Home Theater equipment abounds in today’s marketplace and manufacturers must have a very hard time distinguishing themselves from the rest of the herd. I don’t claim to be a techno wizard but I have had several “stereo” systems in my day. One of the best I ever had was way back (about 25 years or so) … before Dolby days when I bought a Marantz surround sound 4 channel receiver and 4 EPI mini tower speakers. It was awesome and a never ending source of fun listening to a demo tape featuring a train circling the room at ever increasing volume and speed. If I recollect there were a few 4 channel synthesizer modes and the discrete 4 channel mode to choose from. Unfortunately I think the demo tape was the only discrete source I ever had … the idea just never got off the ground. Of course in those days no one even thought of using the stereo for TV sound … why would you do that … the TV was mono and there were no inputs or outputs on them. And who really wanted to hear the honeymooners any louder than they already were!

Ahhhh … the simple days. When the SR9200 arrived I could hardly wait to see what a new fangled home theater system looked like in the flesh. Wow … it’s heavy … in fact there is even a warning on the box not to hurt your back removing it. This is a very good sign … more weight … more power … more fun 🙂

Out of the box … onto the table … turn it around and … mama … more inputs and outputs than freckles on my red headed face! Now this is a serious piece of equipment. Where do I start? Well … since this is going to be the core of our Home Technology Demonstration Project I need to get very familiar with it. As an engineer with umpteen years of school and several years of testing and commissioning all sorts of equipment … there is one key thing I have learned … “READ THE INSTRUCTIONS”!!!!! Fortunately Marantz has done a great job with the manual for the SR9200. It covers everything you need to know in simple terms and has some excellent setup diagrams covering most common options. In reality a Home Theater receiver is just a fancy radio with a whole lot of buttons and plugs. All you need to learn is which plug goes where and which button does what. If you need help with that then it’s best to get it from a qualified installer or knowledgeable family member or friend … someone who will “READ THE INSTRUCTIONS” … and understand them!!!!!

Simply Brilliant UPB Dimming
There are way too may features included in this receiver to talk about here so I’ll just include a list at the end of this review. Suffice to say that it is state of the art and has the latest THX features as well as most if not all predecessor home theater arrangements including THX Ultra®, THX Surround EX®, Dolby Digital®, DTS ES®,Discrete 6.1, Matrix 6.1, Neo: 6, Dolby Pro Logic II ®, (Movie, Music), Circle Surround 5.1 ®(Movie, Music). Power enough to blow the doors off of most living rooms (140 W X 7 Channels) and much more. Bottom line … if you need more features … buy a recording studio! And guess what … when we got it up and running it delivers awesome pictures and sound (of course you need good speakers and monitor to get the best performance from any receiver).

One thing to bear in mind when you come to installing a home theater system is the number of cables and wires necessary and their quality and cost. Don’t expect to get the best possible sound and picture if you use cheap cables. Do a bit of homework and shop around for good prices on quality cabling. Speaker wire especially should not be undersized … 14 gauge minimum for a system this powerful. S-Video is OK for video but there again there is a lot of price and quality variation.

EnlargeThe SR9200 comes with a Programmable Touch-Screen, 2-Way, Learning Remote Control. Out of the box it’s ready to control all of the functions of the receiver and can learn the commands from all of the other components in your system. You can also set up macros to control multiple components from one button. (Just remember to train your family to keep the remote pointed at the receiver while the macro sends a series of IR signals … easier said than done). To get really fancy you can download free software from the Marantz website to customize the control screens. The remote comes with a serial cable to connect to your computer. The software if fairly intuitive and lets you do nice things like program the volume hard buttons to operate the amp no matter what component screen you are using etc. It also lets you build custom screens and buttons so you can set up a system that works for you. I suppose you could even have custom screens for each family member. Little Johnny’s could remind him to do his homework and take out the garbage before he watches 6 straight hours of the Simpsons.

Marantz has been in the business of home entertainment for many years and I have had good experiences with them. This receiver seems to have everything we need for the Home Technology Demonstration Project and more. MSRP or the unit is approximately $3199.

* 140 W X 7 Channels (8 Ohms)
* THX Ultra®, THX Surround EX®, Dolby Digital®, DTS ES®,Discrete 6.1, Matrix 6.1, Neo: 6)
* Dolby Pro Logic II ®, (Movie, Music), Circle Surround 5.1 ®(Movie, Music)
* HDCD Decoder
* , < 0.05% THD, 20 Hz - 20 kHz), Discrete Amplifiers * 2 24 bit Digital Surround Processing Chipsets * High Power Current Feedback Circuitry * Massive Energy Power Supply, Huge Toroidal, Transformer, Large ELCO's * 192/ 24 bit Crystal ®DAC for all 7 Channels * Copper Plated Chassis * ADDC (Adaptive Double Differential Control) * Video Off Mode * Gold Plated Input/ Output Terminals * 9 Assignable Digital Inputs (Total 10) * Large Heavy Duty Banana Type Speaker Terminals for all Channels * RS232C Terminal for Future Upgrades or System Control * Set Up Menu Via Composite, S- Video and Component Video Output * 2 Assignable DC Trigger Outputs * Auto Input Signal Detection * Improved Station Name Input Method, 50 Presets * Auto Adjust Function for Speaker Distance Settings (Delay Time) * 4 Front Optical Aux Inputs(Digital Camera, Portable DVD) * Gyro Touch Tuning * Large Multi Operation Left Dial Knob * ------------------------------------------ * Programmable Touch-Screen, 2-Way, Learning Remote Control * Pre-Programmed to Operate Marantz Audio & Video Products * Controllable Display Contrast * 1 MB Non-Volatile Flash Memory * RS232C Computer Connection * 12 Back-Lit Direct Access Buttons * Macro, Beep, Timer * Marantz Digital Learning * Charcoal Grey, Silver Finish