You are correct....plus a little and minus a little
I've owned several 88xx, and 77xx Marantz processors with 8805A being the most recent. I've own several Anthem processors with the AVM70 the most recent. I use them strictly for 2 channel analogue pass through and surround processing. None had stellar DAC performance. In fairness DACs are all getting so good now that slicing and dicing that pie is getting harder. By far I liked the sound of the Marantz product over Anthem. Everything about the heftier 8805A seemed to be better put together. I don't buy surround gear for stellar 2 channel DAC performance. I buy them for surround process and system switching.
I have owned some respectable outboard streaming/digital gear. Currently I have a fully modded Modwright Oppo 205 UDP which is like a digital Swiss army knife, it does everything well, and also some good Lumen dacs. The right Hi res files through either the Oppo or Lumens analogue out to straight analogue pass-through on the Maranz offered tons of transcendent musical goodness. Really good.
Some of my recent configurations have included both Anthem and Marantz gear used strictly for surround processing by using them to pass the front 2 channels through some worthy pre-amps. I have hooked my vinyl rig and the Oppo 205 balanced analogue output to a either a Bryston BP26, a Bryston BR 20 or then as another choice a Topping Pre/ext 90 rig. The Brystons ALWAYS sounded better. Essentially an outboard analogue system away from of all that noisy surround digital stuff.
About the Denon, Yes better DACS, still no Roon and no matter what, the amps you are paying for in that unit, while respectable, cannot touch good outboard stuff. In my mind if I have to pay for something I’m not going to use I would rather pay for the DAC I’m not going to use (cheap) than the 11 channels of amplifiers I’m not going to use (expensive). This site tend s to value DAC performance to the exclusion of almost everything else. I’m not knocking the Denon these are strictly my observations. The Denon is a great choice for some people.
I’m moving on now to a Trinnov Altitude-16 specifically because it has respectable DACs and fantastic processing power beyond the DACs to correct just about any issues related to my system or room or media source. Every review you see except here discusses how this unit sounds in one's environment. Here ther is a begrudging nod to respectible numbers with implication that a $20 dollar dac on Amazon could do better. You have to broaden your perspective to what the system can do as a whole and what it actually sounds like.
This site has a penchant for valuing DAC numbers over sound and short sheeting everything else. DACs have gotten so cheap. All of the pre-amp/processors mention here are incredibly complex systems that do a whole lot more than DACcing (is that a word?) I don’t buy them for their DACS. I buy them for their switching and controlling features. I want to enjoy a variety of entrainment selections. Movies, music videos, surround audio, 2 channel audio both digital and vinyl. If I do that I have to do it all in one room where multiple systems are impractical. BTW the Topping pre-amp so favorably revued on this site sounds thin and forward to me. Numbers are not everything
It has been a long time since people mentioned the AV8805/7705. You seem to be making a lot of assumptions of what's inside the Marantz vs Denon that could make one "sounds better/or different" than the other. If you look at the known facts, say the 8805 vs 8500 (you can download their service manuals), and you will find that there are really only two differences in their signal path parts and circuitry that may have some effects on sound quality, still mostly on paper only. The Marantz has HDAMs, vs the Denon that has none, and on the digital side, they actually uses the same AK4490 (the HA and A and the HA may have the ES9010K2M depending on their manufacturing dates. The two shares quite a few pages of schematics/block diagrams. The HDAMs are an extra buffer stage at the end of the preamp signal chain so it would affect both analog and digital inputs. It apparently has resulted in higher distortions. The newer SR8015 does not suffer from that, but it has the upgraded HDAMs.
With the DACs being the same, implemented the same as well from what I could see in the service manuals (if you compare the unbalanced path), on the digital input side, the only difference would be the DAC reconstruction filters, Marantz uses the slow roll off one, resulted in HF roll off from about 10 kHz and would have dropped about 2.5 dB by the time it reaches 20 kHz; and it is not selectable like some other AVR(s) are. They are much more similar than different.