Perhaps the better question would be if I want to upgrade my Anthem AVM/20 in an under 3k processor, what would be the best fit for not only multichannel but also fantastic 2-channel? :-) I'm not married to either Marantz or Integra, but those are the two that keep coming up. There is an Anthem AVM40 trade-in but the lack of ability to decode the HD codecs natively and no room corrections ruled that out in my mind.
I'm struggling with a nearly identical choice. Integra seems to have a lot of status which might come from availability limited to dealers. I have read some negative anecdotes around warranty based repairs.
I keep hearing about the natural sound offered by Marantz and the look of the Marantz is so much more elegant.
while the integra stuff gets good reviews, my experience has been less than satisfying....bought the 80.1, after afew months noticed it would not pass a 1080p signal...weeks of back and forth with integra..they took the unit back and sent me an 80.2 (for a small upgrade price)....after nine months, the front panel locks up on the 80.3...local dealer says "its a known problem"...after weekes of back and forth...integra says send it back and we will upgrade to the 80.3 for $350...ok.....it has been three weeks since i sent the unit back ups over night...
last night...dealer calls and says 80.3 back ordered until late february....i am done with integra....
is an anthem dv2 the next step up in peformance and quality???
on a seperate customer service note...i also have the revel speakers you mention...they were in the room when i bought the house two years ago (so the speakers are at least 8 years old)...a woofer went out (my diagnosis) on the ceneter channel.....called revel tech support....AT NO CHARGE they sent a full set of drivers and recommended a shop if i did not want to do the repair...thats service...
Thanks to both for your input. Everything I'm reading ironically is pushing me to the Marantz even though its a slightly older unit and doesn't' have the latest Audyssey (though MultiEQ Pro had advantages over the XT32 version).
I was reading on one review of a user of Krell and Anthem AVM20 who upgraded to the Marantz and loved it. So, I know you'll always find those types; but given the age of the Anthem AVM20, the advancements in D/A converters, etc. if a $1,500 preamp today truly trounces a $3,000 preamp from 10 years ago. My gut is telling me "yes" more and more.
Additionally, the integration of AirPlay, which is now a free upgrade is also a nice to have feature as I do tend to like the Apple ecosystem and also love to have the flexibility of DLNA as I do have a prototype server setup for sending FLAC files over the network.
I have also thought about the Anthem 50v but at 5k am I getting that much more for audio quality?? It appears that there is now only one major difference (at least on specs) between the D2 and the AVM50v if I recall correctly and it was something to do with the analog input or output. Listen, I love my Anthem, but I just can't afford 5k for a preamp at this point.
Finally, let me confirm what you said about Revel and Harman support. They rival Apple with their rabid (in a good sense) focus on customer service. Questions about my Revels and an issue with DC Offset with my Lexicon were handled in ways I just cannot begin to explain. Just the highest, highest praise for Jason and the team over at Harman tech support. You are not just buying a stellar product, you are getting incredible, personal support after that for as long as you have the product. I do have to say that Anthem tech support has been A+++ as well.
So, if I'm to summarize here, from an audio quality perspective, I basically should here no real difference between the Marantz and the Integra in terms of audio quality and processing in both two channel and multichannel.
The Marantz at that price point is looking better and better all the time. I do truly appreciate and welcome any other thoughts and comments on this! It's our hobby and we love it, breathe it, and take any opportunity we can to talk about it :-)
I just got an Onkyo 5508 (AKA the nearly identical cousin of the Integra 80.1) to replace an ARC LS25 + NHT X-2 + Velodyne SMS-1 + Cambridge DacMagic in a music only 2.2 system. One box vs 4 and very, very good sound thru Maggie SMG or Ohm 100s with a pair of 12" Rythmik subs. I'm very happy with that decision.
Neat, Marty. The thing really works!
BTW, the 5508 is equivalent to an 80.2; just what I use.
Sorry, Kal. 80.2 instead of 70.2 :-) So my recollection was correct on that one.
Don't mean to put you on the spot, but is it a fair shot to say that either the Marantz or Integra would do me well for my purposes going from an Anthem PrePro? I don't need the extra HDMI settings of the Integra and I don't need the added streaming services like Spotify, etc.
The only nice feature that I do use is separate crossover settings between music and movies. I run my M22s down to about 50Hz with the music setting and I pretty much leave the M22s close to 80Hz for movies. I also use the notch filter in the Anthem, but that would likely be taken care of via Audyssey.
Yesterday I auditioned a Marantz AV7005 with the aim of replacing my Cary 11a, Velodyne SMS-1, and DVDO Edge with a single processor. I took several discs, then played the discs again when I returned home about a half hour later. In every case I preferred the sound of my system. But I couldn't attribute that to the difference between the 11a and the AV7005, because the ancillary equipment was also different.
The setup in my HT started as a 2.1 music system before the addition of front projection and surround speakers. The setup at the dealer seems aimed at very elaborate HT. The disc player was a video server with a name something like Kaleidoscope; the speakers were large B&Ws.
