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Does such a beast exist: ADC Digital Preamplifier

garbz

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I see a trend towards new products that promote DSP solutions in active speakers. Dutch and Dutch 8C, Kii Threes, Grimm LS1be, just to name a few I saw recently. All of these have something in common: AES3 inputs.

This got me thinking of a new product line: A digital ADC preamp. Basically taking the exiting Preamp + DAC combination and turning it on its head. Instead of a device that selects between multiple analogue sources + phono + includes a DAC which can select between digital sources and controls the volume of it all how about a device like the following:
- Takes multiple analogue sources connected to an ADC
- Takes multiple digital sources
- Has a digital interface receiver to switch between all of the above
- Controls volume digitally.
- Outputs AES3 / S/PDIF

Does such a device exist on the market as a hifi component? Or do I need to build one when I buy my next speakers?
 

Soniclife

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MiniDSP SHD, think it only has 1 analogue input, but it does the rest.
 

pozz

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RME ADI-2 Pro comes close. I use it for all those purposes.
 

phoenixdogfan

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MiniDSP SHD Studio will do everything except A to D conversion. Put a quality A to D converter in front of it, and you have the whole ball of wax.
 

radix

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I really wish there were such a thing. you know, where you had inputs you could assign custom names to and a decent remote control and level matching and EQ and volume.

The miniDSP SHD does come close, and it's what I'm using. But it has several annoying features. Someone needs to take the SHD technology and put it in a user-friendly package.
  • No 12V trigger
  • Cannot rename the input selectors (AFAIK), so it just displays "TOSLINK" or "RCA", etc.
  • No "monitor out" if you want to record something. I think the USB does have a digital out, but I'm not sure. But I'd like to send a pre-DIRAC output to other devices.
  • You have multiple inputs, but they are only to support different media (aes, toslink, spdif rca, unbal line level, usb). If you have 2 devices that both need spdif, you're hosed unless you get a media converter.
  • The USB port doubles as the SHD/Dirac control port and a streaming input. So if you use, like I do, a RP4 streamer, you have to switch cables around to use the SHD app.
  • No Roon certification. Thus, I have to use RP4. The Volumio integration is ok, but I moved to Roon.
  • The built-in Volumio takes a while to come online after coming out of standby. Another reason I prefer the RP4 that I can see immediately after turning on the SHD.
Personally, I want a lot of *digital* inputs and maybe 1 or 2 analog. It always seems wrong to me to have digital inputs go to analog then get re-sampled to the DSP then back to analog again.

Marc
 

radix

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This would do what you want and then output the final choice to your favorite DAC.

Tact Audio used to make a digital preamp like you describe. Don't know of current offerings exactly like that.
Functionality-wise, the 8D, maybe in a 19" rack with an 8A, looks like it would do everything. I wish one could find something like that with a classy hifi styling for the home. Anyway, I'm sure there's not much of a market for that -- I guess it's just me and that other guy who still want to attach a phono, cd, digital recorder, and usb streamer to a home system and feel like it's all integrated. I'll keep motu in mind, it might work out. I was looking at the rme adi 8ds.
 

Vuki

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I had to do it myself. Used now obsolete Ess es9102 ADC and made an 24bit A/D preamp with 4 analog inputs. I can choose linear 48/96/192khz or RIAA 48khz filter for each input. It has spdif output to connect it to DAC. I wanted to be able to listen vinyl and fm tuner in real time on my digital only rig. It works nicely :)
 

gvl

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Emotiva XMC-2 or the like? You may not get close to SOTA performance though.
 

AndrewC

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Meridian 800 Series. Been around for the longest time. Supports digital streams right into their Speakers which have individual driver dedicated DAC/Amps.

 

badboygolf16v

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I use an RME ADI-2 Pro FS R for exactly this functionality. Only one analogue input though.

I think the RME UCX II would cater for multiple analogue inputs but no remote control.
 

jrosser

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I also use the RME ADI-2 Pro FS R for this. It let me rationalise my whole setup (get rid of legacy 'hi-fi' gear, and digital interconnect wherever possible) so it's now simpler and one analog input is sufficient. DSP EQ and variable loudness curve is a killer feature of the RME in my opinion.

This is worth knowing about if you want more digital inputs https://www.tindie.com/products/beni_skate/automatic-spdif-opticalrca-audio-switch/. Lots of inputs and a neat priority switching setup if you need it.
 

voodooless

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Because of the massive computing power and high-resolution signal path, some interesting features have also been incorporated to further perfect the listening experience. Want to add a subwoofer to your system? The M12 includes a second order high pass and low pass crossover with selectable frequency.

So they have massive computing power, and the only thing they add is a simple 2nd order crossover :facepalm: What a waste of an essentially fantastic concept. Why not add Dirac for instance? Luckily it does have tone controls:
1632989977429.png

What a milestone in digital technology...
 
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garbz

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MiniDSP SHD, think it only has 1 analogue input, but it does the rest.
That looks interesting. If it had a phono stage it would be a full featured solution.
I had to do it myself. Used now obsolete Ess es9102 ADC and made an 24bit A/D preamp with 4 analog inputs. I can choose linear 48/96/192khz or RIAA 48khz filter for each input. It has spdif output to connect it to DAC. I wanted to be able to listen vinyl and fm tuner in real time on my digital only rig. It works nicely :)
Curious as to how you did the RIAA. I'm just coming off the back of building a Preamp with integrated DAC so I fully support building something myself. Playing with digital DSP is the only thing I've not done hobby wise before. But I've built my fair share of ADCs, preamps and DACs before.
Meridian 800 Series.
Meridian is blacklisted from me for what they are doing with MQA. I boycott all their products as well as any which support MQA. We don't need the worst of the video world brought to audio. ... I'm genuinely impressed with myself for not using language that my grandma wouldn't like me using in this post. But those ******* can go **** a ******* ****.
I'm trying not to spend money on things I don't need. Like a fully featured Emotiva AVR, or the NAD M12 which includes a DAC which is kind of the opposite of what I'm going for. Also MQA.


A lot of this seems to be shoehorning a solution into a product. I was looking for something that may be specific to this new world of digital input active speakers. So far the RME unit may be the closest. The miniDSP SDH also looks attractive save for the downsides.
 

Vuki

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That looks interesting. If it had a phono stage it would be a full featured solution.

Curious as to how you did the RIAA. I'm just coming off the back of building a Preamp with integrated DAC so I fully support building something myself. Playing with digital DSP is the only thing I've not done hobby wise before. But I've built my fair share of ADCs, preamps and DACs before.

Meridian is blacklisted from me for what they are doing with MQA. I boycott all their products as well as any which support MQA. We don't need the worst of the video world brought to audio. ... I'm genuinely impressed with myself for not using language that my grandma wouldn't like me using in this post. But those ******* can go **** a ******* ****.

I'm trying not to spend money on things I don't need. Like a fully featured Emotiva AVR, or the NAD M12 which includes a DAC which is kind of the opposite of what I'm going for. Also MQA.


A lot of this seems to be shoehorning a solution into a product. I was looking for something that may be specific to this new world of digital input active speakers. So far the RME unit may be the closest. The miniDSP SDH also looks attractive save for the downsides.
ESS ADCs have integrated Riaa digital filter which can be engaged via register setting so you get (in theory) perfect riaa response. I also put low noise linear amplifier at the phono input. These "old" ess adcs had a bug (riaa worked only @48khz) and they stopped the production but @IVX recently presented small top-notch ADC but unfortunatly not audiophile oriented (no high impedance input buffer, no riaa option and no spdif out). Maybe one day...
 
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