Originally Posted by MOTRAIN
I am not sure i want to got he route of an additional component like an amp but will start looking into it.
Why not? Using the speakers you have, I ask, you do want a better home theater experience? And there's lots of good reasons to add an outboard Amp. These reasons range from taking a load off the AVR amp to drive the mains so the Amp can better drive the other speakers, to personal preference and how hard one wants to drive their current set of speakers if the current AVR won't get the job done.
Do you think the Marantz is truly a better option then the Denons mentioned? If I end up not getting an amp will any of these receivers deliver what I need alone?
I'm a fan of both Denon and Marantz. You asked, if the NR1603 and it's 50w would mate up with your speakers. I don't think it will. I don't know what the amplifier output is for each AVR you listed as it varies, depending on the load you put on it. A separate Amp doesn't suffer from this problem in the same fashion an AVR does. You have a budget of $500.00 to $600.00 which is enough for both AVR and an outboard Amp like the Emotiva UPA-200. You can always buy just the AVR and decide to add an outboard Amp at a later time and date if you think the AVR is underpowered.
I have been pretty satisfied with my Onkyo until the resent issues, so was thing of just swapping and maybe adding some surround speakers.
As I posted earlier, in the final, I always recommend that one goes with what makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Can you recommend some affordable surrounds?
Depends on your surround speaker budget and what you consider affordable. Pioneer and Polk Audio are good starting points. After you set a budget, give Mike with AVS a call to see what he can hook you up with, or simply put Polk Audio surrounds into your search engine and checkout what comes up.
FWIW, my answers are intentionally vague or incomplete as for every recommendation, there's ten or more additional suggestions. The point, one needs to first decide, with a degree of certainty, what they have for a budget and what features/power, do they want in an AVR; budget being the primary consideration and going from there.
As an example, I posted a solution that doesn't work for you. You don't want an outboard Amp. Well, how much power do you want/need? How loud do you like it? Speakers being the final consideration, will your speakers take you where you want to go? If you blow your budget on an underpowered AVR, then you're not going be happy. If you buy an AVR with pre-outs for the mains, you can't jack the power up to the speakers but you can buy an Amp and remember, you don't want to fry the little critters. A flow chart to picking an AVR is much like a gated maze you can never get out of, until you've made the purchase and finished dealing with any disappointment that comes along. Then and only then does the lock to the maze fall off the gate.