MARANTZ AV10 REFERENCE 15.4               Home Theater Preamp
So I had been putting off checking out the new Marantz AV10 for a little while assuming it would be more or less the AV8805A on steroids. Boy was I wrong! The AV10 is its own powerhouse which deserves all the praise it receives. I was really surprised by how much it weighed. The Anthem AV90 which I am a big fan of weighs just 22 pounds. The McIntosh MX180 I have comes in about 30 pounds. The Marantz AV10 actually weighs 37 pounds! It is a force to reckon with. Built like a tank from the floor up. Also it is a very good looking component. My Wife was quick to point that out.
As you can see the AV10 is very well packaged. It screams high end component. The remote control is one of the best I have ever seen with a Preamp. It's backlit (side button activated) and just fits comfortably in hand. The button layout is simple and easy to learn. The direct input buttons and direct Movie mode selections is appreciated. I really like the Options since you can make on the fly tweaks including Dialog Enhancer if needed. I say if needed beciase sometimes you might have a guest who can't hear as well and this helps avoid the question, what did they say? Lastly I really really like the Info button (pics below.) Right there you can see everything from sound to video and in between going in and out. This is perfect to do before the guests arrive for the presentation. And of course there is a Marantz App that allows you to adjust all parameters from your smart phone or tablet. As for setting up the AV10 let's discuss how simple that endeavor was. 
So I began first doing the Audyssey calibration. I use my own 20.00 tripod from amazon/walmart which works perfectly with their mic. It's in a picture above. The sound improvement was noticeable and we were able to discern a better difference immediately. The chirping is definitely worth the trouble. So after we did that we listened with the same movies before the Audyssey set up with it. Then came time to move onto the next calibration with Dirac Live. I purchased the miniDSP UMIK-2 with an InnoGear Microphone stand. I also grabbed an Active USB 2.0 16.4 Extension Cord. I was able to plug into the front of the AV10. Once I had the Full Bandwidth with Bass Control Multi Sub software up and running on my laptop I was able to begin the process. It was actually fun and very simple to do. I did mine late at night when the house was as quiet as possible. 
The first clip (besides the Dirac Live first sweeps) was Mad Max Fury Road. His voice was impactful and very cinema like. It literally had the same strong impact you get when you're sitting in an actual movie theater. My Martin Logans Center and Fronts came alive. You could hear him crunch on the two headed lizard. And as he took off and the band of crazies chased you could hear their engines behind you and off to the side. It was terrific. I then jumped into one of my other favorite tests with Darkness Falls. The narrator again made the hairs on my neck stand up as his eerie voice told the scary tale about the tooth fairly. Again this was a step above Audyssey with Dirac and right there with the McIntosh MX180 which is 
over double the MSRP. Now that is saying something! I then ran with Tom Cruise and Oblivion. I love the inflection in his voice as he says "Earth." The entire first sequence is astounding as the various noises envelope the room. Then of course my favorite moment is when he bites into the toast she's holding. You can clearly hear him chomp on it with jarring detail with the Marantz AV10. And then again as he mutters "thank you for the coffee." Again this was knocked out of the park. Up next we tried Sunshine which was a suggestion from George who is a good friend of mine. This narration in the beginning is a good test for your center speaker. The AV10 passed nicely and the front stage presence was second to none. If you close your eyes for a moment it suspends your awareness of where you're actually at. Your home or a real cinema. Finally I jumped into Sicario where Emily Blunt calms herself down by whispering "relax" to herself. Depending on your component the second time she says it is barely discernible or can still be clearly heard. The Marantz AV10 shines with this scene. Another good testament to its abilities. 
The AV10 I have in for Review has a build date of 11/23 so it is obviously super fresh. I have not experienced any issues with it. The image quality is spot on perfect going through it and all HDMI switching and handshakes have been perfect. I have a vast amount of components so that is saying something. I do use Cherry Cola 48 Audioquest cables which I know are more expensive but the last thing you want to do is take a shortcut when it comes to cables. I have had issues (one major) using "cheaper" cables from amazon. Never again. So what makes the AV10 a 10? Marantz's HDAM (Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Modules) circuit boards bring out the fine detail and off the scale dynamic range. Also, the toroidal power supply has a lot to do with the high-performance with very low-noise. Going over sound formats were a Dolby Atmos house mainly these days. I used to really like Auro-3D for football (sports) and still do though the Dolby Upmixer is right there with it on the AV10. We used the latest Apple TV 4K for most of our tests with a little bit of Nvidia Shield and Oppo 205. One day eventually I may try a Kaleidescape when it can play my Vudu Fandango collection. That would be perfect for our household. For the majority of Movies we were able to do them in Atmos sound. The format has really carved its way into being the industry standard. 
The only test for Sports I was able to complete was the Super Bowl. And wow what a nice treat that was. So the announcers were anchored perfectly in the center speaker while the rest of the crowd and ref's
whistle blowing was accurately placed in the Heights and Fronts. I switched to Auro-3D and the back to the Dolby upmixer and both sounded very very good. The Dolby had a stronger Front presence where the Auro-3D had more of a ceiling presentation. I liked them both!

