Marantz Unleashes HDMI 2.1-Upgradeable Flagship

What you are looking at here is Marantz’s new flagship pre-amp/processor, the AV8805. It also happens to be the next pre-amp I’m planning on buying for my personal AV rig! Read on to find out what this beast has under its hood….

It has been a couple of years since Marantz delivered a new pre-amp to bear the “flagship” title. While still a potent performer, it has come time for the AV8802A to pass the crown to the new successor, the AV8805. The new model will feature various upgrades, but chief among them is the ability to handle up to 13.2 channels of surround sound. This can be in either a 9.2.4 or 7.2.6 configuration, which will expand the immersion of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X installations. The 8805 actually has both unbalanced RCA and balanced XLR outputs for 15.2 channels, ideal for supporting different speaker configurations such as Auro 3D (available via a free update), but can “only” process 13.2 at once.

But the improvements didn’t stop with just adding more channels. The new 8805 moves to two separate ICs for handling input switching and volume control chores, upgrades to a toroidal power supply, adds support for Dolby Vision (with a future upgrade supporting HLG), includes DSD 5.6 playback, adds Amazon Alexa integration, and includes HEOS multi-room support. It also utilizes premium AK4490 32-bit DACs across all channels and XLR input and outputs.

Also of major note is that the Marantz spokesperson told me that every AV8805 would be eligible for an upgrade to HDMI 2.1 when the specification was finalized and hardware was available. This will require a complete hardware/board change of all HDMI components to support the new standard. As there isn't any available HDMI 2.1 hardware yet, the cost of the upgrade to consumers remains uncertain. Marantz expects the upgrade to be available sometime in 2020 after they have received the hardware and had a chance to implement it. But the company is essentially giving purchasers of this processor assurance that they won’t be left behind by the next major technology upgrade, and that if they make the commitment to the 8805, it will be ready to serve them well into the next generation of high-performance video and audio signals. [Editor's note: we originally reported at CES, based on information provided at the Marantz booth, that this upgrade would be free to consumers. Marantz has since qualified that this isn't the case, though we'd expect that the price would be a relatively modest outlay against the overall cost of this premium component.]

On the input front, you should be well covered with 8 full 4K/HDCP 2.2 HDMI inputs, and three HDMI outputs including the main which supports eARC (via firmware update). Other features includeees Audyssey MultEQ XT32, integration with advanced control systems like Control4 and Crestron, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, dual 12-volt trigger outputs, and streaming support from Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn Internet radio, Amazon Prime Music, iHeart Radio, SiriusXM, Soundcloud, TIDAL, Napster, Deezer, Amazon Music Unlimited and Apple Airplay.

The Marantz AV8805 is expected to be available in late February for $4499.

javanp's picture

I've been waiting for the 8802a to be updated to make the jump to separates. That it's going to be processing an addition two(?) channels is some unexpected gravy. I seem to be in the minority that prefers .2 over .4 atmos but I think .6 could be even better. Emotiva, when and if they ever get their new pre-pro off the ground, will have to be offering something pretty substantial to lure me away from the 8805.

Tommy Lee's picture

...has a phono input!

true audio's picture

I can't believe a $4,500.00 preamp and you can't plug your PC or MAC into it and play direct. Rotel has one ? Hardwire is the way to go. wireless streaming sucks.

thehun's picture

Doesn't LAN port gives access to the network?

Deus02's picture

In this case, I believe patience will be a virtue and without any real firm dates for the 2.1 hardware update, they are attempting to attract early adopters. Obviously, a unit like this will be integrated into a pretty sophisticated H/T system and for me to set it all up only to tear everything down later and send it back for the upgrade is something I would prefer to avoid.

I will wait the extra time for all the manufacturers to be on board with the specifications complete and hardware already installed.

mars2k's picture

I owned an 8802, very nice. I replaced it with a 7704 also nice love the Atmos, Hated Heos and the phone app remote control instead of the 8802's web interface. Tell me the 8805 is Roon ready and supports MQA otherwise a better buy for me is the 7704 and and a new Lumin D2. The 7704 does surround but cannot match the Lumin for 2 channel listening. BTW I just don't have the space for 13.2 surround.

boe's picture

After paying $1000 per Denon AVP to have the HDMI upgrade installed - all the hassle of disconnecting everything, hauling it down and then waiting a week - not worth it. The sound died on both shortly after the upgrade. I would never do this again.. Wait for the upgraded unit to be released with the HDMI 2.1 board already on board. They should have made it as easy to replace as a video card or a network card on a PC - then I'd consider it.

Rareplay's picture

Upgraded from SR7011 to the AV8805 last week. Marantz gui interface makes set up is super easy, the AV8805 sounds and functions seamlessly. Bi-amped the front towers in our 7.2.4 Home Theater system. But one of the main reasons for the upgrade was enjoy 2 channel music, using the Rega P6 MC, very pleased, crisp and detailed with excellent dynamic range. Highly recommend if you are considering a change!