I unpacked the new receiver and plugged it in downstairs, ran room correction, and started listening to different things -- Dave Brubeck, Lindsey Stirling, deadmau5, Paul Simon, Dierks Bentley, Fatboy Slim, etc. Yes, music in my house really does range that far and wide. I didn't get any true classical, or good 70s classic guitar rock -- just ran out of time.
Running room correction helped a lot. Prior to doing so, mid-bass was missing, and some of the low mid-range too. Lower bass was boomy and the real low stuff was just missing. Once the receiver reset equalization and correction for the new speakers, all the missing stuff came back. The transition into mid-base and low mid-range is smooth. About the only thing I can note as a complaint is that the bass can sound a bit hollow at times. Won't be able to say whether that is the positioning of the speakers, their inherent sound, or some combination, until I get them moved upstairs and can have a little more freedom to move them around. Regardless, they sound much better now.
The Marantz NR1508... Not as happy with it. Now, my complaints are things that I should have notice before ordering it -- like it doesn't have a universal remote, like you have to setup a Heos account and install the Heos app on your phone in order to use the streaming functionality. No just starting up Pandora and browsing your stations. You can browse your Pandora stations on the Heos app and start on playing from there. To do it from the receiver, you have to add the station to your "Heos favorites". Quite annoying. I've also seen at least once where my gen 2 FireTV didn't get the notification that I have switch to its HDMI input so the HDMI handshake didn't happen right and I got a black screen. I'm not entirely sure that this is the receivers fault though.
I need to enable HDMI-CEC on the TV and see if it gets along with the receiver. I've left it off since it hasn't worked well in the past (it is a 10 year old TV) and really all I need for the TV is power on/off. Likewise, I need to see if it will control my Fire TV via HDMI-CEC -- and reliably. If I can't get things to behave, and behave reliably, with a single remote then the Marantz is banished from TV duties. I likely won't return it as it will probably cost me half what I paid for it in shipping and restocking fees -- Accessories4less is not Amazon... It might just replace the 20 year old JVC that I have in my office though. Digital in from my workstation and FM radio, that's about it. Kind of overkill, but I've been considering replacing the JVC for a while. The other option is that it might be used for front and back patio music. In that usage scenario, having app control on my phone wouldn't be so bad.
The remote and the streaming/app requirements are really my big gripes. Beyond that, it seems to be a pretty decent, low end AVR. Non HDMI inputs are very limited, but for my use cases, that's not a problem. One nice touch is that Marantz includes a cardboard stand to hold the mic for room correction. It's actually a very well thought out solution and I didn't bother to go get the tripod.
Obligatory shot of the new reciever sitting above my Pioneer....
It's really hard to take a picture of two, all back receivers, even with both on.