Re: Marantz vs Rotel vs Anthem
I'm using the AV8003 in conjunction with an Anthem A5 amp driving Paradigm Studio 100's along with the rest of the studio series 5.1 system.
I can't speak to you question of direct comparisons of the Marantz, Rotel and Anthem pre-amps as I've not had the opportunity to listen to them in side by side comparisons. I do, however have some perspective on Rotel vs. Anthem amps.
Before springing for the AV8003 I was using a Marantz SR19 receiver. I had made the decision to move to separates and was able to bring a Rotel multi channel amp home for a week and using the pre-outs from the receiver I gave it a pretty good work out. To be honest, I wasn't very impressed with the up-front, bright sound of the Rotel. I (by far) preferred the sound of the SR19 by itself. I did the same with the Anthem A5 and quit looking. The Anthem sounded sweeter with better bass and midrange. The speakers came to life in ways the SR19 was never able to achieve and had a smoother, more refined top end than with the Rotel.
In my current set-up of AV8003 and A5 I am as completely and thoroughly satisfied with the sound as I have ever been. The auto calibration of the audio by way of Audyssey’s MultEQ is phenomenal. For the first time the Servo 15 sub woofer actually sounds right with stereo. I have a couple of caveats to consider: If you choose the AV8003 as your pre/pro don't expect terrific video scaling and unless you are very proficient with programmable remote controllers, don't even try to figure out the one that comes bundled with the AV8003. Save yourself a huge headache and buy a Harmony.