Advice on AV Receiver versus Separates

Starting from scratch here guys on my first Home Theater. Any advice would be appreciated.

I picked up a Marantz AV7005 pre-amp receiver from Best Buy for $705 (open box). I can also probably pick up the MM7055 for about $800.

Is this combo a good option for a 5.1 setup?

Should I rather go for a receiver instead?

I have heard great things about the AV7005, but not as much about the MM7055. Are there other separate combinations I should be considering?

I would like to spend around $1.5k for the receiver / amp&preamp so I have enough left over for speakers, etc.

Thank you.
It's a good pairing so the question isn't whether or not its good. In fact it's a great option for a multichannel setup. If you got a grea deal on the combo don't look back and enjoy. Only if you feel something is missing or isn't right should you then explore other issues or preferences with other components. Speakers---the ones you are using---will be the critical factor.
The AV7005 is a fine pre/pro. You might consider using active speakers instead of the traditional multichannel power amp driving passive speakers. I know several people using this approach, including myself. Many excellent choices from which to choose.

Make sure to allocate enough funds for one or two subwoofers.
The 7005 is excellent but a little dated. You might consider one of the more recent Denon/Marantz/Onkyo/Integra AVRs for more up-to-date features.
While not having the latest & greatest version of Audyssey, the AV7005 is still an excellent pre/pro and combined with the MM7055 you are considering, you would be hard pressed to find an AVR that would match this combos performance for your $1500 investment.

The only thing you need to watch out for is the impedance of the speakers you purchase. I don't believe the MM7055 is rated into 4 Ohms; only 6 & 8. So make sure the speakers you select are 6 or 8 and you'll be fine as the amp generates plenty of multi-channel power to get the job done. So go for it and you'll be on your way to a great HT system.
Thanks for the great suggestions guys!

I personally feel that passive speakers with just one sub should do the trick. I care more about stereo performance personally, so want to save the budget for speakers instead of multiple subs.

Good tip on the resistance. I will keep the 6 or 8 ohm impedance in mind as I select speakers.

Also looking at the MM8003 8 channel amp as an option. That way I can biamp the three fronts. Any thoughts on this vs the MM7055?
Why bi- amp? All you need is an amp sufficient for your needs.
I thought bi amping would just double the power to the main speakers and improve sonic quality even at low volumes. Is this not right?

Only thinking about it as both this 8 channel amp and the 5 channel Mm7055 are around 800. So I basically get 3 more channels, plus what I believe is a slightly better amp.
KR4 is right. You will be wasting your breath in this setup.
I thought bi amping would just double the power to the main speakers and improve sonic quality even at low volumes. Is this not right?

No, it does not but, even if it did, why would you not just buy a bigger amp?
Ok. Got it. So what are the benefits of biamping?

Seems like I should just go for the combo MM7055 + AV7005 setup.
Ok. Got it. So what are the benefits of biamping?
IMHO, nothing but that opinion is not shared universally.
To the OP-

Couldn't help myself from asking; what is the origin of your username? Sounds almost like you are "creeping" on Kal...
One further note on bi amping. IMHO:

Bi amping has benefits. Without doubt, it certainly has theoretical benefits - an active x-over ahead of the power amps will generally produce better distortion and phase performance. Further, offloading deep bass to a subwoofer will likely increase any system's max clean SPL capability, but....

You're already bi amping this system when you add subwoofers. By bi amping the mains, you're effectively tri amping the system. While there may well be additional benefits to this approach, I'd agree that this is a low return on incremental spending.
Those theater amps you are considering from Marantz are not among their better amps. Any amp that can't handle 4 ohm speakers is no better than the amps in a mid level receiver, although the 8003 has better specs. I'd suggest amps from companies such as Outlaw Audio(model7500), or Parasound.
Biamping has, at least, one very real benefit and that is reducing intermodulation distortion (IMD). This isn't an opinion, it's a known fact. Now, whether IMD is audible or not and at what level is another issue which could be argued, though I believe this has also been well established.

This is one of the many very real advantages of active speakers and why I'll continue to recommend them. They also provide a nice cost benefit over the traditional multichannel amp and passive speaker approach. I can send you a link to a very nice white paper on the benefits of active speakers if you're interested.

