Originally Posted by Mspears02
First, Thank you for sharing. I am two weeks away from prewire on our new home in Texas and your post has helped immensely. Would you choose Marantz, Denon, or Pioneer Elite SC-65? Thanks again?
Marantz/ Denon are one in the same for the most part. I have heard that Marantz may use better OP-AMP chips or perhaps chips with even order distortion to give a warmer sound than Denon, but I cannot confirm this. Denon and Marantz are the best for features and HDMI in my opinion, but the amps in Denon and Marantz sound horrible unless you get into the flagship products 5308 or higher. All denon/ marantz products integrate well with control systems and have very robust discrete remote codes.
Pioneer and Yamaha sound much better than Denon/ Marantz at most price points. Yamaha typically uses large heavy power supplies, and older more inefficient class AB amps in their higher end products. There is a lot of heat produced, but the large power supplies and capacitors really make a difference with bass. I would classify Yamaha as one of the warmer sounding receivers if that exists. Pioneer, using digital amplification is very efficient, but also kind of sterile. It sounds incredible, but somehow lacks the soul of a big inefficient heat spewing amp. I think for someone theater driven, Pioneer. Music Driven, Yamaha. I have seen some issues with Pioneer and control systems, they don't play nicely together. On the other hand.. HDMI length and balun issues exist with Yamaha.
Better yet, but a mid-line denon or marantz and an emotiva AMP. That way when the receiver is old you can toss it and you still have a great amp... That is the best thing to do.
As for Integra, I like what they make. They are the same company as Onkyo... A bit higher priced, but maybe the perfect combination of all of the strengths I listed for the other brands. The dealer network is limited so unless you buy secondhand you will likely pay retail or close to it. If you are going to buy separates, Integra offer the first price point where things get serious, much better than the marantz stack I have. If you are going to buy one of their receivers, then I would just buy a denon/ marantz and an emotiva amp..
These are just my opinions, hope this helps.