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Preamp with DAC?

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Eulipian

Eulipian

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I just found the Rotel RC-1570 MKII at Crutchfield and it has all the functionality I'm looking for: DAC/Preamp phono in headphones out. Not cheap at $1400. I have no experience with this brand and it looks like @amirm has not tested anything from this company. I don't see any testing when searching ASR for Rotel. I would like to hear experiences with the brand.
 

dougi

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I just found the Rotel RC-1570 MKII at Crutchfield and it has all the functionality I'm looking for: DAC/Preamp phono in headphones out. Not cheap at $1400. I have no experience with this brand and it looks like @amirm has not tested anything from this company. I don't see any testing when searching ASR for Rotel. I would like to hear experiences with the brand.
Their specs are normally pretty honest. I measured the line level performance of a 90s preamp/tuner I acquired (RTC-850), and it still met the original spec.
 

MAB

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Most of the gear reviewed here doesn't quite fit your requirement. There are some really nice DACs with A/D (MiniDSP, RME, to name two companies), but you would have to use an outboard phono preamp. I use a phono preamp into the analog inputs of a MiniDSP SHD for instance, and it sounds great.

If you gotta have one box, I sorted Crutchfield by preamps with phono and DAC
The Parasound NeoClassic 200 Pre is $900 USD. The Rotel mentioned in this thread are more expensive. While not reviewed here, if you need a single box the Parasound actually looks pretty good. And, it isn't overpriced like some of their gear.
 

Martin

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I wanted a preamp, DAC, headphone amp combo. I gave up because they all measured like sh!t. Except for the RME ADI-2 Pro FS R which I just couldn’t bring myself to buy. (I don’t know why.) I did buy a Benchmark HPA4 preamp headphone amp combo and use a separate DAC.

Martin
 
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Eulipian

Eulipian

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Most of the gear reviewed here doesn't quite fit your requirement. There are some really nice DACs with A/D (MiniDSP, RME, to name two companies), but you would have to use an outboard phono preamp. I use a phono preamp into the analog inputs of a MiniDSP SHD for instance, and it sounds great.

If you gotta have one box, I sorted Crutchfield by preamps with phono and DAC
The Parasound NeoClassic 200 Pre is $900 USD. The Rotel mentioned in this thread are more expensive. While not reviewed here, if you need a single box the Parasound actually looks pretty good. And, it isn't overpriced like some of their gear.

Right. Analog sources ain't thought of much around these parts or manufacturers tested here--for good reason. I'm enthralled by the new clean tech and want to move quickly in that direction, without limiting the quality for function, and keeping the old girl (Rega) on standby for those late nights. Here's another solution that has been tested here that I found I can can order for about $1k Pre Box DS2 Digital Ticks all the boxes tests in the middle of the green pack and looks purty to boot.
 
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Eulipian

Eulipian

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I wanted a preamp, DAC, headphone amp combo. I gave up because they all measured like sh!t. Except for the RME ADI-2 Pro FS R which I just couldn’t bring myself to buy. (I don’t know why.) I did buy a Benchmark HPA4 preamp headphone amp combo and use a separate DAC.

Martin

Yes. If I could burn some money on a selfish wish, I agree the RME ADI-2 Pro FS R or Benchmark are nuts good. Besides the price, it looks like only engineers would enjoy the controls on the RME ADI-2 Pro FS R based on @amirm and others' reckoning. But it is a one box solution that would probably not limit my future, such as it is.

EDIT: NOT a one box solution. Still have to get the phono to line level but it does have analog inputs.
 
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Holmz

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I wanted a preamp, DAC, headphone amp combo. I gave up because they all measured like sh!t. Except for the RME ADI-2 Pro FS R which I just couldn’t bring myself to buy. (I don’t know why.) …

Martin

OK - you mentioned that you don’t know why.
I guess it must not have been the measurements.
 
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Martin

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OK - you mentioned that you don’t know why.
I guess it must not have been the measurements.

I think it was a combination of form factor, looks, operational complexity, and lack of weight. (2.2lbs/1.0kg vs. 8.0lbs/3.6kg for the HPA4)

Martin
 

Ajax

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Hi Eulipian,

I had a Rotel AV preamp connected to a 5 channel Rotel 1066 power amp that sounded great. I used it as a home theatre system. Rotel was a great company, may still be, but their gear is not at the same technical level of excellence as Benchmark Media.

