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  1. #1
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    looking for help with DAC/AMP for B&W 683's

    Hi all, first post here...

    Just came across your site recently after purchasing a pair of 2013 B&W 683's (series 1 I believe they're now called) and looking to upgrade the rest of my system.

    I'm currently using a 10 yr old Sony AV receiver with 100w/ch (no optical input), fed from the analog out of an airport express via Ethernet. I'll probably replace this with a sonos due to their streaming services integration, and will look to use the optical out instead.

    The system is in my living-dinning room and is also open to the kitchen, approx 12'x30'. Listening choices range from classical/U2/white stripes/blues, and enjoy it loud on occasion and is usually 70% music and 30% TV.

    I want to focus on getting as good 2ch as I can within my budget, but I may decide to go to 5.1 in the future, which complicates the path I take a bit. If I do I'll just use mid range in-wall rear speakers due to space restrictions and that movies are only about 15% for our TV watching. My budget is under $2000 and am trying to decide on the separates vs Integrated route. I'm trying to work through these options

    1. Good AVR for everything
    2. Average AVR with pre-amp outs and use AVR for center/rears and an Integrated DAC/Amp with HT bypass for fronts
    3. same as 2 but use a standalone DAC and integrated pre/pow Amp
    4. same as 2 but separate DAC/PRE/Power Amp units

    any component suggestions would be greatly appreciated
    Thanks everyone

  2. #2
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    The NAD C356 DAC Integrated Amplifier is a 2-channel option at retail of $899.00 and 80x2.

    If you think you may want additional channels in the future I'd suggest a Marantz home theater receiver with the network options you need. Maybe the SR-7007. I need to check features but if you stretched the budget you could get the entry level Marantz processor and power amp.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Mr. Peabody
    Regarding the SR-7007, at approx $1600, are you suggesting this for option 1 above?
    and the alternative being an entry level Marantz for 5.1, and using it as a preamp for the external 2ch power amp

    I think I got a bit confused in the use of the receiver's pre-outs into an external Int. Amp. If using the receivers pre-outs into a Integrated amp, will I be using the receivers preamp, hence I could go straight into a 2ch power amp or in the case of into an integrated Amp, the connection would bypass the Integrated's pre-amp and go straight to its power amp?


    thanks

  4. #4
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    Yes, the 7007 could be option one.

    There's different set ups for using preamp outputs on a HT receiver. Some will let the receiver do it's thing but add an external power amp, 2 or 3 or even all 5 channels, to help drive the speakers and improve sound, although you are still limited by the receiver's preamp section.

    Another way would be to have a 2-channel integrated or preamp with a theater bypass, then you go from the HT receiver's main, left/right, into the 2-channel set up theater bypass. Then when watching a movie the 2-channel set up ends up driving the front two channels.

    There are probably higher end options than the NAD with built in DAC and I'm not sure if it has a bypass but it will have decent performance at a reasonable price, I'm sure still a step up from the Sony.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I think that the Marantz would be a great match. But if you are looking more for 2ch and a good DAC, consider Peach Tree Nova125 or the new Nova225se. They are digital amps with a tube buffer and a state of the art Sabre based DAC.

    Amplifier DACs with Tube | Peachtree Audio

    Also consider an Arcam A28, Cambridge Audio 851A and NAD C-375 Integrated with a DAC.

    I would also check Audiogon for used gear.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys,
    I listened to a peachtree decco and nova125 over the weekend, be it in different locations, and they seem like a good option. Sound was definitely on the warm side to what I'm used to, not sure if thats the norm with peachtree or is just a lot better than what I'm used to.

    I also looked at Rotel, they have both an Integrated dac/amp and a separate dac/pre/power amp option

    RA1570 Integrated dac/amp, $1600

    Rotel pre-amp RC1570 ($999), and Rotel power amp RB1522 MKII ($999). I would also need a dac and I suppose the dac in the RA1570 is in the $500-800 range.

    Any thoughts on whether the small step in cost for the separates is going to be significantly noticeable in sound quality?


    Will the RA1570 be significantly better than the marantz avr SR-7007

    Did I understand correctly that I could also use an avr for dac/pre amp duties, and send the preouts straight to an external amp, such as the Rotel RB1522 MKII,, key being here to use a avr with a decent dac such as the marantz.
    Last edited by capall; 03-25-2014 at 01:41 PM.

  7. #7
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    The Peachtree is definitely warm. Any decision there is whether you like that type of sound.

    Looks like the advantage of the Rotel integrated is it would include the DAC. Rotel in my opinion has a definite "house sound" so you should audition to see if you like their sound. Usually Rotel & B&W are sold hand in hand. Generally, a good integrated or separates should outperform a receiver but it depends on the sound you like.

    Yes you can go from a receivers pre outs into a power amp. Rotel has a digital stereo amp for about $1300.00 I thought sounded pretty good for the money, it was like 200x2. Not all brands sound good together and that's something to consider when adding an amp. One thing about the integrated the parts are optimized to work well as a whole. On the other hand separates can provide a future upgrade path. And you have to consider good interconnects between amp and preamp.

    Also keep in mind what sounds good is subjective and you want to please yourself. Listen to as much as you can, you want the system to draw you in, get you engaged with what you are listening to.

  8. #8
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    good info, thanks,
    I'll try and check out the rotel gear at the weekend.

  9. #9
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    I looked at the RC1570 and it also has built in DAC with 4 digital inputs plus USB. If you can go the extra $300.00 or so get the RB-1572 power amp:
    250 Watts x 2 Channels 20Hz-20kHz (8 Ohms)
    500 Watts x 2 Channels 20Hz-20kHz (4 Ohms)
    THD <.03%
    Signal/Noise Ratio 109db
    Class D High-Efficiency Amplifier
    Gold-Plated Speaker Binding Posts
    $1,295.00

    There is also the RB-1562 at 100x2 for $795.00 but I'd go for the power. I was impressed by the sound quality and bass authority of the 1572. That with the 1570 would be a good combo. It's all only 2-channel but you could plug a Blu-ray player or satelite/cable box directly into the digital input of the 1570 for superior sound.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I think that all the amps you are looking at are great. It is just a matter of preference. I prefer a warmer sound. It is more forgiving of digital music which tends to be a little bright and can be fatiguing to listen to after 30 minutes or so. I think a warmer amp/pre would complement the 683's. Marantz will do the same. Peach Tree also makes a separate power amp.

    Peachtree220 Power Amplifier | Peachtree Audio
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  11. #11
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    Thanks Mr peabody,
    just re-read your post and with that and another look at rotel site, realized that you wrote RC1570, (not RA1570), and was initially confused. But I now realize that it looks like the RC1570 is the standalone version of the dac/preamp section of the RA1570, and hence can mate it with a more powerful power amp, as you've mentioned. jeez 250wpc, thats mad, and into monoblock territory.

    I also see that the RB1552/82 are class A/B amps and the RB1562/72 are class D amps. I have several dealers in SF than I can visit at the weekend to compare the sound.

    thanks a lot for the info

  12. #12
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    thanks blackraven,
    good points, at least now I'm getting to where i have actual models hat I can demo
    must compare the peachtrees to the different rotel options

  13. #13
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    You are welcome. Have fun and listen to whatever you can find.

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