Old top-of-the-line A/V Receiver vs. new mid-level

Howdy all. First time posting here, thanks for any help anyone can offer.

Basically I have been looking at a lot of the older, top-rated Denon A/V receivers as a replacement for my current Rotel RSX-1065. Understand that it performs great, but I am stepping up from the 600 series B&Ws to the 800 series (804S to start in the front, will upgrade to one of the HTMs for center and probably 805S's in the rear). Since I do not have internal decoding on the Rotel for the newer HD audio codecs anyway, I am going from Blu-ray and HD-DVD into a Zektor switcher then into the sole set of analog inputs on the Rotel.

My question is, since I am going analog anyway right now, would getting into an older A/V receiver, like a Denon AVR-5xxx series be a step up for me to feed some better sound into the 800's? In particular, the Denon AVR-5800/5803s have not one but two sets of 7.1 external analog inputs, so I could immediately also get rid of my switcher, as well as what I would think would be a step up in my amplification.

Would love to get something like a Rotel RMB-1096 with RSP-1098/68/69, but I just can't afford that right now. Also, a great condition AVR-5800 can be had for as little as $500-600 on eBay.

Thanks for any opinions!
I think the newer receivers offer more in the areas of HDMI switching and surround decoding support. If you're looking for straight analog performance, and either don't need or are satisfied with older decoding, then I'd go straight for the older A/V receiver. I recommend it that path to people all the time, though they often reject it because they want iPod docking or some other newer-generation feature.
I think a much bigger improvement to the sound will be to stop using the weak link in the AV receivers, that being the amplifier sections. You would be better off running the pre-outs (at least for the mains) into a decent 2-channel amplifier (for better stereo performance) or a good 3-channel amplifier for the 2 main speakers and the center channel speaker.

Outside of the digital processing (for the various surround modes), which you are not using if you are bringing in an analog signal; most of the AV Receivers have pretty week amplification performance. Since you already have the switchers, this would not only be the most cost effective solution to improving the sound, but may also be the easiest approach.

This being the case, I don't believe you will hear much of a difference between the Rotel and the Denon AVRs.
Start with a nice 5 channel power amp. Keep the Rotel for now as a pre only. This will save you from upgrading again when you decide the denon was a bad move.
since moving up from 600 series to 800 series.need better amplification.am using avr5803 excellent on ht but on 2 channel a little weak.. time to upgrade?????
Keep the 5803 and buy a nice 2 channel amp for the right and left or a killer 5 channel. If you go with 2 channel amp for now, it will free up some power in the 5803 for the other channels. Just get a 2 channel that you can mate with another 3,4 or 5 channel in the future?

Personally, I'd say go with a really nice 5 channel with those speakers. They deserve it! Sunfire, Sherbourn, Anthem and on and on...
I am using a denon 5803 for both 2 channel and ht and am very happy with it. I replaced my paradigm speakers with Dalis 800s, 400s for rears and 200center along with servo 15 sub and found that the speaker upgrade made a huge difference, and the 5803 still has plenty of power for them. I am also running 16 8"nht ceiling speakers from it's multizone out and there I have to admit it is running a bit thin.Going to add a multizone amp using the 5803 pre outs for the other zones. Also added a CJ MET1 multi channel tube preamp and love it with the 5803. They compliment each other well. I have been wondering how much improvement I would get from a different amp, such as a class or cary cinema11, but am happy enough for now.
I bought the 5803 new and have to live with it for awhile, but I think they are a steal used, fine piece of equipment.
Nice speakers. I can't imagine investing in quality speakers only to be driven by an av receiver??? I know that some quality companies make av receivers but I still don't think they come near separates. IMHO, wait until you can do it right. Keep sony or bose speakers for the box store av receivers. Use quality with quality. Denon receiver is ok for preamp/digital decoding but invest in a good amp.
Jamesw20, Curious, what would you consider as a good multichannel amp to invest in? I have considered the matching cj 5-channel amp, but thought a solid state would better compliment tne cj preamp. There is a 5 channel pass at Echo a local used store.
Sure Pass, mac, bryston, proceed( may be difficult to repair but great performer), etc. I think if you search around this question has been raised many times and the same points are presented. Great speakers need good clean power that recievers just can't deliver as well as dedicated amps. MHO.
A couple of days ago I would have said go with the Denon 5803, even tho it is a avr integrated, it is no slouch for power with its 7x170 watts, and for used price its a good deal. But Jamesw's responce has got me to rethink that a dedicated amp would be better.( and more expensive)
I have noticed with my denon 5900 universal that sacd's sound way better than cd's. In fact cd's sound like crap. I thought this was due to the player, but now wonder if it is an avr shortcoming.
If you are concerned about two channel performance, then get a two channel amplifier. Having owned some of the most highly regarded multi-channel amplifiers, none of them (and I mean none of them that I have tried), could compare to a solid, good 2-channel amplifier. The multi-channel amps that I have purchased include: Theta Dreadnaught II (mediocre at best on 2-channel, lasted 2 weeks, sold it where it also lasted two weeks before being re-sold again for the same reason - lack of performance in 2-channel by a person who was running a Halcro multi-channel amp, which he also was not satisfied with for 2-channel), Conrad Johnson (better than the dreadnaught on 2-channel), Krell @ 300 wpc (I believe it was the KAV 1500 if memory serves correct, 300 wpc 8 ohms all channels driven) okay at 2-channel. Plus a couple of other, lesser multi-channel amps.

I have never found a multi-channel amp that can perform well with 2-channel performance - regardless of price. Just a short warning for those seeking a single amplifier to power all channels while have high performance demands for 2-channel operations.

My recommendation: as good of a two channel amp as you can afford and then a 3-channel amp for the center and surround speakers. But my caveat is that I care much less for surround sound than for 2-channel performance!
The nice thing about having an older top of the line AVR with two sets of ext. in's is that some of the newer blu-ray players can pass 7.1 via analog.