Looking for a DAC/preamp with analog input and balanced outputs

Discussion in 'DACs' started by Gnesen, May 7, 2018.

  1. Gnesen

    Gnesen AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'm looking for a DAC/preamp that has at least one set of analog inputs and balanced outputs. USB and optical inputs are required. A remote would be nice, but isn't required. Budget is ~$400-500. I've done a bunch of searching, but can't seem to find exactly what I'm looking for in my price range. Any ideas?
     

     

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  2. Silentnet

    Silentnet I like to keep my issues drawn... Subscriber

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    The Emotiva I use has everything but the balanced outputs... Not sure you're going to find something in budget that does it all. At least not new. Are you opposed to buying used? Watch Barter Town.
     
  3. Gnesen

    Gnesen AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks. Used is fine, as long as it isn't too old (i.e. can handle at least 24 bit). I've had my eye on the Emotiva PT-100 for a while, just wish it had balanced outputs. I have a relatively new power amp with both balanced and RCA inputs, but have read that balanced is the way to go when given the option. The other issue is I also have a couple of nice turntables that I like to use from time to time. I already have an external phono preamp to handle that.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
  4. Silentnet

    Silentnet I like to keep my issues drawn... Subscriber

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    Location:
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    Well, the PT-100's phono stage is supposed to be very good, and it supports moving magnet and moving coil carts. That's just based on reviews, I don't have a turntable myself.

    As for your used options, I'm not familiar enough to make suggestions, but I'm sure others will chime in here.
     
  5. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

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    Balanced or SE inputs?
     
  6. Silentnet

    Silentnet I like to keep my issues drawn... Subscriber

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    Location:
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    I'm assuming if he wants balanced outs he probably wants balanced ins too.
     

     

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  7. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

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    When given the option, maybe, but not necessarily. Having both, I feel it's not particularly necessary to go out of one's way to get balanced connections. Particularly considering the balanced inputs/outputs are most often just add-ons to otherwise unbalanced/singled ended circuits.

    I regularly use balanced outputs on preamps simply because I use a lot of pro audio amps and balanced pre outs facilitate easy/standard connections to the amps. Otherwise, it's not that big of a deal in the home environment, IMO.
     
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  8. Gnesen

    Gnesen AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Good question. I'd prefer the analog input to be SE (one set of RCAs), because I would most likely use it with an external phono preamp. I'm assuming the DAC section in the preamp would be truly balanced with the outputs.
     
  9. Gnesen

    Gnesen AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks for the info. Maybe I just shouldn't worry about the balanced outputs on the pre. My power amp has both SE and balanced inputs.

    In that case, does anybody have a recommendation for a DAC/preamp with at least one set of analog RCA inputs? Here are a couple I've found:

    1) Emotiva PT-100
    2) Maverick TubeMagic D1
    3) Others?

    The main thing I want to avoid is the DAC section of the unit being antiquated within a few years.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
  10. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

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    933
    Within your budget Emotiva Stealth DC-1 is worth a consideration. Looks like it has been discontinued, but you should be able to find a used one. It has a companion SP-1 device, which is a phono preamp plus some more SE inputs. Also Teac UD-503 has been discontinued so be on the lookout for closeout deals, it is a better DAC than the Emotiva. Also Benchmark DAC-1 Pre, or HDR. It is getting long in the tooth but should still compete well even today unless you need DSD.
     
  11. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

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    It depends, if the DAC section is a true balanced design there can be some gains to be had.
     

     

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  12. johnlcnm

    johnlcnm Member

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    Location:
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    How about a Benchmark DAC-1, used. Analog input, Balanced/single ended outs, Usb, + 4digital ins. Oh, and remote controllable with Nobel servo volume control.
     

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