First of all, I should point out that the XLR connectors on the back of Odessey are not truly balanced, so using balanced interconnects will not buy you anything. Besides that, balanced interconnects would not offer any audible improvement in a situation like your.
I have an EMU-0404 PCI as part of a digital-audio workstation, and it is a solid performer. My EMU does not have balanced analog, so you must have a different version. Is your's the USB version with the external box? I thought that all of the EMU series also supported single-ended audio, so I'm not sure why you would need custom cables. I was able to get all of my cables from monoprice
, but as I said, mine is not balanced.
The DSP software that came with my EMU makes a great full-featured mixer, and would make for a really powerful pre-amp, especially when you consider all of the DSP plug-ins that you can use for bass-management, room-equalization and dozens of other less-useful features. Anything an AVR can do, the EMU can do.
I am not very familiar with BDP-105, but earlier Oppos, like the 93, only supported DLNA for digital music from sources other than discs. I found DLNA to be more of a frustration than a solution. Maybe the 105 is different. I'm also not sure if the Oppo has some of the features you might want in a pre-amp.
My opinion is that you can go a lot further with the EMU than with the Oppo. And for a better price.