Question In need of some help

DanielP74

Novice Member
Hi all,
I'm in need of a little help if you could.
i've recently fallen in to the hifi rabbit hole and im having some trouble getting the best from my setup.

Im streaming mainly Tidal via wifi from a Bluesound node 2i onto an S.M.S.L-M400 DAC then on to a Denon PMA 60 amp. The speakers are DALI Oberon 1's.

As i understand it to get full MQA from the node to the DAC i need to use the RCA outs, however, the DAC doesn't have RAC in. What are my options? I'm thinking RCA to Coax, if that's even a thing?

Thanks in advance.
Dan.
 

Nico72

Well-known Member
RCA out is already analogue. It cannot go through the DAC. It goes straight to the amplifier
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
With the cost of the Bluesound and DAC I’d put money into a better amp before worrying about that.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Thanks,
Ok, so any suggestions at around the £1000 mark?

Please pardon the forthrightness, but you’re now all over the place.

A thousand quids worth of amp would be something of a mega waste with the Oberon 1s.

Something like this is the most you will need.


And this is perhaps more price appropriate.


Or this.

 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Ps, I’d also double check to see that the Node 2i can pass MQA through its optical output.
 

mseve1

Active Member
So digital Coax or optical (which i'm currently using) from the node to the DAC?
Yes, probably best to use Coax out from Node 2i to the M400. Don't forget to set up this DAC as being MQA compliant in BluOS :-
Settings > Player > Audio > MQA External DAC (toggle ON)
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Hi. Surely the external DAC's not necessary and you can just plug the Node directly into the amp? Sorry if I'm missing something obvious.
 

DanielP74

Novice Member
Please pardon the forthrightness, but you’re now all over the place.

No worries, that’s exactly why I’m here asking questions.

A thousand quids worth of amp would be something of a mega waste with the Oberon 1s.

These are a stepping stone to something a little more substantial once the wife has gotten used to having a setup in the lounge.

Something like this is the most you will need.


And this is perhaps more price appropriate.


Or this.

 

DanielP74

Novice Member
Hi. Surely the external DAC's not necessary and you can just plug the Node directly into the amp? Sorry if I'm missing something obvious.

Yes, you can. That’s how I was running it at first but I found the sound not to my liking. Like something was missing. Since adding the SMSL the sound has improved greatly.
 

Mr Broon

Active Member
If you like the sound why overthink MQA? I run Node 2i via Qutest into a Rega Elex - sounds brilliant so I'm not worrying about full MQA unfolding.
 

DanielP74

Novice Member
If you like the sound why overthink MQA? I run Node 2i via Qutest into a Rega Elex - sounds brilliant so I'm not worrying about full MQA unfolding.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not worried about it it to too much, I’d just like to squeeze everything I can out of what is for me, a fairly large investment.
 

Nico72

Well-known Member
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not worried about it it to too much, I’d just like to squeeze everything I can out of what is for me, a fairly large investment.
Your setup has three sets of DACs but only 25wpc. As long as you are happy with the sound, keep it that way.
The first component that I would consider upgrading is the amp. The Rega Brio R should be an improvement and is also a small form factor like the Denon.
 

DanielP74

Novice Member
Your setup has three sets of DACs but only 25wpc. As long as you are happy with the sound, keep it that way.
The first component that I would consider upgrading is the amp. The Rega Brio R should be an improvement and is also a small form factor like the Denon.

The DAC in the node and amp are both disabled and the volume isn’t to much of an issue. I’ve never managed to ramp it up past 2/3rds without complaints (I thought the Denon was 50wpc?) However, as the Denon is still within its return period I’ll be looking for a Rega Brio R today. It’s looks and form factor should go unnoticed by the boss.
Quick question. It the Denon considered a poor quality amp? Or is it just that the Rega is better?
Thanks Nico
 

Nico72

Well-known Member
Denon-PMA-60-inside.jpg
rega-brio-inside.jpg
I would not say that the Denon is a poor amp but you are paying for DACs that you don't need.
You get a better power supply in the Brio, and you pay just for the analogue amp.
At the end of the day, if you are happy with the sound and don't require high volume, you don't need to upgrade anything.
Differences between amps are more subtle than those between speakers, as long as amps are not being over-driven.
 

oscroft

Member
I’ve never managed to ramp it up past 2/3rds without complaints
Just a point on amplifier power - it's not about how loud it will go. Extra power in an amp provides extra headroom, enabling it to repond more quickly to transients and improving the dynamics of the sound. Comparing to car engines, it's analogous to the way a more powerful engine will give you better acceleration than a less powerful one, even if both are driven at the same average speed.

Other things being equal, a more powerful amp with the volume at 1/3rd is likely to sound better than a less powerful amp at 2/3rds (assuming those two settings give the same volume).
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The Denon isn't a poor amp it is just that the Brio is something of a superstar in it's price range. Great power supply and it's a pure analogue amp and that's where the build is different, all the money has been spent on amplification and no outlay for DAC circuits. It is a very competitive price point if you need a DAC in the design and the Denon range comes into it's own from the PMA 1600 upwards.
 

DanielP74

Novice Member
View attachment 1426980
View attachment 1426981
I would not say that the Denon is a poor amp but you are paying for DACs that you don't need.
You get a better power supply in the Brio, and you pay just for the analogue amp.
At the end of the day, if you are happy with the sound and don't require high volume, you don't need to upgrade anything.
Differences between amps are more subtle than those between speakers, as long as amps are not being over-driven.

It looks like there's a lot going on in the Denon compared to the Rega!
I suppose It would also allow for a bit more choice when it comes to upgrading the speakers, which hopefully will be in the next 6 - 12 months.
 

DanielP74

Novice Member
Just a point on amplifier power - it's not about how loud it will go. Extra power in an amp provides extra headroom, enabling it to repond more quickly to transients and improving the dynamics of the sound. Comparing to car engines, it's analogous to the way a more powerful engine will give you better acceleration than a less powerful one, even if both are driven at the same average speed.

Other things being equal, a more powerful amp with the volume at 1/3rd is likely to sound better than a less powerful amp at 2/3rds (assuming those two settings give the same volume).

That makes perfect sense. Thank you
 

DanielP74

Novice Member
The Denon isn't a poor amp it is just that the Brio is something of a superstar in it's price range. Great power supply and it's a pure analogue amp and that's where the build is different, all the money has been spent on amplification and no outlay for DAC circuits. It is a very competitive price point if you need a DAC in the design and the Denon range comes into it's own from the PMA 1600 upwards.

I don't need the Dac in the amp, it's currently off, so yes, i think with the advice here and the research i've done this morning, that the Brio is the way to go.
Thank you Gibbsy.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I don't need the Dac in the amp, it's currently off, so yes, i think with the advice here and the research i've done this morning, that the Brio is the way to go.
Thank you Gibbsy.
I own an Elicit-R, I don't think you'll be at all disappointed with the Brio.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
As above, Elex R owner here, which is effectively just a more powerful Brio. Buy with confidence. I believe these Rega amps have the chops to drive speakers well above their own value.
 

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