Originally Posted by lovinthehd
Separate pre-amps or processors tend to be pricey as they just don't have the economy of scale going on as opposed to AVRs; I'd just aim at an upper level AVR with preouts for switching/connectivity features as well as various DSP/room correction features. I use my current main AVR as a bit of both, I use two separate amps (which I've had for a long time, from before my first multi channel AVR) for my L/C/R and then use the AVR to power the surrounds and rear surrounds. I use the separate amps for the L/C/R as those speakers aren't super efficient (altho reasonable with a sensitivity of 86.5 dB anechoic) so I can go just a bit louder with a bit more headroom. Keep in mind it takes a doubling of amp power to gain 3dB, and that's only useful as long as your speakers can handle the additional power, too. That Emotiva seems decently priced, been thinking about getting one myself, the XPA3 (on sale for $599) while I have my Carver M500t's sent off for the MkII upgrade/refurbishing treatment...
As you suggest, currently we're using a Marantz, SR5007 which has a full set of preouts. Delivered from Vann's, it was $750.00. Agreed, a very nice, economy of scale, price. To drive the front three, an Emotiva, XPA-3 looks nice but I figure, why, for a few hundred dollars in savings, short change us and instead, look to pick up a XPA-5.
Should we pick up a XPA-5, we would have the five channel Amp but no pre-pro and my thinking is, are we better served with a pre-pro as other than to operate a Home Theater system, we don't use any of the other features inherent to the SR-5007?
My concern about the pre-pro's I've looked at is, I don't see them coming with an auto-EQ system like Audyssey, MultEQ XT or the preferable XT32 or are we better served, again as you suggest, buying up into a more capable AVR such as the Denon, 4311ci or the very nicely priced and full featured, Onkyo, TX-NR818 that comes with Audyssey, MultEQ XT32?
(I'm a Denon/Marantz fanboy and with it's noted problems, buying into Onkyo is a bit concerning and personally, I don't find a miniDSP to be attractive.)