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Bill Brown

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  1. Ah yes, I just remembered as well that @992Sam will be running an SACD player and an LP system, where a preamp is mandatory (I have converted to digital files exclusively). I expect the Macintosh to be a wonderful performer for him. As the common pathway for all of the sources a great preamp is considered by many to be the heart of a system. Bill
  2. Thank you. Yes, I have the input sensitivity at the the lowest setting on my Benchmark amp and with the analog/automatic gain switching of the RME DAC usually listen at -0 to -6db of digital attenuation (with higher quality recordings). I think it is a good way to go. As long as the output stage of a DAC is well-designed and the volume control is implemented well (and it has one, not all do, of course), I don't see the need for a separate preamplifier. It is nice to avoid the expense (the good ones are $$) of a separate preamplifier. Again, this isn't to say that @992Sam won't
  3. Yes, I could see how restoring loudness balance would be nice. I think my right ear is down a little bit, so will sometimes move the balance control a bit in that direction. Bill
  4. The concept of equalizing to match our hearing loss has long been an interesting concept to me. My thinking has been that we adjust to this as it becomes the new way we perceive as "realistic" sound day-to-day. I think only when our hearing has degraded to the point that we would need hearing aids is when we should adjust the frequency balance of our systems (like hearing aids would do). Though I could be wrong, and if listeners perceive more realism with equalization it's cool. :) Bill
  5. "Stupid" isn't a word I used. I would ask you to not put words into my mouth. Also, why would I write so much above about a subject that I think is "stupid?" Did you read near the top where I emphasized the importance of gain staging in some detail? My point above is not that it isn't worth thinking about and that it wouldn't be fun to experiment, but that in the end, his equipment is so well-engineered that any combination of settings will work fantastically (a point I have repeatedly emphasized). I would also encourage you to read a bit on the effect of S/N measure
  6. No worries. :) Most of us have been there (I know I have)! Bill
  7. Truthfully, though, this is all sort of "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" kind of stuff anyway. It is a beautiful system that will sound great no matter what you do. I would just play with it, pick a setting, and forget it/listen to music. Bill
  8. I would be very surprised if that is the case. I would make a huge bet it is in the analog stages. An interesting question to me would be the raw voltage coming off the DAC chips as to whether they are voltage or current output. If the latter it would require a I/V stage and gain. Hard to know whether the gain stage/output driving stage is optimized at 0.2, 0.6, 2, etc. volts. I am sure it is implemented very well regardless making the latter consideration moot, and the S/N issues described above remain. The DAC is certainly not operating in isolation. With wide dy
  9. Couldn't resist the opportunity to tease. :) And great! Look forward to your next review! Bill
  10. George, thank you for the great review. Makes me wish I could hear one. I can't resist noting that is a pretty fancy USB cable for a cable non-believer :) Bill
  11. I realized I may have implied your amp had a tube output stage, but I know it is SS. The commonality it has with tube outputs is the transformer output (actually an autoformer with Mac, unique in that regard and a neat concept). Bill
  12. My pleasure. I find these calculations sort of fun. I looked for the input sensitivity on your amp. It wasn't on the main web page, but I find it in the owner's manual: 4.2V in balanced will drive the amplifier to its rated output (half that for unbalanced), so that is the most your preamp will have to put out. I was pretty close with my 4V calculation above :). For 4.2V out your preamp needs 0.189779V :). I like to use digital attenuation so as not to have to buy a preamp as I think small amounts of digital attenuation (possible wi
  13. @sandyk is giving good advice. Getting good gain structure/gainstaging (what you are working on) is very worthwhile. One rule of thumb would be to minimize any gain that you subsequently attenuate. This maintains S/N ratio. Generally the least gain required to get the maximal speaker output that you want is best. The above specification 900mv balanced/450mv unbalanced, means that those are the voltages at which the preamp will amplify it to its maximum output. Anything sent to the preamp higher than that must be attenuated in the preamp (which it will do)
  14. I have always loved when he throws his guitar into the air at the end. Wondered for years who caught it :) Bill
  15. I think so, yes, and is what I am doing at this point, though some will argue (maybe correctly) that the full deal is better. I am using Audirvana with AU plugins with parametric EQs (better, I think, than graphic). I have EQs at my main two room modes, and some very gentle shaping in the upper midrange. Bill
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