Marantz CINEMA Series Home Theater AVR Receivers Comparison


This article is about the brand new home theater receivers from Marantz the CINEMA 40, the CINEMA 50 and CINEMA 60. The Marantz home theater receivers have always been priced just a little higher than some other competitors that at first glance might have similar specs. But if you take a deeper dive under the hood or even just look at how much they weigh and their build quality, you’ll understand why they are so well respected by home theater enthusiasts. These units continue their tradition of making fantastic sounding gear that has both all of the current up to date tech for the modern home theater and that classic warm, Marantz sound.

The year was 1953 and an engineer named Saul Marantz decided to start designing his own audio gear as he was just not happy with anything he had heard at the time. He felt he knew how to produce a more musical sound and launched his company with this dream. Fast forward to current times and those original units Saul produced bring thousands of dollars on the used market for two reasons. They still sound fantastic even by today's standards and they are like owning a classic car. If you are ever lucky enough to find one at an estate or yard sale for a good price, be sure and grab it!

We are excited to tell you about some of the great new features incorporated into these two new units but before we get into that, it’s important for anyone looking at a home theater receiver to understand the true heritage behind its production. Did it come from a company that makes all kinds of products in a wide price range, or a company that really cares about sound?

Buyers Guide: How To Choose A Home Theater Receiver

Marantz still pushes the state of the art forward with their Ruby line of stereo components, some of which cost $10,000 plus. When you make gear in that price range, you discover technology you can trickle down into your more affordable gear. And if you are like us, and really into sound, you’ll love this fun fact. Marantz still trains engineers who exhibit the ability to hear fine details as Marantz Sound Masters. They listen to every product design early on to make sure it holds up to their high standards of great audio. 

The CINEMA 40, CINEMA 50 and CINEMA 60 share some great features we will go over first, then we will get into the big differences between the models.

Features All Units Share

Video Technology

These are all capable of 8K with HDMI 2.1 and handle the latest in HDR. Dolby Vision is onboard as well. They have eARC HDMI connections for those of you who use your TV apps, making it super easy to get the audio into your system. Another neat advantage this offers is your TV remote will turn on the unit and control its volume for the eARC connection.

 If you want to connect your video game console through the receiver, you’ll be happy to know these support low latency with variable refresh rate and auto low latency mode. With that said, we still think it is better to connect your gaming console directly to your TV and use the eARC function to get the sound into your system.

Audio Technology

They all can decode Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Another cool feature they all share is their virtual height speaker tech which works in both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. If you do not have height speakers, the software will simulate the sound you would get from height speakers. This is a nice way to have some simulation of height speakers if you can not add them initially. 

Taking out audio problems caused by the physical shape of the room is so important in our opinion. All of them come with Audyssey Multi EQ XT which is a great room correction system. 

As we stated earlier, Marantz has always been about great sound and they continue to put a focus on audio in all three of these AVR’s. They all use the HDAM SA-2 tech which you find in their more expensive units. The amplifiers for all the channels are discrete amps with a large power supply which means you will have a lot of current reserve for those big dynamic swings you get in an action film. They also rate the power across the entire audio spectrum rather than the easy 1k area, which we are seeing some manufacturers use for their power spec. No chip amps will be found in these and it shows in the way they sound: big, full, rich, and dynamic!

Should you decide to use either unit just as a surround sound processor, there is a feature that allows you to turn off all the internal power amps for a bit cleaner sound. This of course requires all separate amps, so we do not really see this being used much.

They al come with a built-in moving magnet phono stage for adding a turntable.

Build Quality

Well, the 5 year parts and labor warranty speaks for itself on the build quality. These units are built very well, you can just tell when you pick one up. The speaker connections are solid and for our testing all of the HDMI connections had a snug fit.

We love the way Marantz has changed the design on these to look like the Model 30 and Model 40 series of stereo components. They all have the same look of the carbon fiber sides with a larger faceplate. That classic Marantz circular meter is in the center which gives you some visual feedback.

Convenience Features

You’ll have full voice control on all the units from Apple, Google, or Amazon. But we really have to give Marantz a round of applause on their on screen set up guide. When you first power on the unit, it asks you a series of questions that help you get everything set up perfectly. They even show you how and where to make every single speaker connection. Marantz has had this concept for a couple of years, but it is even better with the new units. Anyone should be able to get their unit set up and be confident they got things right, as it will even perform audio checks to confirm you have the speakers connected properly. 

Marantz CINEMA 60 Home Theater Receiver

The CINEMA 60 is rated at 100 watts per channel and has 7 powered channels built in. You get preamp outs for all of those channels should you wish to add a bigger amp to your mains later. We do wish for this price they had more processing on board for extra surround channels though. You will be able to do a 5.2.2 or a 7.2 system with the CINEMA 60, but no higher channel count. 

Of the 3 HDMI inputs, 3 are 8k and 3 are 4k, which should cover all the bases for just about any system. You’ll get 1 8K HDMI out and 1 4K HDMI out.

The unit touts 2 subwoofer outs, and while it does have the connections for two, they are wired in parallel so you do not have independent adjustments for each sub. 

Tips & Tricks: Home Theater Subwoofer Placement Options

We see the CINEMA 60 as the perfect AVR for someone who wants to put together a really good sounding system, but keep the speaker countdown to 5 or 7. This is typical for most media rooms where it is just not possible to put speakers everywhere. Heck, even used as a 2.1 system, it sounds fantastic.

