I know this is old, but I'm going to bump it as it's relevant to what I've been going through.
First off here's my electronics gear list:
Oppo 103 (preamp) --> (2) Rane DSPs --> (5) Crown DriveCore XLS Amplifiers & (2) JL Audio E112s
Speakers are obviously after the Crowns.
I e-mailed Oppo some months back asking about potential noise issues when using the 103 as the sole pre-amp. This is the exchange:
So, Oppo basically told me, "yes, you should expect noise". They didn't specifically say 'hiss' and they focused on the 'hum' (two things which are NOT the same; I'm not new to audio
). Understanding the warning, I figured I'd give it a shot anyway.
I've had the setup mentioned above for about 4 months now. After having some time to really live with the system, I've realized that, indeed, the noise floor of the Oppo is a problem if you expect to use it as a permanent pre-amp solution
. Keep in mind I have (2) Rane DSP's that drive the inputs of my Crowns and even with the ridiculous output voltage capability of the Ranes and the superb A/D/A conversion within, it simply cannot make up for the Oppo's faults when used as the sole pre-amp
Before people jump the gun on my post understand this:
Oppo stated I'd need to use a dedicated pre-amp; so I'm not bashing the company or product at all!
What I am
saying is if you're going to be hardheaded like I was, don't expect much different than the results I had. I got it to work as a pre-amp, sure, but I'm fighting the noise vs volume tradeoff; and upping the output voltage via the software only induces clipping (audible clipping, I might add). I've decided I'm going to have to plunk down the cash for a dedicated pre/pro, unfortunately. I'm hoping something like the Emo UMC-200 will suffice.
This is just some real-world use from my experience. Hopefully it helps someone who was in the quandary I was a few months back.