Marantz at cost, or Onkyo at full price?


H.P. Pennypacker
I'm looking for a new receiver for music and home theater. Went to a local dealer and liked the Onkyo he showed me with a Mirage speaker/sub setup. Asked advice from a relative who is in the "hi-fi" business and he told me that as an authorized Marantz dealer he could sell me a Marantz receiver at cost. Having never heard a Marantz unit, I'm a little wary. What would you do in this position?


Try and audition the Marantz with the speakers you plan on using first. If you like the sound then you'd be a fool to turn around and spend top dollar for an Onkyo. JMHO of course.

Even if you were paying full price for either one, I would still recommend the Marantz. It has a fuller, richer sound, that makes music beautiful to listen to. You did not mention which Marantz and which Onkyo you are looking at, but I will tell you a secret. Get the Marantz 7300--the improvement in sound over the lower models is huge and if you are getting it at cost, there is no reason not to get a real winner.

Now, what is the name of this dealer?

H.P. Pennypacker

The 5300 looks appealing also. 90 wattsX6 should be able to push most midfi speakers nicely. It dosen't have multi-zone/room though. Then again is that worth $340 extra?? Not.

I took a pair of my speakers (some classic Heybrook 2Rs) in to listen to some Marantz receivers. That way, I had a real reference point. Specs don't matter here. There is no real difference between a 90 wpc 5300 and a 105 wpc 7300 in the specs (15 wpc channel is meaningless in such a comparison). But there is a real difference in the sound quality, largely because the 7300 uses much better parts, from the power supply all the way through to the output transistors. And those improvements made a huge difference in the sound. So much so, that the salesman offered to buy my vintage speakers on the spot. He didn't have anything in the store that sounded as musical as my speakers. Well, the speakers are good, but the electronics in the 7300 had a lot to do with the great sound, as well. We listened to the same source material and my speakers played through the 5300 and the 6300. Both were nice and enjoyable, but there was nothing special or distinguishable about the sound. But when connected to the 7300, the sound came alive and that was what impressed him to offer to buy my speakers! This does not say that the 5300 or the 6300 are bad products--far from it. They are both very good products and more than competitive for their price point. But every once in a while, a manufacturer produces a real winner and for Marantz, they have one in the 7300. Now, I am looking forward to comparing it to a 7300ose. So, if you can get this baby at cost, I can only ask what are you waiting for?

So, is the superb sound worth an extra $340 (the price difference between a 5300 and a 7300)? For some, like myself, it is. For others, it isn't. Not everyone can hear the difference or care that much about the improvement in the sound, and that's OK. So, that is the choice. But the 7300 is really special and is worthy of the Marantz heritage, IMHO.

Joe G.
Hawk is right! And if you step up to the SR8300 you'll get the touchscreen remote as well!

Hawk, are you saying the 7300 is on par with the old (10+ year old) Nakamichi receivers for sound quality? If so I think you may have enlightened the path to my next receiver!

Wow, I am not sure that I can claim that it sounds as good as the old Nak receivers, but only because I am not sure I can remember exactly what the Nak receivers sounded like. After all, it has been 10+ years. But the real key is what sounds good. With all of the emphasis on HT, I think it is fair to say that a number of main-line receiver makers (Denon, Yamaha, etc.) have lost sight of what makes for good stereo sound for music. Fortunately, I think there are a couple who have not forgotten how to make good music.

At this time, there are two receiver lines that I think are head and shoulders above all of the rest, sound-wise. The best is NAD, which uses the same pre/pro section in all three of its receivers. The other is the Marantz line from the 7300 up.

I think you should find a dealer where you can try one out and see what you think. I think you will like what you hear.
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