Marantz has introduced its latest AV amp offerings - the AV8003 networking pre-amp/processor and MM8003 eight-channel power amplifier - and claims the feature-packed combo is an "ultimate-quality audio and video entertainment hub" that is "the perfect playmate for Blu-ray players".

Meanwhile, its own high-definition disc player - the BD8002 - is now set for a 'late summer' release.

In combination, the THX Ultra2-certified AV8003/MM8003 pairing offers Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master audio decoding; HDMI 1.3a connectivity (four in, two out) with 36-bit Deep Color support; music and movie streaming; de-interlacing and up-conversion to 1080p from any source; and full Audyssey Room equalisation auto-set-up.

That's on top of 150W per channel power across eight channels (making a mighty, national-grid draining 1.2kW in total), plus the ability to fire audio and video into three separate rooms.

As well as handling the HD Audio decoding and video upscaling/upconversion, the AV8003 pre-amp (pictured separately below) features an integrated digital media player that can stream audio and video content across your home network.

That multi-room support means different family members can enjoy separate entertainment options - for example HD video in the lounge; SD video in a second room and independent audio in a third spot.

Other AV8003 highlights include balanced inputs and outputs; separate power supplies for each key audio section; a programmable backlit LCD remote control (plus extra handset for second-room use), and a heavyweight chassis that's completely copper-plated, "to guard against electrical interference".

More after the break

These design principles extend to the even heftier MM8003 power amp, which boasts an "oversized" torodial power transformer to deliver that 1.2kW of juice to the eight channels it can serve.

Additional features include "ultra-wide bandwidth current feedback technology" - originally developed for Super Audio CD signals - which is designed to involve very little phase shift. Marantz believes the technology is ideally suited to the new HD audio formats, and will result in "unerringly accurate tonal and image balance, allied to speed and dynamics with very low distortion."

The Marantz AV8003 and MM8003 will be in shops from July, priced around £3500 for the pair.

The company's BD8002 Blu-ray player is now scheduled for a release by September, priced 'under £1500'.

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