To Preamp, or not to Preamp?

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
For a second system hifi with the Audiolab power amp, you can’t beat Rotel.

I’m a big fan, have been for years.

And this preamp is a very simple, well liked and inexpensive treasure.

 

Auralsaga

Standard Member
Thanks for your responses. Appreciated.

Paul - The Audiolab hums when i've nothing connected to it that's different from the Nad i.e the same CD player; the Rega Planet. No, not spent much at all on interconnects. I ddi notice the biggest differences with the QED 40is and Van Den Hul D103 MkIII hybrid cables, both second hand.

Ugg - Thanks for the advice. I did look at a luminous audio passive pre-amp for a bit at a good price but I got 'sniped' in the last 10 seconds of biding. It had good reviews. I'll check out your other suggestions too, thanks. I should state that I have no horses in the race with Beresford, but I appreciate they are doing it for themselves and have amazing customer service; bespoke, basically.

Their gear is also very good and well priced. I've not tried out the preamp on the Caiman yet (I bought it second hand but they were happy to get involved).

I guess I basically had it in my head that a pre-amp would have to be separate from the DAC. Still find it hard to get my head around a small box being a good pre-amp, but it's my bad not to try it out. I'll do it and report back. I will say though I wasn't impressed with the headphone output on the Caiman, but...i'm using AKG 550s.

Cheers,
A
 

Auralsaga

Standard Member
Ermm, I also just realised that my cables from my switcher to the amp are not very good. Running Van den Hul Clearwaters (HF), great, from the (front) speakers to the switcher and QED 79 strand (LF) from the (front) speakers to the switcher. Bi-wired. But, also running old Audio Innovation cables from the switcher to the amp not bi-wired.

Just bought more metres of Van den Hul to replace the QED cables and also to replace the Audio Innovation cables (I'll sell them on).

As the Beresford is only a 'switcher' I should bi-wire the Van den Huls from the switcher to my amp also as the speakers are bi-wired?

Thanks for any comment,
A
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I will say though I wasn't impressed with the headphone output on the Caiman, but...i'm using AKG 550s.
Sometimes the headphone circuit is an after thought on many amps. It should though have no difficulty in driving the 32ohm 550s and in fairness, for their price, they are not too bad a set of 'phones. If you were to use a higher tier headphone then more than likely they could sound worse.
 

Auralsaga

Standard Member
Gibbsy,

Thanks for your message. Yeah, always been happy with the AKGs, but mainly drive them through my laptop and sometimes the AV Amp.

I'm kinda on the limit of what I feel comfortable spending at the moment as just bought a Pro-ject Pre DS second-hand (£110) and barely used and Epos ES11 Speakers inc original stands and CableTalk bi-wired cables (the latter were £150, so a total steal). I know it's not been a big spend in terms of what some buy, but got about £800 of gear to sell (old outmoded systems too)!

So, done buying stuff (thank god) just a question of listening and figuring out what works, what doesn't and selling on the stuff that doesn't. I might even sell the Monitor Audio R6s as the Epos are extremely good and non-fussy on positioning etc.

Questions, still, though. Am I best connecting my Rega Planet CDP via anologue cables to my Beresford Caiman DAC or via one digital connect? If I also have 'directional' cables (I know this is a contentious subject) in terms of CDP, preamp and power amp what goes where? The Van den Huls are apparently 'directional' but the QED 40is and Chord Crimson aren't.

Thanks as always folks,
A
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Questions, still, though. Am I best connecting my Rega Planet CDP via anologue cables to my Beresford Caiman DAC or via one digital connect? If I also have 'directional' cables (I know this is a contentious subject) in terms of CDP, preamp and power amp what goes where? The Van den Huls are apparently 'directional' but the QED 40is and Chord Crimson aren't.
If you have an optical cable then connect to the Beresford as well, compare that to the analogue from the Rega and decide on which DAC you prefer. I would be surprised if the Beresford sounded better than the Rega. The Rega will provide the shortest connection between digital and analogue circuits.

Your connections should be the pre-amp for all music sources then a simple connection from the pre to the power amp. I have Chord Clearway connections that don't require a 'directional' connection and I cannot fathom out how an electrical impulse can only be passed one way down a wire.
 

Auralsaga

Standard Member
Thanks Gibbsy and others. Appreciate your reactions and advice.

I was recently informed that the Beresford Caiman SEG DAC could be the weakest link in my chain. I also looked at the audio science website of actual measurements. It didn't fair well, unfortunately.

I did buy a Pro-ject Pre Box DS as a preamp second-hand and it's working well. Also got a Topping DX3 Pro DAC V2 second hand arriving tomorrow. Great reviews, so I will compare against the Beresford for my system.

Yeah, it's weird with CDPs now as they are largely out-moded, but they are on their way back! I toyed with that issue and originally bought a first edition DAC Magic as I thought it was of the same era so would be sufficient. I also thought any modern DAC would help out a CDP that was old.

I'll see what happens. The Toppings' are always well reviewed and i'll have different options to alter the sound through the settings. Quite neutral sounding all the same, apparently.

Apparently, some cables have an end that is grounded and that's the difference and if you connect it the other way it doesn't sound as good as you have double ground. Not tested it myself.

Cheers,
A
 

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