Question DAC & Phono vs Stereo Preamp, seeking upgrade advice

Oct 25, 2021
I've been looking at upgrading my Schiit Mani phono stage (very high noise floor) and my Topping D10 DAC (I think it's okay, but I'm sure I can do much better). Of course there are a lot of options, and I'm not sure if I would be better served by a pre-amp that can handle both, or by discrete units. I use an Emotiva Basx A-100 amp for my desktop speakers and headphone duties, fed by a mixer so that I can easily control music while gaming. I mention this to get ahead of the question of why I'm not necessarily seeking an integrated amp, except to employ it as a pre-amp (for now anyway), though it's certainly on the table. The PS Audio Sprout 100 caught my eye, and it can do exactly what I want, in a compact form factor, but I do wonder if it would be wasted on just pre-amp duty, and if a separate DAC and phono stage would be a better value for the same budget of $700 or less.
What do you think?
Would the Sprout be a poor fit for pre-amp duty?
Which DAC and phono stage combination would give me the best value?



Latest posts