As Marty noted regarding subwoofers. If done correctly, you can take advantage of the amp in the sub and effectively biamp. Unfortunately, many (vast majority?) of audiophiles don't do this and lose this advantage.

Since you'll have either a pre/pro or receiver, you'll be able to biamp with the subwoofers.

And you should realize that having multiple subs is a distinct advantage in smoothing the bass response and this is just as much a benefit in a 2-channel system as in a multichannel system.

I recommend you take a look at the Harman white papers by Dr. Floyd Toole on getting good sound and the multi-sub paper, as well.
Per Bob,

I assumed the OP would use the bass management in his pre-pro, so he will almost surely get the benefits of bi-amping there. (No REL style, high level crossover set-up to argue about in this case).

My comment re: low return on incremental spending was reflective of the OP's stated intention to add a second power amp to his system to "bi-amp" the main speakers. In all likelihood, that would fail to achieve most of the benefits provided by bi-amping, anyway, since the crossover remains in the wrong place. As to the superior cost benefit tradeoff for the proper biamp arrangement in most powered speakers, I'd defer to those who know the market better. That includes lots of folks out there; Bob among them, for sure.

My sn was randomly generated by Audiogon. My name, Aman, plus some random letters/numbers. Not so random after all.

To be clear, this will be my main setup in a tri-level condo with walls that I technically don't share with my neighbors, as there is a 1 inch gap, but for all intensive purposes, I should just assume that noise will permeate through them quite easily. The room is rectangular and deep enough to warrant a good setup, but I really don't have room for 2 subs.

I could get a better amp later, I had a parasound before. But for now, I don't mind going with a good enough amp/pre setup as I have to still buy the rest of the setup, including center, surrounds, interconnects, power conditioner, etc etc.

I would like to read the white papers you mentioned. IMD is definitely a concern that would be more pronounced in the 8 channel amp vs the 5 channel. I also have never purchased active speakers. I prefer vienna acoustics Beethoven or b&w nautilus speakers. I also hate that humming noise that systems often generate and I feel my not having active speakers, I get rid of additional culprits that would cause that irratable hum.

Btw, you guys are immensely more knowledgable about all this than I. So I appreciate the information and am enjoying learning from you.

My negative comment on biamping is based on the assumption that it will be accomplished in the most common and least effective way: feeding a full-range signal to two amps which are wired to the two pairs of terminals on a speaker with an internal non-active crossover. That is the type of biamping that is offered by AVRs and (most) prepros. It is also to be distinguished from the biamping involved in bass management and, I believe, the OP was not equating the two.

I do acknowledge that biamping using an electronic crossover feeding amplifiers wired to speaker drivers (and what is found in active speakers) has definite benefits. However, the uninformed associate those benefits with the more common biamping described above.
The Harman whitepapers can be found here:

The specific paper about the benefits of active speakers I can post or email to you later (it's not at my finger tips at the moment).

I don't understand your logic regarding active speakers and hum. Some systems, active or passive, are noisy enough to be heard through the tweeter with no signal present.

Obviously, there are some fantastic passive speakers on the market. I think it's a marketing decision not a technical one that passive speakers dominate this segment of the market. Other segments of the market (like recording studios) are dominated by active speakers. I've owned several pairs of passive speakers and associated amps over the years, but having experienced active speakers for the last 6+ years I can't imagine owning a passive speaker again.

If there are speakers you already know you like, then by all means buy them and choose a reliable amp to drive them. I'm a fan of ATI amps for good sound, specs and value.

I think you have two great amps at a great price;

Two years ago I bought a Marantz SR7005 - the top-of-the-line av receiver at the time; I bi-amped the two front main channels (you can configure the SR7005 to do that if you're not running 7.1) with my B&W 805's, and it sounded wonderful.

I've been bi-amping systems for years now, and in my opinion, the sonic improvement is quite real. I would heartily encourage you to do it, and enjoy your two fine pieces of equipment.

Kal, sorry I missed the context of your comment regarding biamping. I agree with your comment in that context.
The link to the whitepaper describing the benefits of active speakers is:

It's written by Jim Rush of Precision Transducer Engineering.
Thanks again guys.