I am in similar straights as Keir in his Encore vs 950 thread. I am comparing an older higher quality prepro like the Encore (and a temporary low cost 5-ch amp) with a new one-box like a Newcastle 963, Onkyo 898, or HK AVR8000 (which would be upgraded eventually). Like Keir, I am probably 70% music and 30% HT. Of late, I am considering an even lower-grade receiver, like a Newcastle 863, Onkyo 600, or HK AVR520 and an analog 2-ch preamp and separate 2-ch amp (since the HK amps are assignable this still works for the 7-ch formats). I am leaning toward the latter approach, but what are your opinions on the 2-ch performance of something like the Encore in comparison to an analog preamp (something used in the 500-1000 range like a Melos, McCormack, C-J, AR, AI, etc)?? It has been mentioned that th4e Encore is upgradeable (presumably to Ovation and/or Signature status?), but with EAD out of business who handles this? And could it still compare to the same $ invested in a quality 2-ch pre?