Power Amp over Integrated for SQ - Why?

Chronic

Standard Member
Can someone explain to me (in laymans terms please!) why using my Cambridge Audio 840a as a a power amp, with a pre amp DAC to control volume, should result in better sound quality over using a straight through DAC & using the 840a as integrated amp?

I think some good analogies are in order ;)

.
 

Gixxerblade

Novice Member
It might not do, the only way is to demonstrate equipment yourself and buy what you like the sound of best.

I prefer my Arcam a85 in power amp mode using my Lexicon mc4 as the dac and pre via digital coax from my self- built htpc but you might prefer my Arcam cd72t cd player straight in to my Arcam a85 used in integrated mode using analog interconnects. You might not like either :eek:

Get down to a good dealer and have a good listen then get your preferences home if you can for a good session or buy used and sell on what you don't like.
 

Chronic

Standard Member
Thanks for the reply, i've had the 840a for a few years & love the sound, but i've only been using it in integrated mode, i've recently been looking into USB DAC's as i want to get the most out of my music collection from my HTPC, so now the option of using my 840a in power amp mode has come to light ;)

The DAC im looking at (Audiolab M-DAC) has the option to use as straight through DAC or as a pre, and it comes with a remote which can control track skip/back/pause/play on the HTPC through the USB, and of course volume level, which would be a godsend because the remote for the cambridge audio is a piece of crap.

I hope it's safe to use my 840a in power amp mode aswell though, i heard it can get pretty hot, it's basically got fixed level input option, so on the 840a you set & save the input level of the DAC to 0db
 

Chronic

Standard Member
I just tested out my BMC-2 DAC monitor controller using the 840a in power amp mode, i have an audible hiss when not playing music using the balanced xlr ins on the 840a, it shouldn't be the xlrs as i used them for ages on my studio monitors with no hiss at all, so im thinking it must be using the 840a amp in power amp mode that creates this hiss?

or it could just be tha balanced xlr ins on the 840a, my BMC-2 doesnt have any other outputs so can't test phono or anything...
 

Chronic

Standard Member
I must say after a few listens, despite the hiss when not playing music, it sounds absolutely EPIC using the 840a as power amp, simply wow
 

Gixxerblade

Novice Member
I get noticeable hiss as well solely due to the amp but I can't hear it from a foot away. Glad you like the sound you are hearing.
 
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