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Cornman

To Pre or not to Pre

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12 minutes ago, Ossidian said:

Lol. The amp is on 2" acrylic with 2" footers. The DAC is under 3" footers. The class D amps do not give off any heat on the bottom. Appreciate it though.

I see that now.   I stand corrected 

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I use Oppo universal players (UDP-205, BDP-105, or BDP-95) that can decode any digital recording.   The Oppo UDP-205 has built-in high-quality multi-channel DACs, "pre-amp" functionality including selectable downmixing (e.g., 7.1, 5.1, 5.0, 2.1, 2.0), bass management (i.e., configurable subwoofer crossover), and remote volume control.   You can play any hi-res recording through the Oppo’s analog RCA line-level connections.  

 

I connect vintage tube amps directly to the Oppo players (i.e., no pre-amp).  IME adequate gain for driving a power amp can be achieved by adjusting a parameter in the Oppo’s software for the “trim level” for the speakers.   The only times I use a preamp is for LPs, or if I want tone controls (e.g., when KT88 amps sound too bright). 

 

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In one of my systems the configuration is this: Rega Apollo CDP>Wright Mono 7s (300b Monoblocks)> Belles.  It is the sweetest, most resolving configuration I've had.  Mind you, the room is not large, I sit about 10' from the speakers, and the volume generally peaks at, in my estimation, about 90-95 db.  This works especially well with older CDs, those from around the mid 1990's.  For newer CDs (post Loudness War), I need to insert a set of stepped attenuators between the CDP and amps, to bring the levels down. 

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Having seen this thread some time back ... I finally tried this out.  For those with a slightly lower budget ...

 

Broke my 5.2 HT into a 3.1 HT and a 2.1 for 2 channel music (all digital).  I have a BlueSound Vault 2 optical out to DacMagic Plus connected to a cheap little Chinese Class D amp then to Martin Logan Clarity (sub is a Velodyne DD10 off the BlueSound).  It sounds actually very very good.  Gain control is available physically on the little amp and logically via the BlueSound app on my Apple devices (phone or iPad).  The handy thing is the flexibility of both the music server (streaming, USB, CD, Bluetooth and ripped CD to FLAC) and the DAC (USB, Bluetooth, digital in).  I need a mini-sereo to USB cable so I can plug in devices that only have a mini-stereo out.  This would let me plug those devices into the music server so I have logical control over the gain.  I'd like to try a slightly better amp, but this test shows the sound and flexibility of connections is good.  If I could find a used Oppo or Cambridge CXU at something less than crazy high prices ... then I'd be very happy.

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