Re: Lexicon RV-5 is a rebaged HK receiver!
Let's be real here.
MOST AV preamps are made by OEM companies. Many make the same or comparable preamps for more than one company. Some (see ads on this site) sell them direct to consumers.
A LOT of what you are paying for is the brand, the support, the interface and the overall value of a preamp.
If you want the ABSOLUTE BEST bang for the buck - look to buy the direct product or from people like Outlaw who REALLY cut the crap, get to the good stuff and keep the prices LOW.
In terms of better brands, a more blue-chip product is going to hold its value better. It will have better support etc... At that level you do get more of what you pay for HOWEVER do NOT confuse an AV preamp with a top of the line speaker or amp investment as the technology changes SO quickly with AV preamps that its hard to keep up.
Meridian is the brand I think of when I think of a made-here type of AV preamp. EXCELLENT sound, KILLER engineering etc... Their G-Series is expensive but well worth it.
Jerry Del Colliano