Component recommendations: best bang for buck.

Hello all. My first post for had very little traffic so I figure I try again. I plan on getting a pair of Martin Logans classics down the line. For now I’m looking for recommendations on the best set up for my budget of around 10-15K. My preference: HT and Audio is about 40%/60% respectively. Looking for a scalable system for future upgrades and future home/space addition. My current space is an open concept that measures about 45’x35’, 10 foot ceilings and hardwood floors with area rugsx3.

From my research, mostly reading reviews, I’ve narrowed it down to starting place:

Marantz 8802
McIntosh integrated amp: MA 8900 OR 9000

No specific brand loyalties, however I’ve read that the McIntosh equipment maintains its resale value. Open to suggestions for new or used items and going with separates as well.  Located in Oakland. Thanks very much.
As a relative reference, I used a very old Krell HTS 7.1 processor for many many many years until it finally died in 2015. I continued to use it because the sound quality continued to stomp all over the competition, even though the competition did the newer digital formats. Listening to old-school compressed Dolby Digital and DTS through Krell still sounded much better than listening to the new hi-res bluray formats "Dolby TrueHD" and "DTS-HD MA" through a brand new Emotiva processor.  Emotiva processor still did not sound as good even using hi-res 24/96 and 24/192 audio (compared to Krell that automatically down-coverted to 24/48).  In the end, newer digital formats doesn’t necessarily mean it will sound better.
I think, unless you have a L/C/R speaker setup you like, or want to have, a two speaker amp is enough. To be honest, I was using a L/C/R, with plans to use SL/SR once I moved into my new house, but I recently dropped the C because it was hard to balance the levels with the L/R (didn’t help it was a different brand from the L/R). 

I’m also a believer in minimizing failure modes.  While having lots of separate amps may take up space, if a component on a big, multichannrl amp breaks, you’re in a world of hurt. If one amp in a multi amp setup fails, you can still listen to something. Mono is better than silence. 
Hi guys,

I’m actually the vendor that contacted the OP and recommended Arcam over Krell, and I’d like to chime in to clarify a couple of things that were misstated. As the owner of a successful A/V integration company based in Atlanta, I have built my business on the simple concept that if you are honest and transparent, and take care of people the way that you yourself would want to be treated, you will be successful in your dealings with people. Thankfully, this has been true in my experience. As a business owner, all I can do is recommend what I feel are the best options based on the brands that we carry and the budget that I have been given to work with. Based on the 10-15k budget outlined by the OP, my recommendation was for him to look at the Arcam AV860 Processor (not the AVR850 receiver, BTW) and separate power amps.

The reason that I recommended this particular model is because it was explained to me that he wanted something “future-proof” that would be capable of handling both 2 channel and multi-channel source material with high-quality output, and this is the best option that we carry. Since the Krell Foundation is over 4 yrs old and only supports 7.1 processing at a price point of $7500 with the latest HDMI upgrade, the Arcam AV860 objectively offers a better value proposition at $5500 with comparable component quality, 7.1.4 processing, and a vastly superior room correction software platform (Dirac Live). Does this mean that Krell doesn’t make a good product? Of course not! Krell makes an outstanding product, which is why I told him that if he really wants to stick with Krell that he is best off waiting until they release the next model because it will have the latest tech and therefore offer a better value proposition.

In any case, to the OP: If you would like to continue our communications, I will of course be happy to work with you any way I can to ensure that we find the right fit and that you feel valued as a client, but if you would rather look at other options before even discussing pricing or alternative configurations, then I wish you the best of luck in finding a vendor who is better able to suit your needs. Regardless of what direction you choose to go, I would at the very least caution you against buying from vendors on ebay or amazon, as that typically means buying from an unauthorized dealer and therefor voiding your manufacturer’s warranty, and instead opt for a legitimate A/V retailer of your choosing.

Best wishes,

David Campbell

President – Southern A/V Direct, LLC