I would like to setup a surround system for my living room using active monitors.
The usual Hifi-setup involves a receiver and a set a passive loudspeakers.
However, I don't know of any receiver that is able to provider decoder functionality, i.e. delivers 6 (5+1) line channels of audio.
The sources of audio would be a dvd player plus two satelite receivers.
Check out Genelec's new 6020 speakers. (If you want 5.1, you can add their matched set for this model.) Genelec speakers are very pricey, but they are high quality (biamped, rounder cabinet corners to prevent coloration of the output, etc.). The 6020 is the newest (and lowest priced) in their line. I'm getting a pair (just your basic stereo setup) for use with an LCD video monitor. The list price was about $1k ($700 retail through the local dealer that Genelec recommended).
I haven't actually hear the 6020's yet. But I am using a pair of 1029a's with Genelec's matched subwoofer for my editing setup and I love them. I bought them on the recommendation of a film soundman. It's hard to describe what I like about them. It's not immediately obvious or earthshaking. I think the best way to put it is that they are extremely accurate and transparent. You hear the sound, not the hardware used to produce it. If you listen to these and then, say, a pair of Bose, the latter seems to have a lot of coloration. The Bose may not sound so bad the first time you hear them. But if you play the same track on the Genelecs you can tell at once what is missing. After hearing a couple of CDs on my Genelecs and Bose, it seemed to me like the Bose made them all sound the same.
These are purely my personal, subjective opinions. And I realize that these are very expensive items. But all I can say is that, I was happy enough with the Genelecs that I own to buy more of them, despite the expense. I think it's a whole different ball park than the normal "high end" consumer merchandise. To me, the low end of a line from a company like Genelec whose business is mostly in the pro world, seems a lot better than the top of the line from, say Sony, or Panasonic.
JBL is another name I hear a lot from pros. The JBL line is bigger and they have more speakers to choose from on both the high and low ends (and everything in between). My laptop has tiny JBLs which (though they obviously don't compare to the speakers above) are remarkably better than any that I've ever heard in a laptop.
Re: your amp, etc.: I don't know about the JBLs but the Genelecs expect a line level signal coming in. On my computer, I run cables from my firewire audio interface. The audio outputs from my LCD are mode switchable for use with the built-in amp and speakers to an external amp and speakers (i.e. the Genelecs). Perhaps you could connect the speakers to your preamp if you use speakers like these that have their own amps. (I am becoming a big fan of each speaker having its own amp ... because I like what I hear from the ones that I own -- no phasing problems, etc.) But, whatever you choose, the best advice you're going to get about the specifics of your setup will come from the manufacturer and dealer --especially, if you are buying high end equipment.
Though an unexpected question in this area of the forum, it is the sort of thing that is of interest to a great many of us, I would think. I run a hopelessly mismatched system in my little living room, which must for now double as semi-casual control/listening room. The mismatch consists in the pairing of a Lexicon DC1 processor to a good quality but relatively modest active satellite/sub system by AE (it's designed for computer use). It's mainly employed for TV and DVD audio and my wife appreciates its near-invisibility. Anyway, the Lexicon equipment is first rate, and built to last. My DC1 was purchased on Ebay for substantially less than I could have otherwise acquired it. There are actually many processors offering high performance and line-out functionality from such companies as NAD, Adcom etc.
For those with a little more space, and money, these ingenious active speakers are worthy of serious consideration: