Stereo preamp for HT bypass

I'm planning to build a system for music and HT. I've heard that you're better off by-passing the a/v preamp to a good stereo preamp for music listening. What are the pro's and con's of doing this? What combinations(a/v preamp/stereo pre)work well together? I plan to use a 5.1 system with Dynaudio Contour 3.3 for L/R. Thanks for your insight!
I have done this in my current system using a Mark levinson #380S pre-amplifier. My processor for theater is an EAD Ovation. This processor is excellent at movie soundtracks, but would not serve very well for 2 channel (particularly analog) playback. The advantage of this type of system is flexibility, (particularly for upgrading the processor section) and sound quality. I've been using a configuration like this for years now, and have upgraded both the processor and the pre amp during that time. The disadvantage is price. There are a few very good processors with good analog bipass circuits built into them. The proceed AVP is one that I auditioned, and had I not already had the 380S I would have likely gone this route. It is very good on 2 channel audio--and the volume control is in the analog domain. If flexibility and the best sound quality is what you want, and you don't mind the added cost--this is the best way to go. For most, it's more practicle to choose a good pre/proc that has an analog bipass mode for 2 channel audio.
The Conrad Johnson PRF Preamp (Stereophile Class A for audio) has processor loops, so you should be able to do both. There is one on eBay now.
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Abstract nailed that one shut. Nowhere else to go.
I'm using a VTL TL 2.5 preamp and have a Marantz SR 7000 receiver doing the processing and running the center and surrounds (with the mains run from the preouts on the Marantz to the processor loop on the VTL for HT). All things considered, a pretty cheap solution.
I think a two channel preamp with bypass feature is the way to go. It is not a more expensive option if you use an HT receiver as a processor because you don't need to buy a three channel amp to power the center and rear channels. I use a Sonic Frontiers line 2se with a Denon 3300 receiver. No pre/pro will sound as good for two channel as a good two channel preamp.
I agree with jsbail above. Especially in these times where significant new multi-channel formats are starting to emerge(DVD-A/SACD) I thinks it's wise to keep your powder dry in the processor realm. I'd buy the cheapest Denon/Marantz a/v receiver with preamp outs and use it for multi-channel stuff until the dust settles and we get a few generations of equipment under the belt.

Same for an A/V preamp. Unless you're willing to shell out big bucks for flexible architecture and upgradeability(and we've all seen upgradeability fall by the wayside in the past) you could be out in the cold in the near future. In addition, even with an direct analog path your signal is still passing through an electronics obstacle course that will have some impact on the sound.

So using a 2-channel preamp with a good stereo amp will not only provide you the highest quality audio, it will also afford you the most flexibility going forward. You're free to upgrade the stereo preamp, stereo amp, or A/V receiver at any point if you get the upgrade bug in any of those areas. And you've spent the least on the area that for now means the least sonically, that being the multi-channel processing and center/surround amplification, and the most on the critical 2-channel equipment.

Lastly, I'll throw some recommendations on the pile. On the solid state preamp side I'd look at the Adcom GFA-750 or Steve McCormack's new RLD-1 which both have processor loops. On the tube side, in addition to those already mentioned above, there is a little-known but fantastic preamp from PSE that rivals the best. As for stereo amps if you're looking to upgrade there too, to keep the cost down I'd look at buying one used, as amps tend to either work or they don't so I find them less risky than other components in the used market. I bought a used McCormack DNA 0.5 Rev. A for $1600 a year ago and am thrilled with it.

To sum up, I think you're still absorbing some potential risk and sound quality degradation with a preamp/processor, so for me the stereo preamp is the best-sounding, safest way to go for now. Best of luck.

If you are on a tighter budget, you can buy an quality integrated amp that has an HT bypass. This will provide your analog (2-channel) pre-amp, and 2 channels of amplification. Then use your HT receiver for digital processing, tuner, bass management(for LFE/sub) and 3 channels of amplification.

I'm using an Arcam Alpha 10 int. amp, and a Denon AVR-3300 receiver. This setup works great. I purchased both used for $1200($800 for Arcam, $400 for Denon). I demoed a $2800 list B&K HT receiver in my home, and the $1200 system listed above absolutely smoked the B&K for 2-channel music, and was comparable for HT. Nothing satisfies like saving big bucks!!