Denon and Marantz announce flagship amps with HDMI 2.1

Mike Wheatley

Audio equipment brands Denon and Marantz have launched high-end AV receivers that will become the new flagship products in their respective home cinema offerings.


The new Denon AVC-X8500HA and Marantz AV8805A feature HDMI 2.1 ports, 8K and 3D audio plus lots of other exciting updates.

They’re meant to replace the older Denon AVC-X8500H and Marantz AV8805 models that were launched back in 2018 and have enjoyed a long run as the companies’ respective top-of-the-line amps. However, owners of those older devices won’t be left behind, as Sound United, which owns both brands, has also announced an upgrade path for the older models.

The new AV receivers both come with dedicated 8K inputs that support 8K at 60Hz upscaling and pass-through, as well as 4K at 120Hz pass-through and 40Gbps transmission from compatible sources.

What’s more, both of the receivers will actually work, unlike last year’s lower-end models that were afflicted by a hardware problem that made their HDMI 2.1 compatibility ineffective when plugged into an Xbox Series X console or graphics card from AMD or Nvidia.

The HDMI 2.1 ports are all HDCP 2.3-rated and enable other essential next-generation gaming features such as Variable Refresh Rate, Auto Low Latency Mode to remove judder and ensure smoother gameplay, and Quick Media Switching, which eliminates blank screens when frame rates within the signal path are changes. The receivers also support Dolby Atmos, DTS:X audio and Dolby Atmos Height Virtualiser out of the box. DTS: X Pro is also supported, allowing for up to 13 channels of DTS: X decoding, plus configurations such as 9.2.4 or 7.2.6.

Both the Denon AVC-X8500HA and the Marantz AV8805A are IMAX Enhanced-certified, and they’re compatible with Auro-3D, Amazon Alexa, Apple AirPlay 2 and HEOS multi-room audio. Also supported is hi-res music and lossless audio file playback.

Sound United said the Denon AVC-X8500HA will go on sale in June priced at £3,699, while the Marantz AV8805A will cost £3,899 when it hits the shops that same month.

For those who own the Denon AVR-X8500H and Marantz AV8805 and would rather not shell out several grand on a new model, they might want to take advantage of the upgrade opportunity instead. The hardware modification kit will cost $599 and upgrade the receivers to HDMI 2.1.

“Current owners of the Denon AVR-X8500H and Marantz AV8805 will have the opportunity to upgrade the HDMI/Digital board within their units to obtain the same features as the “A” components,” Sound United said. “The upgrade requires a hardware modification at a Denon or Marantz certified Service Center. Beginning June 15, 2021, this will be arranged on request by contacting Denon or Marantz directly via the Denon Site and Marantz Site.”