loaded question LOL! Yes many of these mid-level receivers now have 9 channels that can expand to 11, akm 4458 dacs and all of the bells and whistles for under $700.
For a musical avr as prepro, the marantz 5012/5013 are the 7 channel options, 6012/6013 are 9 channel options and then the 7012/7013/8012 are the big boys. They have hdam circuits to keep the sound as clean as possible. All of those options are over budget, except refurbished.
Yamaha too, especially their higher end stuff will probably make an excellent prepro. However Yamaha is rarely discounted so the a1070/1080 for 7 channels, 2070/2080 for 9 and 3070/3080 for 9+ channels. They are very reliable, have and excellent phone app and very good hdmi switching
Denon is known for being an excellent HT receiver, if that is your main goal? The x3400/3500 is 7 channels while the x4400/4500 and new x3600 are 9 channels and can expand to 11. They have full preouts, a ton of features and have audyssey xt32 which has dual sub control. Rare for the price (x3400/x3500).
Pionkyo has always been known for having the most features for the price. Their reliability will never be in the same conversation with Yamaha, but there are a lot of happy owners with the new stuff. All of these are 9 channels that can expand to 11, have akm 4458 dacs and full preouts for your emotiva amps; tx-rz730/740 and rz830/840 plus the cousin Pioneer vsx-lx503/504.
Again I own none of these, this is purely my $.02 from spending wayyy too much time on this forum reading!