What to upgrade to from Marantz SR5003?

Luke Andrews

Novice Member
Waaaaay back in 2008 I bought my first "big TV" — a 40" 720p TV. I added a Marantz SR5003 AV receiver, and some good bookshelf speakers, and that was what I stuck with for a long, long time, although I added a center speaker. A few years back I switched the speakers to a Paradigm Cinema 100 CT set to get 5.1 sound, and that's what the Marantz is still powering right now.

Well, I finally upgraded the TV to a 55" Sony X900H the other day 🎉 — needless to say, a big upgrade! — and now I find myself wondering if it's time to upgrade the AV receiver too. The TV currently sends audio to the Marantz over an optical cable. The main trouble I've run into is one that seems to be fairly common: some key apps on the Sony's built-in Android TV, including Disney Plus and Google Play, won't output surround sound to the Marantz, because it's so old it doesn't support Dolby Digital Plus or ARC, so I get stereo instead. Netflix does 5.1 fine, and other devices like my PS4 and Switch also do surround fine despite being connected over HDMI to the TV.

The thing is, prior to this TV upgrade, I was generally satisfied with the audio setup. The SR5003 is old to be sure, but it was a great amplifier and it still sounds good. The Paradigm speakers are decidedly Good Enough, although I do occasionally wonder about a larger center speaker because sometimes dialog isn't mixed right. I don't have any immediate plans to expand beyond 5.1 at the moment, and the space the TV and gear is in is fairly small, so whatever I own doesn't need to get especially loud.

My big question is: if I do decide to buy a new receiver, what do I need to buy to get equivalent or better quality sound than what I have? The obvious answer is to stay with Marantz and get the equivalent unit, e.g. SR5014 or SR5015, but those are surprisingly expensive. (I'm pretty sure about double the price of what I paid back in 2008!) If I buy something cheaper, e.g. Denon AVR-S750, am I setting myself up for disappointment? I originally chose the Marantz because I wanted something great for music too, but admittedly that's less of a concern now since it's no longer in my living room, so it's really just for TV, movies and games (PS4 and Switch at the moment, but probably a PS5 or new Xbox someday). Do I try one of the cheaper slim Marantz units, e.g. NR1711 or NR1609?

I could theoretically try just getting an Apple TV box to see if that solves it, but it seems silly when Android TV is mostly fine. Or I could try a SHARC eARC converter, though it's unclear if that will really solve the audio problem or if the lack of Dolby Digital Plus or other newer formats on the Marantz will produce the same result.
 

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