Are the really pricey HT Pre Amps worth it?

Looking at a pre amp upgrade.  Are the real expensive pre amps better than a Marantz AV8805?  With prices $12k plus for even used high end pre amps here, are the extra $ really worth it?
Currently have a 11.2 Atmos config.  Marantz AV8802a, 2 monoprice (ATI) amps, Oppo, Sony 4K projector, etc.
No. None of them are. But that's just the way it is with AV.
No.  When I upgraded my HT processor for 4K I went from the Marantz AV8802 to the AV7704, going down one range in the Marantz lineup.  No difference in sound quality at all.  If there's some specific feature you need or connections you don't have, maybe it's worth spending more, but I have started to look at them as almost disposable appliances.
I traded up my marantz 8802a set up as 7.2.4 recently for a Trinnov Altitude 16. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and happy with the upgrade. Is it worth it? Yes If you are willing to pay for better sq. But it’s a lot more $ so it is question of your wallet and priorities. The Marantz was very good so you should be happy if you keep it.  If you have the cash and want more of whatever you are looking for, you will be very happy with the trinnov.
Try to ignore millercarbon as he is typically very negative and condescending.

@big_greg - Well, you pretty much did a lateral or step-down move as you said.  I'm not surprised that you didn't hear any difference.  In actuality, the 8802 is a better processor because it has a larger main power supply and the audio output stages are all on individual boards with better isolation and localized power supply capacitors.  The only thing that the 7704 really gave you is some extra/newer bells and whistles.

@old_marantz - I have had the Marantz AV8804 in my system and was very impressed on what it did.  It's pretty much the same as your AV8802, but with some newer features.  It had very full sound and very powerful impact.  For what it costs, it's an excellent device.  However, it is "voiced" as a  Marantz, which means it's on the warm side and has softened high frequencies.  If you are looking to get something with more high frequencies and more excitement, an upgrade/switch can get you there.  

Like lxgreen indicated, a Trinnov Altitude 16 would be a significant upgrade in clarity and excitement of sound.  However, a used McIntosh MX-160 could be another possibility.  Both would have more clarity and high frequencies than your Marantz.
How is it "better" if it doesn't sound any better?  It's still a  whole lot of compromise stuffed into one box. 

I'll admit my answer was a bit glib in a way. If my main focus was home theater or I had a dedicated home theater, it might matter enough to go all out on the processor, but then again if that was the case I'd probably be over on AVS Forum, not here.  A bit of a matter of perspective. 
Has anyone mentioned Room Correction?  I added an Anthem 5 channel AVR a year ago and remain very impressed by their Room Correction technology.  They make high end AV Processors, as well.
<< sigh >>

I wish.

The biggest problem with some mega-price pres is their likelihood of remaining in business.

I had a Theta Casanova, and I _loved_ it for music and movies. Couldn't keep up with HDMI though. It was a significantly better sounding pre/processor than Emotiva / Onkyo / Yamaha were producing.

But with the rate of change, prices and quality of output I could no longer go that route, not to mention that Theta development has limped along since HDMI, as has Meridian.

My target now is to use a Luxman integrated + Anthem pre or anthem AVR. You could do the same with Marantz. 


Thanks....I went for Lyngdorf MP60.  We shall see.
I think the only reason to pony up for the higher-end prepros is if 2-channel is important. But then, at those prices I’d rather get a decent prepro and a good stereo pre. To me, the only reason to not do this is if for some reason you can only have one box.
Combining a prepro with a stereo amp that has by-pass seems a good way to go.  I used a Bryston SP3 and Parasound JC 2 BP, and my Ayre KX-5 Twenty also can do by-pass as well. 
@dbphd - have you tried just using the Bryston SP3 as an analog preamp?  How does that compare to the Parasound JC2?  I'm not sure that the JC2 is going to be significantly better than the SP3.  The SP3 has their fully discrete analog input stages as well as output stages.
I also upgraded from the 8802a to the Lyngdorf MP 60. What you get for home theater is significantly improved room correction. From bottom to top the sound field is much more cohesive, better integrated and detailed. Palpably so for Home Theater. The results are quite noticeable and though the MP 60 costs much more $$$, I am quite happy with my investment.
auxinput, the Parasound JC 1, 2, and 3 stuff has been boxed waiting to be sold for several years, replaced by Ayre KX-5/20 and VX5/20.  I've always used HDMI input to the Bryston SP3.  So I really can't answer your question.  Based on Kal Rubinson's review, I suspect the SP3 is more than adequate for stereo and surround.

Currently I'm taking HDMI form an Ayre DX-5 DSD disc player to the SP3 with balanced front LR from the SP3 to an Ayre preamp for surround.  Balanced analog from the DX-5 goes directly to the KX-5 for stereo.  Most of my music listening, though, is Roon via Ethernet to an Ayre QX-5/20 endpoint, with balanced analog to the preamp.