If you have the bucks to invest in your system now - I disagree with Andrew - I think you go for a preamp.
Carver amps suggest a Sunfire TGV which is a killer preamp. The review is at http://www.avrev.com/equip/sunfire_theatergrand_5/
. My installer buddies tell me it is ROCK SOLID for relability.
Meridian G Series is one of my favorites but costs in the $6,000 range. For about $8,000 you can get their receiver which i saw at CES. It was ULTRA SEXY and would be an awesome matchup for some MartinLogans.
Another pick is the Anthem D2. Many of the writers use this as their reference. I hear it has the best HDMI switching.