Tom's Guide Verdict
Combining copious amounts of power with musicality and precision sound, the Marantz Cinema 50 is a knockout AV receiver.
HDMI 4k 120Hz support
No front-mounted HDMI input
High specs come at a high price
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Price: $2,500 / £1,700 / AU$3,700
Ports: HDMI, Digital Optical Audio, Digital coaxial audio, analogue stereo, Ethernet, USB
Audio channels: 9 (7.1.2)
Audio formats: Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, DTS:X, DTS, PCM, Auro 3D
Power output: 9x 110W
Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay2, HEOS
Smart assistant: Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomePod
Dimensions: 15.9 x 17.4 x 9.3 inches (wxdxh)
Weight: 29.8 pounds
The Marantz Cinema 50 is a 9-channel design, with 110W (into 8 Ohms) per channel on tap, and it supports pretty much every home theater sound format there is. This means it can be configured as a 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos system (that's five surround channels, one subwoofer channel, and four Dolby Atmos channels to you and I), or 7.1.2.
Obviously Dolby Atmos is a given, but it’s also DTS:X and Auro 3D capable, and compatible with Sony’s 360 Reality Audio and MPEG H standards. It’s also IMAX Enhanced certified, which could come into its own when Disney+ starts streaming IMAX audio mixes.
This cutting-edge receiver also marks a departure from Marantz's traditional design in favour of a fresh, modern aesthetic.
Read on to discover how this all stacks up for home theater and multi-channel music fans, and to find out whether it's among one of the best AV receivers around by scrolling down to my full review below.
Marantz Cinema 50 review: Price and availability
With a list price of $2,500 / £1,700 / AU$3,700, the Marantz Cinema 50 isn’t cheap. It's available in silver or black color options and can be purchased directly from the Marantz website. Alternatively, it can also be found on sale through online retailers including Amazon, Crutchfield, and Best Buy.
The Marantz Cinema 50 resides at the upper end of the cinephile AV range, and you’ll pay more for one in the US than you will in the U.K. or Australia. That’s because in the US, all of Marantz’ Cinema models are AV receivers with a built-in FM tuner. In the U.K. and Australia, the model lacks the tuner, which makes it an AV amplifier rather than an AVR, and as a result it costs a bit less.
Marantz Cinema 50 review: Specification
The connectivity on offer is truly impressive. All 6 HDMI inputs (designated Sat, Media Player, Blu-ray, Game, Aux 1 and 2) are 4K 120Hz /8K compatible, and there are three outputs — one with eARC/ARC for the main display, a second monitor output for a projector, and a third if you’re running a video feed to Zone 2.
There are also 4 digital audio inputs, divided between coaxial and optical, a fistful of analogue inputs, plus a phono (MM) input stage to connect a turntable/record player.
While this should satisfy most, there’s also the potential to upgrade at a later date, with an 11.4 bank of preouts, which includes a stereo Zone two output.
Wireless connectivity covers Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and AirPlay 2 via two screw-on aerials. There's also built-in HEOS, which makes it relatively easy to stream audio around the house and connect to compatible HEOS speakers and components.
For those system builders who would like some level of cooperative automation, there’s a 12v trigger and an RS-232c port.
Marantz Cinema 50 review: Features
Even the most enthusiastic of cinephiles will admit that setting up a home cinema receiver is a bit of trial. When you’ve found a way to accommodate all the physical speakers required for immersive sound, you still need to connect your sources and calibrate the system for your listening room.
Thankfully, this Marantz has a great user interface (UI) to help ease the pain, with plenty of clear graphics and step-by-step instructions.
Room calibration and EQ is handled by Audyssey MultEQ XT32. Part of the set up process, you need only connect the supplied mic to the input on the front panel and follow the prompts.
MultEQ XT32 can measure up to eight listening positions, although I made do with just three, effectively covering off the sofa hot seat.
The Cinema 50 works with Alexa and Google voice assistants, and is also part of the Denon/Marantz HEOS ecosystem. This means you can group the amp with other HEOS speakers you may have around the house, for whole home streaming, as well as stream your preferred music services.
Helpfully, you can see what you’re listening to at the touch of a button. The Info button on the remote control pops up a graphic which confirms both the input signal, highlighting all active channels, and any post processing, so you can confirm up-mixing status.
The display also confirms the source signal, be it Dolby Atmos, Dolby surround, DTS: X etc.
Marantz Cinema 50 review: Sound quality
If you’re looking for an AV amp that can deliver massive dynamics, with whip crack fast transients and a fearsome bass extension, the Cinema 50 doesn’t disappoint. It’s a tremendously exciting listen. To put it through its paces, we played John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (4K Blu-ray, Dolby Atmos).
The climatic shootout in The Continental, set to Vivaldi, is a symphony of sonic violence. The Marantz steers the barrage of gunfire beautifully, with effortless panning, and even at high volume exhibits no hint of strain.
It does music well too. Marantz’s lauded HDAM amplification circuitry is warm and melodious. In two channel mode, we’d say the Cinema 50 is comparable to a high quality mid range stereo amp.
A great system tester for both bass extension and Dolby Atmos image placement is the opening to The Northman. With this, the Marantz delivers a deliciously deep volcanic rumble, placing a variety of whispers in the height and rear channels. The sense of immersion the amp offers is impeccable.
Marantz Cinema 50: Verdict
I'm really impressed by the Marantz Cinema 50. This is no superficial update to the brand’s long-standing AV receiver line, it’s an all new proposition. It has excellent future-proofed connectivity (8K and 4K @120Hz) and a design that doesn’t look like it escaped from the 1990s.
It's certainly expensive, but I think it will serve movie and music enthusiasts well and is highly recommended. The Marantz Cinema 50 could well be the AV receiver you’ve been waiting for.
Steve has been writing about AV and home cinema since the dawn of time, or more accurately, since the glory days of rival VCR formats VHS and Betamax. He has strong opinions on the latest TV technology, Hi-Fi and Blu-ray/media players, and likes nothing better than to crank up his ludicrously powerful home cinema system to binge-watch TV shows.