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preamp advice

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
current system:

Mcintosh MX110
Mcintosh MC240
Klipsch KG3.5s (1997)
Pioneer BDP51FD (as a CD player)
Pro-Ject Debut III
HTPC full of ALAC files

Here are my potential upgrades:

Audioquest Dragonfly DAC
B&W CM9s

Should I keep the preamp, or upgrade it to something current? I have an opportunity to pick up a Denon 4311 or Marantz 6006 that I would use as a preamp only. It would give me the option for a sub, if I would ever want one.

Everything is in my bedroom, which is 20'x10' w/ standard 8' ceilings. I sit anywhere from 4'-8' away from the speakers. The room is pretty soft considering the carpet, bed, and (when the closet doors are open) all of the clothes

My thoughts are SS vs. tube preamp. Right now, everything is analog, but Im wondering how much the sound would change if I went digital out of the CD player to the SS preamp.

Thanks for any advice!
post #2 of 19
Nice, how about just a 3.5mm to RCA cable from Dragonfly to your MX110?

A while ago have a chance to listen to the Dragonfly feeding from a Mac(was told Mac optimized for audio compared to any PC smile.gif, sounds very good. BTW, B&W 802 was used in the system.

Was giving this link too after the audition from AQ rep:
http://www.audioquest.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/CA-Setup-Guide.pdf
post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdoostil View Post

current system:
Mcintosh MX110
Mcintosh MC240
Klipsch KG3.5s (1997)
Pioneer BDP51FD (as a CD player)
Pro-Ject Debut III
HTPC full of ALAC files
Here are my potential upgrades:
Audioquest Dragonfly DAC
B&W CM9s
Should I keep the preamp, or upgrade it to something current? I have an opportunity to pick up a Denon 4311 or Marantz 6006 that I would use as a preamp only. It would give me the option for a sub, if I would ever want one.
Everything is in my bedroom, which is 20'x10' w/ standard 8' ceilings. I sit anywhere from 4'-8' away from the speakers. The room is pretty soft considering the carpet, bed, and (when the closet doors are open) all of the clothes

First off, why not go simple and find the right cable to hook the Dranonfly to the MX110.
Quote:
My thoughts are SS vs. tube preamp.

My recollections are that the Mx110 is one of those pieces of tubed gear that was designed for sonic transparency. That means that it probably sounds like a good SS preamp.
Quote:
Right now, everything is analog,

Even the CD player which I guess is really a BD player?
Quote:
but Im wondering how much the sound would change if I went digital out of the CD player to the SS preamp.

No so much.

I like the idea of the speaker upgrade a whole lot better than this DAC stuff. Now that speaker stuff will sound different! Lots!
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
My heart is telling me to get the DAC and the speakers, and be happy for 10 years or so. Unless there is some technological breakthrough later in my life, I will ALWAYS use tube power!

When I say that everything is analog, I was referring to the connections. Im curious about comparing the analog connection to the MX110 vs. a digital connection to the 4311. Sounds like i should just trust my gut, and save the money
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Oh, and yes, I am using the BD player as a CD player, because of the Wolfson DAC
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdoostil View Post

Oh, and yes, I am using the BD player as a CD player, because of the Wolfson DAC

confused.gifconfused.gif

You use your BD player for CDs because you really like its DAC (makes sense)...

...and you are thinking of getting a DAC - why? Is there some other digital source that needs a DAC?

The only reason to go digital to a receiver is if it has room correction you want to use. The DACs in the BD player are certainly as good as what's in the receiver.
post #7 of 19
In my opinion, the B & W CM9 is incredibly overpriced, and not the best sound you can get for that kind of money. A very poor choice IMO. Your Klipsch speakers are certainly not very good, but the CM9 won't be much of an upgrade. Do you realize that they only go down to 60 Hz and would definitely require a subwoofer to provide any bass at all?

They wouldn't make my top 5 list if I was shopping; maybe not even the top 10.

The Vienna Acoustics Beethoven is far better-sounding and capable, and so is the Gallo Acoustics Classico CL-3. Dynaudio also has much better speakers in that price range.

The PSB Image T6 is only $1300 per pair, and I think even they sound better. The sound quality is certainly comparable, if not better.

You should replace the Pioneer CD player with an OPPO BDP-95. It sounds better than most $5000 CD players; a major technological breakthrough. That Pioneer is old technology and has third-rate sound quality.

