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Integrated amp + DAC for forte 3's.


thetoe
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Hey guys, I'm looking for suggestions as far as gear for some forte 3's. I don't have anything currently. I'm looking at integrated amps and DAC's and am feeling pretty overwhelmed. I mainly want to stream music via tidal/spotify etc with other sources coming later.  Any suggestions? Thanks!

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There are lots of good choices.  A few questions and answers will help narrow down the suggestions you get.  What is your budget?  Do you want an integrated amp and dac in one unit or can they be separate?  How will you stream your music (e.g., via Bluetooth or some other hard wired source like a network music streamer like Cambridge cxn)?  I just ordered the forte iii myself and am still trying to figure some things out as well.  I will likely hookup sonus to my preamp/dac. 

 

A very simple and inexpensive solution would be a Yamaha S801 integrated with built in dac for about $900 and then buy a separate Bluetooth device ( less than a 100) that you can plug into you Yamaha and stream music from your iPhone 

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Hard to beat the utility of NAD C 338.  https://nadelectronics.com/product/c-338-classic-digital-dac-amplifier/

 

I picked up a factory refurb from Crutchfield earlier this year.  It meets all my needs except for maybe a couple percent of the time lacking the ability to modify tonal balance.  As well, there are no means of inserting external signal processing equipment into the loop if you're considering doing that at all.

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I've been looking into this as well. It is overwhelming.  I have many flac files on my iMac but not quite sure the best way to play them through my Yamaha A-s801 integrated amp and forte III's. Thinking might be easier just to buy a laptop  ( mac or pC?) and plug into the 801.  still new to this and learning. Of course my hard drives with music are usb 2.0 and the new macs are thunderbolt. so would need some kind of converter cable. I had the choice of two rabbit holes-vinyl or HI-res digital. I chose the later. 

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Lots of choices that depend on:

1. sources:  local files, NAS files, and/or Internet sources and whether you have a Mac or PC

2. end-points:  purpose-built devices like chrome cast, roku, apple airport./tv, amazon fire stick or

                         network-based integrated amps like the NAD mentioned above that have chrome cast, Spotify connect and bluetooth built-in.

 

You could go old-school and run a usb cable from your computer to your integrated amp and use something like iTunes (although it doesn't support FLAC) or your favorite internet streaming app.  But, most likely, you will want to get your integrated amp network-enabled via a purpose-built device or buying a network-based integrated amp to start.

 

The daunting part is there are a lot of different and somewhat closed ecosystems.  Google doesn't make their money on a $15 Chromecast puck, they make their money selling you content and services within their ecosystem.  I have a lot of Apple stuff already, so Airplay streaming works well for me - from Macs and iPhones to Apple TVs and Airports - both local content and internet sources.  Everybody in the house knows how to stream Pandora to the Airport connected to the DAC on the family room stereo.  I don't get any support calls 😉

 

For the last year, I've been using Roon.  It's basically iTunes on steroids.  It can take almost any source in your house, or Tidal on the internet, and stream it to almost any destination, without a lot of the interop / lock-in headaches.

 

 

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