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im on the virge of putting together my first serious hi-fi system and need help choosing a pre-amp. im gonna be running all of my music out of a computer(lossless compression) and running it out of the system via digital optical out to eliminate "system noise" from the computer case. i just need a simple stereo 2-channel pre-amp that will accept the digital optical output from my computer. my speakers will be klipschorns paired with a tube amp, probably something vintage like H.H. scott. any suggestions? i dont want to break the bank on the pre-amp but i dont want to cut any corners either. klipschorns are notoriously fussy about the quality of the signal going into them.
 

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hmm, cant seem to find much on it, let alone one for sale, ill keep an eye out for one..


any other suggestions??
 

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Tag DPA32. Pretty expensive though, and will probably not match will with badly designed horns. Audiolab/Tag sound is quite clinical- not bright, just lots and lots of detail.


You could try a cheap Dolby Digital decoder- the Harmon/Kardon ADP-303 is quite good for music. 1 optical, 1 coaxial input, 1 RF, 5.1 direct bypass- doesn't have remote control volume though. I still have one. A Denon AVD-2000 is another, but a bit thin sounding for music. Better connectivety & control features though (more inputs, digital output, volume controlled, 5.1 inputs with volume control)
 

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what exactly does "badly designed horns" mean? weather you like my speaker choice or not, all i want to know is if it will work well...
 

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IMO horn design needs careful R&D... something like the Duo Avantgarde is a example of a good horn. :)


I've heard some JBL horn's in the past.. good if you like it loud or have a weedy amp- but no finesse and really harsh sound.


Haven't heard Klipsch though, but I've read a couple of people's comments who have.
 

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For starters, what is your budget ?


The piece you are asking for is an "odd-ball" piece.

You basically want a DAC + volume control.

Some that come to mind include an EAD DSP-9000, Monarchy 22C or 33, Benchmark Media DAC1, Birdland Odeon, and more.


You will find lots of these for sale at http://www.audiogon.com


- Andy
 

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Discussion Starter #8
for the pre-amp? id like to keep it under $1000. i also have no problems with used equipment...


fatbottom, the first time i heard a horn-loaded speaker, it was an old pair of heresys, man those things were great. later i heard a pair of 60's klipschorns at a friends house, and ive never heard better. i must admit, my experience is pretty much limited to an old high-end stereo store in my home town, a friends brother worked there. but they had just about everything you could think of from electrostatics, to klipschorns, and ive wanted a pair since i was 12... just a personal choice i guess.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by NatGun
and ive never heard better. i must admit, my experience is pretty much limited to an old high-end stereo store in my home town, a friends brother worked there. but they had just about everything you could think of from electrostatics, to klipschorns, and ive wanted a pair since i was 12... just a personal choice i guess.
You don't have to rationalize for anyone. Those are fine speakers. The main thing is that you like them.


I wish I had a pair.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
andy,


any other reccomendations?? the birdland odeon looks like exactly what im looking for, there is one on audiogon, but he said there is a peice broken off of the digital connector, so i think im gonna pass on it. all the others you reccomended im having a hard time finding....


thanks.
 

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Have you considered a separate DAC with analog inputs into your preamp? That will give you more flexibility in your preamp choice. The Benchmark DAC-1 sells new for $800 or you can get used Bel Canto DAC-1s used for even less.


Dsmith
 

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Discussion Starter #12
so i would have to go computer->DAC->preamp->amp->speakers?? is that an easier way to go? would there be any special considerations when going this route?


as always, specific reccomendations are appreciated...
 

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... the poster says he does not have a pre-amp, or has this changed ?


( FYI: probably over your budget, but I just listed my EAD DSP-9000-MK3-Pro DAC with volume control at Audiogon.com )


- Andy
 

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Discussion Starter #14
no, i dont have a pre-amp at all. i figured i could get a preamp and DAC in one unit, but it seems that this is not a very common configuration... just trying to explore my options, but i am open to DAC+preamp+amp. the more options i get the better.
 

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I've been thinking about this approach as well -- outputting my PC audio and cable box digital out to a DAC (like the Benchmark), which I would plug directly into my integrated amp. This is an interesting solution, as I already have a good CD player and am not into multichannel (yet).


Doesn't seem like many people have tried this, but it seems to have potential.
 

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I realize you're looking for a preamp, but have you considered using a high quality soundcard in your PC as the preamp?


Some audiophile sound cards have DAC's which compete with very high end audiophile gear. They are primarily used in recording studios. Many can be had for less than $600. The Maudio Delta 1010 is well regarded, has 24/96 DACs with balanced outputs on every channel (8 analog outputs) and does upsampling for playback. The 1010's DAC's are housed in a separate enclosure outside of the PC. Many of these cards can be wired directly to power amps with volume controlled by the computer with no loss of quality. In addition to Maudio, RME and Lynxtwo make cards of excellent quality.


Search the HTPC forum for endless discussions including shootouts with audiophile big rigs.


Also see Bill Gaw's reviews of the Delta 1010 at www.enjoythemusic.com. Note that his complaints about lack of volume control have been addressed by the latest Maudio drivers.


Also see mediapc.org, for some good info, including a link to a high end soundcard shootout.
 

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Angstrom 200 DPL preamp/dac. Retail 3500, about 300 used. Very good dac and preamp stage. Has ~3 digital inputs and remote control. Built like a tank (Faraday chassis).
 

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Bryston BP25DA. Everyone's been raving about the DA converter. Couple this to an already excellent preamp and you have one heck of a combo. I have a BP25 with the phono MM stage and have been very pleased. The unfortunate part of this is that you're not going to get this preamp for less than $1000. The probability you'll find a used BP25DA is pretty slim. The BP25DA was just released. You can find a used BP20 or BP25 for about $1000. The difference between the 20 and the 25 is that the 25 has a remote. Then when you have the money, the upgrade to get the DA module will cost you $1000. A bonus for getting a used 20/25 is that it is probably still under warranty. All Brystons come with a 20 year transferrable warranty. The warranty is from the date of manufacture so there is no worry about producing a proof of purchase.
 
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