Marantz has updated their AVRs recently and I found the naming scheme just as confusing as the new line-up from Denon. Especially because as the feature set gets better the model number decreases.
Marantz Cinema 40: $3500 USD, at the time of writing. Check current price Here
Marantz Cinema 50: $2500 USD, at the time of writing. Check current price Here
New Series New Look
Both the Cinema 40 and Cinema 50 are part of the new Cinema Series from Marantz, which features a modern and elegant design with the iconic Marantz porthole display, symmetrical knobs, and subtle sidelights. The style is clean and modern and a good visual update from the previous series.
Along with the new physical style, the Graphical User Interface (GUI) received a well deserved update too. Marantz is calling this new GUI “Marantz Teal,” which features a teal background and a higher resolution. Marantz also improved the setup instructions, making it easier to setup the receivers. QR codes were added to the setup process to download mobile apps. I think this is a nice feature to have and shows that the Marantz team is focused on improving the user experience.
Marantz has made it simpler for advanced users to navigate the receiver’s web interface. With the web interface, any device equipped with a web browser can conveniently access the receiver using its IP address. Previously, retrieving the IP address required accessing the on-screen menu. Now, for those who have the IOS or Android remote app, the process is much easier as a new section called “Web Control” has been added. This feature displays the receiver’s IP address, making it possible to set up the device even without a display attached. This quality-of-life upgrade is particularly beneficial for frequent users of the device.
Features in Common
Besides the new look, both the Cinema 40 and 50 share many features, such as:
- Both units are using the new Griffin Lite XP DSP which allows the units to process all the latest audio formats
- 11.4 channels of processing power. Only 9 channels have internal amps, while the remaining 2 channels will need an external amplifier to use.
- All channels have pre-out connections. The 4th sub-out can be configured to be dedicated bass shakers. Although, I have never owned them myself, @rolandjutai has and has written about them here.
- Pre-amplifier mode: provides a cleaner signal with less distortion by disconnecting the AV receiver’s internal amplifiers from the signal path if you are using an external amp. This can be customized for each channel.
- Directional bass management: Bass from the main speakers will be directed to the nearest sub. Even though most bass frequencies are omnidirectional, this may help with speakers that have high crossovers. This would be an interesting experiment to run in the future.
- Auro 3D, MPEG-H and 360 Spatial Audio, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X (DTS:X Pro is only needed for more than 11 channels of processing)
- 8K video support with HDMI 2.1 inputs and outputs, HDCP 2.3 support, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and gaming features like ALLM and VRR
- IMAX Enhanced certification and sound mode
- On-board room correction: Audyssey MultEQ XT32
- Dirac Live Upgradability
Editorial Note by Roland Jutai: It is interesting to mention that Marantz decided to include the Clock Jitter Reducer circuitry in both the Cinema 40 and the Cinema 50. The Cinema 50's equivalent in Denon's line-up is the X3800h, which does not have this technology. The reader can refer to my comparison between the Denon x3800h and the Denon x4800h for more information.
Dirac Live Upgradability
Currently, there are two versions of Dirac Live available for both the Cinema 40 and 50.
- Dirac Live Room Correction Bandwidth Limited – $259 USD
- Correction frequency range from 20hz-500hz
- Editable target curve
- Impluse response correction
- Dirac Live Room Correction Full Bandwidth – $349 USD
- Correction frequency range from 20hz-20khz
- Editable target curve
- Impluse response correction
Dirac Live with bass management is coming to these units sometime in Q1 of 2024. However, these receivers will not support Dirac Live Active Room Treatment.
What are the Differences?
So what are the main differences between the Cinema 40 and Cinema 50?
Cinema 40 Back Panel
Cinema 50 Back Panel
- The Cinema 40 has 7 HDMI inputs and 3 HDMI outputs, while the Cinema 50 has 6 HDMI inputs and 3 HDMI outputs.
- The Cinema 40 has 2 composite inputs and 1 composite output.
- The Cinema 50 is only able to handle 2 total zones, while the Cinema 40 can handle 3 zones.
The most notable difference between the Cinema 40 and 50 is the amplifier and transformer modules. The Cinema 40 is spec’d with a more powerful and higher quality transformer, as well as 9 individual amplifier modules; compared to 2 amplifier modules that have 4 and 5 channels each for the Cinema 50. Having separate amplifier modules can result in better channel separation and better dynamics, which improves the sound quality.
Due to the upgrade amps and transformer, the Cinema 40 is able to produce a little more power at 125W @8ohms versus 110W @8ohms for the Cinema 50. Also, the distortion is slightly lower with the Cinema 40 at .05% versus .08% for the 50. This should mean that the Cinema 40 is able to push more power to your speakers without distorting.
The next hardware difference between the Cinema 40 and 50 is the HDAM (Hyper-Dynamic Amplifier Module) board implementation. The HDAM is a discrete circuit module that replaces the conventional integrated circuit op-amps used in most audio components. This results in a more detailed and dynamic sound, with better control over the audio signal, reduced noise and distortion, and a wider frequency response. Marantz has been using HDAM technology in its high-end audio components for over 30 years, and it is considered one of the brand’s core technologies that sets them apart from their competitors.
In the Cinema 40, Marantz has taken additional measures to minimize distortion in the signal processing. The HDAM in the Cinema 40 is shielded and separated from the input board, in contrast to the Cinema 50, where the HDAM is integrated into the input board. This separation of the HDAM allows for superior signal processing and even lower distortion. It can also improve channel separation, much like the practice of separating the amplifier onto multiple boards.
The Marantz Cinema 40 is a top-of-the-line home theater receiver that boasts upgraded features and impressive performance. The inclusion of legacy component connections on the Cinema 40 may be appealing to those who use older equipment. With the individual amplifier boards and separate HDAM module, this should give the Cinema 40 the leg up in raw performance. However, it’s important to keep in mind that an AVR is just one component of a complete home theater setup. If you’re faced with the choice of investing an extra $1000 in another aspect of your home theater, or opting for the Cinema 40, it may be worth considering the Cinema 50 instead.
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Marantz Cinema 40 Announcement Video
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