Need recommendations for better two-channel audio out of my Marantz SR-6005 and my B&W 683

I am currently running a Marantz SR-6005 in my home theater. It works great for movies, but I listen to music about half the time and find it lacking when it comes to two-channel audio. The sound stage just doesn't feel very deep and detailed. The room is carpeted and I have the speakers pulled away from the wall at least 18 inches, so I have pretty good placement.

My speakers are B&W 683 Left/Right with similar model B&W center/rear and a decent powered Klipsch sub. I am satisfied with how it sounds for home theater. I use a Samsung 65" smart TV as an audio source most of the time.

What are my best options for getting better two-channel sound out of my B&W and Marantz? My budget is max $1500 USD.

  • I could replace the Marantz with something like an Anthem MRX-520 for around $1400 USD.

  • I could get a dedicated two-channel amp just for the main speakers and keep the Marantz. Would I see much of an improvement if I got something like a Classe Audio CA-101 (going used for about $1500)?

  • I could also upgrade to a different source, either something like a new Roku or a network streamer like a Cambridge Audio CXN.
The SR-6005 is a really older generation Marantz receiver.  It uses the previous generation HDAM audio stages, which have slow slew rates and, as a result, have a very warm and slow sound.  The newer generation Marantz receivers are better.

The Anthem make excellent HT receivers, but the sound is going to be the complete opposite of what you hear now.  The Anthem are extremely high resolution and will sound very exciting and dynamic with movies.  Music is likely to sound significantly clearer, but on some systems the Anthem can come across just a bit bright.  It really depends.  You can give it a shot from Crutchfield and see how it sounds in your environment.

An amplifier could improve things, but you are still limited on the preamp section of the Marantz receiver.

A new Roku or network streamer is likely going to make very little difference in your equipment setup, so I wouldn't spend any money on that right now.
Thanks for the input. I'm leaning towards the Anthem. There is a dealer nearby so I could support my local shop. They also sell B&W, so I might get to demo it. 
Get an integrated stereo amp and plug the L/R pre outs from the 6005 into it and you’ll cut the AVR completely out of the system for 2-channel.  There’s a Yamaha AS1200 at Accessories4less for $1899 that will significantly outperform the Marantz across the board.  Best of luck. 
#1 First things first,
Get rid of the lousy Klipsch sub and get two Rythmik sealed servo-controlled L12 subs The price is 1060 usd shipped (530 each). This alone is a great future proofed upgrade for music. No matter where your upgrade journey takes you, these subs will continue to stay. Keep in mind, the subwoofer is essentially a speaker and it has significant impact for music next to your 2 main speakers, IF you have the right ones.

If you insist on keeping the receiver in your 2 channel system, get a Marantz PM8006 integrated amplifier. It has a power amp direct in (bypasses the preamp) that you can connect to the receiver pre-outs. See how it sounds. You could also get the pm8006’s preamp in the chain, run your calibration and see how it sounds. The advantage here is you get to keep the bass management from your receiver.
Here’s a factory refurb with a 3 yr warranty for 850

If you’re still unsatisfied, lose the receiver altogether for music listening, get a Marantz NA6006 streamer and connect it to your PM8006. This is a great sounding streamer+network player+DAC+Preamp at this price.
Here you go, factory refurb with warranty for 500 bucks

The NA6006+PM8006+your speakers+ 2 Rythmik L12s will get you golden once you take the time to integrate your subs properly (it is difficult without bass management, but, you will get there)

Thanks for the replies @soix and @deep_333, really appreciate it.

1) I see a lot of dual sub posts on reddit r/audiophile. I will definitely plan on upgrading the sub, could always get a second down the road.

2) I already have a pretty nice two-channel system in another room (Jolida fusion dac pre, Parasound A23 amp, Meadowlark Kestral speakers). I use my computer as a source and run USB to the Jolida, it sounds great. What I'm trying to do here is improve the two-channel audio on my home theater system. I have to keep a receiver in the loop since I also have B&W center and surround connected, along with a 65" TV.

