There is a conference in Hawaii in July I am trying to finagal my way to, but it is unlikely. I'll keep you posted if that changes.
I have seen the Datasat piece and it is impressive...but has an equally impressive pricetag. It absolutely has advanced DSP processing capability, but I am not a fan of making a large investment in a preamp, especially now at the precipice of 4K and HDMI 2.0 coming down the pipe. The AV8801 is more than capable and will serve you extremely well. I have one of these preamps (or its successor) earmarked for my own theater.
What I was talking about with the DSP is specific outboard devices from QSC or Xilica. Most of the professional theaters here on this Forum use QSC's DSP-322ua
. It will handle up to 8 signal inputs and 8 signal outputs. As you are going full-tilt 11.1, that means 12 channels. If you go with stereo subs then that is 13 channels. Either way you will need to purchase two of these units to get the proper number of inputs and outputs to handle your system.
The other option is the Xilica XP4080
or the XD4080
. The XD adds FIR (Finite Impulse Response) filters (the major reason to go with the XD series), digital inputs / outputs on a separate connector and a much better (i.e. quieter) power supply. The XD also uses a 96kHz 40 Bit floating point DSP engine vs. a fixed 24 bit for the XP series. You can read more about it on the links I provided. The reading is a bit dense, so take some time to absorb it.
With the calibration, you just can't beat having a trained professional bring $50,000 worth of highly sensitive calibration gear into your home and dialing the room into its maximum potential. It is a small $1300 - $2500 investment that makes a significant difference in the end performance of your theater.