Integrateds vs Emotiva XPA-2 + $600 AVR as preamp

Hello all, thanks for taking the time to read this.

In my quest for a higher-fidelity music and home theater experience, I am looking for some answers regarding these integrated amplifiers and the Emotiva separates. I am not looking for a debate on which is better, but at this time, I am specifically asking about the ability of the Marantz SR8004, Musical Fidelity M3i, and the Emotiva XPA-2 to drive lower-impedance speakers such as the Dynaudio Focus 140s, and how they will sound while doing so. I'm leaning towards the Emotiva setup and am basically looking to see if anyone has any "you should definitely not go this route" advice. Suggestions for better performance at a similar price are also welcome.

My price range is around $1500, and I'm not looking to stretch as my wife is already kind enough to allow me this current allotment since I've recently purchased the speakers.

I like a clear and neutral sound that does not emphasize any particular frequencies. Any advice in regards to the performance of the amplifier section of these would be appreciated.
Just a little confused. Are you building a 2 channel only system or multi channel because you mention using an AVR as a pre-amp. I would recommend against using the AVR as the 2 channel pre-amp sections in most AVR's are simply an after thought and not of the best quality.

If quality 2 channel reproduction is what you are after, then I would lean toward a nice intergrated to drive those Dyns (nice speakers by the way). The ones you mentioned will work. With a $1500 budget, I would also add the NAD 375BEE and Creek Evolution 2 to your list.

Finally if your asking about an AVR as a pre-amp because you already have one and want to add a Emotiva power amp for the Dyns, I have another suggestion to consider. Get the Emotiva power amp for your L/R mains but consider a 2 channel pre-amp with home theater bypass function. I use a Parasound 2100 pre-amp with this feature in my combination HT system and 2 Channel rig and it works great. I believe Emotiva has a pre-amp with this feature too. Also, many integrateds have it so you can use the integrated (pre and power)for your 2 channel listening but only the integrateds power amp section for HT listening allowing your AVR to do all the precessing and control. I think the Marantz PM 8004, Musical Fidelity M3i and Creek Evolution 2 all have it.

Hope this helps. Good luck!
What you've stated, Paraneer, is exactly what I want to do. I would like a higher quality 2-channel system for music, and then a home theater setup for movies with friends and family.

I am using a stereo receiver right now, and am looking to upgrade. The reason I ask for opinions regarding this is because I am looking to spend $500 or so on an AVR, and then the amplification for the mains from the XPR-2. But as is the case, I wonder that using the Emotiva stereo pre-amp might be better first, and wait to buy an AVR later to drive my center and surrounds once I have additional funding. It seems that that may be the best option. Thanks for your input!
Also, the reason I am looking for seperates instead of just using the integrated amp with home theater bypass (PM8004, M3i, etc) is due to the power ratings. I would like as much headroom as possible, which I believe the XPA-2 can provide at a lower cost than most of those integrateds. My only concern is that I can't make a great judgement of how those will drive my speakers, since no manufacturer provides a rating of current.
Now I am clear. Glad that I was on the right track all along. That being said, I am a big fan of combination HT and 2 Channel systems using a bypass feature. I really feel its the best of both worlds in one installation.

So you have a receiver and the Dyns now and you are concerned that an integrated would not have adequate power and current to drive the Dyns. All the units you listed plus a few more I have suggested are rated 75 to 150 wpc and while exact amps in current may be unknown, these are all high quality amps that will drive the Dyns with no problem. But if you are more comfortable with the XPA-2's power, then add an Emotiva USP-1 2 channel amp with By Pass along with the XPA-2. You now have stereo separates that will get the job done now and under your budget. And they will be ready to start building a multi channel system around when you get to it.

Just make sure the AVR you eventually get has pre-outs and adequate power for the center (very important) and surrounds (not as important).

Good luck on your journey to build a system.
And the last thing is money.
XPA-2 $800
AVR - $500-600
Pre-amp - $400+
Integrated amplifier $800-1500
My question is does it sound $400-$1000 better with the complete separates. The most appealing idea is the Emo preamp+XPA-2 and wait for the AVR when I'm ready to expand.
Thanks for your response, I hope you know that your few minutes of advice helped me to look at things in a slightly different light, and that in the future when I make my purchases, I'll be able to enjoy great audio thanks to some good advice!
You're welcome and it was very nice to assist. You are wise to start thinking of a quality 2 channel rig now for the best possible stereo reproduction and building the multi-channel HT system around this solid base afterwards. Good luck and be sure to post some pics of your system in the virtual systems section when you are done. Enjoy the process and especially the music!