Why buy a pre/pro if you want hi-end stereo? I have Cary Audio's SLP-98 tube pre, which is incredible and will easily beat the Cary Cinema 12 pre/pro in two channel. My current "reference" is the SLP-05. Now, that's some big league line stage right there.
I'd be afraid to use any but the most recent Cinema 12 with the hardware/firmware updates. Hopefully, Cary will have a rock solid pre/pro by 2015 or so when I'm ready to upgrade. If you are looking for very good, but not elite pre-amplification, within the context of a pre/pro, then I'd look for a Cinema 12. Of course, that's beyond your stated price range. The SLP-98 would work some incredible magic though if you separate home theater from music.
HT: Panasonic BDT 460 | JVC RS600 | 106" x 45" Stewart ST 100 | Marantz AV7005 | NAD M27 | Elac Uni-Fi UF5, UC5, Debut B6 | Focal CMS Sub
Stereo: Cary Audio 306 SACD Pro | Cary Audio SLP-05 tube line level | Cary Audio SA-200.2 | Focal Diablo Utopia III
Den: Panasonic BDT 220 | 60" Panasonic VT60