Originally Posted by ehfz
After much research I've pretty much narrowed it down to the Marantz NR1603 and the Denon AVR-1713 or AVR-1613. I'll be listening to music and watching shows and movies with a pair of Totem Forest speakers in a 15x13 foot room. I don't like cranking the volume too high so I'm not worried about power. What I am wondering is whether the AVR-1713 is worth it over the AVR-1613 for the upgraded Audyssey, or whether the NR1603 is worth it over the AVR-1613 for its better(?) internal components, keeping mind my 2.0 setup and room size. I have no plans to add speakers so future proofing is not a concern. I do like the looks and low profile of the Marantz but I don't want to pay that much more for looks, I only want to pay for sound quality. Built-in airplay is a must which why I'm not considering the NR1403. Any thoughts?
To summarize your needs:
- listening to music and watching shows and movies with a pair of Totem Forest speakers in a 15x13 foot room - a 2.0 setup and room size;
- don't like cranking the volume too high so I'm not worried about power.
Not a need but rather best bang for the buck:
- wondering is whether the AVR-1713 is worth it over the AVR-1613 for the upgraded Audyssey, or whether the NR1603 is worth it over the AVR-1613 for its better(?) internal components.
For your 2.0 setup, I doubt that Audyssey XT (1713) adds any value over the MultiEQ (1613) => go w/ 1613
As for music listening, usually at lower level but requires clarity, I am inclined to the Marantz 1603. Apparently, the 1603 offers better internal audio components (see ref post below) than the 1613.
But here is the kicker: how efficient is the Totem Forest speakers? When its dynamic impedance dips below 4 ohms, can the amp (either 1613 or 1603) perform with ease? You also have the need to watch movie too, correct?
I tested my 1713 with the Super 8 DVD, particularly with the train crash and throughout the movie, then compared with the 1603, it was difficult to be conclusive. Perhaps because I don't have a parallel setup, switching from one to another directly and quickly with a "switch box", then replaying the same scenes, not sure if it is at the same sound level pressure. Even my wife who is pretty much a "bystander" threw in this question: unless it is a blind test, i.e. don't tell me which system is on, it can be a biased opinion ...etc.
Then, one thing is clear: the Marantz 1603 offer 2.1 pre-outs, which is indeed one of "my important requirement", as my tower speakers are not efficient. Hooking the external amp (Bryston 4BST) made a real different, though not very much, about 20% more as quantified by the wife
, it is much closer to a real home theater experience. The sound and sound fields are much deeper, thicker if you will, more impressive throughout the frequency range. Not just movie, simple, pure audio listening is enhanced as my speakers are properly driven.
And you may know from an audio/video-phile point of view, a 20% improvement requires 100% or 200% cost to upgrade, exponentially!
There you have it: your requirements may have become something called "scope creep", but in a good way!
Have a good "AV" day!