I run a Sony STR-DA777ES which has great bass management. I just upgraded to a Parasound 1205A this month and use the receiver as a pre/pro. I liked the results so much that I am getting a Parasound 2205AT by the end of the week and selling my 1205A. I considered selling my Sony receiver and getting a pre/pro, but I would be hard pressed, I think, to find a pre/pro with as much flexibility for what I could get for this receiver. I also need to get over my 'upgraditis'.
I'll second Mikes opinion. I'm also using a Sony 777es as a pre-amp with two Aragon 8002's. This receiver is a little hard to find now, but a little patience and a search should pay off. Besides all the abilities that were often described, this receiver has an auto video shutdown feature to isolate all video functions during two channel playback. An important feature to have in a receiver being used as a pre. If two channel is a priority and 5.1 surround for HT is adiquate, then this might be a receiver you'd be interested in. Check the AR revue site for a much more detailed description if you are unfamilar with the 777.