Recommend a DAC to go with a Yamaha AS1100 .. or no DAC? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 30 Old 04-11-2019, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Recommend a DAC to go with a Yamaha AS1100 .. or no DAC?

My wife and I are considering investing in a Yamaha A-S1100. It’s mainly for music but we also listen to TV and film in stereo. We have a Bell Canada DVR and 4th gen Apple TV both with HDMI outs, and a LG E6 with one optical out and a headphone out that could also work as a line out (3.5mm stereo to 2xRCA). We also use AirPlay for music (alongside my turntable). Our speakers are floor standing towers—an old pair of Phase Technology 7.5Ts that beat out much more expensive speakers when we bought them.

So if we get the new amp, we either need to run the HDMIs into the TV and out its optical out, or we would need to run the two HDMIs into an audio DAC like the Essence HDACC II-4K and then a HDMI “through” into the TV for video, or run both HDMIs into the TV then the optical out into a DAC.

If the TV is equivalent to a few hundred $$ of DAC I’ll just use the TV. But I’m guessing LG didn’t spend a lot of time on audio (the TV’s speakers are terrible).

If people have tested and found a big difference running through a separate DAC, I would love to hear what you like.

I’m not interested in investing in a Benchmark or anything, though. Digital standards change too often and I’m sure Apple’s next Apple TV will have some other kind of plug....

Thanks for your thoughts.
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post #2 of 30 Old 04-11-2019, 07:19 PM
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I would go for separate, get a good power amp and an preamp with all the digital inputs. Treat the preamp like a fashion item that will be changed in a few years. Power amp doesn't change much in the last decades, you buy a good one, it will last a long time, not like the preamp that obsoletes in a few years.


AS1100 is NOT cheap, I would look at separate, even if short term you pay slightly more, you save in the long term as you don't have to buy another power amp next time.

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post #3 of 30 Old 04-11-2019, 08:28 PM
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I've had several separates setup, 5-6 in the last 12 years or so. I don't think you could go wrong with the Yamaha A-S1100, I have the A-S1000 and love it. These are the same amp except for the 1100 having meters. Sound quality is excellent IMO. I have a used Emotiva XDA-2 DAC that has very good sound quality. With separates I got tired of all the cabling mess, lack of rack space, etc. I wouldn't rely on the on-board DACs in the sources you have. An inexpensive DAC will generally outperform built-in DACs on most sources, IMO. I have been surprised by some of the cheaper DACs at times. Behringer makes a UCA202 DAC for $30 that is surprisingly good. It'll only work on USB equiped electronics. I used it from my HTPC for 3-4 years. Never got tired of the music from it. I only changed because my setup changed and I needed a DAC that could handle more than one source. A good one that has multiple sources is the Cambridge Audio DAC Magic 100. It has push button source switching for 4 sources. I had one for several months until a nice used XDA-2 came along.

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post #4 of 30 Old 04-12-2019, 01:27 AM
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I'd look at Schiit. The modi 3 is 99 bucks. Uses the AKM 4490 dac.
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post #5 of 30 Old 04-12-2019, 02:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post
...................... With separates I got tired of all the cabling mess.................

Using separate power amp just need two extra RCA cables and one power cable extra. Not exactly a lot. Also, connecting cables is easier because most of the cables are from different devices to the preamp input. Dedicated preamp is much lighter than integrated amp and power amp, it's easy to move around when connecting cables. It would be more difficult to connect cables if the amp is heavy. I know, I am using an integrated amp because I don't have space. It's much harder to connect cables.



Only thing I can think of the advantage of an integrated amp is if you are restricted in space.

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Thumbs up

I would check out the Topping D-50 DAC. Excellent neutral sound. Also has 7 filters to tweak your sound.
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post #7 of 30 Old 04-12-2019, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the suggestions. EDIT: sorry, I realized I could run the HDMIs into the TV, and the TV has a digital audio out, so all of the recommendations actually would work.

I was thinking about the possibility of separates but honestly I don't even know where to start.

