Marantz AV8003 vs Primare SP32 -- Sat, 03/27/2010 - 15:56

 I'm considering both of these units though I haven't heard them yet. But if anyone out there has heard both of these units I'd very much like to know your impressions and after thoughts. Sound quality is most important followed by features for me. Which would you invest in and why?

Ellery (not verified) -- Sun, 03/28/2010 - 15:58

Hello Joe,
I have both the Marantz AV8003 and Primare SP32 on my show room floor.  I did a comparison a while back between these two and the Denon AVP on a Primare A30.5 5-channel amp, Denon DVDA1UDCI, Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Concert Grand, Maestro Grand, Waltz Grands, and REL R505PBLA. 
My impressions are that the Primare sounded much cleaner and open than the Marantz.  The Primare also did a better job with dynamics making it sound more "agressive" or engaging where the Marantz sounded a little more reserved.  While the Marantz sounded very good, the Primare seemed to bring the best out of the round of blu-rays and CDs I played. 
One scene that stood out for me was the fight scene between Go Go and The Bride in Kill Bill Vol. 1.  When Go Go's ball and chain hit the wooden pillar, crushing it, you could hear every splinter of wood shatter; the point of impact was visceral.  Later on in the scene, when Go Go swings the chains around The Bridge's neck and pulls them tighter, it was like you could hear every link of the chain clenching around her throat.  The Marantz did a great job of this as well, but you kind of had to listen for it to notice it.  Also punches and kicks in the scene were a little softer on the Marantz. 
Musically, I also thought the Primare was superior.  When playing various CDs through XLR from the Denon, the Primare really sounded more detailed without sounding harsh or bright.  It was just as sweet as the Marantz but accents, crescendo/descrescendo, all had more life.  I personally like to listen to a lot of trumpet players because I play one.  When I listen to Freddie Hubbard or Lee Morgan, the Primare really brings out the skill and intensity of their playing abilities. 
If you are looking for a great home theater processor with a BIG emphasis on sound quality over features, or a 50/50 movie/music split, I highly recommend the Primare. 
AV8003 has decoders for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-MA, the Primare SP32 originally didn't come with this feature (must set blu-ray player to PCM) but now there's an audio card for it with the decoders.
The Primare SP32 does not transcode through HDMI or display the setup menu through HDMI; there's a video card on the way which does this.
The Primare SP32 does not have auto calibration, meaning you have to set up your system manually.  This is not that big of a deal since the AV8003 cannot apply Audyssey to bitstream audio from your blu-ray.  You'd have to setup your blu-ray for PCM.
Neither processor is setup with HDIM 1.4, so 3-D is out BUT the Primare does have slots available for video and audio card upgrades.  This a great long term solution so when those technologies become available, you don't have to buy a whole new processor.  Primare has already shown support of this by releasing the updated audio board recently. 
If neither of these worry you, the Primare could be for you.  Make sure you do the smart thing and demo each piece before you buy.  If you are in the Bay Area, give me a call below.  I'll be more than happy to answer questions, setup a shoot out between the two in my store, or perform an in-home demonstration.
Ellery @ Magnolia Audio/Video - San Ramon, CA (925) 242-3600

joe@kenyondesig... -- Mon, 03/29/2010 - 16:02

Thank you! That was a great synopsis and gives me a better handle on what these products are like. If I am in San Francisco I will come and see you.
Thanks again,

cespy -- Fri, 03/04/2011 - 09:06

It's March, 2011 and I'm considering buying a new Marantz AV8003 via eBay from a dealer, but now the AV7005 is also available for about the same money.  Is the AV8003 better in any respect or would I just be buying dated technology?  What are the main diferrences between the two?  What do you recommend?

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