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Marantz 6011 or Anthem 720? (1 Viewer)

baffler

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I'm looking to upgrade my Yamaha Adventage RX1010. While it sounds great for movies, I've never been happy with it for music. In addition, it doesn't allow for independent setup of dual subwoofers and the zone 2 is broken.

For the new receiver, I'm particularly interested in Dolby Atmos and music performance. I'm only interested in Atmos 5.2.2 configurations because it's impossible to run wiring in my house unless the roof is removed (no attic, concrete slab). I'm using Gallo Strada 2s for the front channels, Gallo micros for the surrounds, and two Gallo subs. Inputs will be Oppo 203 or streaming through LG 4k OLED smart tv. I also need the receiver to be less than 18 inches deep.

I've narrowed the choices down to the Marantz 6011 and the Anthem 720. I suspect the Anthem will sound better for music, but question whether it will sound $1,200 better.
 

CraigF

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I went from an Anthem pre-pro to a Denon AVR that I use as a pre-pro. The Anthem cost ~4X what the Denon did. It destroys the Denon when it comes to music. But still, for *stereo* music, neither came close to my "proper" stereo preamp, which cost about what the Anthem pre-pro did. The Denon has far more useful (to me) A/V and media/connectivity features than the Anthem, and I find the Audyssey XT32 very good *if* you spend time with it and don't consider it a "one and done" type of thing. You also don't need a computer to do the room correction like I did for the Anthem, though I use one anyway (with any pre-pro) to make sure the room correction stuff is working properly. (FWIW, Anthem is a "local" company and I have lots of their other stuff, besides numerous Paradigm speakers around the house. Just saying this so you don't think I'm biased against them.) I am only mentioning cost factors because it's part of your question. Also, Marantz/Denon are the same company, with Marantz ostensibly more music-oriented, but the top end Denon AVRs are just as good or better (i.e. 7200).

For music, I'd take the Anthem, or one of the Marantz pre-pros (the 7702/3 are good in your price range). For overall A/V features, I'd take the Marantz (pre-pro or AVR). At this time, if I was spending your money, I would highly recommend going for the Marantz 7703 pre-pro and find some make-do amplifier solution until you can upgrade. If that won't fit your space, and the Marantz 7011 isn't doable, yeah, the 6011 will be decent. If you can swing that extra $1200 you mentioned, the 7011 should easily be in that range, it will not be a huge compromise over the Anthem for music. But really consider that 7703. Remember that the (separate) power amp can be located wherever you can fit it. Doesn't need to be "accessible" to you or by a remote. I know, your speaker wiring is already run, so maybe you could put the power amp behind your setup, on the floor or whatever, it doesn't have to be "pretty" because it doesn't need to be seen, but does need ventilation.

Sorry for rambling, but I actually do this kind of decision quite often for a friend who owns a "higher end" A/V business (I'm retired myself). I really need to see the space involved to make a good decision, it's always about the space...can always find something to meet the requirements, for a price... Have access to most of the common Canadian brands (e.g. Anthem, Bryston, Classe, NAD) and Marantz, Yamaha, Pioneer (Denon no longer :() so that's what I play with.
 
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baffler

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Thanks. Very helpful. Any suggestions on a 7 channel amp? So far, everything I've seen gets the price way above the Anthem 720.
 

CraigF

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Anthem (e.g.) makes some reasonably-priced ones. Those are the most affordable ones I'm familiar with (i.e. have used), though there are several "newer" manufacturers (Emotiva for one) that are affordable too. See below, but for you, I am thinking a stereo amp plus a 5-ch (or more) surround amp might be a better separates route for you = more "trouble".

The reason I said the Marantz 7703 is because IMO it is pretty good for music, plus has all the modern bells and whistles. Extremely flexible. Has features you didn't know you could use, until you have them, and then it gets tough to change to something without them (my problem...). You might still be able to snag a (new) fairly recent Marantz 7702MKII pre-pro, which is essentially the same where it counts, but they blew them out in the U.S. and were an excellent value then (I heard ~$1200).

Sorry to take you down the separates road. You can use an AVR as a pre-pro, and in fact the Marantz 6011/7011 would make quite decent ones. Modern AVRs are very good, but to get a really good "front end" on an AVR, you have to go to the very top models. Anthem prioritizes the front end across its line, so that's its difference. You get that in exchange for all the flexibility of the mainstream manufacturers' models. Anthems will sound better. NAD is another option I'm familiar with in that ~ price range. But once you get to those top-end AVRs (from e.g. Denon/Marantz), they also have very good front ends. I was impressed with the Denon 7200's front end, and its amps too, it is overall a sweet beast. I am familiar with the Denon 5200 and 7200 AVRs used as pre-pros, and they were good SQ, so I am going to guess the current "in between" model 6300 is also very good (as mentioned, I don't have access to Denon now, so didn't test).

In my main HT setup I have two mostly-separate systems, one for stereo music, and one for everything else. They are unified at the front 2-channel amplifier, so they share that and the front stereo speaker pair plus the subs. It is so very difficult (read "expensive") to match a decent stereo preamp's SQ with that from a mch pre-pro. It's hard to step down in SQ. That's just what I found out. Judging by your speakers, you place some priority on stereo music it seems. I do. This was the most satisfactory solution for me. It takes up some extra space, but we "suffer" for our music... You need separates to do this, they do have more flexibility, at the price of space/complexity/$$, but not necessarily a large price.

Just throwing out ideas. When you go to somebody's house, see their space, and what they have (including style, media choices, family, etc.), you get an almost instant idea of what they may go for, and also what just won't work. Things you can glean in an instant that would take thousands of words to convey... And that's what my friend does, as an "installer"/consultant.

The 6011 will probably be good. :) I feel more confident with the 7200 or 7011 or 7703 meeting your expectations more fully for music though. Don't underestimate all their fancy capabilities, once you have them you'll wonder how you got along without some of them. When you can do something you couldn't do before, you'll get new ideas. Yeah, I was skeptical too, but now I get upset when they drop a feature. Crazy flexibility. I don't know all the features you use on your Yamaha, so going to the Anthem might not be an issue feature-wise. Anthems are not lacking in features, just not even close to the same ballpark as e.g. D/M. I sacrificed some movie and mch SQ for those D/M features, but not a lot really (let's not conflate more movie effects/channels with SQ). AVRs can be very good these days, don't listen to the old fogies (like I am, I guess...) who still believe a receiver is necessarily an "inferior" device.
 
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