Marantz AV-550 A/V Preamplifier

AV-550

User Reviews (49)

Showing 1-10 of 49  
bill   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 25, 2002]
Strength:

High quality construction, very good price.

Weakness:

Confusing remote, no headphone jack.

This AV preamp was a demo model & I basically stole it for $400! The first thing I noticed about this preamp was how clean the Dolby Pro Logic was as compared to my old reciever. This preamp is pretty quiet & you really have to turn up the volume to get a noticeable hum with NO source playing at the time. I only have 2 complaints, NO HEADPHONE JACK! ARRRGH! And a remote that requires a college degree to fine tune. Considering the outrageous cost of most AV preamps out there ($1200 & up) I feel I made out like a bandit.

Similar Products Used: Harman/Kardon PA-5800 Denon DCD-1400 Mirage 595is
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Don Eichstadt   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 28, 2000]
Strength:

Value, Video switching, RC-2000 remote, On-screen display

Weakness:

Lack of DTS upgrade from Marantz

I purchased the Marantz AV-550 for $290. I was pleasantly surprised at the overall performance of this piece of equipment. This A/V preamp offer a full compliment of video switching. The AV-550 offers Dolby Pro-Logic and Dolby Digital decoding as well as many other sound enhancement modes. This preamp comes with RE-EQ which is usually only found in THX certified equipment. Sound is very clean, channel separation is outstanding, user friendly on screen menus, and who could leave out the RC-2000 remote (A pure work of art).

My system comprises a pair of Spica TC-50 speakers (Front), Carver Cinema 5.1 speakers (Center and Rear), VMPS Subwoofer, Sony 550 DVD player, NAD 906 six channel amplifier (Drives the Subwoofer, Center, and Rear Speakers), NAD 7240 Integrated Amp (Drives the Front Speakers).

I have read some of the other review on this page which make mention of slight background noise coming out of the speaker. If I listen closely I can hear some noise but it depends on which DVD I am playing. I feel that this is not the fault of the preamp and could be blame on bad encoding. The Spica TC-50s I am using up front are extremely critical speakers which leave nothing to hide during playback. Even when playing some CD's I notice the level of background noise (Hiss) varies based on the quality of the recording.

The only real downfall related to this piece is the lack of a DTS upgrade. It appears that Mazantz is not yet offering a DTS upgradefor the av-550. If you want DTS you will have to purchase the av-560.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Darren Cambridge   Audio Enthusiast [May 21, 2001]
Strength:

I've found the AC-3 decoding to be accurate and reliable. The user interface and the sophistical learning remote included rocks.

Weakness:

I don't really trust the subwoofer output, although this may be due the the problems with the 500-W Infinity subwoofer I user in my system, similar to the problems other users have reported on this site.

I have no complaints with the item. Excellent decoding, nice user interface, plenty of S-video ins/outs, and a great remote. DTS would be nice, but I have a hard time finding DTS DVDs anayway. Preamp/decoder technology is changine so quickly that I feel more comfortable buying a solid midrange system product like this and upgrading as the technology improves, using my long-to-be-obsolete amps.

Similar Products Used: Technics intrgrated AVC-amp. Denon mid-range dolby digital intrgrated amp. Infinity sm speakers, replaced with b&w 600 series s2 matched fronts, center, and surrounds. Marantz monoblock amps powering all four channels, with an old (199) flagship Denon Cd player, technics direct-drive turntable, and Toshiba SD6200 DVD.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Aaron   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 13, 1999]

I picked up the 550 about a month ago and love it so far. Couldn't beat the blowout price of $500 new w/ remote at my local high-end shop! I didn't have $10k-$20k to spend on my gear like alot of these guys on here, so it was an awesome deal for me as well as sounding great in my home for HT and music both.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Aaron   an Audio Enthusiast [Sep 04, 1999]

I couldn't beat it for the price I paid...$595 at my local High-End Shop.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Clarence Tillese   an Audio Enthusiast [Jul 31, 1998]

The AV-600 is a better pre-amp/processor for certain reasons. The 600 has 2 sub outs, better processing chips, THX certification and surround decoding, more difinitive in stereo seperation and better (sleaker looks. The 550 does have AC-3 decoding but you can add that to the 600 for a modest cost. You cannot add THX tot he 550 which is sad. I preferr the sonic value to THX over AC-3 usually and with DTS coming over the horizon, AC-3 may be on its way out and you will need a DTS decoder anyway.
The 550 is tremendous at what is does, but for the same money, I would go with the 600 considering the future and the sonic performance.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Tod Berlitz   an Audio Enthusiast [Aug 05, 1998]

I have just recently reviewed several pieces of the Marantz line and was quite impressed. I loved this processor so much in the store that I bought it. I will soon have 2 MA-700's to go with it and possibly an all Marantz system. They really are cooking up some great feature packed gear for the price.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
GR Werth   Audiophile [Nov 06, 2001]
Strength:

Very good for DD 5.1 RF, Coax & Optical Inputs. On screen menu

Weakness:

2 channel music

My very first preamp, purchased prematurely because of a need to mate something up with my MA-500 monoblocks. Excellent features for use with DVD's, but not as well defined for music. Has a very good tuner though, as I found out I liked listening to the radio again!

Similar Products Used: AV600
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Guy Usher   Audiophile [Sep 29, 2001]
Strength:

Reliablity 3 yr parts and labor, Decent tuner Remote that looks like a SCI/FI weapon

Weakness:

Fits my needs perfectly

No I don't watch movies wearing ladies underware nor do I care for BOSE spkrs ( I guess thats why they make cadillacs different colors) but I do enjoy the hell out of this MARANTZ preamp.
You can't be all things to all people, what MARANTZ has done is to provide you with a decent all purpose preamp. No it doesn't have DTS but the only time I miss it is for "HELL FREEZES OVER" EAGLES DVD.
When I bought this piece I looked long and hard, you tell me where are you going to buy a better more reliable, better warranty preamp for $750 with the RC2000 remote. Yes I might like more digital inputs but I really don't need any more. DSS, DVD are really the only 2 pieces I have that require it. I only use 1 SVHS tape deck, it might be nice to have another VHS input, but I don't use another VCR. It might be nice to have COMPONET video switching, but I only use the one on my digital TV, mabe in a couple of years when there is more HDTV available.
I don't even own a cassette player or turn table anymore nor do I want to.
I find this piece to be very easy to use, good on screen display, with assignable digital inputs it is even more versatile.
Are there better pre/amps out there? If you really compare apples to apples the answer is not no but HELL NO.

Similar Products Used: ADCOM, ACCURUS, ONKYO, SONY, HK, Yahamahama, PARASOUND, others
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Ty Stinson   an Audio Enthusiast [Mar 10, 1998]

After upgrading from the Marantz SR-96, the AV-550 had tough shoes to fill even if it is a seperate versus the all-in-one SR-96. Using Marantz MA-700 mono block amplifiers, I shook the house with the most dramatic performance of Jurasic Park and Independance day I have ever witnessed. I played "Keb Mo" and was almost put to sleep with the warmth portrayed in the mid to low frequencies of " Lullaby Baby Blue." This unit along with the MA-700's is definately the best buy I have ever made. I cant wait until Marantz offers something that updates this incredible set-up but I am sure that even they will find it hard to beat any time soon. The unit operates almost identically to their SR-96 unit which you can read my review under receivers. At this price, I have no complaints what so ever but I could justify spending a little more money only to have more digital inputs/outputs and for two sub outs.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 49  

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