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bierfeldt
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pre-pro advice in the $1500 to $3000 range

I am in the process of building a new home theatre. Here is where I am at thus far:

- Sunfire HRSs with a Sunfire HRS 12 Sub.
- Marantz MM8003 Power Amp, 8 Channels at 140w.
- I have a Carver CD Player that I may replace and will be getting a Pro-Ject debut III or Expression turntable.

The system is split, approximately 50% for music in 2.1 and 50% for video in 7.1, I am looking for a processor that can do both.

My plan was to get a Marantz AV7005 as the reviews are great and it appears to be an outstanding value at ~$1500. I have not been able to find a dealer that has the AV7005 to listen to and have had to demo the SR7005 which is the receiver. I liked it enough to roll the dice and order it from Crutchfield so I had the optimal return policy. However, Marantz had issues due to the earthquake in Japan and is out of stock for 45-60 days. This delay is giving me time to think.

The critical things I am looking for are decoding of lossless audio like Dolby True HD, balanced outputs, and the ability to handle Sirius.

For example, I looked at the Sunfire TGP-401 but that unit seems to be a bit dated and lacks several of these features. I auditioned the NAD T 175 and it sounded great. However, it is at the high end of my budget, supports XM, not Sirius and does not have balanced outputs.

Thanks in advance for any advice you might have.

Kal Rubinson
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In that price range, the

In that price range, the usual cutting-edge suspects, imho, are

  • Marantz AV7005
  • Integra DHC-80.2
  • Onkyo SC5508

I do not know anything about Sirius facilities but you can look them up on the web.

As for the lack of an audition, I really wonder if that is meaningful.  There are so many variables in auditioning any stereo/analog audio component which hinge on the speaker setup and room acoustics.  For MCH, those variables increase to include more speakers and the obligatory complexity of multichannel setup which few showrooms have bothered to do carefully.

Kal

bierfeldt
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Thanks Kal....

I appreciate the feedback but it was a bit disappointing.  I was hoping for some other choices largely because  I find Onkyo to be a bit cold and sterile sounding.  Looks like I am either raising my budget or waiting for the Marantz.

Kal Rubinson
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I wonder under what

I wonder under what conditions you judged the Onkyo.

bierfeldt
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That was a poor statement without qualifiers

I did get to demo a $2000 Onkyo receiver, a $2000 Denon receiver, and an NAD pre-pro on Sunfire HRS speakers I have with an HRS 8 sub.  I don't know the model numbers, but at those price points they must be darn close to the flagship models. 

On the HRS speakers, I found the Onkyo to be cold and sterile.  The NAD and Denon sounded warmer and more balanced. 

In fairness, on the Polk and KEF speakers I was considering, the NAD and Dennon sounded a bit flat while the Onkyo sounded warm and balanced.  Additionally, I am using an Onkyo receiver as a substitute at home until I get the final pre-pro and it sounds so-so on my HRSs.  On the other hand, in my family room with my Polk speakers, the Onkyo sounds tremendous. 

In fairness, I should have said I find the Onkyo equipment to be cold and sterile through the Sunfire speakers. 

Kal Rubinson
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OK.  That was my point.  The

OK.  That was my point.  The context of the audition (including how it was set up and how any roomEQ was set up) is critical.  Your experience is good evidence of that.

Kal

bierfeldt
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Went with the Marantz

I am very impressed.  The audio quality is exceptional. Much clearer reproduction than with my Onkyo receiver.  I am literally hearing things that I have not heard in movies I have seen several times.  I ran Audyssey and the new version worked great.  It properly recognized all the speakers and the distances were correct.  I haven't needed to tweak any settings and the sound is great. 

The Apple AirPlay feature is now free with the device and it is the feature that makes this thing extraordinary.  The Windows based network control built into the device is on-screen but clunky and very slow.  AirPlay allows you to control the audio from your iphone or ipad and is fast.  The instructions to set it up were not to be found.  I figured it out by reading the Ad on the Marantz site but it was easy enough and is a fantastic feature. 

After 15 hours, I would strongly advocate it.  I could not be happier.  Hopefully I will feel this way in 6 months.

afajem@yahoo.com
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RE: Going with Marantz

Are you still happy with your purchase?

bierfeldt
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I still love the Marantz

After about 9 months and countless hours, I love the final setup.  The Marantz Pre/Pro is extraordinary.  I haven't had a moments trouble and haven't messed with settings in months.  For soundtracks, the reproduction is clear and crisp.  Video is just as clear and crisp.  The thing that has surprised me is how exceptional the the stereo audio reproduction is.  I migrated from Carver separates and the reduction in distortion comparatively with the Marantz is surprising.  It is most obvious when listening to classical and jazz on the turntable. There is just no hum or airiness.  I could not be happier.   

 

   

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