If you don’t need broad channel support for a surround sound system, a 2-channel receiver can be an excellent way to get high audio quality at an affordable price. Choosing the right one usually comes down to how you’ll use it. That’s the case comparing the Denon DRA-800H vs. Marantz NR1200.
Overall, the Denon is the better choice for music, while the Marantz has features home theater users will appreciate (>>> Check on Amazon). Curious to learn more? Let’s check out the main differences so you can pick the right one for your home.
Denon DRA-800H vs Marantz NR1200 Side by Side
|Denon DRA-800H||Marantz NR1200|
|Amplifier||2.1 Channel (100W per channel)||2.1 Channel (75W per channel)|
|Sound||No Dolby Atmos||2.1 Dolby Atmos|
|Price|| Find on Amazon|| Find on Amazon
It’s not hard to set up the Denon DRA-800H. Both the front and rear panels are well-labeled and intuitive, with a wide and easy-to-read digital display and front-facing sound and device ports. Experienced A/V users will be up and running in minutes, and even beginners should have no trouble getting it installed.
There are two features that give the Marantz NR1200 a slightly easier set-up. It’s not as tall, for one thing, which makes it easier to physically fit in with your other equipment. It also has a step-by-step setup wizard that guides you through the installation process, a very handy option for those who are new to receivers.
Easier installation: Marantz NR1200
Home Theater Performance
As we mentioned in the intro, neither of these receivers has surround sound channel support, but that’s not a deal-breaker for many home theater users. The Denon DRA-800H has relatively robust video signal support, including a 60Hz 4K pass-through and eARC support on its HDMI inputs.
Where the Marantz NR1200 takes a slight lead here is its responsiveness. Its Auto Low Latency Mode ensures no added delay from the receiver. While this will be of most concern for gaming, it’s also helpful when you’re navigating streaming menus, ensuring instant on-screen response to your remote input.
Better home theater receiver: Marantz NR1200
The hi-fi construction and tuning performed by Marantz’ sound engineers give their receivers a consistently high audio quality, and the NR1200 is no exception. Discrete power amplifiers provide 75 watts of power per channel, with a well-balanced sound across the frequency range.
Here, it’s the Denon DRA-800H that takes the slight edge. It matches the tuning, construction, and amplifier quality of the Marantz but is more powerful, with 100 watts driving each channel. This both gives it a higher maximum output and limits distortion and lower volume levels. You’ll especially notice the improved audio in the low frequency range, with powerful bass that doesn’t overwhelm the mid-range frequencies.
Better for music: Denon DRA-800H
Users of common voice control systems like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant will be equally satisfied with either of these receivers. Both are also compatible with HEOS multi-room music and popular music streaming services like Amazon Music, Pandora, and Spotify. The Denon DRA-800H expands this support to include Josh.ai and other home automation systems, making it more versatile from a smart home integration perspective.
Better smart features: Denon DRA-800H
The Denon DRA-800H is the ideal receiver for listening rooms and music lovers. Both channels are driven by discrete high-current amplifiers with 100 watts of power, providing a powerful output with no loss or distortion even at higher decibel levels.
The quality of the sound from the Denon DRA-800H is equally impressive as its output. It’s constructed and tuned at the factory by Denon’s expert sound engineers, with a symmetrical layout and dedicated circuitry that prevents detail loss and maintains the integrity of the sound signal during amplification. It brings this same fidelity to all audio formats and is compatible with a wide range of speaker brands and styles. Since it has built-in wireless connectivity and HEOS multi-room music support, you’ll get the same high-quality audio across your entire home.
Another great thing about the Denon DRA-800H is that it’s easy to use with almost any kind of set-up. For home theaters, it supports 4K resolutions and technology like HDR10 and HLG, with eARC support on all its HDMI inputs. Smart home owners will appreciate the compatibility with multiple voice control systems, including home automation systems like Josh.ai. Add in the wireless streaming support and intuitive front panel and you have a versatile receiver almost anyone can use.
- Balanced high-fidelity sound
- Excellent sonic detail and output
- Full 4K resolution for video signals
- Built-in streaming and multi-room music
- Compatible with multiple voice control systems
- Front-facing headphone and USB inputs
- No lag reduction for gaming
The slim profile of the Marantz NR1200 is the first thing you’ll notice, especially if you have limited space to work with on your entertainment center. Along with being easy to fit into your space, it’s very simple to set up. It’s tuned at the factory, for one thing, so you won’t need to adjust the sound before you use it. The graphical on-screen setup assistant guides you through the process step-by-step, making it easy to get started even if you’re a complete novice.
The Marantz NR1200 is an especially great option for home theaters. For movies and TV, it supports 4K resolutions and 3D content, with technology like HDR10 and pure color sampling to maintain the image integrity. You can also use it for gaming without any extra lag thanks to its auto low latency mode (ALLM). Its only major lack from a home theater perspective is that it doesn’t have the channel breadth for true surround sound set-ups.
For multi-room music and streaming, the Marantz NR1200 works with HEOS and AirPlay2, so you can play music from services like Spotify and Pandora in any room. It also works with voice commands through the top 3 platforms, so it’s easy to integrate into smart home theaters.
- Guided set-up assistant
- Tuned at the factor for high-quality sound
- Slim profile fits in more entertainment centers
- Low latency ideal for gamers
- Excellent 4K picture quality
- Compatible with all major voice control platforms
- Lower output per channel
The Bottom Line
To be honest, most users will be equally impressed by the Denon DRA-800H or Marantz NR1200, and either one can work in a range of spaces, including listening rooms and home theaters. The difference comes down to the details. For more powerful audio and broader smart home integration, go with the Denon DRA-800H (>>> Find on Bhphotovideo). If your main concerns are an easy setup and a low lag for gaming, the Marantz NR1200 is your winner.