Tube Preamp with DAC - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-12-2020, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Tube Preamp with ADC

I am firmly camped out in the digital, home theatre side of things, and all in favor of using modern DSPs for things like bass management and room correction.

At the same time, I have a decent vinyl collection and although I think digital audio is superior to vinyl, there is something deeply satisfying about playing and listening to records.

So I find myself wondering: have any manufacturers made a high-quality tube pre-amp (to get that stereotypically warm sound you get from the even-ordered harmonic distortion from tubes and also, let's be honest, the pleasing aesthetics of a tube amp glowing in your room) with a built-in very high quality A/D converter, so that you could pass say, a 48/24 digital signal over HDMI or USB to an AVR? Would there be a market for such a device?

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post #2 of 9 Old 06-14-2020, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dschulz View Post
I am firmly camped out in the digital, home theatre side of things, and all in favor of using modern DSPs for things like bass management and room correction.

At the same time, I have a decent vinyl collection and although I think digital audio is superior to vinyl, there is something deeply satisfying about playing and listening to records.

So I find myself wondering: have any manufacturers made a high-quality tube pre-amp (to get that stereotypically warm sound you get from the even-ordered harmonic distortion from tubes and also, let's be honest, the pleasing aesthetics of a tube amp glowing in your room) with a built-in very high quality A/D converter, so that you could pass say, a 48/24 digital signal over HDMI or USB to an AVR? Would there be a market for such a device?

Hi,


I'm not sure if it meets your exact requirements, but I have something similar. Since OTL tube amplifiers are hard to find with massive output, I did similar and wanted a DAC with tube pre-amp output so that there was some tube influence passed on to be amplified faithfully to do what you're describing and have that analog experience but with a little more connectivity digitally and with more output options. For me it was the Maverick Audio TubeMagic D2 DAC. The tube is inside and glows a lovely orange. And I have been using it for about 9 years straight now.


Very best,
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post #3 of 9 Old 06-14-2020, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dschulz View Post
I am firmly camped out in the digital, home theatre side of things, and all in favor of using modern DSPs for things like bass management and room correction.

At the same time, I have a decent vinyl collection and although I think digital audio is superior to vinyl, there is something deeply satisfying about playing and listening to records.

So I find myself wondering: have any manufacturers made a high-quality tube pre-amp (to get that stereotypically warm sound you get from the even-ordered harmonic distortion from tubes and also, let's be honest, the pleasing aesthetics of a tube amp glowing in your room) with a built-in very high quality A/D converter, so that you could pass say, a 48/24 digital signal over HDMI or USB to an AVR? Would there be a market for such a device?
I don't know of a tube Preamp with a built in DAC but Prima Luna recently came out with a gorgeous tube DAC. You could pair it with one of their excellent integrated tube amps or if you don't need an amp, one of their tube pre's.
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post #4 of 9 Old 06-14-2020, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dschulz View Post
So I find myself wondering: have any manufacturers made a high-quality tube pre-amp (to get that stereotypically warm sound you get from the even-ordered harmonic distortion from tubes and also, let's be honest, the pleasing aesthetics of a tube amp glowing in your room) with a built-in very high quality A/D converter, so that you could pass say, a 48/24 digital signal over HDMI or USB to an AVR? Would there be a market for such a device?
The dbx 386 is a Dual Vacuum Tube Preamp with Digital Out. I don't know any more specifics about it.
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-14-2020, 08:48 PM
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or you could get a Schitt Freya+ tube preamp and stack whatever DAC you like.....
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post #6 of 9 Old 06-14-2020, 11:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
The dbx 386 is a Dual Vacuum Tube Preamp with Digital Out. I don't know any more specifics about it.
The dbx unit is a microphone preamp, so it doesn't do the RIAA curve that you need for it to work as a phono stage. Although one could probably use DSP downstream to handle the RIAA curve, it'd be inelegant.

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or you could get a Schitt Freya+ tube preamp and stack whatever DAC you like.....
Honestly I think this is the only way to do this correctly at the moment - pick a good preamp (and the Schitts are very good) and then an outboard A/D converter (or just rely on the A/D conversion in your AVR).
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-14-2020, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dschulz View Post
The dbx unit is a microphone preamp, so it doesn't do the RIAA curve that you need for it to work as a phono stage. Although one could probably use DSP downstream to handle the RIAA curve, it'd be inelegant.



Honestly I think this is the only way to do this correctly at the moment - pick a good preamp (and the Schitts are very good) and then an outboard A/D converter (or just rely on the A/D conversion in your AVR).
The dbx has no phono stage, true, so you'd need to do that outboard but it has a line in so you could do:

Phono preamp > dbx 386 line in, tube A-to-D> digital in on AVR/
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-16-2020, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dschulz View Post
I am firmly camped out in the digital, home theatre side of things, and all in favor of using modern DSPs for things like bass management and room correction.

At the same time, I have a decent vinyl collection and although I think digital audio is superior to vinyl, there is something deeply satisfying about playing and listening to records.

So I find myself wondering: have any manufacturers made a high-quality tube pre-amp (to get that stereotypically warm sound you get from the even-ordered harmonic distortion from tubes and also, let's be honest, the pleasing aesthetics of a tube amp glowing in your room) with a built-in very high quality A/D converter, so that you could pass say, a 48/24 digital signal over HDMI or USB to an AVR? Would there be a market for such a device?
McIntosh C2700 tube preamp.... phonostage, dac, hdmi, and visible tubes

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post #9 of 9 Old 06-16-2020, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by AtlantaAllen View Post
McIntosh C2700 tube preamp.... phonostage, dac, hdmi, and visible tubes
No A/D nor digital out as he stated he needed.

Also at $8K it is sort of an odd purchase to tack onto an AVR as was his requested plan.
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