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  1. #1
    Ajani
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    New Preamp or Long Cables/Interconnects?

    I have been thinking about getting a Preamp for remote volume control of my system...

    My setup is in my signature below... I have the basic DAC1 (no remote), and have been either using it in combination with the digital volume control on my Squeezebox (in the range of 70 - 100) or set the squeezebox at max volume (100) and have to walk to the DAC1 to change volume...

    I am LAZY and hence want to avoid getting up to change volume, but I don't want to compromise sound quality with digital volume control.... So my question is whether using long interconnects (so I can have the DAC1 next to my listening position) OR long speaker cables (so I can have all the electronics next to my listening position) OR buying a remote controlled preamp (possibly the upcoming Emotiva XSP-1) would yield the best sound quality?

    So which option is supposed to be the best:

    Long interconnects between the DAC1 and the power amp?
    Long speaker cables?
    Remote Controlled Preamp (additional device in the signal path)?

  2. #2
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Passive attenuator...http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazin...99/dactct1.htm

    Cheap and easy, no compromise in sound. You could wire it to your chair and back to the amp...

  3. #3
    Lurker Hyfi's Avatar
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    I have heard that longer interconnects are a better solution than longer speaker cables. If you notice in most high end system photos, they use dual mono amps sitting as close to the speaker as they can, thus using longer interconnects from the pre to the amps.

    I am in a similar boat as my pre is dual mono with not one but two manual volume knobs for each side.
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  4. #4
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi
    I have heard that longer interconnects are a better solution than longer speaker cables. If you notice in most high end system photos, they use dual mono amps sitting as close to the speaker as they can, thus using longer interconnects from the pre to the amps.

    I am in a similar boat as my pre is dual mono with not one but two manual volume knobs for each side.
    Yep, I have noticed that in many pics... and to be honest I much prefer the look of the amp between or near the speakers and the pre near the listening position, than all the electronics near the listening position....

  5. #5
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    Passive attenuator...http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazin...99/dactct1.htm

    Cheap and easy, no compromise in sound. You could wire it to your chair and back to the amp...
    I've actually considered passive pres (especially the Creek OBH22 because it has a remote)... but my concern is the length of interconnect would need to be very short to get the best out of a passive... and the actual volume control on the DAC1 is quite good...

  6. #6
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    I run a long IC (20Ft) to my power amps. Having very short speaker cables is a plus. A passive pre may not be the best thing with very long IC's. Also, some tube pre's that have a highish output impedance may have high frequency rolloff with long IC's.
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  7. #7
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    You could get a pre with a motorized volume control such as the Marsh preamps. No digital conversion in the path. Just a thought.
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  8. #8
    Rob_a rob_a's Avatar
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    any thought on the Emo pre to match your amp???
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  9. #9
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    I've actually considered passive pres (especially the Creek OBH22 because it has a remote)... but my concern is the length of interconnect would need to be very short to get the best out of a passive... and the actual volume control on the DAC1 is quite good...
    A passive attenuator is different than a boxed preamp. It's simply a small control for the gain. You can set it up to control both channels seperately or in stereo.

    I'm not sure what you mean by the volume control being quite good. I thought the point is to get away from using the DAC1's volume control. With an attenuator you would set it and forget it.

    Anyhow, the info is there if you want it. Here's a pic of a stereo attenuator...


  10. #10
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    I thought the point is to get away from using the DAC1's volume control. With an attenuator you would set it and forget it.
    The other request was for remote control. Those attenuators alone do not provide such. I know the DACT product quite well since I use a pair of their mono attenuators between my CDP and power amp. I put them in a Levinson-esque looking Par Metals cabinet using JPS Labs cable and Cardas connectors. Even with a low impedance output source, one needs to keep the ICs short - I use two meter runs. I agree with Joe on that topic. The result is greater transparency and lack of image width compression with the line stage of the SP-9.



    rw

  11. #11
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    So which option is supposed to be the best:
    I would vote for long very low cap ICs. As a minimalist, I am loath to add active stages. Your DAC has exceptionally low output impedance (30 ohms) even if the power amp's input impedance is fairly low (23 kohm). You might roll off the extreme top a touch, but not sacrifice resolution by adding a preamp. Not to mention arriving a more cost effective solution. Something like Blue Jeans BC-1 would fit the bill with its 40 pF/meter value.

    rw

  12. #12
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Component video cables (red/green/blue with RCA plugs) are quite low in capacitance and could serve well in a setup like this.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    How long of a run of speaker cable are you talking about? If it's 15-25', I would bo with a nice 10gauge speaker wire (bluejeancables). That would be the cheapest route and I really doubt that you will be able to tell the difference in sound and I would challenge any one to hear the difference.

