So after much homework and shopping, i've gladly upgraded my 13 years old Marantz 5300 to the SR5006.
I've considered many AVR's for my upgrade, since I was happy with my 5300 naturally I was considering another Marantz, but initially I was set back by how much Marantz AVR's are these days. Part of it is inflation, but I also think Marantz have priced themselves quite a bit above the yamaha's and Onkyo's too.
I considered the Sony STR-DN1050, to a point I actually bought one and tested at home. I was actually quite happy with the Sony and bang for buck, it isn't bad at all.
Then, I came across a used (yes, another used AVR) Marantz SR5006 that costs ~ the same as the new Sony 1050. I picked up the Marantz and compared it to the Sony at home. After a day of back and forth listening and comparing, I decided to refund the Sony.
It isn't so much what the Sony isn't. I actually find the 2 AVR's very similar in performance. The Sony sounds very well and can hold its own against the 5006.
What it comes down to, is Audyssey XT does a lot more for room correction in my HT room than Sony's DCAC calibration system, which as far as I understand, just measures and calibrates volume and latency. It does not do any frequency or phase correction at all, and also it doesn't calibrate the SW at all.
in my case, if I turn Audyssey off, the 2 AVR's sound very similar. And in fact, they compare very closely to my 13 year old Marantz 5300 (to a point I even questioned if I should save the dough and just keep the Marantz and get an HDMI switch of more output ... that's the biggest reason I was considering an AVR upgrade, I was running out of inputs on my 4x1 HDMI switch)
I guess it is true that the acoustics of a system is primarily the speakers (in my case, a 5.1 JM Focal Chorus setup) ... AVR plays a relatively small role in sound quality.
I do find that ...
- Comparing loseless audio (like Dolby-TrueHD) to the compressed DD5.1 or DTS standards, I can't say there is a night and day difference. There is definitely noticeably more DETAILS, but that's the extent I'd describe the difference.
- The real $$ and the real payback for the upgrade, other than ridding the optical cable / HDMI switch mess, is Audyssey XT. I guess my HT room acoustics is far from perfect, and the first thing I noticed with the 5006 and Audyssey turned ON, is the bass is a LOT sharper, tighter, and cleaner. Where I had to turn down the bass because it was getting too boomy, now it is a lot more blended in with the rest of the acoustics. I can actually turn UP the SW bass instead of down.
- Another thing I think it helps is dialogue in movies ... it naturally 'floats' without being separated from the rest of the sound effect and music. What was muffled and unclear is now clearer.
- It even makes listening to music much more enjoyable. My 5300 didn't have crossover frequency setting (S = 80Hz, L = full range, no in between) and no bass management either, so I could never take advantage of my Chrous 715 which are spec'ed down to 40Hz and my subwoofer to help the bass. Now I can.
- Sound Imaging is much better for stereo music. I sat alone and listened to music for an hour last night, something I haven't done in YEARS. It was great!
So all in all, I'm very happy with the SR5006.
However, some quirks / questions ...
- I know a lot of people complain about the GUI and no, Marantz doesn't have the best looking GUI (heard it got major improvements in later models like 5009) but the menu logic of 5006 doesn't bother me.
- Documentation is POOR. I still don't really understand what D.Comp, DynamicEQ, M-DAX are, what they do, and if I should turn them on / off. And I've read through the manual twice.
- I don't care much for GUI, but I sure hope when I press OSD display, I can be presented with some useful info immediately. I want to know if I've turned on / off some of the acoustics enhancement features like HT-EQ, and what is my source audio. Instead I have to scroll through 6 pages of info, which also block majority of the screen. My wife kept complaining when I wanted to know what was the source audio spec of "Avengers" BD. Or when I'm watching TV I wanna know if the program is 5.1 or 2.0 format. It would be MUCH better to present the vital info along the bottom /top of the screen, and allow you to dig deeper into the OSD menu if you need to.
- AirPlay implementation sucks. It works, sorta. But when I played with it, it kept dropping out. It also doesn't browse my iTunes library which I have shared over the LAN for whatever reason. I can see it but I can't browse it.
All in all, I do have to agree the 5006 isn't the latest AVR from Marantz either ... it's 3 years ago to be fair. Marantz does do 1 thing very well though, and that's how it sounds. And for that I'm very happy with the upgrade to SR5006.
Last edited by number17; 06-08-2015 at 12:22 PM.