What digital processor would be suitable?

Hello forum,

I'm having difficulties in identifying my needs for home theatre system components.

For now I have pair of old Vandersteens as L/R, an average Sony receiver and C-200 network player with HDMI. Even with crappy build-in amp, the speakers sound very good to me. But I know they can sound way better, I listened it hooked up to a very good McIntosh amp.

That's why I really would like to use a good amp for the home theatre (with additional speakers of course). If it was only theatre system, I would probably use Sony receiver and don't bother to improve it. But I'd like to use it in stereo-mode as well.

Right now I'm looking into 5 channel Bryston amp to power home t heather sound and use it for stereo as well.

I'm going to use for centre channel Pyramid or Definitive (vanders are too expensive, even used). I'd like to use SVS as a sub.

The questions is:
how do I get a signal for amp from HDMI?

Some receivers have pre-amp outs, but those models are too expensive, the price is almost as an amplifier. Don't see the reason to pay for it more that 1000. In any case I don't need build-in amp.

So, what devices should I look into? Pre-amps with digital processor? Or just digital processors?
What are good brands that would match Bryston specs? The budget on this processor/pre-amp is about 600 bucks.

The only ones that might fit your needs would be used Integra 9.8 or 9.9 or used Onkyo 885 or 886. These prepros will get you all the codecs and have RCA and XLR outputs. Nothing new will fit your budget.

Another option, as long as all your devices can convert to LPCM (most modern decent ones do) is : http://www.lenexpo-electronics.com/Atlona-HDMI-1.3-Audio-De-Embedder-p-17801.html

Man, if you can get an Integra 9.8 or 9.9 for 6 bills before I do you have found something. Anywho, The Bryston deserves a good front end. You will benefit tremendously with a decent preamp processor and a Bryston 5ch power amp. Your budget of 6 bills can get you several modern av recvrs new but not sure that would fulfill your stereo mode needs.

Explain to me/us what your setup will be like. What components will you use, what will you use them for, and finally what will you use for a display?
Seems like Intergra is the best option.

I have a receiver already, some kind of Sony in 400-500$ range. Definitely not an option to use for stereo sound, although ok for movies.

I'd like to replace it with Bryston plus descent processor that can provide decoding and switching different sources of sound.

I use Mitsubishi HC3800 projector as a display.

lenexpo probably wouldn't fit since I'm planning to play from more that one source.

Am I understand correctly that pre-amp + processor is kind of receiver without amp block? Or they are very special devices?

One more question about processors, for example Integra DTC-9.8 has "video scaling and transcoding of all inputs to 1080p".

Do I really need all this video-related stuff if I'm playing content through Popcorn C-200 or similar media player?
All these video-processor are good added value for manufacturers, but do I really need it?

1. Yes, a pre/pro is a receiver without amps and, often, without radio tuner. However, they are usually more expensive because of the smaller numbers produced/sold and because they may have higher quality components/design.

2. You have no choice. Most less expensive processors, like the Integra, include video processing. Curiously, it seems that only a few of the higher-priced processors lack video processing, so the elimination of video features will not help your budgeting.