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Marantz Professional AV8003 + MM8003 7.1

Marantz recently made available thz combo AV8003 Preamp/Processor ($2,599) and the MM8003 eight-channel amplifier ($2,399).

The THX Ultra-2 certified AV8003 is a pre/pro with DTS Master HD and Dolby Tru-HD; it is also compatible with HDMI-equipped SACD players that bitstream multichannel DSD digital signals. For non-BD sources, the AV8003 features a number of built-in processing modes to bring out multichannel ambiance from mono and stereo signals.

It sports connection options for multichannel and stereo. It contains 7.1 preamp inputs and outputs via RCA jacks, and balanced XLR I/O for connection to high-end amplifiers — stereo and multichannel. There are four version 1.3 HDMI inputs and two HDMI outputs. Stereo audio inputs include TV, VCR (x2), CD, and Aux. Both VCR inputs and Tape and CD also have fixed audio output jacks. The unit has two stereo zone outputs.

The AV8003 has six digital audio inputs (three coaxial RCA and three optical, up to 96 kHz), and two digital audio outputs. There are no AES/EBU balanced XLR digital audio inputs or outputs.

The audio connection architecture also includes the two back surround channel jacks for input and outputs via RCA and balanced XLR. If you don’t have the back channels, the processor can be set to down-mix the two back channels into the left and right surrounds.

For audiophile listening, the AV8003 includes a headphone amp and a “Direct Mode” that is said to reduce measured noise by turning off video and other internal electrical circuits that can degrade audio quality.

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