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  1. #76
    Sophomore Member Vangelis's Avatar
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    DAC preamps

    I'm not sure how the Classe stacks up against a seperate pre and DAC. I never heard much about it. ARC is coming with new DAC preamp basec on the DAC 8 soon.
    2010 Mac Mini4g>Pure Music 2.0>800firewire>Oyen Digital 2.5 mini> Audioquest Diamond USB>Bel Canto DAC 3.5 MK II VB>Wireworld Platinum>Ayre KX-5>Wireworld Platinum>Ayre VX-5>Audience AU24e>Magnepan 3.7i

  2. #77
    Senior Member wappinghigh's Avatar
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    I actually saw one yesterday

    At an Audio show here in Melbourne.

    I didn't hear it as there were too many in the room wanting other things..

    But anyway it is released. And it does exists!

    The sales guy was all about how it reduces jitter on a connected ipod or something.....nothing about it's usb computer interface

    The whole show had gone mad on connecting ipods, and airplay availability...

    The best sounding gear was in the (dare I say) old fashioned Bryson Room, and someone who'd hooked up a power conditioner to a 20 year old CD player and receiver..go figure..
    New simplified setup: STEREO- Primary listening Area: Cullen Circuits Mod ZP90> Benchmark DAC1>RotelRKB250 Power amp>KEF Q Series. Secondary listening areas: 1/ QNAP 119P II(running MinimServer)>UPnP>Linn Majik DSI>Linn Majik 140's. 2/ (Source awaiting)>Invicta DAC>RotelRKB2100 Power amp>Rega's. Tertiary multiroom areas: Same QNAP>SMB>Sonos>Various. MULTICHANNEL- MacMini>A+(Standalone mode)>Exasound e28 >5.1 analog out>Yamaha Avantage Receiver>Pre-outs>Linn Chakra power amps>Linn Katan front and sides. Linn Trikan Centre. Velodyne SPL1000 Ultra

  3. #78

    Separate

    David,

    Your photo shows a lovely system. Nice room too.

    There is no need at all to separate AV and 'pure' audio. It gains you nothing whatsover.

    Just add a preamp with HT bypass and a power amp of your choice. Or an integrated with an HT bypass.

    Like you my funds are not unlimited. At the moment of writing all my amplification is a Yamaha AV receiver. Surprising good for what it cost. Always in the 'pure direct mode' when listening to two channel.

    Tomorrow morning the front ('audiophile' if you like) speaker amps will be replaced with a 3-6 thousand dollar power amp, possibly Naim (I am in England) but I am not sure yet. In my madder moments I have thought about a pair of SETs. Driven from the Yamaha's pre out sockets. Half way there.

    As soon as funds allow I will install a 'proper' preamp with HT bypass, taking the Yamaha totally out of the 'audiophile' loop. Pure audio and kid's AV on one system and no interaction. Job done.

  4. #79
    Senior Member One and a half's Avatar
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    +1

    I like the Grace Design m903, there's a review on these pages from users.

  5. #80

    Not sure what DAC chips they use

    dCS don't use any DAC chips at all in their DACs. And they invented Async USB. Also they have a bypassable volume control.



  6. #81

    Classé CP-800

    After a whole lot of waiting i finally have the Classé in my shelf.

    Quite impressive build quality, with the exception of the power receptacle at the back, which seemed to budge a bit when i connected a heavy(ish) power cord... Also slightly surprising is the fact that the power cord plugs in right next to the USB, which seems a bit "risky", but the guys at Classé have probably thought this through.

    Intuitive to use etc, but most importantly; the sound..

    First listening (2h), also being the first hours on the unit - neutral, calm, quite transparent with very good soundstaging...this is with an iMac running PureMusic through USB and on 16/44.1 .aiff material. Nothing really sticks out, in a good way, meaning the sound is very "together" and natural. I quite like it.

    Doesn´t seem to be the last word in dynamics or top-end resolution (though both really good), but let´s see when it gets a few more hours of play.

    All things considered a very promising piece of equipment, with excellent versatility (for example i´m running a sub in the system, the CP-800 has excellent connections for that).


