I like the Anthem - loads of built in flexibility and great value.
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The Outlaw 990 is based on the Sherwood-Newcastle P-965. I have another pre/pro based on the same Sherwood-Newcastle engine, the Boston Acoustics AVP7 and I like it a whole lot. I have had it for nearly three years and it is rock-solid reliable. Its DACs and upsampling are very good, easy on the ears, and it has a nice sense of ease about it. I can't speak to whether the Anthem is as good or better, but the Sherwood P-965 got rave reviews all around the world and set the bar so high for an affordable high end pre/pro that Outlaw decided to tweak it for their market rather than design their own.
Outlaw added balanced inputs and outputs and 3 DVI in/one out to the design. So you can use the Outlaw for HDMI switching by using adapter cables. It also has 7.1 analog inputs, so if you get a Blu-ray player with internal processing and 5.1 or 7.1 analog outputs you can get hi-def video switching and lossless surround with the Outlaw 990.
Plus, with their blowout price you get a new unit with transferable 5-year warranty for $699. The Sherwood/Boston/Outlaw unit has excellent digital upsampling and decoding, and a very smooth and organic sound especially at its price. I have no intention of upgrading for a long, long time.
Hey guys, thanks for the feedback. My journey has lead me to the Onkyo pr-sc885. It is the same unit as the Integra 9.8. Bottom line, it has received RAVE reviews from all, and has all of the latest goodies...codecs, hdmi 1.3, audio quality, video quality. Best of all, it is available as a refurb for $799 at www.accessories4less.com.
Check it out....