After playing around with AV8801 various modes, my search for a separate 2 channel preamp has just ended. I'm completely satisfied with its 7.1 analog input section for playing 2-channel music. Based on my observations, I'm getting very dynamic sound, with pristine highs and without any hint of sounding thin or sterile in the midrange area. The analog section is very... very good and will resolve good or bad upstream electronics. So, if the music sounds bright or thin, try changing out the CD player or DAC to fine tune the sound to your liking.
My expectations were too high with Classe CP-800 analog preamp and it didn't blow me away. So, I've ended my search for an analog 2-channel preamp and decided to use AV8801 instead.
Thrang, if you're reading this... are you missing your Classe CP-800 preamp?