Advanced sound bars are currently being developed by some of the best audio manufacturers in the world. Marantz is a brand with high experience in this field and it is no surprise that their newest system can compete with most top of the line units. The ES7001 SSX unit is the product you should be interested in, especially if you don’t want to buy an AV receiver.
The ES7001 has a clean design and it is only covered by a black cloth grille which can’t be removed. You will notice a small portion of satin silver on the lower part of the sound bar; here is where the buttons are located. A small display is placed in the middle of the sound bar, but you won’t get a lot of information from it; just the volume level and some other basic facts. Some people like the sating sliver look, but others don’t; it is all about personal preference when it comes to design, but you can’t say it’s ugly. The quality of the materials used in the making of the ES7001 is undoubtedly high, so it will look as good as new even after a few years. These tiny details are reflected into its price, which is somewhere between $1,300 and $1,4000, depending on the vendor. This design will particularly look great if you mount it on a wall, under your flat panel TV. The only problem is the lack of a wall mounting bracket, which can buy separately. If you plan to buy one from your local store, you need to be sure that it can support the weight of the ES7001, which is no less than 26.5 pounds. The length of the system is 42.5 inches, the height is 6.2 inches and the unit is 5.75 inches deep.
Like most other sounds bars on the market, it comes with a remote which doesn’t have a backlight. This is somewhat of a disadvantage, but at least the controls are intuitive and you will get used to it quickly. If you decide to change the position of the sound bar or modify your sitting distance, you can optimize the sound directly from your remote control.
Setting Up The Marantz ES7001
After you plug the system in, you will have to set it up for the best sound experience. You need to input information regarding the placement of the sound bar, how many people will be listening to it and the distance between you and the unit. You also have to choose whether you have a subwoofer connected or not. The set up process is fairly easy, but you will notice the lack of an onscreen display. Even without being techno-savvy, the process shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes. After you finish with this, you can take a look at the results.
There are two tweeters hidden behind the cloth grille, each of them measuring 0.75 inches. The system also contains two midrange drivers of 3.25 inches each and two woofers which measure 4.75 inches each. The total power offered by the ES7001 is not displayed in the manual or on the box, but each speaker has a 26 watt amplifier channel.
This sound bar is one of the best when it comes to connectivity. Here you will get two HDMI 1.1 inputs and one HDMI output; three optical digital inputs, two stereo analog inputs, one subwoofer output jack and a remote connection output jack that can be used if you have any other Marantz product. If you want to connect an analog video source, you won’t be able to do it. However, you can simply go around the sound bar and use direct connection with the TV and pass the audio through the ES7001. A disadvantage compared to other sound bar is the fact that this one doesn’t come with build-in radio, but this won’t be a problem to some.
The sound mode options are diverse: AAC, Dolby Pro Logic II Music and Movie, Dolby Digital, PCM and DTS. What it lacks are the special DSP modes such as sports. If you want to improve the sound quality you can switch between the night and binaural mode. When you activate the later one of these two, the ES7001 will basically offer you a headphone experience without actually having headphones.
The Optimal Source Distribution signal processing will deliver surround sound from the ES7001. Basically, the sound coming from one speaker will be cancelled out, so you will only hear with one ear, causing the impression that something is happening right next to you. Overall, this technology works better than what you see with other systems and the illusion is quite realistic.
The clear problem with the ES7001 sound bar is the lack of a subwoofer. If you want one, you will have to pay an extra $200, but you won’t regret it. Without the extra subwoofer, you will still enjoy movies and music, but only with upper bass tones. Any brand of subwoofer you wish to add to the sound bar will dramatically increase the sound quality. Watching a movie is a great experience with this product because it will make you feel like you are part of the action. The only problem appears when hearing loud explosions; you would expect the ground to be shaking, but this won’t happen. Even so, the dialogs are truly amazing and the entire movie will seem to be taking place in your living room.
Placement is very important when using the ES7001. If you don’t plan on calling a lot of friends over, you won’t notice the difference because the sound bar can deliver perfect sound to 4 or 6 people who are sitting right in front of it. However, if everyone is spread across the room, some of your guests won’t enjoy the sound quality as they should. Even if most of the people will enjoy the amazing sounds coming from the sound bar, you will have to play with the settings until you get the sense of surround sound. In some cases, you might get a glimpse of 360 surround sound but most of the time you will only hear sounds from your front, right and left.
Listening to music is where you will see the difference between the ES7001 and other sound bars. It is certainly superior to most system and you will notice it without even trying. Some 5.1 channel systems which are in the same price range will deliver better sound quality, but you also have to think about the design offered by this sound bar and about the fact that a 5.1 channel comes with a lot of wires.
Pros and Cons
A good advantage is the 3 year warranty. Most audio systems will come with a 1 year warranty and some of them with 2. This is a clear advantage because you can be sure that the system will be as good as new, no matter what happens for the next three years. The remote control is better than what you get from most sound bars or audio systems, which is certainly a plus. Also, you will get clear and clean sounds most of the time, especially when listening to music.
The main disadvantage is the fact that you can’t control the bass or treble of your sound bar and that you won’t have a subwoofer included in the price. If you plan on buying one, the ES7001 will be the perfect audio system.
At around $1,300, you will get everything you need from the ES7001 sound bar, expect for the lower bass tones. If you don’t plan on watching movies or if you want to buy the subwoofer separately, this is certainly the audio system for you.