Griff500

DAC / Pre Amp setup for SCM40A

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I've been offered an ex-demo Vega G2 for £4,250, which seems rather good. £250 PX for my Aries Mini - I'm sure I can do quite a bit better than that selling privately. I'm going to go along and have a listen to the Vega G2 into SCM40A and they also have the TT2 and the M-Scaler for comparison.

I'm not sure if they have a passive preamp to try with a Qutest.

The only one I cannot try at this demo is the Linn. There's an Akurate DSM3 with Katalyst available for around the same as the ex-demo G2.

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17 hours ago, Lurch said:

A used regular baby ref can be had around £2.5k, the remote is retrofittable to all MFA passives so easily sorted. 

And as Fourlegs has intimatted, the Baby Ref is stunning, I grabbed mine about 2 months ago and can't believe how good it is. It took me about 30 seconds to decide it was staying in my system when I had it here for audition. 

I agree....I haven't tried the music first audio baby ref,  but I have their classic with me. The best preamp I've ever heard by a very wide margin. The improvement over my active pre's was evident from pressing play :)

And the active preamps I was using, were all more expensive than the MFA , by quite a wide margin :D

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There is a passive Townsend preamp in the classifieds, supposedly very good. I reckon you can get a streamer, pre and dac for 4 grand secondhand thats better overall than the G2.

Edited by Lee M

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15 minutes ago, newlash09 said:

I agree....I haven't tried the music first audio baby ref,  but I have their classic with me. The best preamp I've ever heard by a very wide margin. The improvement over my active pre's was evident from pressing play :)

And the active preamps I was using, were all more expensive than the MFA , by quite a wide margin :D

The dealer reckons that they have tried this and they don’t believe the output is sufficient to provide the best possible results when attenuated down.

The dealer reckons that they have tried this and they don’t believe the output is sufficient to provide the best possible results when attenuated down.

Does that sound reasonable? It seems logical. Perhaps they simply don’t sell passive preamps.

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4 minutes ago, Lee M said:

There is a passive Townsend preamp in the classifieds, supposedly very good. I reckon you can get a streamer, pre and dac for 4 grand secondhand thats better overall than the G2.

It is certainly an interesting option.

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Just now, Griff500 said:

It is certainly an interesting option.

I almost bought a Townsend pre but a SJS Arcadia popped up in the classifieds which im really happy with. 

Its a shame to look at loads of extra boxes with active speakers. A one box streamer dac pre would be the perfrct solution. Id sacrifice ultimate performance for a neater solution. 

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Super Dealer
13 minutes ago, Griff500 said:

The dealer reckons that they have tried this and they don’t believe the output is sufficient to provide the best possible results when attenuated down.

The dealer reckons that they have tried this and they don’t believe the output is sufficient to provide the best possible results when attenuated down.

Does that sound reasonable? It seems logical. Perhaps they simply don’t sell passive preamps.

No, that does not have any credibility at all. One main advantage of the Music First passive pre amps is that they can be paired with very long interconnects to the active speakers.

It doesn't seem as if the dealer understands the way that Transformer Volume Controls work. Be wary of anything that dealer says based on what he has told you . . .

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Griffo 500: The input sensitivity of your speakers is 1V for full output, all 112db of it coming out of your speakers. The output of your DAC will be at least 2V (if balanced could be 4V) so all you need is an attenuator. That can either be in the Linn, the pot in a preamplifier or the volume control of a passive preamplifier. Now the biggest bang for the buck will be the passive as there is so little in the circuit although a lot do not have lots of facilties. The choice between an Allegri or an MFA is a bit like angels on a pinhead as to which you prefer. They sound different but which is better? There is a third product in transformer volume controls, the Icon 4 which uses the same method as the Allegri but has a lot more facilties such as remote volume, balance control, A/V, sleep mode etc. And it is about £1,000 less expensive. About £1.6k vs £2.4K.

The Linn DSM is a great one box solution and has a built in volume control, done properly. And it has a few added bonus features like room correction that will match to your specific speakers. 

Despite that some do not like the 'honest truth' of passives and prefer something that 'flavours' the signal with active preamplifiers. In your postion a DAC and an Icon 4 would be my choice. Small, neat and you can control them remotely. The MFA is manual unless you spend a lot and buy a motor to attach onto the volume control. 

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5 minutes ago, George 47 said:

Griffo 500: The input sensitivity of your speakers is 1V for full output, all 112db of it coming out of your speakers. The output of your DAC will be at least 2V (if balanced could be 4V) so all you need is an attenuator. That can either be in the Linn, the pot in a preamplifier or the volume control of a passive preamplifier. Now the biggest bang for the buck will be the passive as there is so little in the circuit although a lot do not have lots of facilties. The choice between an Allegri or an MFA is a bit like angels on a pinhead as to which you prefer. They sound different but which is better? There is a third product in transformer volume controls, the Icon 4 which uses the same method as the Allegri but has a lot more facilties such as remote volume, balance control, A/V, sleep mode etc. And it is about £1,000 less expensive. About £1.6k vs £2.4K.

The Linn DSM is a great one box solution and has a built in volume control, done properly. And it has a few added bonus features like room correction that will match to your specific speakers. 

Despite that some do not like the 'honest truth' of passives and prefer something that 'flavours' the signal with active preamplifiers. In your postion a DAC and an Icon 4 would be my choice. Small, neat and you can control them remotely. The MFA is manual unless you spend a lot and buy a motor to attach onto the volume control. 

That's good to know.

The passive preamp is an interesting option. As I said before, it would not meet with the girlfriend's approval and have to be hidden away, and there are more cables, etc, but that can be done if it's worthwhile to do so and I do already have a remote that I use for everything that's in the TV cabinet with RF senders, so it's certainly not impossible.

