Best equipment to use with Gallo Speakers?

Current system:
Front: Gallo 3.1 refs
Center: 6 orb audios (I actually put one right and left next to my rears because I like dialogue on movies near me.)
Rear: 2 orb audio's per side
Receiver: Denon 2806
Sub: Orb Audio

I want to improve my system, and I think the best 'next step' is to purchase a great receiver? I actually don't understand the difference between a pre-amp and a receiver (is pre-amp just extra power to the speakers?).

I'm looking for recommendations on the best receiver and/or pre-amp for my gallo ref 3.1's. I have about $3k and I plan on buying through craigslist.

A receiver is an all in one package. It has the digital to analog decoder or processor that decodes the digital audio into 5/6/7 channels of audio plus the .1 subwoofer channel. It also has the pre-amps controlled by the volume and amplifier power for all channels. A receiver also includes a tuner for AM/FM radio.

The next step would be to buy a pre-amp processor and separate 5-channel amplifier. Some pre-amp processors do not have a tuner for AM/FM. This can be broken down futher to a combination of mono, 2ch or 3ch amps. a reciever is a good value as it is all in one package. Separate components usually provide higher performance.

If you are looking for high value in the receiver market B&K is a good way to go. It's not mainstream, so used prices are low in the aftermarket. Made in the USA, and higher quality than most any Asian made receiver.
I just heard these speakers as well the Gallo A'Diva with JL Audio Subwoofer - the receiver was ARCAM AVR280 and it performed really well - I was really surprise on the A'Diva speakers with the JL Audio 12 inch subs!!! I'm re-thinking my home theatre set up now....
So listened to an awesome $8000 McIntosh amp/pre-amp setup as well as a high end receiver. The McIntosh was amazing! So clear, so quiet when it needed to be. The receiver seemed almost 'cluttered' with sounds.

I am convinced I need an amp/pre-amp setup.

Rec's there? Looking to spend around $3,000 used. Using Gallo ref 3.1's for fronts and orb audio's for the rest. I mostly use it for home theater and clear dialogue is top priority.
There are many ways to go with processor and amp combos. You might start a new thread, "best pro/amp combo under 3k". I would suggest that you also consider a Gallo Ref A/V center speaker. This speaker carries 50% of the content load in a home theater. L/R 20% each and the surrounds the last 10%. You can see how important the center is and how many systems are just running big R&L Speakers.

Right now the whole industry is shifting towards HDMI connections for HD video and audio switching. To get this in a new processor means big $$$ right now. Many very expensive products are being dumped in the market because they only have component video connections. The good part is that you can get a good deal. The bad side is you are already out of date. A new wave of set top boxes and DVD players will all be coming out with HDMI outputs. Don't go too overboard on what you buy I would say. If you go with a pro/amp combo, you still have a good amp for years to come and only need to upgrade the processor later. Where as the whole receiver will be near worthless.
forget the mis-matched rears. I recommend matching Gallo center/satalites all around.
Do it right, or stick with two fronts only - I always say. (and btw, so do the industry pro's. Quality over quantity)
As for receiver...forget it. Yes, separates are better all around. Also, I'd recommend looking for either a high end pre, added with a Rives PARC to smooth out all your innevitable nasty bass peaks - messing up your fidelity - or some pre/pro with the new Audyssey MultEQ Pro!
These improvements in fidelity are not subtle, and necessary. Trust me (many years AV pro and av/phile).
Yes, the best pre/pro and amp combo you can afford will do you wonders with your otherwise nice HT speakers. I'd suggest something with newer HDMI 1.3in's and HD master process. Otherwise, look something like used Krell 7.1, matted with a Rives PARC or two, and a good multi-channel amp/2 channel amp combo.
BTW, I've worked with the Ref's, and they're pretty nice.
Good luck