Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Billings, Montana
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IMHO, I would go for versatility with my first system. It seems most guys that devote to 2 channel audio use tube amps and turntables.
The rest of us use our systems for a variety of sources - music (whether from cd, vinyl, or other formats,) movies, tv or gaming.
If you don't see yourself going to surround sound, I'd agree that you should look a great pre-amp for 2 channel audio, and your other choices are very popular options.
I really enjoy the impact of home theater and a great sound system, but I also enjoy critcal 2-channel listening, so I have gone with a good AVR and some good speakers in 7.2 surround.
Going this route, I'm sure I've made compromises compared to strictly either home theater or strictly 2 channel audio, but I and my family are happy, so that is what is important in the end.
If it were me, I'd wait on the amp, and look at a sub, a center, and a pair of surrounds.