked up to receive the exact same signal. No switching cables or separate systems needed. But, not only that, we can have something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT playing in a third zone off the same unit. ie. I can have my blu-ray player playing on my projector/flat panel in the theatre room, and my cable box playing in the living room. This eliminates the need to duplicate equipment. It also has audio pre-outs for these, meaning we could send the audio through the HDMI cable to our second zone, or we can simply send RCA jacks into a separate amplifier to create a true multi zone audio system. Airplay is also built in, so you can easily stream music from your iPhone/iPad directly to the system. With the network connection, you can also do all the US favourites like Pandora, that us Canadians can only dream of. But if one day we have access, you've got a system that is ready to go. The last part of this receiver that is great for those of us who really like to feel the pound of an explosion when you are watching a movie, is that little.2 out. That means you can hook up two subwoofers directly to this baby, meaning more thump. This actually allows your subwoofers to not have to work as hard, giving you a much more accurate lower end. Trust me, a second subwoofer is just what your system is missing.
Setup: Setup is a breeze. If you are a tweak-o-phile like me, you can adjust all of the speakers levels to be perfect to your ear, or if you want to leave it to the pros, use the built in Audyssey MultEQXT system to calibrate your speakers to get that sound just right. The menus are extremely easy to navigate, and the on screen display looks great.
The Rest: This unit offers a solid 125 watts of output per channel, which wil certainly leave you with enough headroom to pump the speakers and not have to worry about distortion. This unit offers your standard video up conversion, as well as having 3D pass through, and 4k. Again... future ready, not to mention that the software can be upgraded through the built in networking capabilities.
The Best Part: I had trouble deciding what the best part of this receiver is, so we have co-winners. With a price under $2000 for all of the features, that had to be one of the co-winners. The value for dollars is incredibly high. But then I tried the remote control app on my iPhone. If you're anything like me, your iPhone never leaves your side. This app allows you to control all of the features of your SR7007 through a very neatly designed app. No more losing your remote! But never fear Android users, you can also take advantage of the app as well.
It's these reasons, and more that make the SR7007 from Marantz the best AV receiver, period.