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In a digital system how important it an analogue preamp?


DomT
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8 hours ago, Andrei said:

+1.  I had a Wyred4Sound DAC that could be used as a pre-amp.  I can't put my finger on it but there just seemed something missing.  Well ... I suppose the pre-amp was missing! Seriously though the music seemed to lack body. 

Had a friend with some pretty big speakers in a big room . he was running a similar dac into some nice power amps . sounded good , detailed and music was playing . ok 

we put the well known highly regarded pre amp in [ passive] immediately the soundstage widened , the windows started resonating and the bass was way bigger . 3 days later the guy contacted the manufacturer to buy one . 

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1 hour ago, DomT said:

I have no interested in seeking a =n unobtainium theoretical idea of accuracy with my system; I just like music presented how I like it.  It's worth trying out other people's ideas though as you might like it.  In my case I was surprised that I ended up using ATC speakers.  I was also surprised about the positive contribution that the SP17 preamp made in my system.

Poweramps do make a big difference.  I did a comparison at home of Accuphase vs ARC vs Quad and the differences were very large and made a huge difference to the degree that it started to influence speaker choice ie I wouldn't pair Accuphase with ATC SCM11s.

I know. But others do.

Edited by TheFlash
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Of course what you really need Dom is one of the best integrateds on the planet… 

Just teasing.

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2 hours ago, Bokke said:

if you remove the power amp then you will get no sound from the speakers

Did you read what I wrote -has nothing to do with removing power amp

You responded to my point to Tuga about not using a power amp. 

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1 hour ago, tuga said:

Can you point out where that question was asked to me?

All DACs and CD players have an analogue stage. Some have a very "transparent" or accurate one, others one which is "designed" for a particular (euphonic) presentation. I suspect that adding the ARC between a DAC and a power amp will only serve to reduce accuracy (no electronic equipment is truly "transparent") but may in the process produce (listener dependent) euphony or pleasentness. If that's the case then personally I'd rather skip the pre-amp and get an ARC DAC instead.

I suggested that you remove the volume control to determine whether this was a potential reason for the ARC sounding "better" to your ears. 

Well you said use tape out to ATC aka don’t use a power amp. I quoted you and asked you a question about your idea and you didn’t respond and I then pointed it out. I think that someone on here said something about people not reading posts properly. 

You also didn’t respond to why you appear to use the analog outputs of your RME into an integrated amp when you argue strongly that this is a bad idea although some people may like it.


 


 

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Surely given the huge amount of different kit available and the possible combinations thereof, it's impossible to give a general opinion.  Currently, I feed my active speaker direct from the DAC, which sounds excellent. However that was not the case with my previous DAC. Most of us know from experience a component that sound superb in one system can fail to give its best in another.    Therefore experience tells me there in normally no 'rule' other than experimentation in order to achieve synergy of components.  That's obviously a personal view and doubtless many may feel differently. 

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There is a video from the you tuber Darko about the importance of putting a good preamp between DAC and power amp/powered speakers. Can't seem to fine the video, but if I remember correctly he did emphasise that DACS perform best as just DACS  and not as  preamps. 

He further explained that the pre amp sections of dacs do not have the dynamics and dimensionality as a dedicated preamp. From my experience I tend to agree.

Edited by Nativebon
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15 hours ago, Bodgit said:

Wouldn’t mind trying a good pre amp in my system, as currently have the Wadia 861 direct into the power amps.

As your not that far away both myself and wizmax could probably pop over sometime with our pre amps, 1 passive and the other ss active for you to try in your system.

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1 hour ago, Nativebon said:

There is a video from the you tuber Darko about the importance of putting a good preamp between DAC and power amp/powered speakers. Can't seem to fine the video, but if I remember correctly he did emphasise that DACS perform best as just DACS  and not as  preamps. 

He further explained that the pre amp sections of dacs do not have the dynamics and dimensionality as a dedicated preamp. From my experience I tend to agree.

I would not argue with the general premise of the above, however there are now many DACs coming onto the market that incorporate reference level preamps and headphone amplifiers, although admittedly these are normally at the higher end of the price spectrum. 

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1 hour ago, DomT said:

Your suggestion is curious given that you appear to be using the analogue outputs of your DAC (that has a preamp) to feed an integrated amp (at least that's what your Wam profile suggests).

I am not using my DAC as a pre-amp (in the sense that it can control volume level). I am feeding it DSD straight to the D/A chip (in DSD Direct mode there's no processing of any kind including the chip's embedded EQ, volume control, filters or SDM modulador) and the converted signal is indeed passing through the DAC's analogue stage before being fed to my integrated amplifier.

I don't see how that's got to do with the topic though.

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23 minutes ago, wHIZZY said:

I would not argue with the general premise of the above, however there are now many DACs coming onto the market that incorporate reference level preamps and headphone amplifiers, although admittedly these are normally at the higher end of the price spectrum. 

Of course not all DACS have substandard preamp sections including mine (RME).. :D  May be the word 'most' DACS would better describe the situation.

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2 hours ago, DomT said:

Well you said use tape out to ATC aka don’t use a power amp. I quoted you and asked you a question about your idea and you didn’t respond and I then pointed it out. I think that someone on here said something about people not reading posts properly.

You also didn’t respond to why you appear to use the analog outputs of your RME into an integrated amp when you argue strongly that this is a bad idea although some people may like it.

Sorry, I meant to write "into the power amp". But is it that difficult to get my point, considering that a line level signal won't drive speakers (unless you're using a supermagic Chord DAC)?

My point still stands: dropping extra boxes into the signal path will degrade the signal (unless one believes that adequately designed solid state equipment is "transparent") and thus, considering the likelyhood of the ARC's circuit adding euphony then in my view you'd be better off .

Also for an apples to apples comparison one has to remove the attenuator/pot extra variable from the equation, which is why I suggested a comparison between the Benchmark straight into a power amp vs. placing the ARC in between the two only as a "buffer", a bit like the Musical Fidelity X-10.

Edited by tuga
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42 minutes ago, tuga said:

I am not using my DAC as a pre-amp (in the sense that it can control volume level). I am feeding it DSD straight to the D/A chip (in DSD Direct mode there's no processing of any kind including the chip's embedded EQ, volume control, filters or SDM modulador) and the converted signal is indeed passing through the DAC's analogue stage before being fed to my integrated amplifier.

I don't see how that's got to do with the topic though.

You are suggesting for me to avoid the power amp stage, even though I have not declared that I have a problem with it, and yet using one yourself which is why your recommendation is baffling.

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