I agree with the idea that there's simply no such thing as an "audiophile" AV receiver in the classic sense. It's difficult to get true "audiophile" in a receiver, when compared to separates.
The only way you'll be able to get separate processor and multi-channel amp (if require HDMI 1.4) is to look for an Emotiva UMC-200. You can sometimes get that for about $400. But then once you add in the multi-channel amp and interconnects, you are already looking at over $1k anyways.
I have not heard any of the receivers, but from everything I have read and seen, I would first look to choose a Marantz receiver because of it's use of discrete HDAM analog circuits. Look for a receiver in the last 3 generations of products. If you go too old, you'll get the older generation HDAM circuits which are warmer and slower. Then look towards the most wattage receiver you can afford (the power supply makes all the difference here in sound quality).
Arcam has had a lot of reliability problems (google this). I think I remember also reading that Arcam had a high failure rate. I suspect it's because the Arcam engineers chose poor components (capacitors/diodes/etc.) or their physical layout of components put elements sensitive to heat failure very close to high-heat sections. I'm not entirely sure here, but please research Arcam on this if you are serious.
I have heard NAD is very nice, but I have also heard that it's very warm sounding. It's great if you're after that sound signature. I'm not sure of the sonic signature of new NAD products.