• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Looking for a pre-amp one stop to go with March audio Power (252 probably)

ivardj

Member
Joined
May 8, 2021
Messages
10
Likes
2
Hi all,

I've had an Electrocompaniet ECI-3, a Rotel RCD-991 and Dynaudio Contour 1.3 MKii speakers since 2000 and it's all worked pretty well for what I've listened to (mostly progressive house, rock and singer-songwriter). However, I've always found that perhaps the amp had a little too little power for the speakers, especially in larger rooms (I've moved a lot with these).

Now I have been forced to get a new amplifier as my 2 yo peed in the amp - when it was on, and thank f%^% she wasn't electrocuted, but the amp burned, and now doesn't make a sound (it does turn on an switch sources). I was looking to go for a one stop shop and tried out the NAD C368, and this sounds great if a bit quiet with the dynaudios, but am loath to pay 550 AUD for BluOs when that may become obsolete. So decided I don't want an integrated amp, but rather a DAC/Pre-amp and power.
Most my music these days is either played from vinyl on an old Linn Sondek LP12 (from the mid eighties), and have a Schiit Mani prestage, or from a streaming service like Spotify.

I am trying to declutter, so would really like a dac/pre-amp combo - but have my heart set on a March Audio power amp, as I think they seem the best value for money and think they would drive my speakers well. So really I want to keep it down to two boxed (plus the record player), but son't mind If I have to use the Mani, due to its tiny footprint.

Pre-amp out should be balanced, and if I were to ever play cds again the Rotel does also have a balanced output for the CD - so balanced inputs may be useful, also as I have a dj mixer with balanced outputs, but not sure I am going down that path. LPs are rarer too as a lot of my prog house is on 45RPM and the Linn Sondek doesn't do that (I don't have the spindle expander thingy).

What do people recommend? Budget about 2000-2500 with the power amp
 
OP
I

ivardj

Member
Joined
May 8, 2021
Messages
10
Likes
2
@tw99 Have been looking at those, but do also want to avoid having a separate streamer. Does the ADI have network capabilities?
 

Staki

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 17, 2020
Messages
42
Likes
34
Location
Belgium
+1 for MiniDSP SHD. I use it with a very similar amp (another Hypex NC252 build), it is a great combo. The impact of Dirac room correction should not be underestimated. The device is very flexible, you can later easily integrate one or two subs etc.
 

Jim Matthews

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
1,063
Likes
1,293
Location
Taxachusetts
OP
I

ivardj

Member
Joined
May 8, 2021
Messages
10
Likes
2
The BlueOS is dead simple to use and comes packaged with mature design under the NAD banner. I couldn't vouch for urine resistance, so perhaps it should be shelved higher than a sitting toddler.

You're facing the "Osborn effect" concerning any computerized product. I would suggest the simplest device that serves most of your needs might be worth a few compromises.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/nad-m10-streaming-amplifier-review.15535/

I got a bit of a feel for the BlueOs when testing my father in laws NAD, but am concerned about the Osborn effect, so want to take the cost out of that part of the package. I.e. have a "life-time" power-amp with a "disposable" - DAC/Pre... Is there a NAD that BlueOs that fits the bill sans the power, and is well-rated?
 

Jim Matthews

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
1,063
Likes
1,293
Location
Taxachusetts
Did I misunderstand the amp was a total loss?

If you have a functioning amp, the MiniDSP SHD has analog inputs and built in streaming with Volumio. The interface isn't as slick as BlueOS, but I think it has a lower noise floor. (Purely an impression - no tests performed.)

I have the MiniDSP SHD "studio" version which operates as a purely digital device (no analog input or output) and it's excellent.

Not cheap - but good value.
 
Last edited:

dougi

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 31, 2020
Messages
675
Likes
559
Location
ACT, Australia
I got a bit of a feel for the BlueOs when testing my father in laws NAD, but am concerned about the Osborn effect, so want to take the cost out of that part of the package. I.e. have a "life-time" power-amp with a "disposable" - DAC/Pre... Is there a NAD that BlueOs that fits the bill sans the power, and is well-rated?
The nad c658 dac pre with bluos and Dirac seems to be on sale at a few places in Oz, but still $2000 cheapest. The review here noted issues and there still appears to be some, but worth looking at.
 
OP
I

ivardj

Member
Joined
May 8, 2021
Messages
10
Likes
2
Did I misunderstand the amp was a total loss?

If you have a functioning amp, the MiniDSP SHD has analog inputs and built in streaming with Volumio. The interface isn't as slick as BlueOS, but I think it has a lower noise floor. (Purely an impression - no tests performed.)

I have the MiniDSP SHD "studio" version which operates as a purely digital device (no analog input or output) and it's excellent.

Not cheap - but good value.