We are currently using an integrated AV-receiver but it's also definitely the weak link. Speaking of the weak link, I know the Behringer (I know considerably less about hifi than audio for editing and mixing sound) and its weak link isn't the convertors but the analog electronics around them.

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post #8 of 30 Old 04-12-2019, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
Using separate power amp just need two extra RCA cables and one power cable extra. Not exactly a lot. Also, connecting cables is easier because most of the cables are from different devices to the preamp input. Dedicated preamp is much lighter than integrated amp and power amp, it's easy to move around when connecting cables. It would be more difficult to connect cables if the amp is heavy. I know, I am using an integrated amp because I don't have space. It's much harder to connect cables.



Only thing I can think of the advantage of an integrated amp is if you are restricted in space.
I understand how many cables one needs to connect separates. At the same time I've had a processor (AVP), 5 channel amp for surrounds & zone II, a stereo preamp & two channel amp all in one rack. It was a mess of cabling. FWIW I've never heard a separates setup that was any better than a decent integrated amp. And the AVR's these days are as good as a processor/amp setup IMO. Unless you have hard to drive speakers, which seems stupid to me, you don't need a big 300w+ amp, ever!

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post #9 of 30 Old 04-12-2019, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post
I understand how many cables one needs to connect separates. At the same time I've had a processor (AVP), 5 channel amp for surrounds & zone II, a stereo preamp & two channel amp all in one rack. It was a mess of cabling. FWIW I've never heard a separates setup that was any better than a decent integrated amp. And the AVR's these days are as good as a processor/amp setup IMO. Unless you have hard to drive speakers, which seems stupid to me, you don't need a big 300w+ amp, ever!

This is 2 channels section, so we don't talk about 5 channels.


I am more thinking about long term money saving. If OP talked about cheaper receivers or integrated amps, that will make sense. But OP is talking about a $2500 integrated amp. I would separate them so I don't have to keep buying another $2500 amp every few years. Say I'd spend $1800 for a good power amp, than $700 for a preamp. Then 3 years later when new things come out, dump the $700 preamp and buy a new one.


It's all about the price point, like in the other thread about Yamaha AS801, for $600, you don't think about separate, just dump it in a few years and start over again.


Also, if you buy separate, you might want to invest more money on the power amp because they can last for 20 or 30 years.



From my own experience that went from separate to integrated amp because I just don't have the space, hooking up the integrated amp is a lot more difficult. The amp is much bigger and heaver than the preamp, it hard to move it to get my hands in. Because of the size, I had to do quite a bit blind just by feeling the connectors. With the preamp, I literally can turn the preamp 90 degs around and literally looked at the connectors to plug in the cables. It's quite a bit easier in setting up.

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post #10 of 30 Old 04-12-2019, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by JES000000 View Post
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the suggestions. EDIT: sorry, I realized I could run the HDMIs into the TV, and the TV has a digital audio out, so all of the recommendations actually would work.

I was thinking about the possibility of separates but honestly I don't even know where to start.

We are currently using an integrated AV-receiver but it's also definitely the weak link. Speaking of the weak link, I know the Behringer (I know considerably less about hifi than audio for editing and mixing sound) and its weak link isn't the convertors but the analog electronics around them.
For $2500, take your time, go listen to different amps. What speakers do you have? The most important piece in the hifi system is the speakers. It's no point of buying a $2500 amp to drive a $1000/pair speakers.

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Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #11 of 30 Old 04-12-2019, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
This is 2 channels section, so we don't talk about 5 channels.
Do WE have a rule somewhere?
Loosen up. The poster was on topic about cabling and just provided a point that "separates" are not always simple.



If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough – Albert Einstein
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post #12 of 30 Old 04-12-2019, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm a little confused about where the advice is headed. The A-S1100 is not something I would ever expect to have to upgrade, period. It's basically just a power amp with a few extras. Unless the entire RCA format is abandoned at some point, it wouldn't need to be upgraded. That's my interest in it. We also listen to TV and movies in stereo. We've done it this long, and neither my wife or I really want to change.

