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Marantz NR1200 first impressions

habu77

Active member
Oct 10, 2020
11
5
25
Good morning all,

I managed to buy a Marantz NR1200 for £400 in pristine state. I am extremely happy with it. Setup is a doddle, I bought it from a Polish guy so had to change language first :) Luckliy the setup menu is self-explanatory and really easy to follow. It looks like crap and I have seen many lamenting it but it's a setup menu, hopefully to be used once rarely to be seen again so what's the use of having it in 4K?

Sound quality is mint, streaming Amazon Music HD through the HEOS app works a treat and 24/192 tracks are awesome, I hear details I have never heard before. I play on Pure Direct and I have bi-wired my Wharfedale Pacific EVO 30's via the A+B speaker terminals, excellent feature! I have a subwoofer for movies and there is no need for it when listening to music. Open soundstage, all the frequencies are addressed perfectly and after my old Yamaha 7.1 receiver the step up in sound quality is a sheer pleasure. I have seen comments about the lack of bass extension and it sounding 'tinny'. When I play James Blake's 'Limit to your Love' there's nothing tinny about it, a sheer wall of bass fills the room (again, no subwoofer, just Pure Direct). If you can't get bass from this unit I don't know what the problem is but it's not the NR1200 imho.

The HEOS app is spartan. I can access Amazon Music HD but I can't see my own personal playlists. So I decided if I want to play them I would use the Bluetooth function. Bluetooth connection is good but what I find puzzling is that the NR1200 uses the SBC codec instead of aptX which I find weird in a device such as this. So I use my phone which uses aptX and the Amazon Music app to stream to my Tibo Bond 3 streamer (which I thought I could get rid off because the NR1200 has bluetooth) which uses aptX as well connected with an optical cable assigned to the AUX input. So if I want to listen to single albums in the highest quality possible I use HEOS, if I want to listen to my playlists I use Bluetooth. Bit of a niggle but it doesn't dampen my love for this device.

I listen to music way more than I watch movies but it's nice to have all the connectivity via this amp. I have a BluRay player and a Chromecast connected via HDMI so I can use the TV as a monitor. The sound in video is excellent, had to get used to not hearing the bullets fly all over the place in The Matrix but what I lose in the multi-channel department is far outweighed by the gains in my music enjoyment.

It has all the connectivity I had in my Yamaha but with far superior stereo sound and I am very happy with it. If there are other people who own the NR1200 I would love to hear their opinions!
 
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jonboywalton75

Well-known member
Jan 11, 2012
113
18
18,595
I bought one in July and was going to switch from Tidal to Amazon hd, i took the amazon trial and agreed it sounds awesome, saves me a fiver a month.
I couldn't handle it with heos/amazon so I'm back to tidal using bubble unplug n play.
Upgraded from Na6005, love it.
I love my vinyl sound also, admittedly through my rega phono stage which I couldn't be bothered to sell.
All in all a good upgrade
 
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TonyB

Active member
Nov 21, 2020
6
1
25
Hi, habu77, I am also very impressed with this receiver, which I've had for a few months.

I originally bought it with the intention of adding traditional passive speakers, but then got into the idea of active speakers. Although I would consider myself an audiophile in the sense that I appreciate good quality sound (especially for music) I'm not a hobbyist who wants to spend many hours and a lot of cash experimenting with component matching. Active speakers were a good solution for me as they overcome the difficulties of matching amps and speakers.

Therefore I'm currently using the NR1200 as a pre-amp, paired with Dynaudio Xeo 6 active speakers, and I'm very pleased with the sound. I realise that I'm effectively wasting half of what the Marantz can do as I'm ignoring the power amp stage, so I can't really comment on its full performance. However, the pre-amp stage delivers a very clean and neutral sound to the Dynaudios. I've set them to a fixed output level and use the volume control on the NR1200. Headphones also sound great hard wired to the NR1200's headphone out socket.