I have been asked by more than a few people about how it compares to other units I have had or have now. The Anthem AVM90 which I am a big fan of is very close but in my room with my Amps (Datasat 7300s) and Speakers (Martin Logans) the Marantz AV10 outdoes it. I can say the build quality is definitely better as well as the remote. As for sound quality the clarity is sharper with the center stage and the ability to have Auro-3D as an option is a plus. Not to mention the major ability to use Dirac Live. The AV10 and Anthem were very close until I did the Dirac calibration. Whatever is in their secret sauce just works! Voices are amazingly clear and distinct with the exact amount of oomph. The movie Anyone But You was a terrific comedy but also had a nice blend of music with fun debates from the main characters. At times there were other characters in the background away from the main scene but you could still hear their lines clearly. I still can't get the song "Unwritten" out of my head! Back to comparisons I now know of 3 people who have left Trinnov and one Storm and are completely happy with their AV10s. That is saying something for sure. I would say it is super close
to the McInstosh MX180. It has better build quality than it and I prefer the user interface by far. So many options which is another reason I prefer it over the Anthem too.The bass is more disciplined and tighter. I also do Sound Shakers in all 8 chairs and the AV10 effortlessly pushes them into the scenes. They insert themselves in an organic way almost like a second nature. Still this is only my opinion or my ears in our room. Other rooms with other components may yield different results. If there is one thing I have learned in the Audio world is it has never been a "one size fits all" solution. And yes I would be very happy owning either component. Both make our room sound excellent.  

My final conclusion for now... So to put everything into perspective the Marantz AV10 is a "10" when it comes to price versus performance. It really brings it when it comes to both Sports and Movie Nights. You just need to add the popcorn!

JVC NZ9 8K Projector, madVR MK2 ENVY Extreme, Stewart Studiotek 144 ST100 16:9, Marantz AV10, Anthem AVM90, McIntosh MX180, Apple TV 4K 2023, NVIDIA Shield Pro, Datasat RA7300 Amps X 2, Oppo UDP-203 4K Player, Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra Blu-ray player, Furman Elite-20 PFI, Monster Power HTS 5100, AC INFINITY Component Coolers, Speakers: MARTIN LOGAN ILLUSION Center, IMPRESSIONS (Left and Right), VANQUISH (HEIGHTS & ATMOS & Top), AXIS (Backs), Subwoofers- Martin Logan BalancedForce 212 X 2, Seatcraft Equinox Seating with Sound Shakers, Remote: One For All, Harmony 1100, HARMONY ELITE, Harmony ULTIMATE, Cables: Audioquest shorter HDMI cables top to bottom. Audioquest Cherry Cola 48s...
Laurie Elkin, President
AV Science, Inc.
77 Halstead Street, Ste 4
Rochester, NY 14610 
585-454-1460 - Main

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On a personal note, I would like to thank you for reading my report. I would also like to thank my Wife Jaclyn for her support and our kids Mila and Raelynn and of course our brave 3 year old Dallas. I would like to thank AVS SCIENCE for giving me the opportunity to Review the Marantz AV10 and for the unique opportunity to work with them. AVS SCIENCE has JVC, Sony, Epson, Marantz, Denon, Yamaha, Stewart, Seymour, Screen Innovations, Screen Excellence, DNP, Da-Lite, Triad, SVS, Martin Logan & more... Give them a call today! Tell them I sent you. Also you can always contact me directly as well. I am always here with pre purchase and forever after purchase questions.