Best Pre-amp processor

mirror, mirror on the wall what is the best preamp processor of them all?? I currently have a Proceed AVP and I am looking to take a step up.
The Proceed is a pretty good unit, however I feel the Linn 5103 has the best sound. While lacking in component video ins and outs, I think its sound is the one to beat for both music and video soundtracks. I am very happy with mine.
Said it before and I say it again, lol, Cal Audio Labs SSP-2500. I sold my Avp and purchased this unit. A different sound from the Avp. Very clean sounding and more detailed. Combined with the separate video switcher it will switch component hdtv signals with no loss of resolution. A video processor board is soon to be added which will line double or scale video, offer color and tint adjustments, and provide an on screen display. I love the DAD disks from Chesky Records played thru this unit they sound excellent and are processed at the full 24/96 resolution. There is a companion dvd player that is the state of the art and gave some of the best measurements that Wide Screen Review has measure and right now is their reference dvd player. Check out the review in WideScreen Review of the processor, video switcher, amplier and dvd player. Man I really really hated to sell my Avp. It sounded great to me but the Cal unit is better. The Avp would not process a 24/96 signal. The dacs on the front channel are 20 bit dacs , 1702 which have been replaced, even by Madrigal in their other processors, with the Burr Brown 1704 dac which is a 24 bit dac. WideScreen did a series on a/v pre-amps and tested most of the units on the market. They concluded that the Cal unit was on " a level of magnitude" better than any other processor that they had ever tested. The unit does not have an 5.1 analog bypass though as some processors do. This is not a factor for me as I do not wish to have my surround processed by a budget dvd-a player or sAcd machine when I have a much more advanced processor to do the job. Cal stuff is hard to find but it will be worth the efford. Contact me if you can not find a dealer and I can make some recommedations. I have heard all of the Meridian units, Theta Casablance II, Ead units, Parasound, Lexicon, Aragon,Bryston, Classe, and B&k. Some did as good a job on surround as the Cal unit but all were far behind on 2 channel analog bypass. I mainly listen to stereo so this was my main consideration. The Lwxicon units are probabely more upgradeable as is the Theta. But I challege you to find a better sounding unit especially on 2 channel. I have not heard the Linn unit recommended above.
if you've got the means, you should not pass up the accuphase dc-330. there's nothing better out there and nothing more intelligently upgradeable. it'll play any digital source you can throw at it, now and in the future.
Bulldogger- how would you compare the CAL to a good tube pre like a BAT or ARC? I've been fantasizing about merging my 2 channel and HT, but would hate to give up the sound of a good tube preamp. Had the opportunity to watch a demo of that unit once. Its was a DVD of an Imax film about Mario Andretti in a good sound room, it was awesome on movie sound. Just wondering about 2 channel.
I am very familiar with the ARC. The Cal has a the soundstage width and depth of a good tube pre-amp. But it falls short in that is it antiseptic in its presentation. Not quite that tube sound and naturalness of vocals.But it images with the best. I have some old R&B recording from the 60's, Aretha Franklin. It does a hell of a job as good as a tube pre-amp at conveying the space and the sound of the actual recording with notes gradually expanding into the room. You get that feeling that you are looking back at the event, like with a good tube pre-amp. The Cal unit takes a giant step in the direction of a great two channel pre-amp. It is not a good as the best 2 channel only tube pre-amps though. Still if you are a music lover and want one system, this is the best that I have heard. The other manufacuters are way behind in 2 channel. How far was only evident after I had owned this unit for a few months and allowed it to break-in. You can probabely get 90% of the quality of a good 2 channel pre-amp with the CAl. Take a look at the Soundstage feature on CAl audio. Do my eyes decieve me, or it that an ARC pre-amp in the wharehouse?! I'd rate the other surround processors that I have heard, as giving you about 80% of one despite all of the advertising which you have you believe otherwise.
What about the Krell Audio+Video Standard?