    I´ll keep you posted once i´ve had some more time to listen.

    Br,

    RKL
    iMac / Puremusic -> Classé CP-800 -> Pass X350.5 -> Montana XPS Signature / Montana SSW

  7. #82
    I'm a dealer, dammit rom661's Avatar
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    Hi

    For what it's worth, I've been around several units that were breaking in, including the one on our demo floor. It is very smooth on top, but it takes quite a while to fully open up.
    Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

  8. #83

    curious

    Curious as to the pricing on this and how long "quite a while" is.
    David

  9. #84

    I can recommend the new MDAC

    I can recommend the new MDAC from Audiolab. It has just ousted the Young dac in my set-up primarily because of the quality of it's correctly dithered volume control and pre-amp section. It contains a fully balanced class A output stage with a sub 1ohm output impedance. I'm very happy with it, the volume function beats the software one in Audivarna+

    Not sure of worldwide availability on these yet, but if you need no analogue throughput for a second source it has to be worth a listen.
    17\"MB-Pro-Weiss 202-Muse 200- NS 1000M

  10. #85
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    so the new Audiolab outsted

    so the new Audiolab outsted the Young? I think I remember you from pfm. Am I correct?
    Sounds very, VERY promising. What's the price-tag on the MDAC?
    best regards
    André
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    Accessories: Furutech GTX-D (G) with cover, MIT Z Duplex Super; Equitech Balanced Power

  11. #86

    C'mon guys....

    You can't leave Bel Canto out in the cold. I have a DAC 2.5 and love it. It has a very good class A preamp and is fully balanced from the the chipset itself. Also can't forget about the analog input. I've used to to drive McIntosh 1.2kw in balanced mode it performed flawlessly, even compared to a $6K Mac CD player, can't remember the model though.

  12. #87

    This one should fit the bill

    Can be ordered with transformer upgrade, balanced output, and volume control that doesn't look like an afterthought. Has the same board as the preamp and weighs around 50 lbs. I would guess.

    http://gillaudiodesign.com/elise%20manual.pdf



  13. #88
    I'm a dealer, dammit rom661's Avatar
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    Hey David

    Sorry, I'm in the hospital and been out of touch. The price is the easy part; 5K. I had 3 different prototypes so I'm trying not to let that affect my memory. It sounds OK out of the box but lacks dynamics and is kind of flat sounding. I would say two to three hundred hours of play. Sounds like a lot but the change in my production version was significant.
    Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

  14. #89

    CP-800

    ...now with a few more hours on it, opens up significantly already after a short burn-in. I must agree to the comment on dynamics above, but otherwise the sound is very neutral, calm and highly transparent.

    What the Classé brings is superb soundstaging and layering, with an ability to retain the natural echoes in the musical far better than what i´ve heard before. What i first thought was a lack of resolution actually turned out to be an absence of "glare", which brings out more of the natural top-end details instead of highlighting some of them in a "loudness-like" way...

    I´ll go on listening, but based on what i´ve heard so far i´m going to audition Classé power amps in the system as well, if they bring more of the same i may need to consider replacing my current Pass X350.5....

    So very promising indeed...
    iMac / Puremusic -> Classé CP-800 -> Pass X350.5 -> Montana XPS Signature / Montana SSW

  15. #90
    Searching for the perfect beat ...
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    To me a "DAC with a REAL

    To me a "DAC with a REAL preamp" is any DAC that incorporates a extremely robust and low impedance (non-IC but discrete opamp based) class A output stage similar to what can be found in high end preamps. These devices can effortlessly drive power amp input stages without breaking a sweat.

