Classe SSP 600 for preamp? only 2 channels

Hey, all new in this community and still young so I will probably be doing some experimenting and trading/buying around. appreciate any advice I can get, honestly.
This will be my first item, and I see the SSP 600 got great reviews and I really only need a 2 channel amplifier, but here I like the possibility of expanding surround if I ever chose to. I also know that this item makes a good 2 channel listening source. They only reason I ask is because it's called a processor rather than a preamp, but is it actually a pre/pro?
How do you overcome the HDMI problem? I listened to classe on B&W and loved their sound, so im willing to use a switcher if it means I get to keep the classe sound. but I haven't really heard how it actually connects or seen anybody that has pictures. I prefer to listen to flac through HDMI from my computer which gives me the theater option as well, so maybe this isn't the best route for that.
Thanks for your help!
A young person here, well that’s a switch! Welcome.

Yes, the SSP-600 is a pre/pro.

As to the rest of your post, since you mention FLAC, I assume you are interested in digital audio file playback and, since you mention HDMI and the SSP-600, I assume you are further interested in somehow combining multichannel capability with such playback.

If I am correct in these impressions, the first thing to realize is that multichannel digital audio file playback is something that’s really on the bleeding edge. Didn’t the SSP-600 come on the market in 2005? Sitting here in October 2013 and thinking about the world of computer audio, anything that came out in 2005 strikes me as being almost prehistoric. Look ahead, not behind.

Also, even though the SSP-600 doesn’t have it, I think you may be getting needlessly hung up on HDMI. Read the Computer Audiophile review of the exaSound e28 Multichannel USB DAC. One of the things to notice is that here we have a bleeding edge component specifically designed for multichannel digital audio file playback, and guess what it doesn’t have? It doesn’t have any HDMI port, in or out.

My advice is first forget about the SSP-600 and, second, don’t limit your thinking to HDMI.

Disclaimer: On the other hand, I’m sure no expert. The vast majority of the people on this forum who are into digital audio files are into the 2 channel variety, not the multichannel variety. Most of the old geezers here (of which yours truly is one) have had enough trouble figuring out how to play 2 channel digital files through a good stereo system that we’ve not risked the mental breakdown that would probably come with trying to figure out how to play multichannel digital files through a good surround sound system! Around here, when someone talks multichannel, they are likely talking about physical SACDs or DVDs, not FLAC files.
I almost posted my ad for an ssp-300 (same unit, but with single ended only) and see $2k for BB average, $1.6K for last and considered posting it for a grand. It still uses 7.1 analog in with 24/96 DACS, etc. HOWEVER, without HDMI, it's really tricky to price and I just gave up and scrapped the ad. Maybe I'll use it in my office...

The sad thing is, these 300 and 600 units are both really nice preamps, even at those prices: EQ, manual or auto calibration, etc. If the 600 is a good deal, give it a chance, if not, make ME an offer :) but if HDMI is the only deal for you, then there's your answer.
Thanks a lot for the help! I took your advice GZ and Jeff and considered the alternative of instead just getting a DAC, but I like the idea of "looking forward" as you say. Getting into this community I had no idea so many products were explicitly designed for analog and not digital. I suppose that makes sense - and there's probably many that prefer it that way. However, I am not too strung up on multichannel listening right now.
So i think what you're getting at is recommending something more along the lines of the Nuforce AVP - 18 or the XMC-1 from emotiva? (which is still coming out)? Would i be losing any quality or limiting my options if I go with these choices knowing that a vast majority of my music will be digital? (Either hdmi or usb)
Not sure if you personally have any experience with Emotiva but they seem like they are gaining some repertoire as being a great bang for the buck company, so I might just wait for the XMC-1...
And with any of these new digital pre/pro can you just hook them up normally to any amp? (say even one from 1980?) Or would that not be recommended?
Thanks for the warm welcome and advice.
Hi Grant. An older amp may not have all the same types of audio inputs to match all the various types of audio outputs on a new digital pre/pro; however, any amp regardless of age should have RCA type analog audio inputs that you can connect to the RCA type analog audio outputs on the digital pre/pro. Of course, if the amp is only a 2-channnel amp then with multichannel pre/pros such as those you mention you would only be using two of the eight available RCA analog audio outs on the pre/pro.

As for the brands you mention (Nuforce and Emotiva), I have no personal experience with either but both are reputable and have plenty of fans. NAD is another brand with a good reputation for value. The Emotiva XMC-1 ($2000) looks like it will have substantially more features than the Nuforce AVP-18 ($1100); however, be aware that Emotiva has been talking about bringing the XMC-1 to market for quite some time now (with major design changes along the way) so who knows how long you may have to wait for it. On the other hand, a concern I would have about the AVP-18 is that nowhere does Nuforce indicate what DAC chip it uses. This makes me suspicious as to its quality. Also, a noteworthy feature advantage of the Emotiva over the Nuforce is that the Emotiva will have streaming audio capability whereas the Nuforce appears not to. Furthermore, the AVP-18 has a single USB port which is intended for firmware upgrades, not audio. In contrast, the XMC-1 has three USB ports designed with audio in mind, including support for digital audio file formats (FLAC, WAV, AAC, and MP3) which the Nuforce appears to lack. Of course, how important these differences are will be influenced by what other equipment you might be using.

When you ask “will I be losing any quality or limiting my options if I go with these choices” (referring to the AVP-18 or the XMC-1), that’s impossible to answer without knowing more about exactly what kinds of source material (audio CD, SACD, DVD, digital audio files) you want to accommodate, which components you already have and plan to continue to use, which components you plan to buy, and your budget.