I'm not sure why you need everything in one box? If sound quality at a reasonable price is your goal then buy the second hand DAC2 HGC for $US1,000 I mentioned earlier and add a small phono amp like the Cambridge duo for $299 that Amir tested that I have linked below. The Benchmark HGC models incorporate a high quality headphone amp with 2 x RCA analogue, 2 x optical, 2 x coaxial inputs plus a USB asynchronous connection for your computer. It also has a remote with volume control.

For $US1300 you will be within your budget and have an excellent front end. Done deal.

https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649869537-benchmark-dac2-hgc-da-processorheadphone-amplifier/


Good luck.
 
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Eulipian

Eulipian

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Hi Eulipian,

I had a Rotel AV preamp connected to a 5 channel Rotel 1066 power amp that sounded great. I used it as a home theatre system. Rotel was a great company, may still be, but their gear is not at the same technical level of excellence as Benchmark Media.

I'm not sure why you need everything in one box? If sound quality at a reasonable price is your goal then buy the second hand DAC2 HGC for $US1,000 I mentioned earlier and add a small phono amp like the Cambridge duo for $299 that Amir tested that I have linked below. The Benchmark HGC models incorporate a high quality headphone amp with 2 x RCA analogue, 2 x optical, 2 x coaxial inputs plus a USB asynchronous connection for your computer. It also has a remote with volume control.

For $US1300 you will be within your budget and have an excellent front end. Done deal.

https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649869537-benchmark-dac2-hgc-da-processorheadphone-amplifier/


Good luck.

Yes, the Cambridge duo could work nicely and is one of the solutions I came up with for the phono in after looking at the DAC2 HGC. Why one box? Solely space efficiency esthetic. The Benchmark is a good suggestion. Can't really tell what the difference is between that and the DAC3 HCG spec wise that justifies the $500 difference in the used market. I did look at the one on usaaudiomart. Exchanged some communication with seller but someone else pulled the trigger. I'm not in a rush though so I can be patient and do more research. Thanks for the thoughtful replay. G'day.
 

dtaylo1066

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Parasound Pre6 has all you want and more. Balanced out if you want that as well. P5 is similar just with an older DAC. If you don't care about DSD and 24/192 is fine for you, a used P5 would fit the bill and you can get for $500 - $800. You could look at a used P6 which is more digital future proof and may go for a bit over a grand. Quick search for two of them.


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Ken Tajalli

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Thanks, but what I'm looking for is something like the Leema Acoustics Element DAC & Preamp @amirm posted today. The Leema has it all, for a hefty price, but it doesn't perform well according to testing. I haven't seen a DAC/Preamp combo with headphones out and all kinds of inputs (optical, RCA analog, USB, etc.) and RCA and balanced out that tests well. My head is starting to ache over the time I'm spending here (though the content is most excellent) and the number of times I've seen something close, like the Leema, but it tests poorly or, like the Topping EX5 tests well but has limited inputs. And, I don't want to replace the CD player. My impression is that the digital audio market is saturated by very fractured and the Swiss army knife I'm looking for isn't there. I don't want 3 or 4 separate boxes/expenses to do what one box and maybe a A/D phono pre ought to be able to do.

And for today's laugh: I bought the Freya S from Schitt thinking it was my unicorn because it had A/D, volume control and and headphones out. Ah, but the hole is for the infrared not headphones! Read thrice; order once and never get excited over a piece of metal. *Sigh*

The Leema is good, but that unit only accepts line level analogue. So you will need a headamp for your cartridge .
Don't know about your budget or power output requirements, but Leema, in its range has one or two integrated amplifiers, with fantastic LP inputs (I really mean that) plus other usual digital and analogue inputs, and a fantastic poweramp thrown in.
Leema is famous for their amplifieRd, specially LP input stages.
You can pick one up on eBay if you get lucky.
Leema gear build quality, service is second to none.
 

JeremyFife

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miniDSP Flex?
Decent DAC, analogue inputs (line level so you'd still need a phono stage) works as a good preamp. Balanced option if you want that.
Adds DSP which is a huge bonus.

I'm sure I read (here?) that you can even model the riaa equalisation in it - effectively adding an onboard phono stage. Not sure how easy that is.
 
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