Tips & Tricks: Home Theater Speaker Layout Options

Marantz CINEMA 50 Home Theater Receiver

This is the one we think Marantz knocked it out of the park with! 

The CINEMA 50 has 9 built-in amp channels but with processing for 11 channels plus 4 independent subs, yes, you heard right, 4 subs!! The power rating is 110 watts per channel vs the 100 in the CINEMA 60, but we have to say, there is no comparison in how these sound. The 50 has far larger power supply and has way better dynamics than the 60. 

The 7 HDMI inputs are all 8K along with 2 of the HDMI outs with another 4K 3rd HDMI out. 

In addition to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X you get Auro 3D and IMAX Enhanced on the CINEMA 50.

Ok, so here are the two big ones. For a fee you can upgrade the unit to work with DIRAC Live. At this time, the fee is not nailed down, and we will update this article once we have clarity. This option is supposed to launch in March 2023. While Audyssey is good, Dirac Live is an entire different level of room correction that does a far better job than Audyssey. We highly recommend if you do this upgrade, you also get a better microphone than the one included. MiniDSP makes a good one for under $100 that comes with a calibration file for each microphone. 

Also, if you purchase your unit from Audio Advice if you are doing Audyssey or Dirac Live, our tech team is here to help you out to get the best performance from your system. We can dial in remotely if needed to help you with Dirac Live — that is an exclusive for people who buy their Marantz CINEMA 50 from Audio Advice.

The 4 independent sub outs is fantastic to see at this price point, but Marantz added a really cool feature if you are using 4 subs. In the set up mode, you have a choice of sending all the low frequency information to all the subs or having it route the low frequency from the speakers closest to each subwoofer to just that subwoofer. This is a feature we have only seen on the 16K+ Trinnov processor, which is fantastic to see here. This will normally result in even better blending of your subs to the rest of the speakers in your system. 

The CINEMA 50 will also let you take advantage of 11 immersive channels by simply adding a 2 channel power amp. Its amp routing feature lets you set this up to work with the front left and right, should you wish to add a beefy amp to improve your mains, or it can be added to the rears or one pair of Atmos speakers if you want to just add a small 2 channel power amp. And you have full preamp outs for all of the 11 channels if you want to add say a three channel power amp for the front three. This is super cool the way you can configure the channels.

With the audio quality you’ll get out of the beefy power amps in the CINEMA 50 and all of its features, this one is going to be very tough to beat for its price point. While its current price of $2,500.00 is not cheap, it does so many things well that are hard to find at this price level. 11 channels will get you a very immersive experience and we just love Dirac Live and the super cool way you can use 4 subwoofers. 

Marantz CINEMA 40 Home Theater Receiver

The Cinema 40 has everything the Cinema 50 has, plus a few more features and a slight difference in audio quality. On the video side, you get seven 8K inputs and three video outputs with zone two and three audio. These all support the latest HDMI 2.1 and HDCP 2.3 specs. The Cinema 50, in comparison, has six 8K inputs and zone 2 only. The Cinema 40 is rated at 125 watts per channel with 2 channels driven across the full audio band at .08% THD. At first look, you may not think the two are that different, but when you look under the hood, like we did you can clearly see the power amp sections in these units are not the same. Marantz also uses upgraded parts in the signal path of the Cinema 40. And if you look closely, you can see that each of the 9 amp channels is on its own circuit board.

A video input feature that may be important to those of you with older video sources that do not have HDMI is a single-component video input and 2 composite video inputs. The Cinema 40 has what is called their A to H circuitry to upgrade those low-res video signals to a higher resolution too. The Cinema 50 only has HDMI video inputs, so you score another with the Cinema 40.

While they all come with Audyssey, there is an option coming that will allow you to upgrade either the 40 or 50 to Dirac Live room correction. The timing and pricing of this have been the subject of a lot of speculation, but we finally have what we think are some solid dates and prices, but of course, these could all be subject to change. There are also rumors floating around about a new version of Dirac on the horizon. We are not sure if that is why Marantz decided to wait or if that will be an option on these. There will be a bandwidth-limited version of Dirac Live coming in the spring of 2023 which should sell for $259. This will be plenty for most people as where you really want to perform room correction is below 500 Hz, which is the cut-off for this version. The full-band version will be $349. Dirac also offers an option that, to our knowledge, is not included with any AVR or processor called Dirac Live Bass. This takes subwoofer blending to a new level, and it looks like this will be priced the same for the Marantz units as other brands, which is $349 for a single sub and $499 for multiple subs. However, this upgrade will not be out until sometime in 2024. If you do the Dirac upgrade, we highly recommend you purchase a good microphone like the one from MiniDSP, as the old saying “garbage in, garbage out” really applies here. 

We hope this overview of the new Marantz home theater receivers has given you some good insight into which one might be best for your system. If you are reading this and want to learn more about home theater in general, check out Home Theater Central. Here we have lots of articles on how to design your dream home theater. We even have a free 3D design tool so you can visualize how the screen and speakers should be placed for optimum performance in your room. 

If you are lucky enough to live near our world-class showrooms, we highly recommend you contact one of our local theater designers to help with your project. We can help you build the theater of your dreams from start to finish including installation.


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