Best preamp/processor for audio and home theater?

Until now I kept my highend audio gear (Forsell Air Reference CD transport, Audio Synthesis D/A converter, Krell KRC preamp as a run-through component linked to my Yamaha DSP-A1 processor for the home theater. Since I plan to change to a DLP projector with component output, I need to replace the Yamaha processor with a processor that can handle the component inputs. At the same time I would like to get rid of the preamp/converter 'branch' of my system and replace it with a processor that provides highend audio on 2 channels and may be more channels. It looks that the Lexicon MC-12, the Classe SSP-75 or the Integra RDC-7 are possible choices. Has anyone suggestions and experience with those processors especially regarding their highend audio qualities (including using them as a D/A converter for a CD transport)or any other idea to combine 3 components into 1 ?
I just got the RDC-7, and it is really an excellent product. I have been testing the RDC-7 D/A vs. my CAL Alpha DAC. They are so very close, I could sell my CAL and be happy. The CAL is a Tube DAC, so it does have that Tube magic in the mid-range. My wife likes both, she describes the RDC-7 as Detailed and the CAL as muddied.

The RDC-7 has analog bypass and is so easily customized, I can't believe it. Their customer service is very helpful, I spoke with them during my search, to ask about their direction with this product line. As I am sure you know, the parent company is Onkyo, and this name is not really on the Hi-end list of Manufactures. This is intimidating to some who feel comfort in the "Name Brands". I explained my concerns to the Customer Service President, some of the advice I was given is "It is better to buy a Low-end product from a Hi-end company, than a Hi-end product from a Low-end company". The Rep assured me that Integra Research is indeed trying to become its own company, that is making a bid for the "Hi-end". He was very knowledgable about the product, and asked m to call back to explain why I did or did not purchase the unit.

There are so many surround and listening modes that are completely customizable for EACH input! Very easily laid out remote and great on-screen display.

Read the latest reviews of all of the HT magazines, they can't all be wrong. This unit performs HT surround duty better than I have heard (Lexicon MC-1 which is really good), and performs quality CD conversion that is both Musical and Emotional. The unit retails for $4K and I am sure you can find a use for the extra cash.

If I did not answer any of your other questions, please post back and I will do my best to try.
Ton1313, thank you very much for your thoughtful comments. One of my problems is that apparently no one has reviewed the Lexicon MC-12 yet and I am not sure the comparison to the MC-1 is fair. You confirm the great performance of the Integra as a surround processor - my main concern is how good is it as a preamp for 2-channel audio? Does the RDC-7 have a pre-out (coax or balanced) to use an external audio preamp and amp to run the 2 main channels for highend 2-channel audio?
Yes the RDC-7 has a Digital out (coax and tosloink) to go to an outboard processor or DAC. What kind of Audio Pre are you concidering?
My main concern was to get rid of some of my components, I had a seperate AV Preamp, Separate Digital Processor, DAC, etc. This unit has combined the Pre and the Processor. I am still testing with my DAC to determine if I want to get rid of it too. I have been listening to the RDC-7 DAC's and I enjoy them quite a lot, the only thing that is different, as stated earlier is the "tube bloom" in the midrange.
I have the same objective you have, i.e. to get rid of some components but keep the high audio quality. Im am not sure that there is at this time any surround processor that REPLACES a highend chain between a CD transport and the amp. My current Yamaha DSP-A1 processor definitely does not. So I run the CD transport's digital signal into an Audio Synthesis DAX2 D/A converter, its analog signal into a Krell KRC preamp and its 2 channel outputs into a Krell KSA-300S amp. When I run DVDs, the 2 main channels exit the Yamaha pre-out into another input of the Krell KRC preamp and then into the Krell amp. When I switch the only thing I have to change is the volume of the preamp to adapt to the 2 main channels to the output of the others (5.1). Works really well for both audio 'pure' and movie 5+1 sound. Disadvantage: lots of components. Have you tried this for comparison of your inbord and outbord DAC/preamp ?
I am not using a seperate "Audio" Pre, only a seperate DAC. I have compaired the two directly. The DAC passed through the RDC-7 with "Direct Analog Bypass", and then my Transport into the RDC-7, which is in stereo mode with the Sub off, and upsampling turned on. As I said before, they are both very good at what they are designed to do, is one "better" than the other? At this level I think it is more personal preference. I am not familiar with your DAC, mine is a Tube DAC, and Tubes have a different sound.

I enjoy both, I find myself listening to each about an equal amount of time. I really think you will be surprized with the preformance of the RDC-7, they reall did there homework. I think you should demo one if you have a local store in your area. If you are in the Philadelphia PA Area, check out World Wide Stereo in Mongomeryville.
Rogerwalk - I have the MC-1 and am about to trade it in on the MC-12, so I don't have any direct experience yet with the MC-12. However, if you can afford to go that route, I doubt you'll find it lacks compared to anything shy of a dedicated very highend 2-channel preamp for music. It has analog pass=thru (the MC-1 doesn't) for up to 6 channels. I have not seen any reviews, but I've read a fair amount of user feedback, all very positive. If you enjoy HT, the MC-1 enjoys the reputation of being the best in that department. Many feel it lacks in 2-channel audio, though I find it to be excellent. The potential subtle improvements of a dedicated preamp vs. what I believe the MC-12 will deliver is definitely not worth the cost, complexity or space, at least to me.

One local high-end shop claims the new Krell HTS2 outperforms the KRC-3 as a 2-channel preamp. No experience on my part. -Kirk

The Meridian 568
try the krell hts.
youn wont be sorry.
the best on the market.