Parasound AV-2500 IMHO
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Marantz AV9000 for all around functionality, sound quality, best remote, and value for money. Not the best looking, though - go to EAD for cosmetics. Also try the latest (software) Sony T9000-ES pre-pro (in champagne), though the remote is not so user-friendly. If you need component video switching make sure that these are available - the excellent Sunfire pre-pro does not include component video inputs. (And rarely can you find an "assignable" type video switcher). Of course, there is always the Krell HTS @ megabucks. EAD has just announced new and very-upgradeable units @ good $ - go to their site @ eadcorp.com - 2-channel is excellent and usually includes HDCD + future 24/96 plug-ins.
Rotel, B&K, and Adcom offer good pre/pro's in this general price range. The newest Adcom model, the GTP-760, has full Dolby and DTS 5.1 surround, DSP effects, a good tuner, and also has inputs for DVD-A 5.1 analog. I have listened fairly extensively to this Adcom unit, and was quite impressed. It's transparent, detailed, and very dynamic on both music and movie sound effects. I have seen the "760" for sale for as little as $1325 (MSRP is around $2000), so it's a bargain as well.