Extremely High-End "Pre-Pro" Surround Pre-Amp

By all standards, I have excellent amplification (VAC Renaissance Mk II Preamplifier & 300.1 Stereo Power Amp.)

I am in the process of integrating a 5-channel surround system, which uses my 2-channel rig for the main/front L & R, via the preamp's "theatre bypass."

Though I am adding a surround system, I estimate that 85% of my system's use will still be for 2-channel music listening.

My initial plan was to buy a modestly priced surrround processor, such as the Marantz AV-7005 and run the 2 main channels to the VAC pre.

From the music side, I've even considered upgarding my VAC pre to one of the newer models that came out within the past year.

However, before I go down this path, are there any truely "high-end" surround processor/pre-amps that I should consider, and consolidate into one (surround/pre) unit?

By this, I mean are there any that would handle the duties of surround processing AND perform as well or better than my current pre-amp for 2-channel music playback?

It would be nice to have one piece of gear that could work dual-purpose, and avoid essentially having 2 pre's, but I will NOT go this route if there is any compromise to the musical pleasure that I am acustommed to.

So, is there a truely high-end, MUSICAL surround processor out there?

As you probably figured out, I'm a fan of tubes. What are the chances of a tube unit that fits this bill?

Thanks gang.
Answer: NO

Been there, tried that. Maybe something in the $15K+ range has come about recently that is truly properly designed, but nothing I have ever heard up to about $10K can do what you want as a pre/pro.

Not only is there no HT pre/pro that I have ever heard but there is not 5 or 7 channel amp either that is going to compete with a 2-channel based system (of comparable quality) when it comes to 2-channel performance.

Save yourself the time, frustration and ultimately the cost and stick with your 2-channel rig incorporating the HT passthrough on your preamp.

Oh, and don't forget when you buy a new Pre/Pro you can expect it to drop in value by about 80-90% in just a few years! Just get a used HT receiver that is about 2 years old, you'll pay about 25 cents on the dollar. I got my Pioneer Elite with TrueHD and all sorts of other junk, including HDMI switching, second zone, Ipod in and all that other stuff for $185 (it was 14 months since new release when I bought it) on a product that listed for over $1,000.

You are right, the Evo 707 is HUGE! My rack still has a place for it, and I was able to put the Meridian 861v6, HD621 Switcher AND my G98DH into that same spot!!!!!

Agreed on the Sim, I can't blame you for being silent on that one!
Well I just bought a Classe SSP800 and would have to say that I am not disappointed with it's resolution on two channel sources and some multi channel software has been spectacular. I have always had high end gear and feel that Classe fits in the top tier of solid state gear. It almost seems reasonably priced when compared to many other high end companies.
Kal...no problem.

BTW...my grandmother used to say..." if you don't have anything nice to say about someone/ something....come sit by me"!!!