Marantz SR7300ose AV Receiver - Product Review

Product Overview and Testing Setup

Today's AV receivers pack in a lot of features and functionality for the home theater enthusiast, and, at a very reasonable price. The Marantz SR7300ose is one such receiver that includes all the functionality you would expect but adds a few features not seen in most receivers in its price range.


The SR7300ose is one of the latest AV receivers from the legendary Marantz and pulls no punches on features or performance. Its discrete 6-channel amplifier supplies 110 RMS WPC into standard 8-ohm loads. It has all needed front and rear analog/digital AV connections as well as 7.1 channel analog inputs for an external surround sound decoder or SACD/DVD-Audio sources. SR7300 also offers 2-channel second zone input and output. The SR7300ose also offers AV switching of composite, S-video, and component sources. The SR7300ose can also decode DTS 96kz/24bit audio and is also equipped with 192khz/24bit DACs on all channels.

In addition, to multi-format DD/DTS surround decoding, the 73000ose also has Pro Logic II, DTS Neo:6, and SRS Circle Surround II, which create effective 5.1/6.1 channel surround fields from two-channel sources. In addition, its built-in HDCD decoder unleashes the extra audio quality hidden in many HDCD-encoded CDs. Other audio options include 7-channel stereo and Virtual Surround. Virtual Surround allows a 5 or 6 channel mixdown into two channels, without losing the content from the surround channels, thus, providing a wider sound field than a normal stereo signal.

This function is useful if you only have a two-speaker setup.

Other functional features include a front headphone jack, two rear convenience power outlets (one switched/one unswitched), and, of course, a remote control with LCD display. Last, but not least, the SR7300ose also has an RS232 connection for future firmware upgradability or installation of total system control functions. The SR7300ose weighs in at a respectable 32 pounds and has an MSRP of $1299.

Testing Setup

Components used in the evaluation included a Denon DCM-370 CD/HDCD Changer, Panasonic LX-1000 Laserdisc Player, Pioneer DV-525 DVD player, Philips DVDR985 DVD Recorder, a Yamaha YST-SW205 powered subwoofer, and an Optoma H56 DLP video projector. A variety of loudspeakers, in both matched and mismatched setups, were used. All line-level (including subwoofer) and digital audio connections between components were made with Cobalt interconnect cables.

A sampling of the software used included standard CDs: HEART - Dreamboat Annie, Pink Floyd: Dark Side Of The Moon (2003), Nora Jones: Come Away With Me, Lisa Loeb: Firecracker (HDCD), Blondie: Live (HDCD), Telarc: 1812 Overture. One Laserdisc was used: Godzilla 1998.

DVDs used included: Godzilla 1998, Jurassic Park III, The Mummy/The Mummy Returns, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, Artificial Intelligence, and U571(DTS). DVD-Audio/DTS music discs: Queen: Night At The Opera/The Game, Eagles: Hotel California, Alan Parsons: On Air. Portions of other software titles in the above categories were used as well.

The Marantz SR7300ose was an excellent performer with each of the connected components and with all software program material. With its discrete high-current amplifier design, there was more than enough power to respond quickly to dramatic changes in sound levels, thus preventing the "fatigue" effect common when listening to some mid-range and budget AV receivers over the course of a DVD viewing. In addition, its thorough and easy-to-use onscreen setup system made it convenient to adjust for mismatched speakers and speaker distance from the listening spot. The pass-through of S-video signals on the SR7300ose was also very good, with no visible signal loss when compared to a direct video feed from the Laserdisc and DVD players to the video projector used.

Another useful feature on the SR7300ose (which is becoming common on AV receivers) is the second zone option. This allows setup of an additional two-channel amplifier, speakers, and TV in another room, using the 7300ose to send a line-level signal from one of its connected audio/video components. The source can be the same or different from what is playing on the main system.

This feature is also great if your components are installed in a closet or booth, separate from your viewing room. By employing a small TV monitor, amplifier, and a couple small speakers, you can use the second zone function for a small audio/video monitor station, separate from the actual viewing room where your video projector or big screen TV is set up.

In addition, two more features, onboard HDCD decoding, and SRS Circle Surround II, added "spice" to this receiver. With the built-in HDCD decoder, the user can play an HDCD-encoded disc (refer to the "Related Resources" link at the bottom of the page) on a standard CD or DVD player with a digital output. The SR7300ose can then decode the enhanced audio quality of the embedded HDCD signal. The only drawback of this function is that it results in two-channel stereo-only playback that cannot be manipulated by the other surround sound software options of the SR7300ose. On the other hand, HDCDs played on an HDCD-equipped player, where the signal is already decoded before it gets to the receiver, can be manipulated by the onboard surround sound options.

The other great feature on this receiver is SRS Circle Surround II.

Basically, Circle Surround II, as it is employed in the SR7300ose, can extract a 6.1 channel surround sound environment from any Circle Surround, Dolby Surround (analog), Dolby Digital (2-channel), or analog two-channel audio material (except when the HDCD decoder is used). In this basic respect, it is similar to Dolby Pro-Logic II and DTS Neo:6. However, Circle Surround II makes use of a broader sound field between channels, giving a more "immersive effect" for the listener. Adding both an adjustable dialog and bass enhancer, Circle Surround II is a great option for multi-channel audio listening. The only drawback of the Circle Surround II option as it is utilized in this receiver is that it can't be used in conjunction with the Dolby Digital 5.1/6.1, DTS, or HDCD options. For additional information on SRS Circle Surround II, check out the "related Resources" links at the bottom of the page.

Both HDCD and Circle Surround II are great additions, but it would be nice to have a little more flexibility. The only other complaint I have is the lack of a direct equalized phono input for an audio turntable. This means that turntable users need to purchase a phono preamp and use one of the auxiliary audio inputs on the SR7300ose.

However, despite these shortcomings, I found the overall performance and ease-of-use of the SR7300ose to be top-notch. I have no problem recommending this AV receiver as a good investment for any mid-to-high-end home theater system. Unless you are craving more power and a lot more input options, this unit has everything you need, and, with an RS232 port, it is ready for future upgrades.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.