Old Flagship Vs New Mid-Level Receiver


I currently have a B&K AVR 507 which, when I bought it, was about as good as you could get. I'm thinking about getting a new receiver to take advantage of hi-res audio formats and, most impoartantly to me, room EQ. I don't have flagship money this time around so my budget is $1000 tops. Has anyone compared my 507 or something like a Denon 5803 to a new mid-level receiver like an Onkyo 818 or anything else with Audyssey XT32? I'm also considering an Anthem MRX 300 to get ARC. Will I get an improvement is sound? So what is better? An old flagship receiver or a new mid-level one?

Thanks in advance for your responses.

On a side note, I really miss the days of high-end brick and morter stores where I could bring the equipment home :(
The B&K AVR 507 is one great sounding HT receiver. Not many offerings today can top it's musical prowess. The Onkyo 818 with XT32 can probably get you pretty close but will not be as "warmish" as the B&K but pretty close to neutral, the way I like it. AVR's from NAD, Anthem, Arcam, Cambridge Audio, will also rank up there with the B&K for music.

Are you set on new? XT32 has been out for a few years so maybe a really nice used receiver would make your budget. There are also stores like Accessories4less that sell refurb units at good discounts and offer good warranties. I purchased my pre/pro from them at a 35% discount off of new retail and full warranty.
Wow what loaded questions. Let me offer some food for thought.

1) room correction absolutely makes a difference. ARC is fantastic. Especially at frequencies below 200 the difference is remarkable. ARC is better than the default Audyssey and you get before and after graphs. The pro version of Audyssey gives you e wry thing ARC does out of the box.

2) as it stands today, getting a non HDMI unit is a tough sell. You lose so much without HDMI--including lossless codecs and room correction and bass management. A few units (like the anthem) will do those on top of an analog signal but ultimately why?

3) if you only have analog sources then getting an older, higher end unit makes sense. But if that's not the case I would personally get a modern unit with HDMI and room correction and newer DACS.

If you are budget strapped then get an Integra or comparable Onkyo or a Marantz or Denon from Accessories. You can save as much as 70% sometimes. I completely second that assessment. Also check your local HiFi dealer if they have any demos. Those are between 20-50 percent off.
I'm unfamiliar with your B&K, but I have compared my xt32 equipped Onkyo prepro to my old Theta prepro and IMHO there are two answers to your question, depending on your set-up.

1). If you use subwoofers, the odds are good that the xt32 (or equivalent like ARC) unit will sound MUCH better. It's always possible that in any given room you may be able to get the smooth FR in the bass and seamless integration of DRC software with careful placement and skillfull set-up, but I've never been able to get close. In my view, the DRC equipped modern unit probably wins in a runaway.

2). If you're not using subs, then it's a different story, and I'd hesitate to make a generalization.

if your focus is on tv/movies, i guess i'd opt for a current mainstream avr for the reasons above stated (arc, hdmi, modern codecs, etc). for unembellished music listening, however, the b&k is on another level--i always regretted selling mine
I'm looking on the Accessories4less site right now....and there's a Marantz SR7005 receiver for $890. I own one, and for the past two years it's been wonderful.....very musical; this would be quite the buy. Can't recommend it enough...and second the opinions of those who say try out that website. (I'm not connected with it in any way...checking it out for the first time tonight myself.)
The amp section on the Onkyo or any other receiver around that price range will definitely not be the equal of the B&K, so if you have 4 ohm speakers and or a larger room, the Onkyo will show its limits before the B&K. That being said, room correction has really been a major improvement in the industry.

One suggestion a little out of your budget is the brand new Denon AVR X4000 at 1200. It has the XT32 Audyssey and better subwoofer eqing than the Onkyo 818. Hope this helps.
I did a lot of research and tests with Audyssey in 2,5 years of time. I am also a Audyssey Pro installer. With XT32 I can get a superior level than what I could achieve with a much more expensive receiver without. Buy an 818 for a low price. 828 doe not have XT32. 818 in europe you can get for a low price now. i guess in the US will be the same.
I sold my Classe SSP60 and bought a Marantz AV7005 - Big mistake. In term of music reproduction, the Classe was clearly a winner.
@Arcamguy: The Marantz 7005 only has Audessy XT, not XT32. Seems like all the reviews state that the XT32 is worth the difference, especially if you have more than one subwoofer. Not disputing your comments on the Marantz itself, but the OP's desire for Audessy (or ARC).
The problem of Marantz is that they use cheep transformers these days. Control and timing is not that good. And second it is still a 2-dimensional brand. And yes XT32 is superior to XT. Even wenn you use Pro with XT, you still miss a lot.