I had thought of selling the Marantz as I could plug all the kit I use into the Dynaudio hub and just add a streamer. However, one major downside of active speakers is that all manufacturers ignore headphone use as there's usually no headphone output on the hubs that feed the speakers.

Therefore you need a pre-amp with headphone out, or a pre-amp and headphone amp, unless you are happy to plug headphones into each individual peripheral device you use. I'm not happy to do that because it's inconvenient and usually the headphone amps on peripherals are not that good.

Given that the NR1200 does all this, plus it's a streamer and has fantastic connectivity, including 5 HDMI ports, it seemed silly to get rid of it. I also like using the ARC connection with my LG OLED TV.

Caveats:

I agree that the setup menu is awful but it does the job.

The HEOS streaming platform is basic and quite a lot behind others in terms of GUI and what it offers. It still doesn't have Qobuz.

There's a major issue if you stream a lot of foreign internet radio as the platform uses Tunein, which has now lost nearly all its foreign feeds due to a copyright issue which I can't see being resolved any time soon. Workaround: connect a Chromecast-capable device to the NR1200 (I use an Nvidia Shield) and stream from your phone to that device using one of many free radio apps.

Bluetooth transmitter: there seems to be a bug or possibly a fault. I can pair the NR1200 to my Sony WH-1000XM4 BT headphones and the quality is fine for about two minutes. It then instantly degrades to a horrible distorted 'bubbling mud' sound. It does this every time I try and use the Sony headphones with the Marantz via Bluetooth. The headphones work fine using Bluetooth with every other device.

Also, when watching TV I noticed that there's a major lip sync issue when listening through the NR1200 via Bluetooth. This can be corrected to an extent in the NR1200 settings, but it's still a major inconvenience.

Do you or anyone else with this device use Bluetooth headphones? If so, please could you check whether you have the same issue as me? If not, it's likely to be a fault on my device.

In summary, the NR1200 is a steal given what it offers, bearing in mind my caveats above.
 
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habu77

Active member
Oct 10, 2020
11
5
25
Interesting use for the device. Hadn't considered active speakers but my Wharfedales really like the Marantz whereas the Yamaha I had before was harsh in comparison so I have found a match for the moment (until a new G.A.S. episode 😂) I don't use headphones unfortunately so I can't comment on that. What puzzles me is that the NR1200 uses SBC as Bluetooth codec and not aptX which I find very strange for a device like this.
 

TonyB

Active member
Nov 21, 2020
6
1
25
I'm glad the NR1200 works well with the Wharfdales. When I was demo'ing passive speakers I found it to be a good match for Dali speakers, especially the Oberon 5.

Yes, having an antiquated Bluetooth codec doesn't help the latency issue. I could buy an external Bluetooth transmitter such as the Avantree, which has AptX HD, but I'll probably just continue to hardwire the headphones to the Marantz and leave it at that.
 

habu77

Active member
Oct 10, 2020
11
5
25
I'm glad the NR1200 works well with the Wharfdales. When I was demo'ing passive speakers I found it to be a good match for Dali speakers, especially the Oberon 5.

Yes, having an antiquated Bluetooth codec doesn't help the latency issue. I could buy an external Bluetooth transmitter such as the Avantree, which has AptX HD, but I'll probably just continue to hardwire the headphones to the Marantz and leave it at that.
I am not tech savvy so forgive me if this is a stupid question 😂 Can you just change codec with a software update or is it a physical thing?
 

TonyB

Active member
Nov 21, 2020
6
1
25
Good question. I don't know for sure but I would imagine that a faster codec with more bandwidth and less latency would require an upgrade to the transmitter hardware.
 

jonboywalton75

Well-known member
Jan 11, 2012
113
18
18,595
The Bluetooth out on mine is useless, I plug my headphones into the jack, superb sound that way
Bluetooth input from my phone works fine but i don't find much use for it.
 

