If you already have the amps, I would go with the separate pre/pro.
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To Kennyt's point, you are comparing apples and oranges. IMHO (hey you asked) Integra is kicking serious booty right now on the price performance continuum.
More to the point - every dime in the Integra goes to the pre/pro - do you suppose its any better?
In my mind the key features you need to be looking at are:
1) Audyssey - here they both look good. This is a huge gamechanger and a must have feature
2) Number of HDMI inputs and outputs. HDMI is such a superior technology and HDMI sources are so inexpensive that you will not want to mess with anything else once you get a taste.
3) GUI - a huge deal for me. Download the owners manuals and see what is involved in programming the units to do what you want...
4) Video processor - Integra leads here but unless you have legacy sources like VHS and LaserDisc it's a moot point anyway since you are likely never to need it.
Just to clarify some of your points....
3) I too like a nice GUI, but in reality, I mess with it only rarely so as long as it works, it is OK for me. If you think I am some static guy who doesn't change gear much, you are sorely mistaken, I just know when I do swap gear or settings, it is only a fraction of the time I spend with the unit in day to day operations, so while I LIKE a good GUI, I don't put much weight on it in deciding a pieces merit.
4) Are you forgetting your (potential) 480i DVD's, or SD TV channels that the cable/sat box will pass as 480i? I like a good video processor in my pre/pro, but again, I can easily live with one outboard, but if it's included it just keeps thing a bit simpler.
I am not trying to pick on you, just modifying your points to show my angle!
Each to their own - I had another brand pre/pro - it was a frickin' nightmare to use - I hated it for all the time I had it. There are a ton of features on these things - if you're undecided why not make it easy on yourself to get what you paid for. The more often you change gear and need to change settings the more you will appreciate it.
480i would fall in the category of legacy systems I mentioned (Point 4). One place the Integra 9.9 definitely has a huge advantage is that it allows you to set up the scaler for each source/input - that's a feature that is not on the 9.8 which means that the scaler handles every source the same. I would bet the Marantz applies the scaler globally as well.
I find that the DirectTV HDTV box takes care of the video. Besides if you have a nice HD display you won't be watching often.
When I did the ISF calibration, the tech and I A/Bed the Oppo with the Integra - no contest. We opted to let the Oppo ($200) take care of the scaling. The Integra is set for HDMI pass through.
You're going to have to work a little harder to pick on me - the difference is I've been where you're going - but at the end of the day its your rig - as long as you are happy makes no difference to me how you get there =)
I was absolutely NOT trying to pick on you, sorry if you felt that way.
I have had many pre/pro's that were very difficult to set up (Linn AV5103 comes to mind) and the Meridian 861 had a bit of a learning curve as well, but in the end, as long as I can program them I am OK with the interface, even though I might get frustrated with them.......
Personally, I think Denon kicks Onkyo's but as far as quality control is concerned. I like the network features of the Denon. The GUI is superior on Denon products when compared to Onkyo. I hated Onkyo's clunky GUI. Also major delay time when switching video resolutions using the onkyo(very annoying). Popping sounds from speakers when switching video components with Onkyo.
I had to return a unit right out of the box (Onkyo 905) center channel amp was blown. Onkyo's with Reon run very hot.
There you have it, my .02
John - FWIW my Integra 9.8 doesn't have these problems. Nor do I find the GUI clunky though I did not compare it to the Marantz. If the Marantz is dramatically better, then its really slick.
I think the key point Kenny is that if you are going to compare the two feature sets, you need to compare equivalent models so the Integra 9.9 and the Marantz 8003.
This Marantz does use the Anchor Bay chip which is a newer chip then the Reon. Oppo uses the Anchor chip in their 983 which has blown every test straight off the charts. Again if you have a lot of DVD material I would get the Oppo (or their soon to be announced BD/DVD) and leave the processing there.
I would invest the time to understand how Marantz manages the video inputs - what Integra is calling "ISF certified calibration controls per input" which as I noted in my previous post is the key to using the built-in scaler.
The only instance I could envision applying the scaler globally to all sources is if I had an older projector that needed a lot of sharpening or chroma boost to look its best. Hard to imagine applying it to a 1080p display.
IMO more important, I would closely compare the Audyssey implementations - Audyssey is a third party developer that licenses its goodies to manufacturers. It is up to the manufacturer to decide which features to include (which obviously affects the price point and can also be used to differentiate models in a lineup).
Too, some manufacturers allow for software upgrades to the Audyssey function set - others, like the Integra 9.8 do not.
Finally as I am sure you know, the 3808 is no longer in the current product lineup. At the end of the day its that familiar choice between SOTA and budget...