If there's a pre-power combination (with HDMI ins) that makes better sense I'm open to the idea, IF I can actually audition it in person before buying. (I heard the A-S1100 and was impressed.) I just don't know where to start with separates.

Conversely, I see a bunch of plausible sub-$300 options in this thread for a DAC. My only question now is whether there's an advantage going HDMI to RCA rather than going through the TV and out to optical and then to RCA. If that only lasts me a few years, it's a sad waste of materials going into a landfill, but at least I can afford it.

PS -- if people want to know my current setup, it's in the OP.

PPS -- thanks again for all the replies. Keep them coming!
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The Denon PMA-1600NE integrated amplifier might be worth a look. It includes a built-in DAC. I could not quickly find the full report, but it won a Hi-Fi Choice group test. Here are links:

https://files.hifiklubben.com/4a500a...rint_denon.pdf

https://www.musicdirect.com/receiver...ated-Amplifier

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_033PMA....html?tp=34948
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post #14 of 30 Old 04-12-2019, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Do WE have a rule somewhere?
Loosen up. The poster was on topic about cabling and just provided a point that "separates" are not always simple.
It's unspoken, just read the name of this section, it said "2-Channel Audio". There is surround sound and video section in this forum.

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"We" aren't complaining about posts. Only you.
Loosen up. It's not only about you. Allow others to share opinions and experiences.
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post #16 of 30 Old 04-12-2019, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Do WE have a rule somewhere?
Loosen up. The poster was on topic about cabling and just provided a point that "separates" are not always simple.
Thank you! I think some people come here just to argue.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JES000000 View Post
I'm a little confused about where the advice is headed. The A-S1100 is not something I would ever expect to have to upgrade, period. It's basically just a power amp with a few extras. Unless the entire RCA format is abandoned at some point, it wouldn't need to be upgraded. That's my interest in it. We also listen to TV and movies in stereo. We've done it this long, and neither my wife or I really want to change.

If there's a pre-power combination (with HDMI ins) that makes better sense I'm open to the idea, IF I can actually audition it in person before buying. (I heard the A-S1100 and was impressed.) I just don't know where to start with separates.

Conversely, I see a bunch of plausible sub-$300 options in this thread for a DAC. My only question now is whether there's an advantage going HDMI to RCA rather than going through the TV and out to optical and then to RCA. If that only lasts me a few years, it's a sad waste of materials going into a landfill, but at least I can afford it.

PS -- if people want to know my current setup, it's in the OP.

PPS -- thanks again for all the replies. Keep them coming!

The A-S1100 is a fine integrated amp that should serve you well for many years. Some people just do not like Yamaha gear. Many of the naysayers have never owned Yamaha.
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post #17 of 30 Old 04-12-2019, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
"We" aren't complaining about posts. Only you.
Loosen up. It's not only about you. Allow others to share opinions and experiences.
How many times you complained about people went off the topic? So it's only ok for you?

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Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post
.................. With separates I got tired of all the cabling mess, lack of rack space, ............................
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post
I understand how many cables one needs to connect separates. At the same time I've had a processor (AVP), 5 channel amp for surrounds & zone II, a stereo preamp & two channel amp all in one rack. It was a mess of cabling. FWIW I've never heard a separates setup that was any better than a decent integrated amp. And the AVR's these days are as good as a processor/amp setup IMO. Unless you have hard to drive speakers, which seems stupid to me, you don't need a big 300w+ amp, ever!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post
Thank you! I think some people come here just to argue.

I forgot who started this? It takes two.


I gave my opinion, you can give yours.

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Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.

Last edited by alan0354; 04-12-2019 at 06:16 PM.
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post #19 of 30 Old 04-13-2019, 03:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JES000000 View Post
I'm a little confused about where the advice is headed. The A-S1100 is not something I would ever expect to have to upgrade, period. It's basically just a power amp with a few extras. Unless the entire RCA format is abandoned at some point, it wouldn't need to be upgraded. That's my interest in it. We also listen to TV and movies in stereo. We've done it this long, and neither my wife or I really want to change.

If there's a pre-power combination (with HDMI ins) that makes better sense I'm open to the idea, IF I can actually audition it in person before buying. (I heard the A-S1100 and was impressed.) I just don't know where to start with separates.

