Pre Amp recommendation

I want to move from 2 channel to HT but want to keep a separate amp and pre-amp for the mains. I plan to buy an AV receiver to cover the center and surrounds but need to pass it through an "HT bypass" or "unity gain" input on the preamp. Doew anyone have any recommendations for a solid state preamp with a good phone section for about $2000 used that has this feature.

Go seperates by using a Passive pre with a Tape Loop like an FT Audio or Creek .I would never buy a Reciever.Also get a Phono Amp.Add a SS Processor like a Lexicon and your done.

It will keep the 2 ch. seperated.

Good luck!
If high quality 2-channel is a priority, but you also want to use the 2-channel speakers as your front (or main) speakers for HT, get a good preamp with an HT pass through loop. You can then use whatever you want to process your HT depending on your budget and desired performance. I highly recommend a Muse Model 3 Signature preamp which has a one-button theater loop (about $2300 new, I believe). I haven't heard the Model 3 (non-signature). BAT SS preamps have a unity gain loop, and are said to be very good. For about $750 used, you could try an Adcom GFP 750, which is good but probably not in the same league as the Muse or BAT. With the above choices you will need a separate phono stage, which may not be a bad thing. All three of those preamp choices can be run balanced or single ended.
Hear4 -

If you want to use a two-channel preamp that does not have an HT pass-through, what you can do is take the preamp to a technician and have him measure and tell you the exact volume control setting for unity gain. Then, you simply dial in that volume control setting for home theater use, and it should work just about as well as a pass-through.

I haven't actually tried this, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. I know of one pre-amp manufacturer who offers this as an option, using a small dot next to the volume control knob to indicate the exact setting for unity gain.