Originally Posted by graphicguy
Well....I've spent a month swapping out different AVRs and (pro) amps in my system. Let me preface my comments by saying I currently have Klipsch Reference Series in a 7.1 config. I'm also running two subs.....both Epiks.....one 18" (Phoenix)....one dual 12" (Legend....sealed).
The pro amps I added (Behringer EP4000) really netted me nothing. With more demanding speakers? Maybe. But, if you're running any top line AVR with any speaker that's at least "middling" efficient, and you don't have your HT set up in a cavern, you'll be fine.
My reference AVR is the much beloved Elite SC27. Aside from not having "Airplay", nor HDMI 1.4x, it is one of the finest sounding, operationally solid, best built, best looking AVRs on the market.
Airplay is a cool feature. I have used it on a couple of other AVRs I tested. HDMI 1.4? I can take it or leave it. It's main benefit is it allows 3D displays and sources to "do their thing". Personally, I think 3D is at best, a small niche technology, at worst, it's beginning it's death spiral (much like DVD-Audio). Aside from a few movies, not much will make content providers to expand 3D as it's too costly too produce for such a small audience. But, if 3D is "your thing", the SC27 may not work for you.
If you can live without those two "features", the SC27 can still be considered top notch. The only thing MCACC is really lacking is subwoofer calibration. More important to me, the ability to calibrate 2 subs. There are 3rd party sub calibrators out there, but they aren't cheap.
Having long been a Marantz fan (had both an SR8200 and an SR8400 in my rack), I tried their SR7005. Great AVR. Audyssey has come a long way since they last time I tried it in couple of glitchy as hell Onkyos. MCACC far outshone Audyssey at that time. No longer, however. Marantz is also rock solid operationally. The only down sides, MultiEQ XT really botched the sub calibration. Turn off the MultiEQ and manually shove the sub(s) around the room, and the Marantz is impressive. Plenty of power.....well made.....pretty to look at. But, the little round window in the front tells little of what the AVR is doing. Even if you drop the front door where all the rest of the LCD operation display resides, the display is still too small to read unless you're right on top of it.
Next up, Denon 4311. I've never owned a Denon, but have always respected their performance and build when I did get the opportunity to "toy" with one. This has it all, plus some. Very robust in the amp section. Audyssey MultiEQ XT32 (which allows dual sub calibration). Airplay enabled (which must be done from Denon's WEB site). Easy to network (where you can find all sorts of internet radio options). There's so much functionality, I've been using it for two weeks, and as an avowed tweeker, I still haven't scratched the surface. If there's a down side, it's pretty generic looking....no bling. Still, it offers a whole lot for music and HT lovers. It really doesn't fall down in any category.
I did have an Anthem MRX700 for a bit. I could not get ARC to work with my all Apple computing environment. In fairness, I didn't try real hard either as I'm told running windows on one of my Apples would allow me to run ARC. Not going to introduce Windows into my home (already have Windows all over work). The brief time I used it (without calibration), it sounded pretty good. The manual adjustments were a little coarse. But, ARC is Anthem's claim to fame. If I couldn't get ARC to work (you must use a Windows computer to do so), then the Anthem held little benefit to me.
Bottom line, all these AVRs are extremely capable. They all represent the very pinnacle of music (both streamed and physical) and HT reproduction. They're as powerful as any sane person would ever want (and some insane people will use). They are solid in build and operation.
I'm leaving the 4311 in my rack, and keeping my absolutely pristine, tried and true Elite SC27 in reserve because....well, because it's the latest of a long line of Elite AVRs I've owned and probably the one I've liked the best (59TXi, SC05, SC27).