Apparently the Vega G2 has a decent analogue preamp and volume control. I wonder how this compares with the Linn.

As I mentioned before, the Linn has a significantly higher retail price than the Vega G2 (about £2K difference) but that doesn't necessarily mean it's better simply because it costs more. I could get either of these for around £4.2K, with the Vega G2 being ex-demo and no more than one year old and the Linn having been upgraded to Katalyst and being registered by Linn as DSM3 and having their warranty until 2024 as it was upgraded last year. The room correction is an interesting feature.

Apparently the Linn app is good from what I have read but I haven't seen a demo of it online. I use Lightning DS already and I think it is good. I'm not sure how sound quality would compare but I'll hear the Vega G2 shortly and it is supposed to be very good.

Has anyone heard both the Linn Akurate with Katalyst and the Vega G2? It's tough to find much online about the Linn in terms of reviews or measurements.

If I went the TT2 route I could add a passive preamp in the future if I felt it worthwhile to do so. Apparently the TT2 seems to have a warmer or more musical sound than the Qutest.

I am keen to get as much detail as possible, with as 3D a soundstage as possible (I'm not sure what words are usually used to describe these things - depth and width in the soundstage). I'm probably not describing this correctly... ;-) 

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1 hour ago, Griff500 said:

Has anyone heard both the Linn Akurate with Katalyst and the Vega G2? It's tough to find much online about the Linn in terms of reviews or measurements

Have you had a look on the Linn owners club on this forum, the Akurate Katalyst is very highly regarded, never heard a bad word against it. That's where my money would go but I have only ever used Linn streamers so can't offer any info on comparisons.  Also, I believe that on the ASR forum (that I very rarely look at but which has a few fans here) gave it a very high rating based on measurements. I currently have the Linn Klimax Renew and happy with it, but the Akurate Katalyst is the only product that would tempt me to upgrade (even though I'd be going from Klimax to Akurate level!) 

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3 minutes ago, Rayymondo said:

Have you had a look on the Linn owners club on this forum, the Akurate Katalyst is very highly regarded, never heard a bad word against it. That's where my money would go but I have only ever used Linn streamers so can't offer any info on comparisons.  Also, I believe that on the ASR forum (that I very rarely look at but which has a few fans here) gave it a very high rating based on measurements. I currently have the Linn Klimax Renew and happy with it, but the Akurate Katalyst is the only product that would tempt me to upgrade (even though I'd be going from Klimax to Akurate level!) 

I'll have a look for it.

I think the Linn and Auralic might be comparable overall, not that I've really got much of an understanding of the measurements side of things.

The Linn would have a much longer guarantee (four more years) as it was only upgraded to Katalyst last year. I think I'd have another twelve months with the Auralic. I'm not worried by that but it doesn't hurt to have the guarantee.

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4 hours ago, Griff500 said:

As I mentioned before, the Linn has a significantly higher retail price than the Vega G2 (about £2K difference) but that doesn't necessarily mean it's better simply because it costs more. I could get either of these for around £4.2K, with the Vega G2 being ex-demo and no more than one year old and the Linn having been upgraded to Katalyst and being registered by Linn as DSM3 and having their warranty until 2024 as it was upgraded last year. The room correction is an interesting feature.

Apparently the Linn app is good from what I have read but I haven't seen a demo of it online. I use Lightning DS already and I think it is good. I'm not sure how sound quality would compare but I'll hear the Vega G2 shortly and it is supposed to be very good.

Has anyone heard both the Linn Akurate with Katalyst and the Vega G2? It's tough to find much online about the Linn in terms of reviews or measurements.

One thing to bear in mind, is that it's generally accepted that the ADS/Katalyst matches, if not betters the Klimax DS without Katalyst, which was around £12k (IIRC). The same applied to the performance of the DSM version (though the Klimax Pre is likely better). At the time, the Klimax was considered as one of the very best Digital Streamers.

IMO. If you can better the performance of a Klimax DSM (non Katayst), for £4k, it is worth a dem to see if it lives up to the hype.

Edited by CnoEvil
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2 hours ago, Griff500 said:

I'll have a look for it.

I think the Linn and Auralic might be comparable overall, not that I've really got much of an understanding of the measurements side of things.

The Linn would have a much longer guarantee (four more years) as it was only upgraded to Katalyst last year. I think I'd have another twelve months with the Auralic. I'm not worried by that but it doesn't hurt to have the guarantee.

I'll give another vote for the LInn Akurate w/Kat. That was/is the only piece of source gear I had in this house on demo that made an obvious difference to my ears.  This was before I got the VTL though and I was not prepared to spend another 4k euro on the Linn.  I also had the Altair G1 in here, for three months, but the app was a deal breaker.  I liked the sound of the Auralic, but the Linn is still better. No help with the Vega.

Edited by ChemMan

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Super Wammer

I have a fantastic Antelope Audio Zodiac dsd dac in fab condition, like new! hard to believe you can find something  better .

Edited by flo1984
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1 hour ago, ChemMan said:

I'll give another vote for the LInn Akurate w/Kat. That was/is the only piece of source gear I had in this house on demo that made an obvious difference to my ears.  This was before I got the VTL though and I was not prepared to spend another 4k euro on the Linn.  I also had the Altair G1 in here, for three months, but the app was a deal breaker.  I liked the sound of the Auralic, but the Linn is still better. No help with the Vega.

I don't think the Altair G1 is anywhere near the same level as the options we are discussing, although I do think it's excellent for the money and that's what my SCM40A demo used.

The Linn does seem to be getting some votes.

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