Going straight from Source to Amp to Speakers - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 10-03-2012, 06:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I keep hearing of people who say they prefer a straight connection from their source to their amp to their speakers. Have any of you guys tried this? Basically eliminating the need for a pre-amp. I am thinking of purchasing an Oppo BDP-93 and either a Behringer iNuke 1000DSP or older Carver amp then connecting them via their balanced inputs/outputs feeding straight into my speakers. I might do that, or, purchase a DAC (something in the $500 and below catagory) to connect from my source (older Cambridge CDP used as a transport) directly to the amp.

How do you guys feel about this?

What do you think of using the Oppo BDP-93 connected directly to my 2 channel amp via the ballanced inputs/outputs
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post #2 of 15 Old 10-03-2012, 06:40 AM
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the bdp-93 doesn't have balanced outputs...

many people "say" many things... i'll "say" that i'd much rather run my source signal through modern dsp than run it through a straight wire...

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post #3 of 15 Old 10-03-2012, 07:15 PM
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MC...I actually think that whole "the best pre-amp is no pre-amp" approach, is a bit dated. As a single-source, digital user...I embraced it whole-heartedly for many years; I ran several of the best DACs in the $750-$1500 range...straight to a couple different power amps. In theory, it makes all the sense in the world; more direct signal, one less box, one less IC, etc. My own experiences were mixed, with the 2 best units being the Eastern Electric (Original) Minimax (which I believe handles volume control in the Analog realm) and my current W4S DAC-2 (which I don't run directly, but have tested it as such). These 2 units did it best...but interaction between the DAC and power amp, vary as well; likely because of impedance issues.

My own experience...after constantly trying "better" DACs, that handled volume control straight to the amp; was that a good, active pre-amp...instantly gave me more the sound I was looking for. Using my favorite "audiophile" metaphor..."it put more meat on the musical bones". Fuller, fatter sound; more 3-dimensional, etc. Now...there are plenty who prefer a leaner, cleaner presentation; for those...source right to amp might still be the way to go. But for me, a good pre-amp might almost be most important...in really anchoring the sound of your system. YMMV

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post #4 of 15 Old 10-04-2012, 11:51 AM
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How are you going to control volume? Any circuit which does so, whether in the dac or amplifiers, is functionally a preamp. Putting that functionality in a separate box for convenience and using an extra ic does no damage to the sound. You're chasing fool's gold.
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post #5 of 15 Old 10-04-2012, 04:10 PM
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Marty,

I have a similar experience to CD above. Up until recently, I ran my W4S DAC2 directly into my amps, and it did sound very good. I recently picked up a Rogue Pre-amp, and I do prefer the sound with the Rogue in the chain. What I hear may be slightly less precise than the W4S alone, but it is much more satisfying to my my ears. More detail coming through and more impact on snare hits. Guitar and pianos sound more realistic to me.

I don't think either way is wrong. Comes down to personal preference.
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post #6 of 15 Old 10-04-2012, 06:26 PM
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Back in the day I had a Denon DCD-1560 CD player with variable out (a fine piece in its era) and an Adcom GFA-555 power amp (still a fine piece), and for a while i had them connected directly. It was minimalist; it was efficient; it was purist. Thing is, it didn't sound any different from switching it through my preamp.
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post #7 of 15 Old 10-07-2012, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post

I keep hearing of people who say they prefer a straight connection from their source to their amp to their speakers.

Been there, done that.

It makes sense given that you have an amp with sufficient sensitivity, and either an amp or a source with a volume control. If you have to add your own volume control things can become a lot more complex.
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Have any of you guys tried this? Basically eliminating the need for a pre-amp.

There are really nice external volume controls for this kind of use. I posted a list of them a little while back. Many of them are oriented towards people who are doing audio production, particularly those using computers as sources. There's something reasuring about a volume control that you can actually touch with your hands instead of having to mouse around with.
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I am thinking of purchasing an Oppo BDP-93 and either a Behringer iNuke 1000DSP or older Carver amp then connecting them via their balanced inputs/outputs feeding straight into my speakers.

