Got my Marantz SR7005 to replace the Pioneer Elite SC-37 that I returned due to faulty Pre-Amp Ports. I'm a newbie to high quality sound, so take that into account, but here's my opinion so far:
- In general cooler looking than the SC-37; much lighter but very solidly built and more pleasing aesthetically. Honestly I think I have a better impression of build quality of the Marantz over the SC-37, though it's close. You can hide the majority of the front panel if you want (personally I keep it open as I like to see everything). It also has some neat lighting effects if its open...for example a little knob gets a red border in pure direct mode.
- The SC-37 could not be plugged into my APC J15 power conditioner/battery backup. It would literally make the APC unit alarm and reboot a DVR connected to it because of the current inrush. (It's possible this was related to the unit being defective, though I doubt it.) The SR7005 has had no such issues and doesn't even cause the APC to alarm - plays great with it, so my power issues are resolved. =)
- The SR7005 and SC-37 sound COMPLETELY different. When I finally got the SC-37 calibrated correctly (my subs are built into the mains so can be configured via speaker wire only), it sounded good...very dynamic with music and such, but also very bright, to the effect voices sometimes were razor sharp and almost distractingly so. The SR7005 has a much warmer sound and is more akin to what I identify as the sound I hear in movie theaters. While sometimes a little warmer than I'm used to (either receiver would take some getting used to from a low-budget sound system), I'm much preferring the Marantz's more mellow sound in general for my particular taste. This could go either way depending on what you like.
- The menu of the SR7005 is quite a bit more convenient than the SC-37's. For the SC-37, it actually more or less switches to another input to get there and is text-only and very cold. For the SR7005, it just overlays on top, making it much faster, and it's also nicer looking with somoe color (though not as nice looking as the new Denon screenshots).
- Some of the front ports and such on the SR7005 seem better thought out. For example, there's stereo + composite RCA inputs, which could be handy for me.
- The SC-37 had only one subwoofer output (nonworking though mine was), whereas the SR7005 has two, which is nice if you have multiple subs. I'm using front speakers with the subs built in, and this allows me to run LFE to both without using a splitter, as I would have had to done with the SC-37.
- Audyssey was much more straight forward than MCACC for me. MCACC kept messing up with my subs built in because I didn't realize you had to turn the LFE volume all the way up. (This might not have been the case had I been able to connect LFE to the preamps, but that being an impossibility due to the defect, I had to use speaker wire only). I probably recalibrated with MCACC at least 6 times before getting an acceptable result. Audyssey got me set up the first time (and I didn't even do all six positions yet - only did one, but I will be doing the 6). Aydyssey's also a bit more customizable in some areas and a bit more straightforward in others.
- Backlight button on the Marantz remote is easier to find/use than the Pioneers as it's more like a trigger on the side of the remote than a top button.
- There's a rumor that this receiver may someday support AirPlay, which would mean iTunes streaming - I'm hopeful for this feature (but it's not here yet).
- At the moment my BD and Tivo will not output via the SR7005, and only my DirecTV HR20 is working wth it properly. This is likely due to an old Sony rear-projection (2003 or so) TV with one of the first HDMI standards. It just won't sync up. The TV is being replaced Monday, or that would be a more major problem. I'm told I shouldn't have any issue with a newer TV. The Pioneer had no problem with my current TV via HDMI.
- Since a new TV's coming, I wouldn't have bothered with this anyway, but it appears the SR7005 can't take an HDMI signal and output it to Component. So in short, if I did need to wire my connections differently, I couldn't wire my components to the receiver via HDMI either. I'm not sure if the SC-37 would have been able to do this or not. Not a huge con, but might be something to consider.
- The Marantz scared me as the firmware update hung at 1 minute remaining for a few hours. I eventually reset power to it, and it continued and finished updating just fine. I was told by Marantz support if the network connection fails even a little, this can happen, so they recommend to use wired connections only for firmware update as this could potentially hose a unit. I've confirmed the network was the problem (new router that kept dropping connection) and since fixed it (not the Marantz's fault, but it should have better built-in recovery instead of requiring a potentially dangerous hard reset).
- The remote control seems to be more finicky angle-wise, etc., than the Pioneer's was. The SC-37, you could just about hold the remote backwards and it would still work. The SR7005 you have to point very carefully.
- The SR7005 doesn't have quite as many fancy listening modes of the Pioneer (ie. Classical, Arena, etc.), but it has all the major ones (Pro Logic II, Neo6, Neural). This might be a con if you like adding effects to your sources, but honestly for me it was just something to play with once and a while out of curiosity, not to leave on,
- Internet radio doesn't support Sirius Internet Streaming on the SR7005, which the SC-37 did support. Also, NEITHER receiver supports an iPad - only iPods or iPhones are supported.
All in all, I'm very pleased by this receiver so far, and I can honestly say in my limited experience I like it much better than the SC-37. Barring any HDMI problems with the new set (which is the only showstopper with my present setup but will hopefully be a non-issue), it's a keeper. =)
If anyone else has any questions that I can answer, by all means ask.