Two-Channel Amps with DACs - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 12-02-2011, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
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If this has been discussed recently, my apologies.

I've been considering going back to two-channel (I use my 5.1 channel system mostly for music anyway), but I still want to use digital sources, especially an iPod with a Cambridge Audio iD100 digital dock. (I reference the iPod because it really needs a digital output to be anything more than a portable player; I guess the same would apply to computer-based audio.)

I know there are a few integrated amps out there with digital inputs (NAD, H/K and Cambridge come to mind), but off hand I don't know of any stereo preamps with DACs, and I've always preferred separates (mostly for the raw output of external amps, not because I think a separate control section actually sounds any better). And digital bass management for "2.1" would be very attractive too, especially with the popularity of stand-mounted monitors.

So, anyway, do you think there's much market for this? Digital sources are here to stay, but two-channel equipment seems fixated on analog.
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post #2 of 22 Old 12-02-2011, 07:48 AM
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You might have better luck searching for DACs with volume controls rather than preamps with DACs (although they are equivalent). Start with the Emotiva XDA-1, Benchmark DAC-1 Pre, Bel Canto DAC 2.5............many others.

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post #3 of 22 Old 12-02-2011, 08:00 AM
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Bryston offers a built-in DAC option for their BP26 preamp. ..I had a BP25 for many years and loved it.

http://bryston.com/preampsel.html
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post #4 of 22 Old 12-02-2011, 01:48 PM
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I've got an Emotiva XDA-1. It works as a preamp or as a computer sound card/DAC which is how I use it. Works very well. Sound quality is pretty good. It brings new functionality to my old integrated amps.

When all else fails - RTFM!

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post #5 of 22 Old 12-02-2011, 07:20 PM
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+1 for the Emotiva XDA? I use it as my digital DAC and Preamp. I have my Oppo 93, my Apple Tv2 and my Vizio Internet TV all running through the XDA. With the Apple Tv2 I can also use AirPlay from my iPhone or iPad to stream my music from iTunes as well as stream from Pandora, YouTube etc.
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post #6 of 22 Old 12-03-2011, 03:55 AM
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New Grand Pre has a DAC and about all the connectivity options one could want.
Their new Grand Integrated seems to be the same unit but with a power amp section added.
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post #7 of 22 Old 12-03-2011, 09:34 AM
 
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I've got the XDA as well, and it's decent, but you can do better. And recently people receiving this DAC have complained about popping or clicking noises.

For a pre amp, Onkyo makes the P-3000R. A pre amp with a DAC is not too common yet, I"d vote for the HK 990 integrated amp myself. Depends what you need though.
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post #8 of 22 Old 12-04-2011, 05:46 PM
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FYI on the popping noise. I was one who complained about the popping noise and thought it was my XDA, but it turned out to be my source Oppo that was the culprit and not the XDA.
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post #9 of 22 Old 12-05-2011, 04:36 PM
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As far as I understand, all CD players, aside from dedicated CD transport units, and all MP3, ipod, pc, whatever contain internal DAC processors. What is the actual purpose of using an external unit?

TV's ain't theaters buddy.


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post #10 of 22 Old 12-05-2011, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theonetruegreg View Post

As far as I understand, all CD players, aside from dedicated CD transport units, and all MP3, ipod, pc, whatever contain internal DAC processors. What is the actual purpose of using an external unit?

It is in the hope (and expectation) of achieving an improvement.

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post #11 of 22 Old 12-05-2011, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theonetruegreg View Post

As far as I understand, all CD players, aside from dedicated CD transport units, and all MP3, ipod, pc, whatever contain internal DAC processors. What is the actual purpose of using an external unit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

It is in the hope (and expectation) of achieving an improvement.

And sometimes people use it for the same purpose as I do. I like old receivers and integrated amps - I have 3 integrated amps and one receiver - all 70's models I like to rotate in and out of the mix. Having an external DAC such as the XDA-1 allow me to have remote volume control and switching of my digital sources. I still have to get up to change the volume while playing vinyl or the analog tuner but no big deal. Plus integrated amps like my Technics SU-8600 that I'm listening to right now only have one aux input. Two if I use the tape input. Nothing quite like mixing old school and convenience!

