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What DAC or preamp to use with Q Acoustic 3050 and XTZ Edge A2-300 Class D Power Amp

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#1
Hi all, total newbie here.
I currently have a NAD D3020 amp paired with a pair of Q Acoustic 3050 floor standers. It sits in my living area which is open plan (6.4m x 5m) with a high ceiling.

I've been looking to get a more powerful amp that could drive the speakers a bit better. My main music sources are:
1. Google Play Music via a Chromecast Audio
2. My own music ripped as FLACs on my laptop served via USB to the NAD D3020 (using Jriver)

After reading some comments here (and on a whim) I've ended up buying the following:
XTZ Edge A2-300 Class D Power Amp (https://www.xtzsound.eu/product/edge-a2-300)

Some specs:
Power (RMS): 2 x 460 W (1% THD, 2.7 Ω) / 2 x 300 W (1% THD, 4 Ω) / 2 x 150 W (1% THD, 8 Ω)
Frequency response:5 Hz – 70 kHz (- 3 dB ref.)
Distortion:0,005% THD+N (1 kHz, 1 - 100 W, 4 Ω)
Damping Factor:>1500 (8 Ω, 20 - 500 Hz)
Dynamic range:113 dB S/N, (A-weighted at 300 W, 4 Ω)

As per website the gain potentiometer can be used to adjust for the output level, when connected to other sources than regular pre-amplifiers like mobilephones, mediaplayers etc.


Being a newbie, I have no idea how to connect this amp to my music sources. I didn't realise a power amp needs a preamp (or doesn't it?).

Point is I now have the above power amp heading my way, and my existing NAD D3020 (which I'll sell if it doesn't serve a purpose) and my Q Acoustic 3050 floor standers. Can I just buy a DAC and connect it to the amp? I was considering the Topping D10/D30/D50 or even the SMSL SU-8 Version 2.

Or do I need a preamp? Does anyone have any recommendations on which one if so would be best paired to the above amp?

Do I need a preamp AND a DAC - heeeelp !!!!!
 
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#2
It seems your NAD has a pre output, so you can drive the new amp from it with a 3.5 mm to rca splitter.
 

RayDunzl

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#3
Can I just buy a DAC and connect it to the amp?
Yes.

The gain potentiometer on the amp should be sufficient, though inconvenient, if you have no other method for volume control.
 
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#4
It seems your NAD has a pre output, so you can drive the new amp from it with a 3.5 mm to rca splitter.
Hi Eurasian - I'm not sure if my NAD D3020 does have a pre output? I know the NAD D3020 V2 does when I googled it: "Along with a $100 reduction in price from the original D 3020, NAD has added a full-range preamp-only output and an RIAA-equalized moving-magnet phono stage"

Although when I looked up the manual for my amp it does state the following:
SUBW • Connect the SUBW output to powered (“active”) subwoofers or to power amplifier channels driving a passive system

So is that right - I can just connect my existing NAD amp to the power amp. Forgive my ignorance, but what does "driving a passive system" mean? And what does that essentially mean: does it mean my NAD is purely for input of sources and all the "amp work" is done by my new power amp?
Also people keep harping on about the merits of a dedicated DAC. Would I still need that (i.e. is it still recommended into this chain)?
 
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#5
Yes.

The gain potentiometer on the amp should be sufficient, though inconvenient, if you have no other method for volume control.
Thanks @RayDunzl . Any advice on which DAC... the Topping D10/D30/D50 or the SMSL SU-8 Version 2? Or anything else? @Eurasian had suggested using the NADs pre out. Just trying to get the best setup whether its DAC to the new power amp, or if its DAC to NAD D3020 to the new power amp.
 
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#6
Try the splitter I described between the headphone output on the NAD and your new amp. It should work fine.
 

rk76

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#7
Thanks to all for your inputs - really appreciate it!
I've got it on good authority ;) to go ahead with the SMSL SU-8 v2 feeding straight into the XTZ Edge A2-300
Can't believe I just missed the massdrop for the SU-8! :mad:
 

RayDunzl

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#8
Any advice on which DAC... the Topping D10/D30/D50 or the SMSL SU-8 Version 2?
No.

I read (skim) but don't really follow the conversations on those too much.

They're all (if I remember correctly) inexpensive enough such that if you don't like one you just bag it and get the other.

---

*reads a little of the last unread 10 pages or so of the SMSL thread. Finds the conversation is too noisy to comprehend, even if the device is not.
 
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SMc

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#9
Hi Eurasian - I'm not sure if my NAD D3020 does have a pre output? I know the NAD D3020 V2 does when I googled it: "Along with a $100 reduction in price from the original D 3020, NAD has added a full-range preamp-only output and an RIAA-equalized moving-magnet phono stage"
The NAD D3020 V1 has a headphone output that can serve as a preamp but the Stereophile measurements say it clips at high levels and has a high output impedance (200 ohms).

https://www.stereophile.com/content/nad-d-3020-integrated-amplifier-measurements
 
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#10
Shouldn't be a problem driving the high input impedance of the power amp. I will look for the Stereophile test.
 
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#11
According to the test, unclipped level was 6.8 V which should be plenty to drive the new amplifier to full output, and then some!
 

rk76

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#12
Thanks @SMc and @Eurasian for your continued advice. Really appreciate it!
So that means I've got another option? i.e. instead of pursuing a DAC I can just use my existing NAD D3020 and connect it to the new power amp via the headphone out, using a 3.5mm to rca splitter?
Will something like this do?
And just to confirm - don't use the SUBW connection but use the headphone out? I'd love to understand what that means i.e. the NAD still acts like an amp but then the power amp further amplifies it? Apologies for the novice understanding....
 
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#13
That splitter will work fine.

Your NAD will become the preamp for your system and retain all of its functionality except for the power amp stage. You should use the headphone out socket, not sub out. Also, don't forget that the new amp has a gain control on the back. You can use this to put the volume knob on the NAD in the optimal range.

Your system will now sound like a turbocharged D3020!
 

caspar64

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#14
congrats for the purchase of your XTZ Edge A2-300 Power Amp! I own one myself and am extremely happy with it, a real bargain.
Your D3020 is also a very good machine - the match of integrated amp and power amp is only unusual.

Since you are using digital sources only you could alternatively and more conventionally consider to combine a DAC/Preamp with the XTZ.

I bought a used Audiolab M-DAC and the combination really works fine. The gain control of the XTZ is set to half so the digital attenuation of volume inside the M-DAC is kept low, which saves the digital resolution from being reduced.

A quite affordable alternative to the M-DAC among many others could be a Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital or the Topping D50 you mentioned.
 
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