I picked up an SR9600 for a nice price, partly due to the low US dollar. I know the 9600 is missing some toys, but with it's awesome audio quality and decent features, I went for it. Now I am selling my SR 14EX.
Give it a good listen in two channel stereo (source direct or pure direct) and let me know your thoughts on the audio quality. Also, if you can try the HD audio decoding, give that a workout too. Luckily with HDMI 1.1 and my Toshiba A2 HD-DVD player, I can send my receiver decoded DD True HD and DD+ ala LPCM...so at least I'm ok there. I could also use an HD-DVD player wth analog outs, but this way I'm using the SR9600's DAC's.
I am wondering what will replace the SR9600. Will there be a 9002 or 9003? Or will Marantz replace the SR9600 with separates as some have mentioned?
Anyhow, play with that SR8002 like a kid with a new toy (not a stretch for us really)...and let me know how you like it.
Also, where abouts are you? I am in Pickering (a burb just east of Toronto)...and if you aren't far, you could bring the 8002 over here for a comparo. In fact, if I don't sell my SR 14EX before my friend in Toronto gets his SR9300, perhaps we could have a battle of the Marantz titans!
SR14EX vs SR9300 vs SR9600 vs SR8002! ... or maybe I should just sell my SR 14EX and get back to listening rather than comparing
P.S. If you are used to an Onkyo, you're in for a treat sound quality wise. Onkyo is good, no doubt, but the Marantz receivers have a sweet warm quality that makes many of us addicted...