Yes - much better
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I agree with Erik. I am a huge HT bypass advocate.
If improving stereo music is the goal, get a quality 2 channel integrated with HT bypass and enjoy the best of both worlds in one system. Sadly, the 2 channel pre-amp sections found in most modern AVR's are just an afterthought by the manufacturer. I have yet to hear a "source direct" stereo mode in an AVR that I was impressed with. By getting an integrated amp, you'll be getting a much better pre-amp section. Also, try and choose a model that is higher in power and current than your Marantz and you'll be doing your home theater a favor too. You'll put more power into the mains while freeing up the AVR to handle the center and surrounds.
Again, the best of both worlds in one installation with just one push of a button!
Again, best of both worlds.
Thanks everyone for responding and giving your opinions. I to have to agree going with a good integrated amp is the way to approach this.
Internetmin, it's not that I am unhappy with my setup It's that I have some money to spend and I would like to improve on the Marantz's 2 channel performance. So l wasn't sure which way To go.
I like what I have read about Harman Kardons hk 990 also a local dealer said they just received a new high performance integrated from Cambridge Audio. Share any thoughts you may have.
You're welcome Wmbode. I understand that the HK990 is a beast and can be integrated into an HT setup with no problem. I am not sure about CA's though - I never seen power amp inputs on their Azur line before. Unless the model you are talking about is so new, I am just not familar with it. Maybe someone can correct me about the CA Azurs if I wrong.
At the price of the HK990, I would suggest you take a look at the Marantz PM15S2LE. This is a real tank, 41 lbs, and a reference model built in Japan. High quality throughout! I spent a lot of time listening to it driving Sonus Faber Cremona M's to impressive sound levels that rivaled a McIntosh/B&W 802 combo in the same room. At least to my ears and at a fraction of the cost.
Good luck in your quest to improve your stereo sound.