So I conclude that an audition at a dealer is of limited value, unless the dealer has the same equipment you have. So much for don't rely on reviews, listen for yourself advice. I can only go by Michael Fremer's review of the AV7005 in which he concludes that the AV7005 is an excellent value with very good sound, but not quite the equal of the sound of the Cary 11a. I suppose if I had been persistent, I might have borrowed an AV7005 to try at home, but then I would have felt really obligated. With a new lamp in my projector, I will try to it without the video processor. That would be one step toward simplification.
DB, that's a perfect point. I was trying to do an "apples to apples" comparison. The closest I could find (quickly) was a dealer who had both Integra and Anthem. They were pushing me to the Integra vs the Anthem because of the fact that Anthem has not really done any major updates recently and nothing on the horizon (he actually had the D2 at home). While they had nothing in the store to do an "Apples to Apples" it was interesting to hear that. The only caveat--and I've heard this from a few places--that the before and after measurements of the ARC are better. However, I also wonder about that because Audyssey MultiEQ Pro does the same thing (or something similar) if I understand it correctly. But you need to do the Pro version with the calibrated mic. Regardless, I'm encouraged by the fact that it appears as though you can get the same or better audio quality (ISF, video scaling, etc is important but less of a priority) for almost half the price of what it was 10 years ago.
Of course, at the dealer, you can never know how competent the ARC/Audyssey setup is.
Ha. Touché. Very nice Kal.
what about purchasing a used Anthem MRX300?
My issues with the MRX300 are as follows:
1) No balanced out. I use all balanced (XLR) to my amp.
2) ARC doesn't handle the full spectrum if I recall correctly. Anthem has sort of handicapped ARC a bit so that it doesn't affect certain frequencies.
3) It's still a receiver and not separates.
Further to Kal's point, at a dealer demo, I expect that the Velodyne set-up will be poor.
I've never heard the SMS at a dealer - but I have heard the DD subwoofers demoed (albeit a few years back). If you ask the dealer how the EQ works, they will generally say - "one button" and demo the automatic EQ mode (which sucks). It's possible that this is just a sales pitch and that they go back and do a manual set-up (the only method that works, IMHO) after you leave, but I doubt it.
What is happening is that the complexity of multichannel and/or digital setup has made it nearly impossible for one to judge much from dealer demos. Not only are there so many more variables to complicate the decision but dealer competence can neither be assumed or assessed. What if he says that they did a very extended and successful EG (with whatever system there is)? How do you know unless you are already well-informed and willing/able to ask detailed questions?
Let me ask a question about performance and DACs. If I'm looking at the specs of the preamps of the Marantz, Integra 80.3, Anthem 50v, and Carey Cinema 12, then the Integra and Carey should blow the others away because it has a Burr Brown 192/32 and the Anthem 50v appears to still have the older Burr Brown of the AVM30. So in theory, the Anthem should sonically come in *last* of all of them. And, in theory, the Integra should sound as good as the Carey, which is 4x the price of the Integra.
Now, I'm purposely hyperbolizing, but I don't understand why, in theory, a processor with a better DAC would not sound as good as a processor with a lesser DAC. Is there something at play here that I'm missing.
Can someone help educate me?
If we were looking at the Marantz 7005, Integra 80.3, Anthem AVM50v, and Carey Cinema 12, how would they rank in terms of their 2-channel and multi-channel performance?
be carefull what you wish for, I went from a b&k ref 50 to a maranz av 7500 and was not happy at all with the sound quality, I feel that todays mas market prepro's are built to a price point where as the older prepro's were built for sound quality, I sold the marantz and went back to the b&k I hook all my video sources directly to my tv and avoid all the hdmi 1.1,1.2,1.3,1.4 ,ect. issues, just my opinion, good luck
"Now, I'm purposely hyperbolizing, but I don't understand why, in theory, a processor with a better DAC would not sound as good as a processor with a lesser DAC. Is there something at play here that I'm missing. " Because there's more to it than the chip. There is the supporting circuitry and the implementation.
Kal, bingo, thanks. That's what I was missing in the equation. So that's where, I would assume, the Carey and Anthem would be justified in both their higher price tags and perhaps better supporting circuitry and implementation?
Seems to me that it's always the sum of the parts... a great set of converters in and of themselves won't make a piece sound great. It's the whole build - both the analog and digital stages, power supply, and even board layout that ultimately contribute to the sound. I think everyone's right about the number of both interior and exterior variables as well - it's really tedious to make sure you're doing accurate apples-to-apples listening comparisons, particularly if you're including any kind of DSP. For me it's been a matter of "trust your ears and take your time." At the end of the day, thank goodness for real audio dealers that will let you audition a piece in your home system so you have some kind of valid reference!
