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When is a DAC really an all digital pre-amp?

Benedict_Arnold

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Jan 16, 2013
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Case in point the Chord DaVe (could've been worse, the Kevin is coming out next month and the Wayne by Chrimbo.... )...
Is it just a DAC or is it really an all digital pre-amp? And when does one become the other?
 

TomSawyer

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By my interpretation, if it has a volume control it's a preamp. Some have this capability as a selectable option so can be switched from DAC to digital preamp as the user prefers.
 

ID.

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TomSawyer said:
By my interpretation, if it has a volume control it's a preamp. Some have this capability as a selectable option so can be switched from DAC to digital preamp as the user prefers.
This. In terms of marketing, I suspect that while there's a decent market of people looking for a DAC, not so many want a digital preamp, so while it's included as a function, it's not used in the name of the product, perhaps because it may unwittingly turn some people away.

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.
 

TomSawyer

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ID. said:
I suspect that while there's a decent market of people looking for a DAC, not so many want a digital preamp
I think it's a useful facility actually. I still play LPs so I don't use it as I'm forced to have an analogue pre-amp just to switch sources. But if my music was all digital I would just have my streamer connected directly to a power-amp.
 

Al ears

Moderator
TomSawyer said:
ID. said:
I suspect that while there's a decent market of people looking for a DAC, not so many want a digital preamp
I think it's a useful facility actually. I still play LPs so I don't use it as I'm forced to have an analogue pre-amp just to switch sources. But if my music was all digital I would just have my streamer connected directly to a power-amp.
If you're happy with an all digital system then it can be a handy feature, my Oppo has it but I don't use it as , likewise, I use analogue as well.
 

bluedroog

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I wish they'd produce more products which are truly spec'ed as both, they tend to be one or the other with the added fuction. More typically DACs with volume. There's the Cyrus pre-amps with digital inputs.

Some DACs such as the NAD M51 work on more bits than typical so they have headroom to shred without losing useable data. As much as that may well negate any analougue attentuantion need I'd feel more comfortable if I could buy a top class with something like a TVC.
 

spockfish

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bluedroog said:
I wish they'd produce more products which are truly spec'ed as both, they tend to be one or the other with the added fuction. More typically DACs with volume. There's the Cyrus pre-amps with digital inputs.
The Mytek Brooklyn DAC comes to mind, with a pre-amp, phono in (!), and a double volume control (both digital and analogue). It's on my shortlist ;-)
 

spiny norman

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Benedict_Arnold said:
(could've been worse, the Kevin is coming out next month and the Wayne by Chrimbo.... )
Then there's the Nigel – wants to be out as soon as possible, but really doesn't care what happens once you've bought it.
 

busb

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I used my audiolab M-DAC in preamp mode straight into my power amp untill about 3 months ago. I then bought the partnering preamp, set the dac to fixed output then into the pre.

Now have an M-DAC+ that I also have running in fixed output mode. Why did I buy the pre? so I could listen to SACDs on my BDP & LPs when I get around to buyling a deck.

Some so-called digital preamps have analogue volume controls whilst others have analogue inputs. The digital volume on the M-DAC worked extremely well. I may try that mode again with my new dac.
 

Benedict_Arnold

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spiny norman said:
Benedict_Arnold said:
(could've been worse, the Kevin is coming out next month and the Wayne by Chrimbo.... )
Then there's the Nigel – wants to be out as soon as possible, but really doesn't care what happens once you've bought it.
Could be even worse.

The Nicola, successor to the Alec, was billed as a standalone system, but only seems to want to work as part of a huge system. And is reliant on other components for its power supply. And didn't work at all with the Dave.

Then there's the Jeremy, which won't work with anything other than a Diane,

Etc.

Okay. Enough Brexit jokes..
 

DougK

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Dec 8, 2013
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Benedict_Arnold said:
spiny norman said:
Benedict_Arnold said:
(could've been worse, the Kevin is coming out next month and the Wayne by Chrimbo.... )
Then there's the Nigel – wants to be out as soon as possible, but really doesn't care what happens once you've bought it.
Could be even worse.

The Nicola, successor to the Alec, was billed as a standalone system, but only seems to want to work as part of a huge system. And is reliant on other components for its power supply. And didn't work at all with the Dave.

Then there's the Jeremy, which won't work with anything other than a Diane,

Etc.

Okay. Enough Brexit jokes..
Brilliant!! *ROFL*
 

Benedict_Arnold

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Since my dabbling back into the murky world of those big, round, black, flat things has merely reminded me why I bought my first CD player (a Philips if I recall correctly) over 30 years ago and never really looked back until a couple of years ago, I can live without analogue.
And as a lot of Millenial-targetted turntables have built in analogue to digital converters anyway...
 

Al ears

Moderator
Benedict_Arnold said:
spiny norman said:
Benedict_Arnold said:
(could've been worse, the Kevin is coming out next month and the Wayne by Chrimbo.... )
Then there's the Nigel – wants to be out as soon as possible, but really doesn't care what happens once you've bought it.
Could be even worse.

The Nicola, successor to the Alec, was billed as a standalone system, but only seems to want to work as part of a huge system. And is reliant on other components for its power supply. And didn't work at all with the Dave.

Then there's the Jeremy, which won't work with anything other than a Diane,

Etc.

Okay. Enough Brexit jokes..
And there was me thinking the David wasn't out until October.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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A DAC can have a variable output/volume control, and still be called a DAC, although it depends what the manufacturer wants to market the product as. In my opinion, a DAC becomes a pre-amplifier when it has analogue inputs.
 

TomSawyer

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Apr 17, 2016
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David@FrankHarvey said:
A DAC can have a variable output/volume control, and still be called a DAC, although it depends what the manufacturer wants to market the product as. In my opinion, a DAC becomes a pre-amplifier when it has analogue inputs.
But, by reference to the original question, if it has an analogue input it isn't an "all digital pre-amp". Surely, and I realise it's a largely irrelevant debate, if it can be used directly to provide full functionality with a power-amp, then it's a digital pre-amp? And if the manufacturer calls it something else, then it's a digital pre-amp in all but name?
 

Benedict_Arnold

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Jan 16, 2013
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TomSawyer said:
David@FrankHarvey said:
A DAC can have a variable output/volume control, and still be called a DAC, although it depends what the manufacturer wants to market the product as. In my opinion, a DAC becomes a pre-amplifier when it has analogue inputs.
But, by reference to the original question, if it has an analogue input it isn't an "all digital pre-amp". Surely, and I realise it's a largely irrelevant debate, if it can be used directly to provide full functionality with a power-amp, then it's a digital pre-amp? And if the manufacturer calls it something else, then it's a digital pre-amp in all but name?
That, I think, was my point....
 

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