Anthem isn't terrible but the room correction is pretty mediocre in performance.
Some Marantz use the high end Audyssey MultEQ which lets you hand tune the response. For me that's a much better situation.
I have exclusively used Denon since the 80’s super affordable if purchased used. Around the late 90’s i started using my Denons are pre/pro’s and opting not to use the onboard amps. Once Outlaw audio started making those 200watt monos i was sold. This story has come full circle, now i use a stack of 7 outlaw m200’s and the assignable denon receiver amps for Atmos duty.
i install professionally and to be honest i can hear the bigger amps capabilities but as to sounding different or one better than the other, i never heard that. Denon is a simple unit that is my swissarmy knife for sure.
as to Audyssey, i have done my own setting up style as to SPL levels and used Audyssey and i like mine and theirs. Mine is solid, great dynamics…..but at low levels not so much.Audyssey at lower levels 75db MV Audyssey is a ckear winner
I would disagree that 2 channel is the Holy Grail is a Holy Grail meant to reproduce live performance. It depends upon the genre and the particular recording. Popular music in particular is highly processed and artificial, a creature of whatever the mixing engineer is cooking up. Different parts may be recorded on different days and different continents. A multichannel mix is not inherently more artificial than a standard 2 channel mix. My preferred genre, Classical, isn’t immune from assorted gimmickry either, but. MC recordings that primarily just add some resonance and a small amount of reverb can actually enhance classical recordings.
I have 5.1 systems in addition to my 2 channel. Both currently feature Anthem 520 AVRs. One is in the living room and the other is in the basement. These areas are separated by one floor but have the identical layout. The living room has in walls for surrounds and small bookshelves and center channel. This is because my wife controls this space. The basement below has tower speakers and better surrounds and center channel . Both areas have a rectangular shoebox configuration and it is interesting to note that when paired with proper ancillaries the AVR can provide excellent sound, even in 2 channel
. I bought a Technics 1500 Direct Drive turntable last year and because I didn’t have room for it in the 2 channel I placed it in the basement system (with Cambridge Audio mm phono preamp). This was going to be temporary until I made room in the 2 channel but I like it so much where it is that I’m leaving it there. The room acoustics are probably a major contributor here but the point is that the Anthem can sound pretty good in 2 channel