Conversely, I see a bunch of plausible sub-$300 options in this thread for a DAC. My only question now is whether there's an advantage going HDMI to RCA rather than going through the TV and out to optical and then to RCA. If that only lasts me a few years, it's a sad waste of materials going into a landfill, but at least I can afford it.

PS -- if people want to know my current setup, it's in the OP.

PPS -- thanks again for all the replies. Keep them coming!
For two channel there is no advantage in going hdmi over optical. For multi channel atmos tracks I don't believe you get the atmos track over optical, but that's not important. I think the Yamaha with optical inputs from your tv would serve you just fine.

The only other possibility you haven't explored is an integrated with HDMI inputs and one output for your TV. There are some out there. NAD 368 and 388 integrated amps, with hdmi module the 388 is around 1900 I think. Lyngdorf TDAI 2170 and 3400 but lyngdorfs run about 4400 and about 7000 with hdmi module. Lyndorf does come with fantastic room correction, Room Perfect. It's kind of my dream integrated. The Krell K-300i at about 7000 bucks. And not to be left out is the Onkyo stereo receiver the TX-8270, with hdmi at a paltry 499 compared to the others.

But I think the Yamaha would be a fine integrated.

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post #20 of 30 Old 05-19-2019, 08:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again everyone. In the end we went with the A-S1100 and are loving it.
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post #21 of 30 Old 05-21-2019, 01:31 PM
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Perhaps I have not read well enough, but here are my opinions.

Most people who use a Stereo for TV/Movie watching, run HDMI devices into the TV, then take the Optical Audio Out of the TV and feed the amp/dac.

True today there are HDMI DACs that will extract the sound from an HDMI signal, but they are not doing much more than your TV is doing.

Next, has it been stated how much MONEY you are willing to spend on a DAC? Given the cost of the Yamaha AS1100 ($2499), you should be able to afford a pretty nice DAC. Schiit are pretty good, Chord, Cambridge, and many others, but first you have to work out how much money you want to spend, and whether you have other uses for a DAC. For example if you get a DAC with USB-PC, you could make a direct connect to a Computer.

As you can see the Schiit's DAC span quite range, but depending on the features for a DAC in general, I would say the common price range is $200 to about $500, though of course, the do go up to many thousands.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=schiit+DAC&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

Here is the Essence HDACC II-4K - $599 -

https://www.essenceelectrostatic.com...t/hdacc-ii-4k/

- 4xHDMI v2.0a Inputs x 1 HDMI v2.0a Output

- 32 Bit / 384K Sample Rate Audio Upsampling

- Supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision

- Supports 4K Video


Nothing wrong with that if that is the route you prefer.

And thought perhaps a bit too common for your system, you can buy a High Resolution DAC for as little as $25 on AMAZON.

Something like this doesn't seem out of the question for the system you seem to be planning -

https://www.amazon.com/Schiit-Modi-M...dp/B07KX4RQTF/

1xOptical, 1xCoaxial, 1xUSB-PC

At the link above, there are a couple of MODI models, there is a drop down box for the versions - Modi-3 is $99, Modi Multibit is $249

https://www.amazon.com/Schiit-Modi-C...dp/B07KWHWV1M/

https://www.amazon.com/Schiit-Modi-M...dp/B07KX4RQTF/


Again, there is no shortage of straight forward DACs to choose from, you just need to set a Budget.

https://cambridgeaudio.com/usa/en/pr.../dacmagic-plus

https://www.crutchfield.com/g_371750....html?tp=59309

https://www.musicdirect.com/equipmen...oducts&c2=grid


If you want to add Network Streaming to the system, then the Yamaha WXC-50 Network Streamer/Pre-Amp ($349) does a good job at a pretty reasonable price -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_022WXC...XC-50&skipvs=T

Next above that would be the Bluesound Node-2i - $499 -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_813NOD...esound_Node-2i

Probably next above that is the Cambridge CXN V2 Network Player - $899 -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_779CXN...=Cambridge_CXN

It is worth noting that the Cambridge CXN allows external access to its internal DACs, so it is both DAC and Streamer. 1xOptical, 1xCoaxial, and 1xUSB-PC in, and of course Network/LAN In. Also, it has Pre-Amp capability. Many people us the Cambridge CXN as the Pre-Amp for a Power Amp, thought the pre-amp aspect is not mandatory; the output can be switched between Fixed and Variable Output.

