One deal-breaker is whether or not you want analogue inputs or not though some DACs have them.
Could you name a few? I' m looking for a "all-digital + FM" set-up, so one of these DACs with analogue input (just one would be fine) and "pre-ampability" (as if that were a word in English! ) might be just the ticket.
I know of a few:
Thanks for the tips, busb.
The Zodiac is rather expensive. A mail to the Belgian distributor taught me MSB is way out of my reach (prices start at €7000). But the Benchmarks look interesting. See if I can find out where to audition them.
One option for those wanting both analogue inputs & fewer boxes is a multidisc player like the Oppo 105 feeding a power amp.
The Oppo 105 is skyhigh on my wishlist. Now, I might be confused (or just ignorant),but eh... does it have analogue inputs?
Also try the MATRIX Quattro DAC and Mini-iDAC
The Matrix Quattro DAC might be worth an audition. I finally found the company website (http://www.matrixelectronics.net/). Do they only sell online? Can't seem to find any distributors or dealers.
I don't know what sources you have, or how many, but if you feel that you needed more digital inputs, optical switches are available for not much money.
I haven't bought anything yet, so all options are open. The plan is: UDP/DAC, Sonos and FM tuner as sources; integrated or power amp; floorstanders. It would be a big plus if the TV could be sent over the hifi too. So normally 3 or 4 digital inputs would be fine.
Fantastic! Very useful feedback, many thanks to all for contributing.
Would like to hear from more of those who already run DAC -> Power Amp direct, especially with W4S-DAC2, Benchmark DAC2, NAD M51, etc, I am sure you would have done some comparison before taking this path, would like to hear your view on the differences.
I run a Dac straight into a pair of power amps and am very pleased with the result. Dac and power amps are the same make, so I assume the manufacturer has designed these to work together in an optimal way (Bel Canto). If you only have digital sources I cannot understand the need for a pre.
The Bel Canto Dac 3.5 has an analogue input alongside the digital ones.
If I don't misunderstand, the analogue in is digitized and then converted to analogue again (ADC - DAC); it's not a pass-thru. Is that correct?
Yes that is correct!
Not entirely the same thing, but near as damn it, I use the DACmagic Plus to control my active speakers. It has all the connectivity that I need, with inputs remaining free for additional sources if required. Sound quality is absolutely fine, my only real grip is the cheap feeling volume knob on the DAC, but then I never really use it all that much now that it's set up.
Any other DAC of a similar ilk, would do the same thing for power amps, the only difference between this set up and more common integrated systems/amps is the location of the components in different boxes.
Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts
DocG here's 2 lists put together by our own quadpatch, very infomative with some more options over the Matrix.
You can find the thread here:
Wow, that's an amazing list! Thanks for the link, Shooter. And thanks a bunch to Quadpatch for putting it together... Must have taken hours and hours!
So gentlemen, if you can now excuse me, I've got some studying to do.
I have found the pre amp section of an amp to be more important than the DAC, so my advice would be to find a good pre amp that has a DAC built in like a cyrus or Audiolab.
I don't see the point of a power amp without a proper pre amp, as dedicated power amps are ususally for higher quality, so why downgrade its potential? If saving money is the aim, why not integrated amp.
If you are set on a Dac first that has pre amp capability, not sure if Sonos has been mentioned?
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