I bought the Marantz AV 7005 pre/pro a couple of months ago and have been pretty happy with it so far. It sounds good - very clean and quiet - and operates flawlessly. It's definitely no match for a comparably priced stereo preamp in terms of sound quality but given all of the I/O and audio/video signal processing built in, I think it's a fair value.
I did have to install a small exhaust fan in my rack, though, as it runs pretty warm. That's been the only concern so far, and successfully resolved. I can't speak to the Integra vs. the Marantz in terms of sound quality because I never had a chance to A/B them through the same system, but given the reliability issues with the Integra I think I made the right choice. Hope this helps.
Audioengineer. Thanks. Yes that does indeed help. I think I'm going to take my time and look up the price line a bit. I've been happy with my anthem over the years and maybe I need to increase my budget and look for a used or demo unit of a higher up Anthem than I currently have or a Carey or similar. I'd rather wait a few and get the right thing than not be happy with it at all
I'm going to need some additional guidance. I want to say thanks to everyone who has posted a review. I think I'm going to forego the Integra and the Marantz at this point and as a different question: if I had 3k-4k and was to buy used or demo what brands should I look for? Am I then considering the Classe, Anthem, and Carey lines at that point? And, based on Kal's the sum is greater than the parts comment, am I going to be getting better quality audio. I don't really care so much about the video, while that's important too but lesser.
The issue with used is that features change rapidly. One needs to be quite certain what one is getting, what one is giving up and what one needs.
Kal's point is just as true with new, perhaps even more so because of depreciation. Except for added complication, using a reasonably priced processor in pass-through mode with your favorite preamp seems a good way to go. What's thought to be the latest and greatest processing changes rapidly compared to preamp design.
I bought a month old Cary 11a from a local source for just over 50% MSRP, and have found the balance of sound quality to bugs easy to live with. I do wish the Cary processed LPCM to provide bass management for 5.0 SACDs via HDMI.
Absolutely, no question about it. I have great relationships with my local dealers and I often query them about what I'm looking for. On Saturday I borrowed an AVM50v to test it out. Jaw dropping is one word that came immediately to mind. The build quality speaks for itself. The performance is mesmerizing. I'm looking forward to testing out a few other pieces. I heard the Classe as well and I don't know why but it didn't make me immediately jump. It must have had something to do with the setup there. The system was connected to Paradigm signature speakers and I've come to the conclusion that in the demo rooms where I've been, I just haven't been moved by the Paradigms. In one sense that's odd since I've lived with an AVM20 for so long. I don't have an Integra dealer really close to me so its doubtful I'd be able to do a side by side comparison between the AVM50v and the Integra. However, I'm mightily impressed by the 50v
I went from a Anthem 30 to a Onkyo prepro. The Anthem was a great piece, but its just too far behind in features I want. IMO the new anthem pieces are way too expensive. When they could be had around $2500 new, they were a much better deal and worth buying. My opinion.
The Onkyo sounds great. Movies actually sound better. If you are worried grab a used 2 channel preamp. I've seen some 5508's under $1500 used already. Compare that to a new anthem. At 5k, you can easily beat the Anthem for music & movies, even if you have to get a preamp, and a prepro to do it.
I have been following this thread with interest since I have the exact same setup as you in terms of speakers and equipment. We currently have an Integra 7.9 reciever but have been considering upgrading.
Curious to hear where you are in your decision process and if you consider the Anthem Receievers.
Samski - I have a B&K Ref 50 and was considering replacing it with a Marantz AV7500 but your comments are causing me to rethink that. Did you try any other processors? Are you going to? My Ref 50 has some issues and I would like HDMI but my main use of the system is stereo music. I also am considering the Integra or an Anthem. I have a OPPO BD 95, McIntosh 302, REL sub (plan to replace it with 2 JL Audio Fathom F10s), Martin Logan Ascent I front speakers, Cinema center and Clarity rears. I use an Acurus 5x125 to drive my center and rears.
I decided to go with another Anthem. The 50v to be precise. It was a great, great choice and would recommend it without issue to anyone. I'm very, very, very, very happy with the setup. Solved all my HDMI switching needs. It integrated wonderfully, sounds incredible and improved on the sound of the AVM20 substantially. I have a tough room, and I've spent time positioning my speakers and ARC did wonders.
I didn't insider the receivers as I have a 7-channel Lexicon with a balanced setup.
I know you wont pick the receiver series due to XLR, but did you ever happen to test the anthem receivers to compare with 50v on MOVIES? I would really like to know how superior it would be with ARC over 5Khz and all the better circuitry implementations 50v has, if someone has compare it, please comment.
and btw, how much did you pay 50v for eventually? I am thinking of buying one too seriously.
I was able to get it at 50% off. So the price between that and a new/used Integra was minimal.
50% off?! Oh, is it used unit?
I bet you havent compare it with MRX then.
Dealer demo from a local dealer I've done business with for a long time. I did *not* do a direct comparison with the MRX.
1) I have all balanced cables in my setup and
2) I didn't want a limited ARC system