Dac straight to power amp

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by gambo22, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. gambo22

    gambo22
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    Hello folks
    I am currently putting together a new system and welcome any advice, it’s a bed room setup where everything run through my computer, as I want hifi not an all singing and dancing surround sound I plan on using a DAC perhaps the new Beresford TC-7520 or something similar.
    As I don’t need any switching or many inputs would it be better for me to go straight to a power amp like the 8000p or get an integrated amp. My thinking and I could be wrong is that a decent power amp would give me greater audio as an equally priced integrated would spend my money on the dac, inputs, switches etc as well as the amplifiers.
    Really interested in your opinions, especially if you are running a system like this or would like to swap some cables around have a test.

    Thanks
    David
     
  2. Dave964

    Dave964
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    Integrated don't tend to have DACs. DACs are usually in the source (e.g. CD player). Plus - if you go straight from DAC to power amp, how would you control the volume?
     
  3. gambo22

    gambo22
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    yes very true,
    The Beresford has two outputs one with volume control which can be controlled fom the DAC
     
  4. tudj

    tudj
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    As its for use with a PC, you could also control the volume from the PC via software or the OS. :)

    I'm considering doing this too, I currently run my PC to my Beresford and then to an Integrated Marantz amp and have been meaning to look into the merits of upgrading to a Power amp instead of an Integrated for the same reasons.

    In my mind £400 of Power amp will sound better than £400 of Integrated as it's components are focused on less tasks.
     
  5. Mr_Sukebe

    Mr_Sukebe
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    One point that comes to mind straight away is the quality of the volume control itself, cheaper pre-amps and DACs tend to have fairly basic implementations on their volume control, and are often better avoided when matched with fairly good gear. Another point is that the cheaper DACs tend to have no remote control for the volume, which may be an issue for you.

    The DACs that come to mind include the Beresford 7510 (good VFM), the Benchmark DAC1, Bel Canto DAC3 and Audio Synthesis DAX Decade. Be aware that there's a vast difference in cost (and ability) between the units. The 7510 and DAC1 don't have remote, the DAC3 and Decade do, but cost a shed load.

    Another potential option is a s/h older legacy AV processor like the Meridian 561. If you ignore it's surround capabilities, it's probably a rather good DAC/pre-amp, and as it doesn't support HD audio, can be had for a fraction of it's original cost.
     
  6. gambo22

    gambo22
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    thanks for the info,
    I am not bothered at all about a remote which will helps make things simplier:clap:
     
  7. Steven

    Steven
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    Just want to point out that if you get into the world of bit-perfect audio playback on Windows (that is foobar + asio4all OR winamp), then you need to have software volume on max and use your dac/amp to control the volume

    Of course if one buys a Mac then they could use the optical out to avoid asio, but its not that hard to configure
     
  8. gambo22

    gambo22
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    cheers, i was reading about this somewhere earlier. its nice to have useful info that why we are hear right perfect audio :thumbsup:
     
  9. leedswillprevai

    leedswillprevai
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    Sorry don't think you can do this, the volume control on the beresford is for headphone usage.
     
  10. VoodooDoctor

    VoodooDoctor
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    The Benchmark DAC-1 USB is a preamp as well so will do what you need it to. It is also very good!
     
  11. tudj

    tudj
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    I'm using that setup at the moment but wasn't 100% sure how the volume effected the bit-perfect stream.


    There is a variable(volume) phono out on the beresford along with the fixed.
     
  12. trailer

    trailer
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    Correct.
     
  13. tudj

    tudj
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    How much would a cheaper volume control (such as that found in my Beresford) effect the sound quality when paired with a lower end Power Amp such as the Audiolab mentioned. I am thinking of buying the 8000P and then adding a pre-amp maybe a year later.
     
  14. Mr_Sukebe

    Mr_Sukebe
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    Having never played with the Audiolab you mention, and not having tested the volume on the 7510 I once owned, I wouldn't dream of speculating.
    My suggestion would be that you give it a go, then try to get a home dem on a pre-amp to prove to yourself either way as to whether it's worth the dosh.
     
  15. Steven

    Steven
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    As I said, on Mac via optical out it is self-explanatory and job done

    On PC with usb-out if your device comes with asio drivers then all the better. Things like asio4all are only a wrapper to fool windows into thinking your device is using asio drivers. With that out of the way...
    With digital outputs, reduction in volume is achieved through loss of digital signal by introducing attenuation. So on the software side with volume sliders at 100% you are getting optimum signal strength. Then you adjust the volume with your amp
     
  16. Arfa

    Arfa
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    The problem with using the volume control in windows, is there'll always be some mischievous app that'll crank it up. You know how Quicktime always opens a movie with the volume max'd out. Or you'll install some new sound card drivers and boot up to hear the windows chime blowing your speakers out etc... Just for logistics and speaker safety rather than quality I'd avoid this setup.

    I'd look out for a basic passive pre-amp to sit between the DAC and power amp, something like the Creek OBH12 - something small with just one or two inputs and a decent quality volume dial (the Creek also has a remote control).
     

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