Marantz AV8003 vs 7005 processors sound quality

Anyone had a chance to compare sound quality (not features) of both receivers? I am interested in pure sonics without any processing. I will probably never use any EQ or Audyssey

Those who have experience with any of the two devices, how would you describe the sound:

Overall tonal character - (warm, neutral, bright)?
Dynamics - (soft, laid back, neutral, punchy)?
Equivalent 2ch preamp (ballpark)?

Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
I'll reply since I had trouble finding comments on the 7005 prior to purchase. First, I've found the 7005 to exceed all of my expectations. I use it with SACDs (and oppo 93) and movies but also as a preamp with my DAC.

I never listened to an SACD prior to owning the 7005 but I find the results impressive for multichannel orchestral. No fatigue at all. Dynamics are punchy to say the least. I've made a couple tweaks to the unit...upgraded the power supply fuses (3 HiFi Tuning Silverstars) and added damping pads to the underside of the cover. The remaining five fuses (analog outs I'm guessing) will be updated soon. In modes other than movies, I use the mode "pure direct" which shuts down everything but the audio circuitry (LED displays, video circuits, etc).

As far as tonal character goes, I would call it neutral but highly resolving. Prior to replacing the PS fuses, I would have called it warmer and perhaps very slightly less resolving. Now the term "clear as a bell" comes to mind.

My system consists of Vandy 3A Sigs, McCormack Amps (DNA-1/HT-1), REL Stadium sub and the oppo 93 used for digital outs only. Center is the VCC-1 and surrounds are some small B&Ws and enough to add the ambient effects. Interconnects are TRS Audio Free (Silver litz) and Alluvion (their prior generation and also silver). An Elrod EPS-3 powers the 7005 and an EPS-3S powers the main amp...various on the others (and by the way, the Elrod cords are absolutely amazing what what the bring to the game...on the amp it was like strapping a super charger on as far as dynamics went...I haven't experimented with cords on the 7005).

My DAC is an Assemblage 2.7 Platinum that just got a full upgrade from PartsConnexion in canada. They replaced the op amps with burson discretes along with other upgrades. This is an awesome dac and as a preamp, the 7005 works well (excellent micro dynamics and I hope those will improve once those last fuses are swapped). Can I do better in the preamp area? Oh I'm sure...but the 7005 as a two channel preamp is still very good but we know there is plenty better to be if one wants to spend the money. Me? I'm delighted. One comparison I can make is the enjoyment from SACDs (via dacs in 7005) vs CD (external dac). Lately I've had more fun listening to the SACDs and I think that says a lot. Some of that has to do with the quality of the recordings of course, the Pentatone SACDs are stellar. But some of my best sounding CDs sound equally good via the outboard DAC. I prefer the outboard DAC for CDs as it has a bit of a fuller sound, warmer sound and perhaps with better microdynamics but I haven't spent time A/B'ing the two in that mode.

I'm not sure how useful these comments are since I haven't heard the 8003. Some places will take the unit back within 30 days if you're not happy...which is what I did to reduce risk. Someone wrote somewhere this unit sounded as good as their krell it replaced...I chuckled...who knows.

Anyhow, hope this disjointed post helps...I haven't posted here in years but my ID is still active. Good luck.

PS - Audyssey is really slick for setup and channel balancing.
Thank you very much for the information. It definitely helps.
"Clear as a bell" is what I am looking for 8-)
I have played with fuses in a past as well. Amazing how things like that affect the sound.
If you have no intention to ever using EQ or Audyssey (a philosophy that I contend is foolishly archaic, especially for multichannel), I would advise you to consider using a player with outstanding DAC/output stages (e.g., Oppo 95) and a good all-analog multichannel preamp which is devoid of any on-chassis video and/or digital processing. You will experience greater "purity" from that than from any mid-market processor in any mode.

Thanks for the advise Kal. I am not opposed to EQ at all as I have used DEQ2496 in another system.

In my admittedly limited experience I have learned that although HT processing does improve many aspects, in the end it also affect dynamics and life in music and thats why many users just prefer to turn it off for music listening.
I have seen this being discussed here or on AA many times (often with your participation) but after experience with SC-55 I understand better where those opinions are coming from.

Imo opinion this may be related to digital attenuation which is necessary to apply EQ/processing and normalize it between all channels to present the whole as a coherent entity. Yes, in theory with 24 and 32 bit resoluton dacs it shouldn't matter that much (with all the processing power nobody truncates bits these days anyway) but I think it does.
The end result is often softer, less immediate or lively presentation which requires turning the volume up. This also is a reason for special modes like "night listening" or "dynamic volume control".

Perhaps it is a matter of implementation and price point. I have not heard Classe or Theta processors and I don't intend to as it is well beyond my budget.

I think it is reasonable to expect solid analog performance in a $2800 processor, certainly not Shindo-like purity but honest, clean and neutral sound with good dynamics. That plus some HMDI capability is what I am looking for. Does 8003 or 7005 offer that?

I have heard Oppo95 and did like it very much. Now, what do I need to get it properly preamplified?

Reviews suggest that 8003 compares favourably with pure analog Parasound mch preamp. Is there anything else in a 3k range that would do justice to 2ch and mch music?
I cannot help much. The Cary has wonderful analog bypass but it doesn't compete in most other aspects. The Marantz/Integra units are excellent in many ways but you might find the analog bypass unacceptable. I never use it and not because I find it inadequate but because I find the other routes preferable.

In my big system, the Meridian has no analog bypass at all but I do not miss it. I do have a Parasound JC-2 for that but it is used more for comparisons than for actual music listening.
Sprag, I was concerned about those same issues. And like you I am not going to spend more than a few $K on a pre/pro...things change too much albeit at a seemingly slower pace today than just a few years ago. original plan was to continue using my two channel passive for music and the 7005 for HT duties. Then I popped in one of those hybrid SACD's and thought oh what (30 SACD's later). I have the Oppo 93 and considered pushing to the 95 via analog but cable cost alone would add another grand for multi channel (compared with one good HDMI). And frankly I'm plenty pleased with the dynamics the Marantz offers.

Still, I can't say I don't wonder sometimes what I'm missing but then I start thinking speaker upgrades, or a really good tube preamp...etc. So when I bought the 7005 I got it using AA's 30-day return offer. Honestly, I thought this thing was going to sound awful and dreaded the whole process. Plenty of FUD running through my mind.

As much as I value kal's opinion and appreciate him posting here, I find myself stuck bypassing all the Audessey stuff for does feel like something is missing with it engaged. And I don't dismiss potential bias on my part.

I should have those last five fuses this week...the power supply fuses made a subtle change if that. I'm hoping for a little bit of magic from these. Good luck in your quest.
For 1500 for the AV7005 I am not disappointed, this processor has a purer sound and has more features than Processors that cost three and four times its price, additionally its HDMI 1.4a meaning you can route 3D video through it and its upgradeable via firmware with a wired or wireless internet connection. It Rocks
And just to complete my prior post, the remaining fuse updates I installed (Hi-fi Tuning gold classic) didn't yield any notable contribution with regards to micro dynamics as they did in my amp. If anything, the sound has a bit more air up top and maybe some smoother mids and highs. (The four fuses I replaced on the power supply boards were Hi-fi Tuning Silverstars.) This is an upgrade I'd call minor (at best) and would say money is better spent on a high(er) grade HDMI cable or power cord. But to me the fuse upgrades were worth it just to eliminate the what-if questions and I got them for half to one-third not a big outlay.

The unit sounds so good to begin with, it is amazing. I have not had the opportunity to compare it with higher-end models...mainly because I'm content.