I think I will try hooking up my Parasound amp to the pre-outs from the Marantz and see if it improves the sound at all. I could always leave the Parasound in the home theater system and get something like a tube amp to replace it in my two-channel.

I'm confused when you say "You could also get the pm8006’s preamp in the chain, run your calibration and see how it sounds. The advantage here is you get to keep the bass management from your receiver." If I'm using the pm8006 pre-amp stage, how is the receiver in the loop? Would it be digital source -> Marantz -> pre/outs -> pm8006 (not in direct amp mode)? I guess this would be the same as digital source -> DAC -> pm 8006 (or Yamaha AS1200).

Thanks again for the suggestions. You've got me reading about subwoofer phase alignment on the Rythmik Audio website!
@georgepv , yes, the Rythmiks have way more DOFs (full 0 to 180 variable phase control, PEQ, etc) to help integrate a sub better than many other subs out there for 2 channel systems. Sealed/servo-controlled is the way to keep it precise and clean for music and they do dig very low at 12 to 14ish hz. It is a steal at this price point.

PM8006 has a poweramp direct in, which bypasses the integrated amp’s preamp section. It would be the exact equivalent of using your A23 power amp on its own with the receiver’s preouts. But, you also have the option using its preamp (a.k.a use it as an integrated amp in a dedicated 2 channel system). I was trying to suggest a "step by step" upgrade path in my earlier post.

But, since you mention that you already have a separate 2 channel system and want to use your 5 channels for multichannel as well (music and movies?). your best bet would be something like the Yamaha RX-A3080 receiver.
It is Yamaha’s current flagship (before they start rolling out the 8k receivers) and you can get a lower price on it these days. It towers over the Denon flagship and the Pioneer Elite flagship i have compared it against for MUSIC (It will walk all over your older gen Marantz receiver though i have not had a chance to compare it against Marantz’s current flagship). It is perhaps the best receiver and 1 box solution i can think of for 2 channel and multi-channel music without emptying your wallet completely. I have a significant collection of multi-channel SACDs and blu-ray audio i listen to with this receiver (in addition to 2 channel sources). It has been stunning for the past couple of years! Without stating the obvious, it would be a no brainer for your movie collection as well.
A.Robinson just recently reviewed it here.

One thing to be wary of..... the RX-A3080 is jam-packed with enough features to overwhelm a multichannel noob. But it is well worth the upgrade once you study the manual, ask questions and figure out how to work it. In other words, it may overwhelm someone who’s buying a receiver for the first time. But, it shouldn’t be a problem for you, since you have dealt with receivers before.


Agree with @deep_333 that the Yammy Aventage AVRs, especially the upper models (1080 on up) that have a power transformer are very good. I worked for Magnolia for a spell and got to compare Denon, Marantz, and Arcam driving B&W 804d3s and thought the Yammy outperformed them all in 2-channel. Sound was detailed, transparent, refined, and imaged better than all others with a clearer background and a superior 3D soundstage. I was pretty surprised by this, especially regarding the Arcam. A customer who owned a Marantz AVR had me compare with an Aventage AVR, and let’s just say he was no longer happy he owned the Marantz.

That said, you can try subbing in your A23 and I’m sure you’ll hear an improvement, but you’re still stuck with a mediocre-at-best preamp section in the AVR that will continue to be a significant impediment to better 2-channel performance — hence why we were recommending using an integrated amp. If it’s me that’s what I’d do rather than switching AVRs. I’d think adding something like a NuPrime IDA-8 or the like would yield a huge improvement all around for not much $$$ (probably could use its DAC too). Anyway, hope this helps at least somewhat.
I ended up getting a Denon X3700H. Since this is mainly a home theater setup I wanted to stick with an AVR. After running through the Audyssey setup it sounds great. The speakers blend together much better in surround sound and the two-channel sound is significantly better as well.

This AVR also has two subwoofer outputs so I can add dual subs in the future once I refill my slush fund. This unit was a bit pricey but I am very happy with it. It gave me the level of detail I was looking for in two-channel and boosted my home theater as well.