I moved from a BK Ref20 to an Anthem MRX300 recently, using the Anthem as a pre/pro with the Parasound amp I already have.
The other strong contender IMO is the Denon 4311.
I don't see any big advantage to spending more for a dedicated pre/pro until you get up to $6k+ where you can get some units that are upgradeable.
The main thing to consider IMO is room correction and basic functionality (enough inputs/outputs, channels for your needs). The Anthem MRX series only has 4 HDMI inputs, one output, but that is adequate for my needs. It will only go up to 7.1, so if you want more channels than that, look at Denon or Onkyo/Integra.
Unless you really want the extra features of the MRX700 (USB, internet radio), I think you're better off putting the $1k difference towards a good amp, especially for the LCR. You can use the amps in the MRX for surrounds or a second zone. Many have found the MRX300 to meet their needs and ended up not even getting the external amp.
I bought an Oppo 93 to pick up some of the things missing from the Anthem, Pandora, Netflix, external hard drive connectivity, DLNA streaming.
I'd get something with ARC or Audyssey XT32, the nice thing about ARC is it already comes with a calibrated mic and uses a computer, you have to step up to Audyssey pro to get that, which adds another $700.