Re: High end pre/pro's. Are they worth it???
The whole point of shopping, listening and comparing is to find a pre-amp/processor that does what you want it to do at a price you can afford. So, if it does what you need (and your financial position has not drastically improved) then why change what you've got? Use it, enjoy it and get your money's worth out of it! The trick, of course, is to get something you really can live with after the razzle-dazzle of the showroom demo has worn off. That's where a good, helpful dealer comes in, right?
You mentioned having a Proceed PAV way back when. It was the first (or among the earliest) pre/processor to lay claim to high-end status. Although the PAV was a well-made product with great features and a very high spec, it actually fell short in the sound quality department. If you played a movie everything sounded good. But listening to music in stereo was much less satisfying, especially when compared to good stereo pre-amps of the day, several of which cost markedly less than the Proceed PAV (and had far fewer features, of course).
Meridian of England soon realized the market potential and released pre/processor models that raised the bar for sound quality. Linn and others followed suit.
The question is, has that technology trickled down into any more affordable pre-processors? Can you buy one these days that really plays music to a high standard without costing an arm and a leg? Is there, heaven forfend, a receiver which can lay claim to really good music reproduction as well as surround sound for movies? I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this!