But I have a high opinion of the Pioneer SX-D7000, and at $300 it's "budget" compared to modern hi-fi with the same power output and quality of phono stage. I happen to think that for 2-channel, analog, applications it is probably better in sound quality (or just as good) as the much more expensive modern AVR offerings. However, I've never been able to do a DBT on it.
It does seem to me that some of the most highly regarded vintage gear can be had for "hundreds" where-as comparable modern hi-fi is "thousands". There are certainly exceptions to this. But if an analog application is what you have in mind, then I do think the biggest bang for the buck is in vintage gear.
There are certainly some modern high-end, hi-fi, analogue kits that will demonstrate the progress of technology even in analogue transmission. I can't afford them, so I've never heard them, but I believe it to be true. The top end VPI tables, with similarly rated processors and amps, will probably show their worth against the best vintage gear. This does not, however, convince me that dollar-for-dollar, good vintage gear isn't better than entry level modern gear.
Couple that Pioneer D7000 with a restored $500 table of solid quality, and compare it to a $300 AVR and $500 worth of modern pre-amps and entry-level tables - and I think the vintage set up will make you much happier for your $800.
As long as you don't want to switch to a Blu-Ray as soon as the vinyl stops spinning, anyway.
However, even with my affinity for the vintage analogue set-up, I'm heavily leaning towards Option 1 where I simply add a phono preamp to my existing AVR. This is because I don't have confidence in this kit remaining a 2.0 system and I can envision it being (hi-jacked) morphed into a multi-function set. Although I think it would be cool to hook an Oppo up through the Aux inputs of a vintage receiver and let the Oppo do all the video processing/TV-interfacing, I still won't get 5.1 surround sound out of that Pioneer.
I'll probably have to turn the page on that Pioneer classified ad, and not look back.