Audiophile Results

Which component is the most critical, the processor or the amp? I hope to attain a audiophile stereo system as the front end of a HT room.
Stop this thread right here.

Perhaps you have heard this before but a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.

It is a system. Questions like "most important" or "weakest link" or "most critical component" are impossible to answer.

I do agree with JW94055 to start with speakers since they are the most colored of any component. Once you have speakers you like work your way back.
You've got it all wrong,the most important component in your system is the source,always has and always will be.
There is always the option of getting a preamp with an A/V bypass feature, so you can keep your 2 channel signals completely seperate from the HT system. Take a look at the system diagram in my system.
If you want good two channel music results combined with the ability to do home theater, do not use a surround processor as your main preamp. Get a real analog two channel preamp (preferably one with a processor input) and a separate surround processor.

Any surround processor will be compromised as a two channel preamp because of all of the digital garbage sharing the same chassis and power supply.