Proceed AVP or Meridian 561?

Hello all. I'm new here and am going to start building an HT system. Currently have no surround processor and am intrigued by the above 2 units. Hoping to pick one up used. I also have an old Bryston 3B amp and .5B preamp running a pair of NHT 2.5's. Where do I start? Use the 3B? Buy a new 5 channel amp? Any comments will be greatly appreciated.
Long time ago I had the NHT 2.5 and AVP, was a nice combo, but had an ATI amp.

I cannot speak on the meridian, but if you are also a music fan, the AVP has superb 2 chn DACs with analog by-pass and now can decode 96/24. Make sure you get the AVP with the S-VIDEO option as there are a few out there used without that option.

i own the AVP and love it. seems to have all the bases covered except 5.1 channel analog pass-thru for when i go to sacd multi-channel (there is an in-expensive Sony solution to that problem). the AVP is easy to setup, has worked flawlessly for 3 years, is easily software upgradable, and sounds great (i have a separate 2-channel room but the AVP is a very good 2-channel preamp). i personnally think it looks great too.

i have not personally used the Meridian. it has a good reputation; some do say it is more complicated to setup and is not as good a 2-channel performer but 561 owners seem happy.

i think the Madrigal lineage of the AVP gives you a different slant on things verses the Meridian slant. an analog culture verses a digital culture.
I have an avp and love it. Be sure you understand how the Meridian works. Some of their HT gear only works with other Meridian gear, meaning you cannot mix and match components to suit your tastes or pocketbook.
You might want to keep your Bryston amp. Its good quality. 5 channels amps require you to have one huge piece in one place requiring long running speaker cables. I prefer running interconnect to rear amps with shorter (larger) speaker cables. Anyhow multiple amps gives you more flexibility. However, be sure that they are matched or at least similar for the front and center channels. You might end up finding a great 3 channel amp (like a Proceed Amp3 or HPA3) to use for the front and then use the 3B for rears. good luck
If you keep the 3B for the rear, you should go with a Bryston 5Bst for the front and center channels,
My vote is for the Proceed AVP. Madrigal should be offering the upgrade for it this year, complete with new processors and better analog volume control. If you listen to music also, go with the AVP. It is pricey, but it is the last processor you'll buy.
Absolutely the AVP. Smooth as silk in both 2ch and HT.

I do however want to know that inexpensive 5.1 solution for multi-channel SACD that mikelavigne speaks of. Do share.

AVP hands down. Enjoy.
To listen: the sony inference was to its P9000es multichannel preamp that has multiple 5.1 inputs; very handy, reviewed in stereophile, can be had for around $575