I use the predecessor STR-DA5200ES as a preamp. It replaced a TA-9000ES preamp. Over the years, I've owned a number of preamps, including APT, Briston, Denon, and the aforementioned Sony. I've also had occasion to audition other high-end brands in my system which belong to friends or which I've returned after purchase. The STR-DA5200ES is by far the best of the lot, even when used purely as a preamp for music enjoyment. It is free of stridency, can be accurately calibrated to account for speaker and room acoustics deficiencies, and -- best of all for pure fun -- can be used in its Multistereo soundfield mode to turn ordinary two-channel material into a startling approximation of multi-channel playback which rivals multichannel SACD and DVD A playback. Since the 5300 has cured the video upscaling bugs present in the 5200 and is presumably identical to or superior in other regards, I think it will do well by you as a preamp.
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