I worked for Magnolia for a bit and got to compare the top Marantz, Denon, Arcam, and Yamaha (previous generation) AVRs directly using B&W 804D3s and my best stereo demo recordings. I was surprised, but the Yamaha was the best of the bunch — most transparent and with the best imaging/soundstage abilities that reminded me most of good separate components. Haven’t heard the newest Yammy AVRs, but I’d tend to think they’d make the new ones at least as good if not better than the previous models. Another plus is that Yamaha AVRs tend to be more reliable than pretty much all the others, at least from what I’ve seen and heard. Anyway, FWIW and best of luck.
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