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Been wondering about this: Does it make more sense to send the audio signal straight from my DAC (RCA OUTS) to my studio monitors (DAC > monitors), or run it through a pre-amp first (DAC > pre-amp > monitors)? Now, of course, I don't need a pre-amp at all in this set-up. The only thing I gain from the pre-amp is a volume knob, which is nicer than the mouse to control volume. Maybe there's some generally accepted viewpoint, maybe it's a matter of taste. Seems to me that the more you place along the signal path, the more likely you could degrade the sound....

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Yeah, forgot to mention...I am using a Schiit Magni 3 pre-amp:

 

Windows 10 / JRiver > iFi iGalvanic3.0 > iFi IDAC2 > Magni 3 > Neumann KH120 monitors

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just try it out - do a blinded test if you suspect a detriment to SQ


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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When deciding between DAC and pre-amp: isn't also the output impedance and voltage relevant to match with the amp/powered speaker?

I am currently looking for a new DAC (to use with powered speakers) and the speaker manufacturer says, that output impedance should be <100Ohm (with at least 1.5V-2V) which redlines lots of DACs on my list if I do not want to use a dedicated pre-amp.

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5 hours ago, dennis88 said:

When deciding between DAC and pre-amp: isn't also the output impedance and voltage relevant to match with the amp/powered speaker?

I am currently looking for a new DAC (to use with powered speakers) and the speaker manufacturer says, that output impedance should be <100Ohm (with at least 1.5V-2V) which redlines lots of DACs on my list if I do not want to use a dedicated pre-amp.

What powered speakers do you have (or maybe you are intending to buy?)?

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for some years now use the volume control of the DAC to send the audio signal to the monitor, I do not feel the lack of pre.

if the dac does not have the volume I have a passive attenuator (SPL volume2).


system:

HDPlex Server ( i7-6700-WS2016 ) HQPlayer  with Ramdisk + HQPDcontrol >cable network > TPlink mc 110cs > optical singlemode > TPlink mc 110cs > HDPlex NAA ( celeron G1840T-WS2016 ) NAD with Ramdisk > usb interface > nuprime dac10 > monitor Klein+hummel o410 + sub KHo810

 

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1 hour ago, giordy60 said:

for some years now use the volume control of the DAC to send the audio signal to the monitor, I do not feel the lack of pre.

if the dac does not have the volume I have a passive attenuator (SPL volume2).

Yes, I was using my Shiit Magni 3 as basically an attenuator, but for whatever reason I took it out of the line, and since this is a computer desk set-up it was easy to use the mouse/keyboard controls and the internal volume control in JRiver. I think the sound is somewhat clearer but only by a tad. JRiver volume is now about 30% instead of, before, 100% into the pre-amp and then attenuated.

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On 8/24/2019 at 8:00 PM, Ralf11 said:

a tubed pre-amp can be used to provide some euphonic alterations to the signal (I do this)

It logically seems that direct connection from DAC to power amp ( in my case active speakers) would be preferable  given sufficient voltage and a low output impedance. However in over 20 years of using  DACs with a volume control and re-trying direct connection for time to time I have never stuck with such a set up for longer than a few hours. Although I can admire what I am hearing that is not the same as enjoying emotional involvement and at some point I have to go back to using a pre-amp. After the first ten years or so that pre-amp became a tubed one for what I suspect is much the same reason as yours.

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On 8/25/2019 at 10:52 AM, giordy60 said:

for some years now use the volume control of the DAC to send the audio signal to the monitor, I do not feel the lack of pre.

if the dac does not have the volume I have a passive attenuator (SPL volume2).

Can you explain?  If the  DAC does not have the volume (I presume you mean gain or output), a passive attenuator cannot correct for that.  Or, otoh, did you mean to say volume control?

 

Anyway, do not that the SPL Volume2 is not a passive attenuator, anyway.


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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On 8/25/2019 at 10:44 AM, gradier said:

Yes, I was using my Shiit Magni 3 as basically an attenuator, but for whatever reason I took it out of the line, and since this is a computer desk set-up it was easy to use the mouse/keyboard controls and the internal volume control in JRiver. I think the sound is somewhat clearer but only by a tad. JRiver volume is now about 30% instead of, before, 100% into the pre-amp and then attenuated.

Personally, I have not heard a pre-amp that’s totally transparent to a really high quality DAC so I think theoretically, taking out a pre-amp would always offer more transparency as you’ve heard. However, many DACs have issues with low-level linearity (just look at the measurements from Hi-Fi News and  Record Review). So if you’re using JRiver to do your digital volume attenuation, you’re relying on your DAC to be sufficiently linear at lower volumes. 30% is still pretty loud so I suspect you’re probably fine. But there are times when you have to lower your volume digitally so much, you’ll find that you hit your DACs low level nonlinearity and in those situations, sometimes it’s better to run the DAC at full volume and then let a preamplifier to attenuate the volume for you.

Some people also prefer specific preamps as they can simply add more euphonic second harmonic distortions. 

Bottomline I think is that for your setup, sell your preamp and get some money back.


ultraRendu > Chord Blu Mk. 2 > Chord DAVE > Chord Etude > Dynaudio Confidence C1 Signature + Sunfire TS-EQ10 subwoofers

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11 ore fa, Kal Rubinson ha detto:

Puoi spiegare? Se il DAC non ha il volume (presumo si intende il guadagno o uscita), un attenuatore passivo non può correggere per questo. Oppure, OTOH, intendevi dire il volume di controllo ?

sì ... è il controllo del volume, mi dispiace ...

 

 

11 ore fa, Kal Rubinson ha detto:

 

 

Comunque, non che la SPL Volume2 non è un attenuatore passivo, comunque.

il circuito elettrico spl viene utilizzato solo per evitare variazioni di impedenze tipiche nei controlli passivi.

Volume2 spl è un semplice controllo di volume analogico


system:

HDPlex Server ( i7-6700-WS2016 ) HQPlayer  with Ramdisk + HQPDcontrol >cable network > TPlink mc 110cs > optical singlemode > TPlink mc 110cs > HDPlex NAA ( celeron G1840T-WS2016 ) NAD with Ramdisk > usb interface > nuprime dac10 > monitor Klein+hummel o410 + sub KHo810

 

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6 hours ago, giordy60 said:

il circuito elettrico spl viene utilizzato solo per evitare variazioni di impedenze tipiche nei controlli passivi.

Volume2 spl è un semplice controllo di volume analogico

Yes, it is analog and with thee expressed function of buffering the input and the output but it is not passive.


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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