Pre, pro $3k

Hey, I know this topic is covered in other threads but looking for advice on a pre/pro to feed a Parasound A21 and A31, plus low grade amp for the rears to make a 7.1 system.

I currently have a Marantz SR 5007 that I’m using as preamp and to power my rear speakers.

I don’t expect to go beyond 7.1. So what would you get for ~$3k. Used McIntosh MX122, Marantz 7706, Anthem AVM 70? Something else used or new?

Maybe a new pre/pro wouldn’t make a difference, but thinking something new might have a better DAC, power supply, and support newer formats.

My current processor is ~15 years old and I’m sure I can do better.



Here’s the issue. My A/V pre-pro, which has nothing to do with music reproduction systems, crashed and I looked for something in the 3 grand-ish arena. I’ve had top notch processors in the past (Meridian, McI) and my experience is that in video, trickle down really happened- the technology has migrated to cheap as a chip level stuff.

And that’s where the problem is. Chips right now. All the Marantz stuff (which is decent, I’m not playing for state of the art in audio for video, partly because the source material is a pastiche and there is more than a point of diminishing returns on audio for video), but the gear is awaiting production. I found a factory refurbished AV 7706 with long warranty that I bought as much for the fact that it was available as anything else. To me, it’s almost "receiver" quality stuff- Denon, Yamaha, whatever, and feature sets that you may not even use. This thing passes up to 8k in video, runs Atmos, and has the sort of current Audyssey room correction. I am not looking for the last iota at this point, having done some big dedicated home theatres (fun, but eventually the novelty wears off).

I don’t even have more than a 5.1 system at this point, using small-ish satellites and a Rythmik sub, have a 4k Sony screen that's recent and stream at 4k or less. It’s more than adequate for my needs. Frankly, the Marantz sounded better with room correction at a fraction of the price of either the Meridian or McI from back in the day.

Point is, if you are buying now, you are at the mercy of the Covid/Supply Chain Debacle.

Good hunting.

I would probably avoid the Marantz 7706 in your case because your using Parasound amps, which are voiced slightly on the warm side anyways and don't have a very good high frequency response.  You would lose too much resolution by going with the 7706.  Don't get me wrong, the Marantz AV7706 is excellent, with excellent power supplies and analog stages, but it does soften and roll off the high frequencies.

With the Parasound, I would likely go with the Anthem AVM 70 to get the most resolution.  It is possible the McIntosh might do very well here as well.  It might be just very slightly more mellow in comparison with the Anthem, but I think the McIntosh might have the edge on the power supplies.

@Auxinput - I’ll defer to you on the sonic voicing of these units, since I’m not seriously playing in this aspect of the field where I think the point of diminishing returns is reached far more quickly than "purist" audio, which sound for film/tv is anything but. However, my main point was shortages. What’s available right now that would voice correctly with the user’s amplification? (As you may recall, I was using all ARC tube amps and big Snells at one point with two big subs, now a McI multichannel basic amp with a relatively modest 5.1 and I’m happy.) I’m not state of the art though, as I acknowledged, since I find the trade off from the bigger fancier stuff to be not worth the bother to me at this point in my life (I’m not a cheap person, just a question of priorities). I do think the cost of this stuff has come down significantly, as a general matter.

Thanks all—I’ve been leaning towards the AVM 70. Thanks for the thoughts on the voicing of the gear. I just added the A31 to the system last night. Fantastic! Greater detail, dynamics, separation, and clarity.