Although I see your train of thought, I was wondering about using the XDA-2 as a preamp. Emotiva touts it as a preamp, but I was wondering if it was a real preamp, or more of just a line attenuator, like in a passive.
I've seen the remarks made at the Emotivalounge, but my guts tells me to take all of that with a grain of salt, or a larger grain of salt than I usually take with opinion.
In any case, my primary focus was on the XDA-2's performance as a digital pre amp.
Maybe I'll just have to take your advise and try it out, although I just bought a new pre amp, so it's importance has taken a bit of a back seat. Still, at $339, if it's an upgrade in sound quality, it's worth a look.