How do the HKs compare to the Marantz in terms ONLY of "warm" or "laidbackness"? There are much fewer stores that carry Marantz as compared to HK, so I am wondering if pairing HK with certain speakers will be a good test of what a Marantz might sound like.
Why is this Harm_o_n Kardon typo/mistake so common? I see it everywhere. Nobody calls NAD "NOD".
I have an HK AVR130, and I can vouch for its warmth and "laid back" sound, which I guess I would describe as sounding like the audio is coming from "inside" the speaker rather than the front of the speaker. I have it paired currently with Wharfedale Diamond bookshelves, but I'm considering an Athena 5.1 setup to counter-balance the warmth.
I would tend to agree with Stone. I have a 2003-built HK and can't comment on how it compares to the 80s or 90s models. But I can say it is not quite as 'laid back' as I was lead to believe before I heard it, which worked out good for me. This AVR7200 is closer to the middle, but is on the warm side of neutral. It took a tad of the bright edge off my speakers that were on the slightly-brighter side. I listened to a recent 6-channel Marantz that sounded much like mine, with similar speakers. I thought the Marantz was a bit warmer than the HK to my ears. I must say I liked the Marantz and Elite as much as the HK (they were my three finalists)
Landroval - I can't speak for NAD sorry. There is very good detail on this HK, far better than the flagship Sony ES (mistake) and mid-line Denon it replaced. Also an incredible amp section, very wide stage, and most of all it is outstanding on noise (lack of noise) and dynamics. During quiet passages in a song or in movies there is nothing, nada, zip, zero....whether using analog or digital. Yes if you cram your ear in a tweeter and crank it up you can hear something if you have yours earwax really cleaned out. One foot away from 7 active high-current channels I can't hear anything at all. That is the way it should be. There is simply nothing coming out of the receiver when there is not supposed to be. Not even a fan to make noise. Then when a big scene occurs, or a loud passage on music, the HK accurately recreates it and has the oomph to push the levels up very quickly (slew rate?)... faster than most others I listened to in its class IMO.
Robert - I think that if you had to pick a receiver to simulate a Marantz, recent HKs would be a pretty fair choice but nothing, I mean nothing, is going to recreate the Marantz sound like a Marantz. If you can't listen locally and have to buy online, obviously buy from a reputable dealer with a good return policy. These similar sounding receivers each have their own character and subtleties that you need to experience yourself to see what you like. I don't think you can ever really find a good substitute for that. Good luck!