Integra DHC 80.3 as a preamp

As this is a processor only, is the preamp performance alone top grade? I gather that it's DSP functions are quite exceptional , however if one was to use it purely as a volume control for either stereo or multichannel audio then how does it compare to top grade stand alone preamps .

The Integra 80.3 is a very nice unit. Complaints in reviews about the analog stage of the 80.x series have supposedly been addressed so I would tend to think that it would be perfect in your application. Comparing to "top grade" (whatever brand you are referring to) is probably very subjective at best.