Trivium is probably right about needing an AB splitter and it really is a bit like splitting hairs. Audio memory is fleeting at best. My issue is, like you, I was/am replacing a very old AVR (mine is 20 years old), but it was a pretty high end Rotel and I have always loved the sound. I paid as much for that receiver 20 years ago as I did for the Marantz. Lol. As you can tell, I also tend to keep things for quite a while and, right or wrong, I feel like maybe I should buy something higher end. Yesterday, I put the Marantz and the Rotel side by side and tried to A/B them but I really couldn't do it very well. There were differences I noticed, but they were pretty subtle and could have been the result of a lot of different things.@LTE15 that’s partly my conundrum too. Anthem availability for just viewing/demo. Let alone buying.
Same as you, I have the budget for the Anthem, but ain’t gonna spend it if don’t need to. As @trivium91 said - get whats cheapest that works. So I’m sorta leaning towards Marantz for now. And again. I hate Denon - AVR789 put me off them.
I do know my wife is gonna be really unhappy when the Polk disappears. She loves the piano finish - I’ll have a year or so to get her used to the idea.
I do want to know though, why is everyone bagging my speakers. They’re not that bad. And unlike the AVR, aren’t technologically out of date lol.
Perhaps that tells me all I really need to know. If I just listen and enjoy rather than analyze every nuance, how much of a difference am I really likely to notice between two decent receivers or amps, especially if they aren't right next to one another? And, unlike you, I don't need a 3rd zone (or a 2nd one for that matter) or other features on the flagship receivers, so I don't know if it is worth buying up the chain, like the 7xxx or 8xxx series.
And I definitely get you about the speakers. If you like them, my opinion is keep them until you don't or just feel the need for a change. My speakers are as old as my other receiver (they are all B&Ws, except the sub, but not all from the same series). I like them and don't see any reason to replace them at the moment. If there isn't something you are trying to fix, why fix what isn't broken? If, however, you aren't happy with the sound or are looking for some different sound signature, then by all means, go for it.