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Hi all,
I finally had an opportunity to give some gear a test drive and thought I would share my thoughts with you and also encourage your comments, suggestions, etc.
To start, I have been considering what to do regarding my current receiver (Yamaha RX-V659) and possibly my front speakers (Paradigm Monitor 3 v.4). I am unable to listen to the newest codecs when watching movies on my Sony 350 Blu-ray player. Currently I use hdmi from the 350 direct to the tv for video and optical from the 350 to the receiver and usually use the “sci-fi, adventure, etc. DSP mode” for the audio. For tv viewing I run component from my cable box direct to the tv for video and optical to the receiver using the signal from the network for Dolby Digital and when PCM I use Pro Logic.
I would like to improve the audio experience for movies, tv and music thus the reason for thinking about replacing the receiver and/or front speakers.

Today I had a chance to drive to Syracuse…75 miles one way…to listen to some gear at Clark Music. I was interested in listening to the Marantz SR6003 (Would prefer the 5003 but they do not carry that model saying for little more money the 6003 ($999) is so much better) receiver, Paradigm Studio 10 speaker and Monitor 7 speaker. Unfortunately they did not have the Studio 10 but did have the 20 v.5 connected to a 2 channel Marantz receiver. They also did not have the Monitor 7 but did have the Monitor 9 v.6 connected to an “in-house” audio system allowing for many comparison testing between all the speakers in that sound room.
The 6003 was connected to a Millenium on wall system but they were in the process of changing the flat panel so I was unable to listen to the new codecs, which was one of my most important reasons for going there.
I brought several favorite music cd’s with me: Phil Collings; Hello I Must Be Going (Thru These Walls), Frank Sinatra; The Best of The Capitol Years (Come Fly With Me) and Eurythmics;Greatest Hits (Who’s That Girl) for the specific tracks I love and thought I could remember lol.
First listening to these tracks on the Studio 20’s ($1200 per pair retail at Clark’s) I was blown away by the clarity, separation and presence of the speakers. The detail was crystal clear and they were able to hit quite low in the bass range with a crispness that was so enjoyable.
Second was the Monitor 9’s. Listening to the same songs I noticed the upper range was somewhat lacking, compared to the 20’s, and on many of the low notes they seemed to over power the vocals and were perhaps a bit muddy. I did not ask the price but expect msrp.
Last but not least the SR6003 receiver. I immediately noticed a smoother mid and upper range compared to my 659. Vocals were crystal clear…I was not particularly impressed by the Millenium on wall speakers but felt they were acceptable for what I was hoping to hear and learn. It was also clear how much more head room the 6003 seemed to have compared to my 659. It just seemed much louder but with more clarity and smoothness especially in the mid range.

As soon as I returned home I went through the same listening tests on my home system in 2 channel mode as I heard at Clark’s and was able to notice immediate differences between what I tested and my 659/Monitor 3’s. It took much more power to get to similar sound levels compared to the receiver (Used -30 on the 6003 and -20 on my 659). Also the 3’s were a bit more harsh in the uppers and did not go nearly as low as the 20’s nor with the clarity…Not surprised considering the cost lol.

Now for the waffling dilemma…what to do. I can either afford the 6003 of the 20’s. Looking at my system and considering my wife and I love to watch tv and dvd movies while music listening is more background what would you do if you were in a similar predicament?
 

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Have you considered other AVR's??? ....there's other options, Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo, Pioneers, etc. :yes:

I'm using Yamaha RXV-2700 that can't decode HD audio, but I'm letting my HD DVD decode it and send the HD audio signal through HDMI to be played by the AVR.

My suggestion, get and AVR first, and if you're not happy with the speakers upgrade them later :yes:
 
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