Owning a Marsh P2000 and having tried other preamps, i will say that i was not overtly impressed with it initially and that it takes quite a while to really settle in. Why the longer settling time, i don't know.
I ran it for a while in one system, trying various cables, power amps, etc.. The results were always decent but nothing to write home about. I even took it over to my brother's place to try it in his system. Same results. I then put it back into the box and it sat for a while. At that point, i somewhat considered it a "dust collector".
After selling the pre-processor that i was using in my HT system, i stuck the Marsh in there as a "temporary fill in". While this took me down to strictly two channel, it was at least convenient in having a full function remote until i could figure out which pre-pro i wanted to try next.
The results ??? WOW is all i could say !!! It was the best that system had ever sounded by a long, long, long shot. I'm not just talking against pre-pro's either as i had tried other amps and preamps in that system with those speakers before. It was phenomenally "liquid" and lifelike with the specific combo of cables, amp and speakers. You could literally go into other parts of the house and think that a band was playing down in that room. One of those "magic combo's" that i half-hazardly stumbled across.
Unfortunately, i did want to have surround sound for my HT system as i did not invest in a matched set of rears, center and subs along with another amp not to use it. Obviously, this preamp could not remain in that system. Nor was i about to make use of this preamp / amp / speaker combo in another system, as that would mean having to replace the mains with similar models. No matter what i tried, i just didn't get the same results with different speakers using the same preamp / amp combo. For some reason, the three of those pieces just really "melded" together.
With all of that in mind, it only helped to reinforce my thoughts of how important system synergy is. While i would have written the P2000 off as an average piece of gear, i know that it is capable of truly phenomenal performance in the right system. Then again, that could be said of many, many pieces.
The key is to finding components that suit your needs in terms of features and performance and then working with them to achieve the sonic goals that you want out of that system as a whole. Obviously, some components are easier to work with while others may be tougher, but the end result will always be the same if you put forth the effort: an ear opening experience and education that you will never forget. The Marsh P2000 was one of those experiences and learning tools for me. Sean