I'd appreciate input on what direction I should take between the Marantz and Pioneers AVRs I'm considering, especially if someone has had actual experience with the receiver. At this time I am not at all interested in Denon, Onkyo, Integra, Yamaha, NAD, or Anthem products and have eliminated these brands from further contention during my research.
I have demoed the Marantz sr7007 (and 7005) and Pioneer sc-65 (and sc-63) receivers several times now and am trying to decide which is likely to be the best choice to replace the Denon 3802 in my 5.1 system in a volume space family room. I started with the more expensive 7007 and sc-65 as a baseline but believe the 6006 or sc-63 will also work and can save a few bucks.
My current 5.1 set up includes 4 ohm Triad HT Silver bookshelf L&R fronts, Paradigm cc130 v1.3 center, in-wall Niles surrounds, and a Velodyne sub. These speakers were chosen due to the placement limitations when the room was set up 10+ years ago but I may at some point upgrade to Paradigm or B&W towers for my fronts and use the Triads for height or width speakers. The system has been and will be used primarily for movies and TV and no more than 5% for music. In addition to the Denon, other AV equipment in my HT are a Sharp LC70LE632U LED TV, Directv HD DVR, Oppo 93 BluRay player (on which I'll also play my CDs, SACDs, and DVD Audio), Toshiba A35 HD DVD player, and a sometimes used Nintendo Wii. I'll also be using a Harmony One universal remote.
While I've perceived some minor differences between the demoed receivers (ie. 7007 vs sc 65 and 7005 vs sc 63), there is nothing major that points me clearly to one brand. Therefore, reliability, ease of use, and HDMI compatibility with my current equipment are likely to be the critical deciding factors. At this time, I find there is only a $50 difference in price between the Marantz 7007 and Pio sc-65. Had I been in the market earlier in the year when many outlets had closeout deals on the sr6006, that would have been a no brainer. Now I'm considering either a new or less expensive refurb'd 6006 (about $300 less than a new one) and a new sc-63 which price-wise, falls somewhere in between the refurb'd and new 6006s I've seen.
Leave the gun, take the cannoli ...