That can work, wildly overpriced optical player notwithstanding.
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I might do that, or, purchase a DAC (something in the $500 and below catagory) to connect from my source (older Cambridge CDP used as a transport) directly to the amp.

Sounds like you have money burning a hole in your pockets. So far all of the options you've described are in the categories of components least likely to actually improve your system's sound quality... If you gave it to some charity at least someone would get a tangible benefit...
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post #8 of 15 Old 10-09-2012, 05:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Been there, done that.
It makes sense given that you have an amp with sufficient sensitivity, and either an amp or a source with a volume control. If you have to add your own volume control things can become a lot more complex.
There are really nice external volume controls for this kind of use. I posted a list of them a little while back. Many of them are oriented towards people who are doing audio production, particularly those using computers as sources. There's something reasuring about a volume control that you can actually touch with your hands instead of having to mouse around with.
That can work, wildly overpriced optical player notwithstanding.
Sounds like you have money burning a hole in your pockets. So far all of the options you've described are in the categories of components least likely to actually improve your system's sound quality... If you gave it to some charity at least someone would get a tangible benefit...



Ok so the general consensus is that this is a bad idea as it will not sound right. Just for the sake of argument, how sensitive would an amp need to be in order to connect directly with a source or DAC?

Are there very many CD Players or DACs with volume controls on them?

Arnyk, so you say thy at the Oppo BDP-93 or BDP-95 is over priced? Well then which source do you recommend for something cheaper that also includes balanced in's & outs as well as a volume control?
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post #9 of 15 Old 10-09-2012, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post

Ok so the general consensus is that this is a bad idea as it will not sound right.

One post a general consensus does not make, and that one post was not intended to give the impression that SQ needs to be a problem.
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Just for the sake of argument, how sensitive would an amp need to be in order to connect directly with a source or DAC?

That depends on the output voltage of the DAC.
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Are there very many CD Players or DACs with volume controls on them?

Google is your friend!
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Arnyk, so you say thy at the Oppo BDP-93 or BDP-95 is over priced?

Generally yes.
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Well then which source do you recommend for something cheaper that also includes balanced in's & outs as well as a volume control?

I don't know why you want an optical disc player with inputs.

As far as the rest, google is your friend.

Also, I don't k now why you would absolutely need a player that had balanced outputs.
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post #10 of 15 Old 10-09-2012, 01:20 PM
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As many long-time readers and posters to AVS know, the use of balanced connections (other than for long runs which need noise rejection) is part of the mystique of traditional audiophilia: convert the audio in a disc player from digital to a high-quality analog signal, send it through a passive preamp to a pair of monobloc amps to drive two quality full-range speakers. The closer the system is to "a straight wire with gain", the better!

Unfortunately for that scenario, speakers and rooms distort the sound substantially. Room treatments can help a lot, but even the best speaker designs are far from linear. Too often, the speaker audio response curves published in reviews look more like sawblades than straight lines.

Personally, I'm delighted that it has become possible for digital signal processing to be provided in modern receivers and pre/pros which can go a long way toward fixing those problems.

I have to admit, though, that the mystique of using the best possible connections for the purest sound has its emotional attractions. I suspect that If I had a stereo CD player with balanced outputs, I'd actually connect them to that poor, unused pair of balanced inputs on my pre/pro. As it is now, I have to suffer with the high-resolution digital audio provided by the HDMI out of my BD player wink.gif
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post #11 of 15 Old 10-09-2012, 01:46 PM
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I do this with my 2.0 setup. It's a computer with Pro-Audio Mastering card straight to amp.

An audiophile likes to talk about how much they spent and how good it sounds.

A DIY'er likes to talk about how little they spent and how good it sounds.

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post #12 of 15 Old 10-10-2012, 05:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post

As many long-time readers and posters to AVS know, the use of balanced connections (other than for long runs which need noise rejection) is part of the mystique of traditional audiophilia: convert the audio in a disc player from digital to a high-quality analog signal, send it through a passive preamp to a pair of monoblock amps to drive two quality full-range speakers. The closer the system is to "a straight wire with gain", the better!

I've set up systems that do the above many times. They require equipment such as music players and amplifiers with balanced inputs and outputs, which are relatively expensive and rare in the audiophile market.