I would keep the preamp until you are ready to step up to an Audio Research LS-17; that WOULD be a major improvement!
Edited by commsysman - 7/20/12 at 8:08am
post #8 of 19
There are a few salesman on this forum posting sales pitch for the stuff they sell.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

You should replace the Pioneer CD player with an OPPO BDP-95. It sounds better than most $5000 CD players; a major technological breakthrough. That Pioneer is old technology and has third-rate sound quality.
That's hilarious. The difference between the Wofson DACs used in the Pio and the Sabre's used to the OPPO will only manifest at 120dB or greater below 0dBFS. Considering a CD (44/16) has about 96dB of dynamic range, it's completely irrelevant and inaudible.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rick240 View Post

confused.gifconfused.gif
You use your BD player for CDs because you really like its DAC (makes sense)...
...and you are thinking of getting a DAC - why? Is there some other digital source that needs a DAC?
The only reason to go digital to a receiver is if it has room correction you want to use. The DACs in the BD player are certainly as good as what's in the receiver.

the Dragonfly DAC would be for the PC!

I probably wont be doing a CD upgrade anytime soon. I buy CDs, immediately rip them as lossless, and put them away. I might give them a spin once or twice

I have a chance to get the CM9s for a psychotically low price. The other option is Martin Logan, but the sweet is so small it scares me!
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdoostil 
Mcintosh
Audioquest Dragonfly DAC

Should I keep the preamp, or upgrade it to something current?
The reproduction in sound has not changed since your McIntosh was built.. Your use of the word upgrade from a Mcintosh MC240 is funny.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdoostil 
I have an opportunity to pick up a Denon 4311 or Marantz 6006 that I would use as a preamp only.
You go from a Marantz or Denon to a McIntosh to upgrade, not the other way around. Find me one McIntosh owner who would be happy with the sound spewing from a Marantz or Denon.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdoostil 
It would give me the option for a sub, if I would ever want one.
You can run a sub off the McIintosh with a splitter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdoostil 
wondering how much the sound would change
If you go away from the McIntosh your sound will fatigue, stress, make you more tired to listen to music for any length of time.

"Lost Instruments Brochure," from 1952 ~ http://www.hifilit.com/hifilit/McIntosh/mac.htm]
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdoostil View Post

the Dragonfly DAC would be for the PC!
I probably wont be doing a CD upgrade anytime soon. I buy CDs, immediately rip them as lossless, and put them away. I might give them a spin once or twice
I have a chance to get the CM9s for a psychotically low price. The other option is Martin Logan, but the sweet is so small it scares me!

The CM9s are likely to sound very different than your existing Klipsches.
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumflow View Post

The reproduction in sound has not changed since your McIntosh was built.. Your use of the word upgrade from a Mcintosh MC240 is funny.You go from a Marantz or Denon to a McIntosh to upgrade, not the other way around. Find me one McIntosh owner who would be happy with the sound spewing from a Marantz or Denon.You can run a sub off the McIintosh with a splitter.If you go away from the McIntosh your sound will fatigue, stress, make you more tired to listen to music for any length of time.
"Lost Instruments Brochure," from 1952 ~ http://www.hifilit.com/hifilit/McIntosh/mac.htm]

the MC240 will never, ever leave my system. the question was about the preamp
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdoostil View Post

the MC240 will never, ever leave my system.
Why not keep it all mac?
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Im going to. at first I was liking the idea of having a hybrid system that was half analog/half digital, but Im so used to the tubes now. Im sure I would regret it. Looks like its just going to be the DAC and speakers!

I remember hearing the Klipschs for the first time on the tubes. I never thought they could sound so good. I had been listening to them for years on a SS Yamaha. I cant wait to hear some new ones in my room, on my gear, after auditioning them in a showroom!
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumflow View Post

You can run a sub off the McIintosh with a splitter.
Hardly the best way to integrate a sub.
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
i wanted to go back to that because i thought it sounded fishy
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Got the Dragonfly and wow, that little thing is worth every penny. Significant improvement! I would recommend one to anybody who is listening to music througha computer. Now its speaker time! Back to the subwoofer comment...I do have a Klipsch sub in storage. What would be the best way to integrate it? My thoughts are either high level, or an external crossover. Thoughts?
post #19 of 19
External xover at line level before your main poweramp and sub power amp. MiniDSP with digital I/O would be first suggestion. EQ, delay and a whole variety of xover frequencies and slopes.
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