Integra DHC 80.2
- or the 80.3
if you must have the latest. Both are 9.2 channel. The 80.2s are going for very good prices right now since Integra dealers want to clear the shelves for the newer model. Onkyo sells the same as the 80.2 in the PR-SC5508
preamp processor. I presume the 5509 is coming but I haven't read anything on it yet. The 80.3
looks pretty good on paper but there isn't all that much different between it and the 80.2. One of these days I'll sit down and compare the two.
Marantz has the AV7005
preamp processor with an MSPR of $1499.
Integra also has a lower priced model in the 40.2
- it has most of what the 80.2/80.3 has but does not have balanced outputs. No big deal for most of us.
The cheapest preamp processor on the market today is the Emotiva UMC-1
- stay away from it unless you like fiddling around with trying to get things working right. Its got more bugs than an Texas swamp.
Form amps you can save a few dollars by going with Emotiva amps
- the XPA-5 gets rave reviews by all who own them - as do all their amps. I have an Integra DHC 40.1 with an Emotiva UPA-7 amp - sounds absolutely great. If you are going for 7 channels you can add an XPA-2 for the front L/R speakers. If you have a small listening area or just don't care about reference level ear bleeding sounds look at the Sherwood Newcastle A965
7 channel amp. Its rated at 160wpc into 4ohms.