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DAC for Sound System live/pro audio

maelstr0m99

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Hello! I've recently gotten a power amp to run a sub to go along with a smallish PA live dj system. The power amp is a crown xls-1002, I will be using it in bridged mono mode to power an 18" Electrovoice subwoofer. People have consistently recommended inserting at single channel tube preamp, as the amp is clinical and cold. The upper range sound stage, freq curve, and possibly harsher higher frequencies don't bother me as it has a great bass response and am running it in bridged mono with only a sub anyway. (LPF attenuating anything above probably 80-90hz) My question is: With "pro" audio amplifiers and bigger systems, that are more noisy but pushing much much more power and used for live djing, what would be a good DAC for getting the best quality out of stuff like the crown amp? Looking at things like topping, cambridge, schiit, geshelli labs, etc. Also if you have a good suggestion for a simple tube preamp or combination of tube pre/dac let me know. Thanks for your expertise.

 

DVDdoug

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First, the important things: "Adequate" speakers & amplifiers, and hopefully good acoustics. And music that the audience likes.

I've had my (large) home speakers in "dance halls" a couple of times and even though the acoustics weren't "perfect", they sounded WAY better in a larger space.

People have consistently recommended inserting at single channel tube preamp, as the amp is clinical and cold.
Tubes are dumb-outdated technology! ;) A lot of "audiophiles" like them but most of the 'audiophile community is nuts! Guitar players often like tubes because of the way they sound when over-driven into distortion. But, you want a "high fidelity" (high-accuracy) amplifier that doesn't distort... It's one thing to have an overdriven guitar and another thing to have the whole band and the singer distorting....

Most amplifiers (and DACs and other electronics) have flat frequency response and low distortion (as long as they are not overdriven into distortion). A good tube amp will sound exactly like a good solid state amp with no particular sound of it's own. Some amps ARE noisier than others.

Preamps (for microphones and turntables) are more noise-prone than the other electronics because they are high-gain and you're starting with a weak signal and it's hard to get a good signal-to-noise ratio.

The upper range sound stage, freq curve, and possibly harsher higher frequencies don't bother me
And you can generally fix that with EQ/tone controls.

as it has a great bass response and am running it in bridged mono with only a sub anyway.
You can't "simply" boost bass with EQ because strong-deep bass needs high power and big woofers. If your amp & woofer/subwoofer is inadequate you just end-up driving the amp & woofer into distortion. I don't' expect you to have that problem! ;)

Standing waves in the room makes bumps and dips at certain bass frequencies (and at certain spots in the room). You can mostly turn-down the bumps with EQ but it's almost impossible to have enough power and big-enough woofers to overcome the sound wave cancelation. The good news is, it's much less of a problem in larger rooms.

"pro" audio amplifiers and bigger systems, that are more noisy
Pro amps aren't necessarily (electrically) noisier. They usually have a cooling fan that makes noise which is more of a problem at home in a small room where you are close to the fan.

With more gain, and if you have efficient horn speakers. you might hear noise when you are close to the speaker. But if there is a crowd there will be plenty of other noise to drown it out!

hat would be a good DAC for getting the best quality out of stuff like the crown amp
The amp is probably noisier than the DAC. I wouldn't worry about the DAC.

If you have awesome speakers that play cleanly when loud it will sound awesome!!! And with that 18-inch sub and plenty of power behind it, it's going to be "impressive".
 
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maelstr0m99

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Thanks for the awesome response. Lots to unpack,
The amp is probably noisier than the DAC. I wouldn't worry about the DAC.
This answers my main question. The amp is absolutely more noisy than the DAC.
Tubes are dumb-outdated technology! ;) A lot of "audiophiles" like them but most of the 'audiophile community is nuts! Guitar players often like tubes because of the way they sound when over-driven into distortion.
And this answers my other one. Might be fun to experiment with but mostly unnecessary and probably overrated. (Although I do like how they distort, probably would be a no-no and shorten the lives of the amp and sub. ) I think this amp converts everything to 48hz anyway, so wouldn't want to risk analog distortion changing into digital. I come from a more "loudspeaker" background of audio not from hi-fi, so I know all about standing waves, phase and cancellation etc! Have bass traps and partially treated the room its going into. Down the line I might add some parametric eq when I upgrade my audio interface, otherwise the DSP on the amp will have me covered for basics.
You can't "simply" boost bass with EQ because strong-deep bass needs high power and big woofers.
I just meant to say the crown amp has good even bass response. I have powered this sub before and, while lower power/wattage to similar drivers in its class, (~500rms @ 8ohm) I find it to be a very musical speaker and just right for this room. Not overly nauseating or impossible to drive fully indoors. Without hearing damage. Mostly. Thanks for the knowledge!
 
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