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Recommendation for pre-amp


gradier
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I am looking for a recommendation for an upgraded pre-amp to use with a pair of M-Audio M-38 active studio monitors. I am using an IFI IDAC (USB DAC) connected to my music source (laptop using JRiver) and, at present, a rather old Hafler 100 pre-amp (all connected via RCA cables). I would like a built-in phono amp and 4 speaker/monitor OUTS for possible use with a second pair of monitors in the next room. Headphone amp is not vital as I also have an IFI headphone amp.

 

Thanks...

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I am looking for a recommendation for an upgraded pre-amp to use with a pair of M-Audio M-38 active studio monitors. I am using an IFI IDAC (USB DAC) connected to my music source (laptop using JRiver) and, at present, a rather old Hafler 100 pre-amp (all connected via RCA cables). I would like a built-in phono amp and 4 speaker/monitor OUTS for possible use with a second pair of monitors in the next room. Headphone amp is not vital as I also have an IFI headphone amp.

Thanks...

 

Try the Schiit Saga. Cheap (US$350), very short signal path, remote control for source selection/volume, and very flexible and sounds great!

George

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Try the Schiit Saga. Cheap (US$350), very short signal path, remote control for source selection/volume, and very flexible and sounds great!

 

You know, that's a great suggestion. I am however having a hard time finding out how to get a hold of one in Canada.

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You know, that's a great suggestion. I am however having a hard time finding out how to get a hold of one in Canada.

 

Since they only sell direct, I suggest you go to their web-site and order one. I assume that FEDEX, UPS, DHL and the Royal Canadian Mail all deliver "up there"!!?? I suspect that's probably not that hard. I've bought stuff from Canada before and I got it delivered here in the States without any bruh-ha-ha.

George

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Saga has no phono-pre built in.

Schiit also sells a good phono pre (Mani) for a very reasonable price.

The Saga and phono pre together go for $480.

 

Schiit is available from the web site. They ship worldwide, at last check that included Canada.

 

I doubt you can come anywhere close to that quality of sound for anywhere near the price. Schiit are high value products.

 

BTW, I just ordered a Freya, preamp big brother of the Saga. Will be arriving after the new year.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Tube pre-amp?

 

The Saga and Freya are both multiple mode preamps. Saga: Tube or passive; Freya: Tube, passive, or SS active. Both have relay switched, remote controllable attenuators. Freya has more inputs and outputs (including balanced) and more steps on volume control. $349 and $699 respectively.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Hope you might report back on the Freya. Been waiting for it to hit the shelves and some user feedback would be nice.

 

Will do. It will only ship in 5 days to a week (XMAS). With customs etc., I' guessing I'll have it in 2 weeks or possibly a bit more. After it's here a few days, I'll report back. The first feedback on the Saga has been very positive, but it's all from the fanboys at the Schiit thread on head-fi.org.

 

http://schiit.com/news/news/schiit-previews-2-channel-line-at-rmaf

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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The Saga and Freya are both multiple mode preamps. Saga: Tube or passive; Freya: Tube, passive, or SS active. Both have relay switched, remote controllable attenuators. Freya has more inputs and outputs (including balanced) and more steps on volume control. $349 and $699 respectively.

 

I could go for the Freya maybe. What exactly are the advantages of balanced outputs though?

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I could go for the Freya maybe. What exactly are the advantages of balanced outputs though?

 

Big argument about that.

 

They are better if you need long cable runs - they work better over long distances - (long meaning more than 20 feet or even 15 feet; less loss and noise/hum/interference) than unbalanced in these situations. No debate on that.

 

In theory, even in short runs they are less susceptible to noise. Some think it doesn't matter in practice. Others think balanced is the only way to go, even in short runs. Others will tell you than under 10 feet unbalanced are actually superior and will give a stronger signal.

 

One other point: Many output devices (DACs, CD Players, preamps) will have a higher output voltage over balanced, and you will get a louder sound at a given volume control position with balanced; that helps if you want a louder sound from your system.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Good for you! But in what way does that contrdict what I said?

Well, I actually was not trying to contradict you. Merely addressed your statement beginning "If your power amp(s) don't have balanced inputs" with a confirmation: yes they do. Seems a fair response, I think, based on the way you phrased your conditional statement. Not sure why I would be asking about the advantages of balanced outputs if I don't have balanced inputs myself. Of course, it could be a hypothetical question, or I could be considering the purchase of amps with balanced inputs based on recommendations that I may read in an online forum such as CA.

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I am looking for a recommendation for an upgraded pre-amp to use with a pair of M-Audio M-38 active studio monitors. I am using an IFI IDAC (USB DAC) connected to my music source (laptop using JRiver) and, at present, a rather old Hafler 100 pre-amp (all connected via RCA cables). I would like a built-in phono amp and 4 speaker/monitor OUTS for possible use with a second pair of monitors in the next room. Headphone amp is not vital as I also have an IFI headphone amp.

 

I too heartily recommend the Schiit Saga. You only need three sets of outputs from your description, it has two, plus remote control. You could split the outputs right at the Saga to go to the lesser monitors and headphone amp. Don't use Saga's passive setting for your setup.

 

Where is your turntable? I ask because you should *always* use very short cables from that to your phono preamp. And given that your main preamp could have shorter output cables for lowest cost, I suggest an outboard phono preamp placed right at your phono outputs. There are many good choices (like the $129 MM/MC-capable Schiit Mani).

 

Or the still-affordable ($700) Freya would be insanely good with its 3 sets of outputs (2 SE, 1 Bal). If your 2nd set of monitors are active with balanced inputs, you should split the Bal output of the Freya (or any balanced pre) right at its outputs.

 

Lots of consumer preamps should have 3-6 buffered outputs but almost none do: the Freya is the most versatile consumer preamp in existence, AFAIK.

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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