|Would you say the MA700 sound better than the acurus? I'd like to know how you think these two compare since you happen to have both
I only have one MA700, which I use to drive the center channel speaker, so it is only in that context that I can compare it to the Acurus.
When the Acurus 100x3 was driving all three front channels, the sound was balanced between the channels, and pleasingly musical in stereo mode. However, when I put the BEL on duty for the left and right front channels the Acurus on center was clearly outclassed in sound quality and outgunned in volume capability in the center. I occasionally had to boost the center to hear the dialog more clearly on DVDs where it tended to be a bit muffled, and the Acurus just didn't have the headroom to keep up with the demand driving the inefficient 4 ohm Maggie MGCC1.
While the MA700 is definitely NOT in the same class of refinement as the BEL, it does have the oomph to deliver at volume levels sufficient to keep the dialog clear. Frankly my listening is typically less critical on movie soundtracks than on music, so any performance disparity (i.e., differences in clarity of upper treble and control of bass, detail, resolution, soundstage, etcetera), between the Marantz and the BEL is less critical in this role. My budget-be-damned preference, of course, would be to have another BEL in monoblock mode for the center, (I've even tried that for sake of comparison -- and there's no comparison), :> ) but another Bel would have been an order of magnitude more expensive than the MA700 and a waste of the BEL's capabilities, given my allocation of time between movies (where I use the center channel) and music (where I do not). With only one BEL in my system, I'd much rather be using it as I am, for main left and right channel duty, where it positively smokes the Acurus. (And in case it isn't clear from preceding statements, the BEL blows away the Marantz, as well, so I wasn't even tempted to get any more of those for duty on additional front channels.)
So the MA700 more adequately meets my needs to power the center channel for movie soundtracks than did the Acurus, but I have not had an opportunity to use two of them in stereo mode (or three to power all three front channels) to compare the MA700 against the Acurus in that role.
[This message has been edited by Burke Strickland (edited 09-19-2001).]