Re: Best AV Receiver for Music
MARANTZ!!! for sound quality. Denon for feature set. I find that Marantz has a more 'relaxed' sound than most receivers. They tend to lean a bit toward the warm side, but vocals sound smooth and silky without the sibilance I hear from the likes of Yamaha and Sony. All in all, I've been quite pleased with mine. Marantz may not have all of the bells and whistles (who really wants a bunch of DSP's anyway?) that others may have, but instead seem to understand the importance of high quality sound reproduction for those of us whose theater doubles as our stereo.
Denon's sound to seems to fall in between bright and warm and would be my second choice. I just find them sort of ho-hum. When comparing Denon side by side with Marantz, the Denons seem to have to work harder to reach the same volume levels of the Marantz. I believe that Denon may play the spec game on paper, but don't really deliver the goods. The 105WPC amps in my Marantz receiver hold their own against many separates I've listened to touting higher power output.
One thing for sure is that the overall sound quality of receivers in general has improved dramatically in the last decade. Interaction with acoustic space, speaker dynamics and source electronics probably has a greater effect on overall sound than which receiver you have.
So, now that I probably have you thoroughly confused, go spend an hour with each receiver on your short list and buy the one that you feel delivers the best bang for YOUR buck.