newlash09

To preamp or not

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10 minutes ago, MartinC said:

As I don't think it's been mentioned yet, I believe that your current plan would be to connect any pre-amp to your external crossover rather than directly to your power amps?

Hi martinC 

Yes, that is the plan indeed. Preamp will be feeding the external crossover. And power amps will be connected from this crossover. But I've been given to believe that the crossover is transparent to the source. So keeping my fingers crossed on this one :)

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Super Wammer

My twopenny worth- I used to use my Audio Synthesis Dac/pre into an Audio Synthesis Passive pre then out to my active crossover and into valve monoblocs. I actually preferred the sound without the passive pre in circuit but needed the ability to switch between sources. 

Since inserting a Minidsp 2x4HD in circuit, configured as the digital active crossover, I'm going from my digital streamer straight into the minidsp via Toslink and straight from that into my valve amps. The more direct the path, the better, I've found. 

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10 hours ago, Jazid said:

o, under no circumstances can an extra stage add clarity

Agree with this very simple analysis. In fact, less is more when it comes to much in audio terms (but not everything). 

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1 hour ago, newlash09 said:

Hi martinC 

Yes, that is the plan indeed. Preamp will be feeding the external crossover. And power amps will be connected from this crossover. But I've been given to believe that the crossover is transparent to the source. So keeping my fingers crossed on this one :)

It's very relevant to the comments above re. input and output impedance though, and in that people's experiences reflect a different situation.

Oh, and by definition a crossover is not transparent - it's massively filtering the signal :P.

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13 hours ago, Jazid said:

No, under no circumstances can an extra stage add clarity

yes in principle, but not necessarily so in practice (in my experience also). I have puzzled over this in the past. It could possibly be that not having enough appropriate stages to transmit the signal effectively results in loss of fidelity.

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Interested in this thread as I'm running the Muse power amps directly from the Wadia 861 which has volume control in the digital domain...

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Super Wammer

Back in the day, if we could aspire to those heady financial heights, we would have a pre-amp with built in phono input feeding one or two power amps. The logic of this thread is that we should have been feeding said pre-amp into another pre-amp before the power amps. Back then, this would have been clearly ludicrous.

Substitute DAC for phono input and we have the same situation. If the DAC is designed as a pre-amp, which the AMR clearly is, then why would you add another one for a single source system. To be fair, not all DACs with volume controls have been correctly designed to drive power amps, but the blurb for the AMR clearly infers that It has.

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30 minutes ago, Bodgit said:

Interested in this thread as I'm running the Muse power amps directly from the Wadia 861 which has volume control in the digital domain...

What max output settings are you using on the 861? Good though this player is, the dac/processor only runs at 24bits so it is important that the attenuation by the digital volume is as small as possible.

I have some experience of this player and getting the settings right does seem to make a difference, even a standard Red Book resolution.

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You shouldn't be without a preamp, for the simple reason that this adds an extra box to your system which, as we all know, improves sound quality.

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8 minutes ago, bigfool1956 said:

Back in the day, if we could aspire to those heady financial heights, we would have a pre-amp with built in phono input feeding one or two power amps. The logic of this thread is that we should have been feeding said pre-amp into another pre-amp before the power amps. Back then, this would have been clearly ludicrous.

Substitute DAC for phono input and we have the same situation. If the DAC is designed as a pre-amp, which the AMR clearly is, then why would you add another one for a single source system. To be fair, not all DACs with volume controls have been correctly designed to drive power amps, but the blurb for the AMR clearly infers that It has.

I would agree. The only reason to insert anything between the DAC and the amp would be if the output from the DAC was insufficient to properly drive the amp. I had exactly that situation with a pair of IcePower amps that needed more input voltage than my DAC could supply; easily fixed with an active preamp stage between the two.

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2 minutes ago, Beobloke said:

You shouldn't be without a preamp, for the simple reason that this adds an extra box to your system which, as we all know, improves sound quality.

Absolutely. And of course, he who ends up with the most toys wins.

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3 minutes ago, Beobloke said:

You shouldn't be without a preamp, for the simple reason that this adds an extra box to your system which, as we all know, improves sound quality.

And don't forget the extra cost.

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1 hour ago, dave said:

yes in principle, but not necessarily so in practice (in my experience also). I have puzzled over this in the past. It could possibly be that not having enough appropriate stages to transmit the signal effectively results in loss of fidelity.

Two very simple facts come into play here, and explain most of the subjective differences. 

Firstly adding an extra gain stage to the system does tend to encourage playback at slightly higher levels. This is highly subjective and very difficult to counter unless you are prepared to measure outputs and level match.

Secondly, this will also change where the gain is applied in a system. Simple case, if you have a conventional pre-power combo where the power amp has its own level controls, then turning down the power amp and running the pre-amp harder may sound quite different from turning the power amp up full and turning the pre-amp down.

(This is a good experiment as there are no changes to the equipment in use, just the stage at which most of the gain is generated.)

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15 minutes ago, MGTOW said:

What max output settings are you using on the 861? Good though this player is, the dac/processor only runs at 24bits so it is important that the attenuation by the digital volume is as small as possible.

I have some experience of this player and getting the settings right does seem to make a difference, even a standard Red Book resolution.

Yes I'm aware of the limitations. For serious listening volume is around 80 or so, but when watching the TV at normal volume levels, its probably around 40. It would be interesting to see if a decent pre-amp improved the SQ as the Wadia would then be set to 100 and SQ improvements may be more noticeable at lower volume levels.

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I will pop out my second question now :)

The amr has 2 dac modules. The classic mode is designed for 16/44 and it's increments. And the hd dac module for 24/96 And it's increments. 

 The hd dac module seems to have channel volume level imbalance at the moment. And I can't seem to find anyone to repair it . I guess most folks would advise to solder a resistor in series. But I don't know where to put it. If I put the resistor just before the line out, then the classic dac, which has proper channel balance will get imbalanced through the same line outs. 

So was wondering if I got a preamp with balance control, I could balance out the channel imbalance I presently have on the hd dac, using this balance control. 

So will using balance control on the preamp deteriorate the sound quality. A lot folks say that tone controls degrade sound quality. So was wondering if balance control also effects in the same way. Thanks to kindly let me know :)

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