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Do I REALLY need a preamp???


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Purchased some very high end active monitors (Nuemann HK310s), which in a perfect world I would just connect to one of my cheap (Scarlett or Maudio) interfaces, then to a computer source, and have done with it.

 

BUT…some BUTS… 1) I've got too many CDs to rip then all to the computer (hence will have to keep a cd player);

2) my family want to be able to use an fm tuner, iPads, etc with it;

3) they also want an easy-to-use remote for switching sources and for controlling volume

 

SO… I'm wondering whether I have to purchase something like a used emotive pre-amp, which has all of the above, but which is an unecessary stage in the chain that ends with the speakers, or whether there is a DAC out there that has a volume control and various inputs for different sources (CD player--which of course already has a DAC!!-- usb, iPods, fm tuner, etc., etc.)???

 

Thanks, and I hope I got this question right.

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There are lots of dacs with multiple digital inputs that you can switch between and volume control. Might help to state your budget.

 

As an example...

 

https://www.nuforce.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=661&Itemid=2606

 

Nuforce Dac-80 ~$800

4 switchable digital inputs

 

You mention IPads? Do you need bluetooth connectivity as well? How is it you want to integrate the Ipads with your stereo?

 

Another with lots of inputs and outputs

 

http://www.teac.com/product/ud-501/

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There are lots of dacs with multiple digital inputs that you can switch between and volume control. Might help to state your budget.

 

As an example...

 

https://www.nuforce.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=661&Itemid=2606

 

Nuforce Dac-80 ~$800

4 switchable digital inputs

 

You mention IPads? Do you need bluetooth connectivity as well? How is it you want to integrate the Ipads with your stereo?

 

Another with lots of inputs and outputs

 

Product: UD-501 | TEAC

 

Bluetooth…yup… thanks for the suggestions… this is exactly what I'm looking for. The emo DAC (499) could be added to the list, I guess.

 

I'm on a learning curve here. It's starting to occur to me that the distinction between "preamp" and "DAC" is becoming less and less distinct.

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Looking for a dac/pre with bluetooth is really going to narrow down your options, I don't even know of any off hand that have bluetooth connectivity built in. Your best bet may to pick your preferred dac/preamp in your price range with the inputs/outputs you need and then grab something like this

 

Amazon.com: Belkin Bluetooth HD Music Receiver: MP3 Players & Accessories

 

There are hundreds of simple addon BT receivers with digital outputs that can then connect to your dac/pre.

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Something like Musical Fidelity M1DAC-S which has digital inputs including USB from a computer along with Bluetooth and also analogue inputs (for FM tuner) may be what you are looking for - though the cost may be more than you are wanting to spend.

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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It depends on your system and components. In the lower end systems a lot of people go without preamps or use preamps built in to DACs. There is a limit to these solutions and a line which is crossed where preamps sound better than not. I cannot tell where the line is but most of the top end systems use preamps as they sound better. My DAC has a preamp built in and is rated about like a $3000 preamp so I assume once you cross this line then a preamp will sound better than the DAC. This is just one example. Take it with a grain of salt as this is just my grain. You might check Audiogon’s virtual systems and see what people really use.

AMR 777 DAC, Purist Ultimate USB, PC server 4gig SOTM USB, server 2012, Audiophil Optimizer,Joule Preamp LAP150 Platinum Vcaps Bybee, Spectron Monoblocks Bybee Vcaps, Eggleston Savoy speakers, 2 REL Stentor III subwoofers, Pranawire Cosmos speaker wire, Purist Dominus Praesto cabling, Purist Anniversary (Canorus)power cables and Elrod Statement Gold power cable, VPI Aries I SDS w/Grado The Statement LP, 11kVA power isolation, 16 sound panels and bass traps TAD,RPG,GIK and Realtraps

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I use a NAD M51 as my DAC & preamp and its performance is excellent. I'm in the process of upgrading to a Lampizator DAC which I'll use in the same way and they include incredible tube preamps. I chose those units in part because of how well they perform as preamps.

 

I'm not the most technical person here, but I don't like the idea of a dedicated preamp in a digital system, no matter how expensive or well made it is. It's an additional set of cabling and circuity, an additional expense and it alters the sound of my DAC - which is not something I want.

Roon Server: Core i7-3770S, WS2012 + AO => HQP Server: Core, i7-9700K, HQPlayer OS => NAA: Celeron NUC, HQP NAA => ISO Regen with UltraCap LPS 1.2 => Mapleshade USB Cable => Lampizator L4 DSD-Only Balanced DAC Preamp => Blue Jeans Belden Balanced Cables => Mivera PurePower SE Amp => Magnepan 3.7i

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