The Marantz Melody Movie MER803 is one of those products that really had us thinking about which category it falls into. What we’re sure of is that it’s a Blu-ray player, first and foremost, and a built-in two-channel amplifier. However, there’s so much more that it offers that maybe it would be best to put it in the mini-component category even though it doesn’t come with its own pair of speakers. Nevertheless, it’s worth looking into and well worth our review time.
OUT OF THE BOX
The Melody Movie MER803 is a curvy, black gloss box that looks like the center of many mini-component systems. It is not bulky looking even though its height is well in the range of many AV receivers. Maybe that is because of the front panel being largely dedicated to the LED than buttons and knobs. At its center-top sits the disc tray while the bottom 1/3rd of it is a smooth flap that covers a bunch of input options. On both sides of the front panel, providing the MER803 the symmetry it needs, are the transport buttons organised in a dial fashion and the device’s menu navigation functions also in a dial. It’s a good piece of entertainment to look at even though it’s offering nothing out of the box in aesthetics.
Like we said before, this is a Blu-ray player and a stereo amplifier, all-in-one. But there’s more, like the discs that go into it can also be regular CDs and DVDs. The amplifier is capable of 70W for each of its two channels, which would mean that the MER803 can drive almost any bookshelf out there without much effort. This is also why they’ve provided a subwoofer pre-out on the back panel as bookshelves don’t give you low-end like power-hungry towers can.
As far as connectivity goes, under that front flap there is also a USB port along with an EP-based AUX port and some audio related buttons. The USB port can be used to hook up any of the Apple products, but primarily an iPod or an iPhone, and the transport functions of the MER803 can then be used to control them. The two buttons titled ‘Stereo’ and ‘Surround’ can be used for primarily Dolby Virtual Speakers that can allow for virtual surround using just two channels.
The back panel houses an HDMI output along with two RCA AUX-in ports and one composite Video out, just incase you haven’t yet embraced HDMI-based flat panels. Also, you’ll find another USB port back here which is to be used primarily for Marantz’ optional Bluetooth adapter along with an Ethernet one for BD-Live. There’s also an M-X port, which is a nine-pin Marantz extension port. It’s used for hooking up several of Marantz products like DAB tuner modules, iPod docks, etc. The MER803 also boasts of radio with both FM and AM.
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