The counterpoint is that as long as a system is free of grounding problems, you really don't need balanced I/O to get a clean enough line-level connection. Plain vanilla unbalanced done right allows you to get the most out of real-world recordings.

Fast forward to the second decade of the new millennium and your typical casual audiophile plugs the HDMI output of his Blu Ray player into the HDMI input of his AVR and the music is kept in the digital domain from the media distributor's manufacturing/distribution point any place in the world, right up to within a few inches and a DAC and a power amp away from the speaker terminals of the AVR. This provides with minimal hassle and expense, technical performance that vastly exceeds what used to require music players and amplifiers with balanced inputs and outputs and the attendant difficulties and expense.
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Personally, I'm delighted that it has become possible for digital signal processing to be provided in modern receivers and pre/pros which can go a long way toward fixing those problems.

Potentially, it addresses them all and totally solves most of them with minimal hassle and expense. A $100 digital player and a $200 AVR connected by a $6 HDMI cable and you're there.
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I have to admit, though, that the mystique of using the best possible connections for the purest sound has its emotional attractions. I suspect that If I had a stereo CD player with balanced outputs, I'd actually connect them to that poor, unused pair of balanced inputs on my pre/pro. As it is now, I have to suffer with the high-resolution digital audio provided by the HDMI out of my BD player wink.gif

Some suffering! ;-)
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post #13 of 15 Old 10-11-2012, 06:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok so in the real world it might not make a huge difference, but I want to experiment with some different configurations to see how I like them. What would be a good DAC with volume control that I could hook directly to a Behringer iNuke-1000 (non Dsp) , that cost under $400? Also, what is a good CDP with volume control for under $500? I realize that this could possibly be like throwing money down the drain, but, I enjoy my audio hobby as it gives me great pleasure and takes my mind off the fact that I have to take chemo.
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post #14 of 15 Old 05-07-2014, 12:59 PM
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I have a similar question as the OP.  

I just want to go from my computer to an amp to power some speakers for my office.  I recently set-up a home theater with Ascend Accoustics all around... and now, I want some decent sound in my office.  

 

I'd like to go from my Macbook Pro to an Onkyo M-5010 2 channel amp (or something similarly simple) to some bookshelf speakers.  Any reason this can't be done?  Simple RCA inputs in the amp and out from my computer via the headphone jack.  

http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-M-5010-2-Channel-Amplifier-Black/dp/B00A8EIO2E/ref=pd_sim_e_15?ie=UTF8&refRID=0EP1YV9J8KYP6JCHGGBX

 

Thanks! 

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post #15 of 15 Old 05-07-2014, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post

I keep hearing of people who say they prefer a straight connection from their source to their amp to their speakers. Have any of you guys tried this? Basically eliminating the need for a pre-amp. I am thinking of purchasing an Oppo BDP-93 and either a Behringer iNuke 1000DSP or older Carver amp then connecting them via their balanced inputs/outputs feeding straight into my speakers. I might do that, or, purchase a DAC (something in the $500 and below catagory) to connect from my source (older Cambridge CDP used as a transport) directly to the amp.

How do you guys feel about this?

What do you think of using the Oppo BDP-93 connected directly to my 2 channel amp via the balanced inputs/outputs


The BDP-93 will not do what you want.

The BDP-105 WILL do what you want, and a lot more. It has a lot more features, and balanced outputs, and the SABRE DAC circuits make the sound quality State-of-the Art, which is definitely not true of the 93.

I know several people with high-end systems that ARE using the BDP-105 straight into their power amplifiers and also using it as their DAC and music server (in conjunction with a PC). For them, it eliminates the need for a preamp.

It is $1200, but it competes with and is better than many units costing 3 or 4 times as much. The $1200 price is the Bargain of the Decade, when you consider all its capabilities and features and its amazing sound quality.

With it you do not have any need to buy a CD player, DVD player, SACD player, preamp, or DAC. It has it all. It will also play music direct from a USB memory stick or any USB device including a USB turntable.

It also has many other advanced Audio and Video features.

Go to the OPPO website and carefully look at all the features it has.
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