2 Channel pre-amp...where to start...

I have a dedicated HT/2 channel listening room. I know, it's not the best of both worlds but the room was designed for this purpose with complete acoustical wall and ceiling treatment (Owens Corning).

As I selected equipment, whenever a trade-off was involved I favored 2-ch stereo. That's how I ended up with 2 Aloia pwr amps vertically bi-amp (quite nice). The front end for the past couple of years is a Theta Casanova. HT is great and the audio is pretty good as well.

Now thinking of adding a 2 channel pre amp but because of the configuration I need one with a unity gain input (HT pass through) and remote control. The ones I know of are C-J and McCormack. I'm sure there are others. Aloia pre-amp doesn't have the pass through or would probably be an obvious choice. Since I will be looking in the pre-owned market I will have to read reviews, get some input and take a chance without auditioning. I don't like using (abusing) the local dealers and then purchasing elsewhere.

What other options to consider? Where to start? Thanks.

Speakers: Dunlavy Cantata
Source: Audio Aero Capitole
Unless your Theta Casanova does not have an analog by-pass mode, whatever you decide on, you should audition first in your home. Because the Theta may be sufficiently good in comparison to what pre you buy.

Of course, it depends on your budget. McCormack has a new pre/pro that may be pretty good.

I own Aerial 10T speakers, McCormack DNA-2 LAE amp, Sony SCD-1 cd player, and a Primare P30 pre/pro that I use for my 2-channel system. Believe it or not, the P30 was superior sonically to three popular (one rated class A by Stereophile) preamps I A/B compared in my home.

There's always better out there, but the Primare P30 has been a very nice surprise. It is a very transparent and detailed pre/pro when in 100% analog via by-pass mode.
I'm currently using a Classe CP-60 that has a surround passthrough. I recently sold my Proceed processor and went back to mainly 2 channel. I bought the Classe preamp, which also has a MM/MC phono stage, as my stereo preamp. I bought a Denon receiver for HT and run the F/R & F/L pre outs into the Classe surround input. I also bought a turntable, and am getting back into analog. Since 80% of my listening was 2 channel, I got tired of all the fussing involved with HT. It seemed I spent more time running through menus and running test tones, than listening to music. You know what? That Denon receiver does fine for HT. All it drives are my surround speakers, and I think watching movies visually distracts you, so sonic quality isn't as important as listening to music. The CP-60 also has a line stage, which knocks $500 off the list of $4200. You could get a used one for less than $2K. If this is too much, I know Proceed Pre is a 2 channel preamp with theater passthrough, it list for $2K, used about $700-800.

I'm in the same situation; other preamps with HT pass thru and remote include BAT VK-30, Sonic Frontiers and Audio Research. I also want my preamp to have a 12v trigger to pwr up my amp--the newer Audio Research pre's have this (BAT and Sonic Frontiers do not).

John, does the Classe CP-60 have a 12v trigger output?

Rrsclyde, No, I don't believe so.

It is a shame that you need a preamp for HT pass through, because the Capitole sounds best run directly into amps.
In addition to those mentioned above, Adcom(GFP-750), Rogue, and VAC also offer stereo preamps with HT pass throughs. Of course any stereo preamp will work if you have a line level input open, you'll just have to set a reference volume level on the stereo preamp when doing HT--this obviously opens up many more choices for a stereo preamp, but is a little less convenient. Best of luck.

My Krell KRC-3 has HT throughput. I love it.
Jeff Rowland Synergy IIi has a unity gain pass-through. Beautiful visually and sonically. Rrsclyde, I believe the Pass X1 has the 12V trigger output.
Another approach would be to add a two port passive selector switch in series with the input to your amp. One port facing your two channel audio preamp and the second port facing the home theatre processor.
7p... I have been looking into this exact alternaive. I have found a couple of devices but they include volume controls and no remote or something like a Creek or Placette passive pre. Do you or anyone know of any selector only devices?
Rap, I haven't researched it at this point. I would think that a shop that caters to the recording performance side of the business would have a switch panel for selecting sources. As far as preamps are concerned if your surround sound processor has single ended RCA outputs then one of the Sonic Frontier pre-amps will work fine. They have a passive in to out connection that bypasses the pre-amp circuitry. One thing else that I would advise is to audition the audio preamp before you buy it. It MAY not make enough difference in sound quality to justify the additional cost. In my case I bought the preamp and rest of the two channel stereo kit first. Still haven't added the surround sound portion because I don't have the funds. Good luck with your system.