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post #12 of 22 Old 12-06-2011, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runnin' View Post

I've got the XDA as well, and it's decent, but you can do better. And recently people receiving this DAC have complained about popping or clicking noises.

For a pre amp, Onkyo makes the P-3000R. A pre amp with a DAC is not too common yet, I"d vote for the HK 990 integrated amp myself. Depends what you need though.


I had an Onkyo rep drop off that P-3000R pre amp to review it. I was pleased by the performance of that pre amp. It held its own against other pre amps I have in the $4k to $6k range. However, I wasn't a huge fan of the Onkyo amp that was matched for the pre amp. Not sure if it lack current, but it didn't drive the bass very well.

I think that pre amp retails for around $1800. Decent value/performer and has a DAC onboard.
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post #13 of 22 Old 12-06-2011, 01:42 PM
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HK 3490 has a DAC.

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post #14 of 22 Old 12-10-2011, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alatham View Post

FYI on the popping noise. I was one who complained about the popping noise and thought it was my XDA, but it turned out to be my source Oppo that was the culprit and not the XDA.

no, you was right , i got a problem with XDA-1 too, just rencenly sent it back to them because i got the same problem with the poping sound between track or started , it okie with the XDA-1 , got more bass and i got the question please
The emotiva gears are the chineese designs and made ?
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post #15 of 22 Old 12-10-2011, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acuramusic42 View Post

HK 3490 has a DAC.

is that right? what kind of DAC is this can i asked cause i'm just a newbie in audio and known nothing about it
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post #16 of 22 Old 12-10-2011, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acuramusic42 View Post

HK 3490 has a DAC.

It also has an addon iPod dock accessory.

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post #17 of 22 Old 12-10-2011, 10:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pterpm View Post

no, you was right , i got a problem with XDA-1 too, just rencenly sent it back to them because i got the same problem with the poping sound between track or started , it okie with the XDA-1 , got more bass and i got the question please
The emotiva gears are the chineese designs and made ?

Yes, Emotiva gear is designed and made in China. Many brands are now made in China, although some are still designed in the U.S. or Europe.
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post #18 of 22 Old 12-11-2011, 07:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alatham View Post

FYI on the popping noise. I was one who complained about the popping noise and thought it was my XDA, but it turned out to be my source Oppo that was the culprit and not the XDA.

I bought one last month, which worked well for a few days as a pre, then let loose with a full power crack when the sample rate change. Blew a tweeter out of the left side of a pair of PSB Imagine Bs.

It sounded okay but I advise against using it as a Pre. Might look at the Peachtree iDac. Not sure if it has volume control, but ut has a digital port for an iPod, and it is one of the new Sabre-toothed Dacs, with high res inputs.
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post #19 of 22 Old 12-11-2011, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runnin' View Post

Yes, Emotiva gear is designed and made in China. Many brands are now made in China, although some are still designed in the U.S. or Europe.

oh, i thought they designed by us engineer and made in china , because most of the stuff we using now made in china, but like you said the Chinese design and make. aahh, i have to sale all my emotiva gears then , chinese made won't last long
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post #20 of 22 Old 12-11-2011, 09:17 AM
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post #21 of 22 Old 12-12-2011, 08:42 AM
 
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Onkyo has an integrated amp with a DAC coming soon. 100 wpc, looks interesting, model A-9070
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post #22 of 22 Old 12-12-2011, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theonetruegreg View Post

As far as I understand, all CD players, aside from dedicated CD transport units, and all MP3, ipod, pc, whatever contain internal DAC processors. What is the actual purpose of using an external unit?

I think I already explained that. I use an iPod with a Cambridge Audio iD100 digital dock (meaning digital output), and I'd like to have somewhere to plug it in to a two-channel system. I don't wanna start a debate about the efficacy of one DAC over another (I'm a "show me" skeptic myself), but, as much as I love the iPod, its DAC has gotta be at the entry-entry level.

By the way, lots of people seem to think that the DAC and analog stage of the Oppo BDP-95 are so good that it should have digital inputs and double as an outboard DAC. That would so end the issue for me.
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