I have an older Sony TA-E9000ES pre/pro that doesn't have (THX) Surround EX/DTS-ES decoding. If I went the "receiver as a pre/pro" route, it would be with one of the above models. (THX) Surround EX decoding of genuine (THX) Surround EX or DTS-ES encoded soundtracks is very cool. The problem, is that if you apply (THX) Surround EX decoding to an older "std" Dolby Digital or DTS DVD, the soundfield in the "surround" channels can *collapse* into the rear channel(s). But, all of the above models are "2nd generation" units with 6.1/7.1 support. Here it comes... In your opinion, does your particular receiver do a good job of playing "std" (older) DD/DTS discs, while still somehow offering a DSP mode or two that effectively utilizes that 6th (and 7th, if present) channel? One "best" way of checking this, is to play a DVD with *only* a DPL (Dolby Stereo encoded) soundtrack, then engage various 6.1/7.1 modes. What sound do you get from the surround channels, and what sound do you get from the rear channel(s)? I'm guessing that these 2 companies are way ahead even of the current pre/pros (some not even with 1st generation support for 6.1/7.1). Thanks, and Happy Holidays!