Mixing a Stereo pre-amp with HT Pre-amp processor

I currently have a McIntosh MX135 Pre/Pro and in the recent visit to the RMAF. I had a mfg rep tell me that if I bought a stereo pre-amp with Passive Pass Thru that I could place it between the MX135 and run the 2 front channels thru the stereo pre-amp. And have my stereo source components run thru the stereo pre-amp and totally bypass the MX135. He said that I would make a big gain in sound quality, I called McIntosh and they told me that I could gain as well, of course they recommended a couple of McIntosh pre-amps that had this capability. My question: Has anyone done this, was it worth it? What PreAmp would you recommend? I was looking at the Ayre K5XE and possibly one of the McIntoshs. Just curious if this would be worth it.
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Very easy to do, you dont need pass thru but it helps. If you dont have pass thru you simply need to know where to set volume of tube or 2 channel pre to mate with HT channels.
I agree with Chad - It's absolutely the way to go. I'm using a TAD 150 Signature and am happy with it. It does have HT passthru. I have also used my Musical Fidelity NuVista preamp which does not have passthru. In that case, I run the front L/R into the Tape input, and set the volume knob at 12:00 - which is the point at which I calibrated my HT levels at.

It's easier if your pre has passthru, but only slightly so.
Agreed as well...I run this type of configuration and am extremely happy with it; I've got the best of both worlds in that the pre-amp I am very happy with is also serving as the baseline of the sound quality for the L/R channels in home theater. As BD and Chad mentioned above, you don't need a pre-amp necessarily with HT pass-through (a unity-gain capable input) but it does make it easy. I run a Classe SSP-600 surround pre/proc and Classe CP-700 2-box pre-amp in this config and it sounds great for home theater. For 2-ch, I then use a non-unity gain (i.e. 'normal') balanced input on the CP-700 for great 2-channel listening and leave the SSP-600 in standby with nothing passing through it for 2-ch.
One good thing about having a non pass thru tube pre is that you are getting the tube benefit at all times, some with pass thru maintain the tube pre use, some dont and just pass the pro's signal. but So you use a non pass thru unit the tubes always sweeten the signal.....even for cable or satelite music channels and such.
Can you guys suggest a manufacturer which has the pass-thru option & is also in the sub $1,000 area?
Are you looking for used or new? The TAD 150 Signature is worth considering, and can be found used for <$1000. But I think they are only available used.

TAD (Tube Audio Design) also sells a sub ($289) but I'm not familiar with it. I like Rel Subs - and you can find Rel Storm III for ~$1000 used, and Rel Strata III can be found used for ~$750 used I think . New Rel subs are somewhat more than $1000, though there may be an entry model below $1000.
New or used doesn't matter. Probably better off with used since my budget is so limited. Presently I am using a 15 year old Denon AVR-3000 receiver.

Also, i mean under/sub $1000 for the price of the pre-amp. I didn't mean a subwoofer :) thanks though, going to try to make one myself actually.

thanks again
Also, i mean under/sub $1000 for the price of the pre-amp. I didn't mean a subwoofer :) thanks though, going to try to make one myself actually.
of course, had I read your post more carefully, it would have been clear to me. Now and then I simply start talking before my brain is properly warmed up ;-)