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You can buy these two handsome new Marantz separates for a total of $5,000 ($2,600 for the processor and $2,400 for the amplifier). Or for a few hundred dollars more ($5,500), you can get sister company Denon’s feature-intensive AVR-5308CI A/V receiver, which I reviewed in the August issue. Whether the adjacent price point of these two products (counting the Marantz combo as one) is purposeful or coincidental, it makes for an interesting comparison.
Read complete Home Theater Mags Marantz AV8003 Processor and MM8003 Amplifier Review
 

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I have a friend interested in this combination and he was wondering if anyone could recommend anything comparable?
 

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SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver

Sorry Hugh. I just bought the SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver. It's not quite the separates powerhouse that your friend is looking at; but, if he needs feedback on my recently purchased marantz I'd be more than happy to oblige.

Cheers,

Bill
 

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Marantz has sold many more AV8003s than MM8003s.

There is a couple of reasons for this:
1) People, already owning good amplification, upgrading processor
2) For those who primary interest is music, the market already has many proven excellent amps in this price including the NAD Masters M25, Parasound Halo 7 and Anthem PVA series
3) For those who primary interest is making the HT experience as realisitic as possible have a tendency to use a high powered 2 channel amp (such as those from Wyred or Behringer) coupled with a 5 channel amp for the center/surrounds or use monoblocks from Outlaw etc. The ultimate amp in this application right now is the Axiom A1400-8 Digital Amplifier @$4700 cdn because of it's ability to direct the total power capability to only the channels that require it at any point in time.

The AV8003 is a solid prepro. In one of the latest shootouts, the B&K 70 Pre/Pro was the clear winner for music reproduction- although the cost is $1k over the 8003. The NAD T175 is worth a listen to at the 8003 pricepoint for 2 reasons: the custom NAD Audyssey curves plus the upgradability due to modular design. NAD already has released a new board. Units with this board already installed are sold as T175HD.

The unknown right now is the Outlaw 997 prepro. Scheduled for release in Jan/Feb 2009; the benefits of Trinnov have already been widely previewed in public demos of the SN R972. The unknown of the 997 is "How good will 2 channel reproduction be?"
 

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I have a friend interested in this combination and he was wondering if anyone could recommend anything comparable?
Rotel and Parasound have some new pre-pro's coming, with Rotel also having new 5.1 and 2 channel amps to accompany. Very nice looking gear, but the Rotel doesn't have balanced outs, if that makes any difference to your friend. http://www.rotel.com/NA/Products/ProductDetails.htm?id=474, http://www.rotel.com/NA/Products/ProductDetails.htm?id=475

Then there's the more budget gear from Emotiva. They have the UPA-7 7.1 channel amp already out with the UMC-1 pre-pro (supposedly, been delayed since spring) coming out early next year. Amp is $599 american and the pre-pro is supposed to be $700. But with shipping, duty, brokerage and whatever else, I have priced getting the amp here for about $1000 cdn to your door (damn dollar tanking). Not bad but you might be able to get something of similar quality at a boutique store here in Canada for that price without worrying about having it shipped. Emotiva does have a 5 year warranty though. http://emotiva.com/shop/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=32, http://emotiva.com/news.html (umc is about half way down)
 
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