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Help choosing "layout" of separate components (streamer, dac, preamp, etc)

EMCCM

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Hi All,

** If someone knows of a separate thread that outlines how I should go about solving my question, please point me to it, apologies if this is an unnecessary thread. **

I will be obtaining the BMS Towers soon after running NHT bookshelf's for about 20 years and finally having the space/finance in place to upgrade my system. My intention is purely a 2-channel setup right now, with likely 2 subs in the future (I've read the towers produce plenty of bass, so we'll see).

Planned sources:
  • Bluesound Node
  • Turntable
  • CD player
  • TV
  • Xbox
  • Nintendo Switch
I've gone back and forth on an integrated solution like the M33, or even considered an AVR, but I think I've decided I want separate components for upgradability and to be able to play around more with switching components in the future.

Current thoughts on the chain with my planned components (none are purchased yet):
  • Analog sources --> Preamp (Topping Pre90)
  • Digital sources --> DAC (Topping D90SE) --> Preamp
  • Preamp --> DSP (MiniDSP DDR24 vs SHD Studio Full)
  • DSP --> Amp (Audiophonics MPA 250)
Main issue I am worried about:
  • Source switching will be a problem as I have 5 digital sources and the DAC only handles 2 (coax/toslink)
    • I could ignore Xbox/Switch since fidelity matters less, and just use analog outputs to the preamp
    • I have an older Denon X1600H I could use for source switching of TV/Xbox/Switch, but it has no digital outputs
    • Seems overkill to buy a dedicated sound processor just to switch inputs, is there a better solution?
Please let me know if I'm overthinking this, and if anyone has a better solution to my source switching issue. I really would like to avoid needing an AVR/processor to deal with this, but am unsure of another solution.

Thanks!
 

MarcosCh

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All the spdif sources > spdif selector (there are some with remote control) > minidsp flex (has both toslink and coax)
Analog sources > analog in minidsp flex
Streamer > usb minidsp flex
Minidsp flex > amp > speakers
+ 2 unused channels for the future (two subs)
Would that work?
 
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Berwhale

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Won't your TV passthrough the Xbox and Switch signals through it's optical out?
 
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EMCCM

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Won't your TV passthrough the Xbox and Switch signals through it's optical out?
Ah hah... yes... of course it will. I am currently using an AVR so hadn't had it wired up that way, but previously did. So that's one part solved. Still technically have two many digitals for the Topping:
  • TV to pass TV/Xbox/Switch
  • Bluesound
  • CD player
 

Berwhale

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EMCCM

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All the spdif sources > spdif selector (there are some with remote control) > minidsp flex (has both toslink and coax)
Analog sources > analog in minidsp flex
Streamer > usb minidsp flex
Minidsp flex > amp > speakers
+ 2 unused channels for the future (two subs)
Would that work?
Only problem is that I still need a pre-amp for the turntable still.

And SPDIF splitters I thought limit the bit rate?
 

MarcosCh

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Only problem is that I still need a pre-amp for the turntable still.

And SPDIF splitters I thought limit the bit rate?
The flex is a preamp also. Do you mean a phono stage? In that case yes, you will need one.

Spdif splitters.... no idea how they work, i don't think they limit the bit rate, but i guess you mean the sample rate. There are hundreds of them, maybe others can chime in. But most likely your tv does limit the sample rate to 48kHz if that's relevant for you.

I believe in general if you want DSP, digital and analog inputs and the possibility of having one or two subs in the future, you can't go wrong with the flex. There are other alternatives, but will cost you money or fiddling with stuff.
 
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EMCCM

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Yes, thanks, that is helpful!
The flex is a preamp also. Do you mean a phono stage? In that case yes, you will need one.

Spdif splitters.... no idea how they work, i don't think they limit the bit rate, but i guess you mean the sample rate. There are hundreds of them, maybe others can chime in. But most likely your tv does limit the sample rate to 48kHz if that's relevant for you.

I believe in general if you want DSP, digital and analog inputs and the possibility of having one or two subs in the future, you can't go wrong with the flex. There are other alternatives, but will cost you money or fiddling with stuff.
Yea, I meant I need a phono stage so need a pre-amp regardless. That's a fair point regarding the TV, I really don't care much about ultra high fidelity from that output as long as my CD player and bluesound aren't limited, which they wouldn't be since they can be through USB and Coax respectively on the DAC.
 

MarcosCh

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Yea, I meant I need a phono stage so need a pre-amp regardless.
Emccm, phono stage and preamp are different things. Yes you will need both, what i was trying to tell is that the flex can act as a preamp, because it has an analog line level in and a volume control, like the topping pre90. To make it clear, these are the two options side by side when it comes to turntable:

Turntable -> phono stage -> topping pre90 -> amplifier

Turntable -> phono stage -> flex -> amplifier

Note: not trying to convince you, i don't work for minidsp and not even have a flex myself, just trying to clarify it, you will be a happy man with quality music either way :)
 

Berwhale

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MarcosCh

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Unless it's a turntable with an internal pre-amp and line output...

*internal phono stage

Sure, but it is still the same layout with both flex and pre90. I just had the impreesion that emccm thought that with the flex he would still need a separate preamp. He does not.
 

Berwhale

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*internal phono stage

I agree, but Audio-Technica say...

"The PHONO/LINE switch turns the turntable’s internal RIAA preamp off/on"
 
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EMCCM

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*internal phono stage

Sure, but it is still the same layout with both flex and pre90. I just had the impreesion that emccm thought that with the flex he would still need a separate preamp. He does not.
My current (technics from the 80's I think... I def will be upgrading this within a year) has no internal phono stage. I already have an old Arcam (1990's I think) pre-amp with a phono stage that I can use in the meantime if I end up going with a table that has an internal phone stage.
 
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EMCCM

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Emccm, phono stage and preamp are different things. Yes you will need both, what i was trying to tell is that the flex can act as a preamp, because it has an analog line level in and a volume control, like the topping pre90. To make it clear, these are the two options side by side when it comes to turntable:

Turntable -> phono stage -> topping pre90 -> amplifier

Turntable -> phono stage -> flex -> amplifier

Note: not trying to convince you, i don't work for minidsp and not even have a flex myself, just trying to clarify it, you will be a happy man with quality music either way :)
I understand what you mean, thank you. Flex is starting to look like a really good option.
 
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