TonyB

Active member
Nov 21, 2020
6
1
25
The Bluetooth out on mine is useless, I plug my headphones into the jack, superb sound that way
Bluetooth input from my phone works fine but i don't find much use for it.
I'm glad it's not just me who has problems with the Bluetooth out. I do exactly the same as you.

The only thing I use the Bluetooth input for is for streaming an internet radio app from my phone to the Marantz, now that the HEOS Tunein app has been severely compromised.
 

jonboywalton75

Well-known member
Jan 11, 2012
113
18
18,595
Hi, habu77, I am also very impressed with this receiver, which I've had for a few months.

I originally bought it with the intention of adding traditional passive speakers, but then got into the idea of active speakers. Although I would consider myself an audiophile in the sense that I appreciate good quality sound (especially for music) I'm not a hobbyist who wants to spend many hours and a lot of cash experimenting with component matching. Active speakers were a good solution for me as they overcome the difficulties of matching amps and speakers.

Therefore I'm currently using the NR1200 as a pre-amp, paired with Dynaudio Xeo 6 active speakers, and I'm very pleased with the sound. I realise that I'm effectively wasting half of what the Marantz can do as I'm ignoring the power amp stage, so I can't really comment on its full performance. However, the pre-amp stage delivers a very clean and neutral sound to the Dynaudios. I've set them to a fixed output level and use the volume control on the NR1200. Headphones also sound great hard wired to the NR1200's headphone out socket.

I had thought of selling the Marantz as I could plug all the kit I use into the Dynaudio hub and just add a streamer. However, one major downside of active speakers is that all manufacturers ignore headphone use as there's usually no headphone output on the hubs that feed the speakers.

Therefore you need a pre-amp with headphone out, or a pre-amp and headphone amp, unless you are happy to plug headphones into each individual peripheral device you use. I'm not happy to do that because it's inconvenient and usually the headphone amps on peripherals are not that good.

Given that the NR1200 does all this, plus it's a streamer and has fantastic connectivity, including 5 HDMI ports, it seemed silly to get rid of it. I also like using the ARC connection with my LG OLED TV.

Caveats:

I agree that the setup menu is awful but it does the job.

The HEOS streaming platform is basic and quite a lot behind others in terms of GUI and what it offers. It still doesn't have Qobuz.

There's a major issue if you stream a lot of foreign internet radio as the platform uses Tunein, which has now lost nearly all its foreign feeds due to a copyright issue which I can't see being resolved any time soon. Workaround: connect a Chromecast-capable device to the NR1200 (I use an Nvidia Shield) and stream from your phone to that device using one of many free radio apps.

Bluetooth transmitter: there seems to be a bug or possibly a fault. I can pair the NR1200 to my Sony WH-1000XM4 BT headphones and the quality is fine for about two minutes. It then instantly degrades to a horrible distorted 'bubbling mud' sound. It does this every time I try and use the Sony headphones with the Marantz via Bluetooth. The headphones work fine using Bluetooth with every other device.

Also, when watching TV I noticed that there's a major lip sync issue when listening through the NR1200 via Bluetooth. This can be corrected to an extent in the NR1200 settings, but it's still a major inconvenience.

Do you or anyone else with this device use Bluetooth headphones? If so, please could you check whether you have the same issue as me? If not, it's likely to be a fault on my device.

In summary, the NR1200 is a steal given what it offers, bearing in mind my caveats above.
I bought a mee audio bt transmitter from richer sounds, works fine for the tv
 

TonyB

Active member
Nov 21, 2020
6
1
25
I bought a mee audio bt transmitter from richer sounds, works fine for the tv
Interesting. What method do you use to connect it to the TV, and is there any lip sync issue?

Also, what codec does it use? Annoyingly, my Sony XM4 BT headphones don't have aptX as they now use their proprietary codec (LDAC), so I'm not sure if the Mee Audio device would work for me.
 

jonboywalton75

Well-known member
Jan 11, 2012
113
18
18,595
Its available on amazon as well here's the details
No lypsinc probs for me
 
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