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DAC straight into power amp


New member
Aug 10, 2019
I am considering the huge range of options for a total system upgrade and still mulling it over.

I will be investing in a DAC - something like a Beresford - and run CD/DVD, Sonos, Sky etc through this. I have seen that I could go straight out the back of the DAC into a stereo power amp and omit the preamp stage entirely.

I know there are downsides (no remote volume, what if I want to splash out on a top notch CD deck which will need a preamp?)

Anyone doing this currently? I guess I have a budget of around £600 for the amp in whatever form. Is integrated the way forward - or are people getting good results straight into a power amp? what would people recommend?

Apols all, this may better fit into the computer music category - but it kind of sits here too!

John Duncan

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2008
Never mind remote volume, what about volume? Most power amps have no volume control of any kind.....furthermore, any possible audio gains you may get from missing out a preamp stage will be completely negated by having to use the digital volume controls on any of those sources (which throw away bits) - if they have one.

Either get a top quality passive volume control (Creek do one, QED used to), or just get an integrated. I'd do the latter. Course, there's always the £1.2k+ Benchmark DAC1-Pre as an alternative to the Beresford......


I love my DAC XP. Great piece of kit.

It can be had 2nd hand for £1,200 - £1,500 depending on the age and most are likely to be in tip top condition. Its fully balanced when used with a digital source and has plenty of inputs (2 optical, 4 coax, 2 analogue RCA).


Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
Hmm. A man looking to the same upgrade path that I was looking at.

I am still thinking of the Benchmark DAC1 Pre because of it's status as a genuine pre-amp and DAC. It has optical and coax and analogues inputs and (importantly for me) a 24bit/96khz capable USB input. It has RCA and XLR balanced outputs and a high grade volume control and headphone amp built in also.

That is the 'easy' part. (Well, apart from the £1299 price-tag!)

The difficulty has been trying to find a high quality - but low-mid - powered power-amp. (Solid state pure class A would be nice too but Sugden no longer make the A21P) The icing on the 'cake' would be XLR balanced inputs too.

So if anyone knows of a (non-valve) pure class A, solid state, 25 watt per channel, power amp with XLR balanced inputs for around a grand then I will be your friend for life!


if you do not need the analogue input then you do not need the pre amp version of the Benchmark. The bog standard BM DAC1 has 3 digital inputs and can be controlled by the volume pot on the front. It also has a USB. This model replaced my NAIM 82 with twin psu pre-amp. The BM DAC1 blows it away imo.


Thanks for the input on the Cyrus and Benchmark front (no pun intended). Spending more
on a DAC/preamp combo seems to me to be a sensible option though the
budget required is not exactly credit-crunch friendly. Still I think that given my listening is increasingly towards lossless rips of CDs it makes sense to focus on this.

As Chebby points out that leaves the power amp conundrum. I was thinking maybe something like an Arcam FMJ P35 or Cyrus 6 Power. I think that would work well, but until I listen to it it will be hard to tell.


If I was trying to restrict my spend and were happy with Cyrus gear you could go for:
- DAC-X (basically the same DAC as in the DAC-XP without the pre and no remote switching of inputs so slightly more limiting than the XP) - around £500 second hand
- 8vs2 (8 power integrated) - also around £500 second hand

The DAC-XP is an expensive piece of kit the benefit of which you are more likely to appreciate with better amplification than a 6 power.

Also buying 2nd hand gives you the option to change/upgrade with little financial downside.


ta Grimaldi, that helps keep things more managable - I am getting married in a couple of weeks and once that is out of the way i can think about spending money again without it being earmarked for nuptuals

any dealers good for 2nd hand cyrus? (i will obviously be keeping an eye on fleabay too)


Certain dealer's like Moorgate's in Sheffield receive reprocessed Cyrus gear. This typically includes a full warranty.

The Cyrus unofficial forum is also a really good source of Cyrus gear ... lots being sold all the time in the private ads section. Often it is also better value than eBay and feels a bit safer (as typically members selling care about their forum reputation).

eBay is also good, its sometimes possible to pick up totally new gear for a song (from my experience its hifi shop staff who are able to buy from Cyrus at a discount and then try to sell for a profit on eBay).


"So if anyone knows of a (non-valve) pure class A, solid state, 25 watt per channel, power amp with XLR balanced inputs for around a grand then I will be your friend for life!"

Class A, 200w channel, Burr Brown op amps, Weight over 50lbs mainly due to size of its transformer. Can bi amp off it.
Price around £600ish but getting harder to come by.

Trouble is its a Onkyo 875 and fed off a BT 500va MTU sounds crystal clear on ALL of its sound modes. :)
Cyrus doesn't have the dynamics to live with it.