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SR 9600 limitations are:
1) Only two 1.1 HDMI inputs (no 3D and no 7.1 HD PCM) and:
2) No HD audio processing.
I can't afford a complete leap into separates just yet, and I love the sound quality and power of my SR 9600. I was planning to get an Oppo to solve the 3D and 7.1 HD audio issues, but even there I have a little less switching (although the two HDMI inputs on the Oppo are pretty useful)...and I'm just curious if I could get what I need with a Pre-Pro connected to the 9600 amp section. Using the Oppo I can use its analog outputs for 7.1 HD. Alternatively I could experiment with pre-pros by connecting them to my SR 9600's amp section. I would have simpler switching and possibly more audio options at the source. It all depends on whether or not the pre-amp section of the pre-pro would match that of the 9600. The 9600 has a very excellent pre-amp section for an AV receiver, so it may be hard to match. If I use a Marantz Pre-Pro or a Marantz Receiver as a Pre-Pro I could turn off the display of the SR 9600 and cover its IR port.
Any suggestions as to what pre-pro I could try which would have as close to as good sound quality as possible as the 9600?
Or should I just get an Oppo and use that for a while to solve my 3D video and HD audio issues? The Oppo is probably one of the most inexpensive solutions, as long as the dacs of the Oppo are as good as whatever pre-amp I could try, or as good as the Marantz 9600 dacs.