    Some examples have been given; my reco would be the Weiss Medea or DAC1 which has an 0 ohm output stage so beefy you can almost plug a pair of speakers directly into the analogue outputs :P

  16. #91
    Disjointed Member Brian A's Avatar
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    Analog side of DAC

    It is great to see some commentary on the analog side of DACs. Analog amplification is black magic and one would expect the analog side has a big influence on the DAC's sound.
    Peachtree Audio DAC-iT, Dynaco Stereo 70 Amp w/ Curcio triode cascode conversion, MCM Systems .7 Monitors

    Full details at: http://www.computeraudiophile.com/members/brian-a/

  17. #92
    Masters Level Member ted_b's Avatar
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    I've posted about this in a couple other threads but I guess

    not here! My preamp history (and pro-preamp bias) is long and storied. Anyway, my latest is the wonderful and not-cheap Concert Fidelity CF-080. Very long story short, the preamp function (read remote stepped relay volume) on my Antelope Gold/Voltikus combo is everything I got from the CF plus a smidge more microdetail. I lost no organics, timbre, tonality. Maybe a touch soundstage width, but added air and ss depth. It's the first DAC I was successful going direct (I tried at least 6-7 before then, and was convinced these remote volume capabilities were pure add-on). Furthermore, this thing drives 6M of Furutech Ref III interconnect to my monoblocks (the other obstacle I always had to get over).
    "We're all bozos on this bus"....F.T.

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  18. #93
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    I keep hearing good things

    I keep hearing good things about this dac going power amp direct (maybe its your various accounts in the different preamp threads around here :P - mine included). Just out of curiosity, do you know the details of the analogue output stage implementation in the Antelope Gold?

  19. #94
    Masters Level Member ted_b's Avatar
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    All I know is what Igor levin wrote on the 6Moons review

    "The main differences in the analog output stage relate to the altered PCB architecture necessary to implement the stepped relay attenuator with its 0.1% accurate thin-film resistors."
    "We're all bozos on this bus"....F.T.

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  20. #95

    Logically

    You are talking about a preamp with some digital inputs as well as the 'regular' analogue ones. Not a DAC with a 'preamp' facility.

    So buy the best preamp you can and the best DAC you can and join them together. By 'best' I mean the ones you think give the sound you prefer at the price you can afford.

    But you want a combined unit. So when 'digital' technology moves on, as it surely will, half of what you bought will no longer be your 'best' and you can't separate them.

    Should you eventually buy an 'appliance' server, such a Linn, Naim or whatever, you will end up with two DACs, one permanently stuck in the server, one permanently stuck in the preamp. Should you then wish to upgrade, you will end up with three DACs, only one of which is ever used. Is that what you want?

  21. #96

    I finally gave up on the

    I finally gave up on the Classe for lack of information and time for a completed product to market. I have mixed feelings about no volume control, but just ordered the Meitner. I wonder about the idea of everything being upsampled vs playing at native resolution.

    Meanwhile, Ted, I'd love to hear your antelope and the new MDAC.
    Nick

  22. #97
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    That's a good tip. I didn't

    That's a good tip. I didn't realize analogue inputs were needed.

  23. #98
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    Pretty vague then...

    Pretty vague then... unfortunately this is the case with most manufacturers; the details of output stage implementations are hard to find...

  24. #99

    Yes.

    Currently all my stuff is connected to a Yamaha AV receiver. At the price I paid for all the rest it rather lets the side down, though at least for the front speakers it is used in its 'Pure Direct' mode. This not only disables, but actually powers off all the AV and tone control stuff, so it is not too bad. For the front it works as a peamp only and drives a McIntosh 275. It will be replaced eventually, but is so flexible and thus useful. I even plug a guitar into it.

    But not only is it not up to standard of all the rest, I had to pay for all the AV stuff that I rarely use. It has even got an 'adequate but no more' 5.1 DAC in it. Fine for films with explosions.

    I looked at the Classe, but decided it concentrates too much money and function in one box!

  25. #100

    I have a few questions about

    I have a few questions about the Classe CP-800. Classe claims that they have a "magic sauce" for the CP-800's USB input for the iPod that makes the iPod sound better than it would through other digital transports (like the Wadia 170 & 171). Has anyone tested the iPod directly through the Classe vs. through a Wadia or other digital transport for the iPod?

    Second, has anyone compared the quality of the USB input on the Classe vs. the SPDIF input coupled with the use of an external USB converter?

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