I apologize in advance if I insult anyone here, I am new to the Audio world and I don't have a massive budget. I have the Fluance tower speakers and the Fluance mid, they are pretty nice and work well for my budget so don't judge! One day I will up grade I promise so be nice.
I love the blues and good old fashioned rock and roll and anything Acoustic.
Anthem is head and shoulders above any AVR you listed. Here's a nice MRX710 for 600 bucks. Just jump on it!
i agree that anthem is better than the mass market brands, but it may be more avr than you need for your speakers--i'd go to accessories4less and pick out a yamaha or marantz--they have great prices (40/50% off) and you can get a lot of machine for $300-400. onkyo seems to be disfavored these days because of reliability.
That Anthem for $600.00 is a great way to go. I almost pulled the trigger on one that was for sale around that price on TMR. I was not quick enough. Being Atmos is not part of the plan right now, musically the Anthem would be hard to top for that small amount of $$$. Maybe an NAD but not many.
As far as A4Less, good suggestion.
I have owned a couple Denon receivers which were nice nothing wrong with them at all but the Anthem MRX300(bottom model) I have wipes the floor with any other receiver I had prior. Crisp, punchy sound but not harsh - much better in particular at lower volumes.
Yamaha would also be worthy of consideration - they have a nice warmish sound signature and are not prone to fail in the same way that many brands are.
Anthem is definitely the real deal and the reliability of my unit has been rock solid.
I currently have an Onkyo TX-NR838 and I had read about the HDMI issues on theirs and others.I hooked a cheap USB Fan purchased off of Amazon and for a couple of years now ,running all of the time,ZERO issues.I set the USB Fan on top of the Onkyo and I leave mine on 24/7[unless thunderstorms are predicted].HEAT is the enemy.I see friends that have their receivers crammed in spaces where there is little to no air movement available and yes,a few of those receivers have failed.At your price level you can score something that has Preamp Outputs so you can upgrade your Power Output down the road should you so choose.I have heard,and help setup,a Marantz and liked how it sounded too.I also helped with a Yamaha and we had some issues so my friend returned it and got an Onkyo.At this time there are 4 of us with Onkyos and we all have had good results.
The new onkyo are good. I am more into 2 channel than ht and recently did a true theater room with aTmos . took home marantz pioneer onkyo and anthem. Was surprised at the onkyo, Ended up going with that .i have external amps and was mainly comparing voicing of the center channel. The anthem was better if using it to power speakers I use outboard dsp on the subs as none of the Avrs did very well in my room