Sorry - the amp was a total loss - powers up, but no sound - and also a bit sick of its bulk. So I'd set my sights on the https://www.marchaudio.net.au/p252-hypex-ncore-amplifier, and want to find a pre-match that streams (wirelessly). I'll be honest, most of my listening will be through Spotify or equivalent, although I will occasionally savour an old LP on the Linn Sondek (with or without the Schiit Mani phono stage), but don't want more boxes than the three (Pre/DAC/DSP whatever, Power and Phono-Pre (if req)). I can't claim to hear subtle differences anymore - I am even deaf in one ear, but I really notice when things get muddled - so clarity and "space" is what I value. Typical tests for music would be Union Jack (90s pure trance), Smashing Pumpkins (Siamese Dream with its level issues), Bon Iver, Cohen, Portishead (all mostly from digital stream), and then various progressive house from the 90s on vinyl, as well as classical and 80s pop/rock on vinyl. The power issue (perceived) I have, has always been that I'd had to crank the ECI-3 to get the speakers to sound good. But when I do they really do sing, but have not much to go on if I really want it loud.
 
OP
I

ivardj

Member
Joined
May 8, 2021
Messages
10
Likes
2
The nad c658 dac pre with bluos and Dirac seems to be on sale at a few places in Oz, but still $2000 cheapest. The review here noted issues and there still appears to be some, but worth looking at.
Yeah, just read that review and it was short and, ahem, NOT sweet.
 

restorer-john

Master Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
9,550
Likes
27,118
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
If it was me, I'd take the Rotel outside, dismantle it and high pressure clean it (to remove the pee) . Then simply have it repaired by a decent tech, It will outlast any Hypex based product you want to name.
 
OP
I

ivardj

Member
Joined
May 8, 2021
Messages
10
Likes
2
If it was me, I'd take the Rotel outside, dismantle it and high pressure clean it (to remove the pee) . Then simply have it repaired by a decent tech, It will outlast any Hypex based product you want to name.
Sorry - the amp is an Electrocompaniet (ECI-3), bought in my home country of Norway back in 2000 - but the tech looks simple-ish inside. I also have a good guy who's semi retired who could look at it I suppose. But again, I'm back to big bulky (yet beautful) boxes. The Rotel is a CD player (also in need of service)...Are you saying Hypex products won't have the longevity? Sorry - I'm out of the game for 21 years, and was never truly in it, if I'm to be brutally honest.
 

restorer-john

Master Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
9,550
Likes
27,118
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Sorry - the amp is an Electrocompaniet (ECI-3), bought in my home country of Norway back in 2000 - but the tech looks simple-ish inside. I also have a good guy who's semi retired who could look at it I suppose. But again, I'm back to big bulky (yet beautful) boxes. The Rotel is a CD player (also in need of service)...Are you saying Hypex products won't have the longevity? Sorry - I'm out of the game for 21 years, and was never truly in it, if I'm to be brutally honest.

Oh, I misread the post. Even so, I would repair the Electrocompaniet ECI-3 if it was me. It's in a whole other league in terms of quality and pride of ownership.

By all means, buy something shiny and new, but at least compare it to the repaired and restored unit you have before making any decisions.
 
Last edited:

Grotti

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 19, 2020
Messages
319
Likes
592
I can recommend the RME ADI-2 pro fs (own it myself). I added a Volumio Primo streamer for network capabilities, which works hidden behind the TV and therefor isn't visible. But in hindsight a Raspi streaming device would have been OK and would have saved me a few hundred bucks.
 

Jim Matthews

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
1,063
Likes
1,293
Location
Taxachusetts
OP
I

ivardj

Member
Joined
May 8, 2021
Messages
10
Likes
2
Just an update - I am noticing almost everything I find that does the streaming I want, doesn't have an analog input. I am tossing up something as simple as the Yamaha WXC-50 or a pro-ject pre ds2.... Ideas?
 
OP
I

ivardj

Member
Joined
May 8, 2021
Messages
10
Likes
2
You're at the tail end of that feature.

Analog in to Optical (toslink) adapters redress this.

https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?d=analog+to+digital+converter

Thanks - sorry I didn't see your previous post regarding the Yamaha. The Yamaha WXC-50 is the pre-amp version of the one you mention. It does actually have the analog Aux input, but not at Phono level, which is not a problem. It doesn't have balanced outputs for the power amp, but that's probably not an issue given they will be sitting next to/on top of each other.

That all said, I am getting a lot of recommendations wrt room correction and the minidsp, so may use those toslink adapters after all. I even have a DJ setup in my office for my 45s anyway (with active KRKs) so could refrain from vinyl in the living room, but the quality of a Vestax dj turntable vs a Linn Sondek (whatever your views on this is) is actually audibly a lot worse.
 
Top Bottom