There is a version of the Bluesound NODE that has a built in CD Player/Ripper and a Hard Drive -

Bluesound Vault-2i - $1099 -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_813VAL...sound_Vault-2i

The hard drive would be able to hold THOUSANDS of Albums, not songs but ALBUMS.

OF course you can spend as high as $17,000 on a Streamer if you are so inclined. But that seem excess in the extreme.

https://www.musicdirect.com/Equipmen...oducts&c2=grid

There are several members of the UK AVForums.com that have the Yamaha AS1100 and the AS2100 and the all seem very pleased with the amps.

So, you do likely need a DAC to go with the AS1100, the underlying question is what type of DAC? Myself and many other are content to run HDMI to the TV, and take the Optical Audio Out and feed the Amp/DAC. However, HDMI DACs do exist and presumable to the job. That's really a personal decision. Perhaps ask yourself how many HDMI Devices do you have, and do those cables running up to the TV really create that much clutter?

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audi...-50/index.html

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audi...0_g/index.html

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audi...100/index.html

But then ... that's just my opinion.

Steve/bluewizard

Last edited by bluewizard; 05-21-2019 at 05:01 PM.
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post #22 of 30 Old 05-23-2019, 09:48 AM
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IMO, the A-S1100 deserves a quality dac. Mid-priced options that punch above their price: MHDT Orchid, Schiit Modi Multi-bit, Metrum Onyx, PS Audio GainCell.
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post #23 of 30 Old 05-23-2019, 12:19 PM
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IMO, the A-S1100 deserves a quality dac. Mid-priced options that punch above their price: MHDT Orchid, Schiit Modi Multi-bit, Metrum Onyx, PS Audio GainCell.
What is wrong with the dac in that A-S1100? How will an external dac bypass the internal dac?
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post #24 of 30 Old 05-23-2019, 01:31 PM
 
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What is wrong with the dac in that A-S1100? How will an external dac bypass the internal dac?
The Yamaha A-S1100 is analog only, no DAC.
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What is wrong with the dac in that A-S1100? How will an external dac bypass the internal dac?
Since the stereo system he's getting does not support any kind of digital inputs [Hmm, I wonder if they'll have that some day? *sarcasm*] The OP would need to use the DAC in the TV set and use its RCA analog stereo outs.
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post #26 of 30 Old 05-23-2019, 04:24 PM
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The Yamaha A-S1100 is analog only, no DAC.
Thanks. Must be an old unit?
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post #27 of 30 Old 05-23-2019, 04:33 PM
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Thanks. Must be an old unit?
I think it came out about 4-5 years ago. Don't let that turn you away - it's a highly regarded integrated amp. You'll find many of the higher-end integrated amps don't have internal dacs (which can induce EMI, noise, etc).
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Thanks. Must be an old unit?
The A-S1100 is in their current lineup and has been available since the latter part of 2015. It is one of their "high-grade" MOSFET integrated amplifiers and retails for $2500.
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post #30 of 30 Old 05-25-2019, 04:53 PM
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Hi,
I recently purchased a Yamaha A-S1100 for two channel music listening. So far I've been very impressed with the amp. It's built like a tank and the retro analog meters are cool . A PC is my main music source running Tidal. For a DAC I purchased a NAD C510. The nice thing about the C510 (other than being an outstanding DAC based on the NAD M1 - google reviews of the M1) is that it has two HDMI inputs and one HDMI output. I connect my PC to the C510 via HDMI. Sound quality is superb. The NAD C510 has recently been discontinued so there is so good deals going at the moment.This combination produces a very "musical" sound (i.e. not analytical) that I really enjoy.



Regards,
Stephen
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