    As for IC's, you will need a low capacitance IC as others have said. How long a run of IC's would you need?
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  14. #14
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    I'm not sure what you mean by the volume control being quite good. I thought the point is to get away from using the DAC1's volume control.
    Possibly my original post was unclear: I don't want to avoid the DAC1's volume control (I have no issue with the sound quality from it) I just want to avoid having to get up from my seat to change the volume...

    So either adding a remote controlled pre or bringing the DAC1's volume knob within arm's reach....

    The low quality volume control I want to dodge (set and forget) is from the Squeezebox (it has digital volume control with a remote).... The DAC1 has a decent quality analog volume control (no remote)

  15. #15
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    How long of a run of speaker cable are you talking about? If it's 15-25', I would bo with a nice 10gauge speaker wire (bluejeancables). That would be the cheapest route and I really doubt that you will be able to tell the difference in sound and I would challenge any one to hear the difference.

    As for IC's, you will need a low capacitance IC as others have said. How long a run of IC's would you need?
    Depending on exactly where I position the DAC1, I would need between 15 and 20 ft of cable/interconnect....

  16. #16
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    I would vote for long very low cap ICs. As a minimalist, I am loath to add active stages. Your DAC has exceptionally low output impedance (30 ohms) even if the power amp's input impedance is fairly low (23 kohm). You might roll off the extreme top a touch, but not sacrifice resolution by adding a preamp. Not to mention arriving a more cost effective solution. Something like Blue Jeans BC-1 would fit the bill with its 40 pF/meter value.

    rw
    Would you recommend RCA or Balanced? (I believe Balanced are supposed to be better for long runs - not sure though)...

  17. #17
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by rob_a
    any thought on the Emo pre to match your amp???
    Yep, I'd skip the USP-1 and wait for the XSP-1 if I go that route... But it is far more expensive than running cables, adds another component in the signal chain and gives me a load of features and inputs that I don't need...

  18. #18
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    For 15-20', save your money and go with 10g speaker cables. You have a nice high current, high power amp and won't miss a beat. If you go with IC's, go balanced as they are supposed to be better for long runs.
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  19. #19
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    The other request was for remote control. Those attenuators alone do not provide such. I know the DACT product quite well since I use a pair of their mono attenuators between my CDP and power amp. I put them in a Levinson-esque looking Par Metals cabinet using JPS Labs cable and Cardas connectors. Even with a low impedance output source, one needs to keep the ICs short - I use two meter runs. I agree with Joe on that topic. The result is greater transparency and lack of image width compression with the line stage of the SP-9.



    rw
    Stat I listened to a system that had a Sonic Frontiers SFCD-1 to dual mono DIY tube amps. He was using a DIY attenuator to bring the gain control to the front of his cabinet. The length was approx. 6 feet to and from the device.

    15 - 20ft is quite a distance. But truly, how much stands to be lost through this method? A measurable amount no doubt, but I wonder how audible.

    I can assure you, the SFCD-1 was sounding every bit the role of a top notch CDP.

    It's no remote control, but could be brought to the listening seat during a session.

  20. #20
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    I would vote for long very low cap ICs. As a minimalist, I am loath to add active stages. Your DAC has exceptionally low output impedance (30 ohms) even if the power amp's input impedance is fairly low (23 kohm). You might roll off the extreme top a touch, but not sacrifice resolution by adding a preamp. Not to mention arriving a more cost effective solution. Something like Blue Jeans BC-1 would fit the bill with its 40 pF/meter value.

    rw
    The XPA-2's input impedance is:

    23.5 kohm unbalanced
    33 kohm balanced

  21. #21
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    I have been thinking about getting a Preamp for remote volume control of my system...

    My setup is in my signature below... I have the basic DAC1 (no remote), and have been either using it in combination with the digital volume control on my Squeezebox (in the range of 70 - 100) or set the squeezebox at max volume (100) and have to walk to the DAC1 to change volume...

    I am LAZY and hence want to avoid getting up to change volume, but I don't want to compromise sound quality with digital volume control.... So my question is whether using long interconnects (so I can have the DAC1 next to my listening position) OR long speaker cables (so I can have all the electronics next to my listening position) OR buying a remote controlled preamp (possibly the upcoming Emotiva XSP-1) would yield the best sound quality?

    So which option is supposed to be the best:

    Long interconnects between the DAC1 and the power amp?
    Long speaker cables?
    Remote Controlled Preamp (additional device in the signal path)?
    OK, so you have a Benchmark Pre and are considering Emotiva XSP-1 (or do you mean XPA-1) ??

    Long, balanced ICs are you answer. The Benchmark, (designed as a pro unit), as balanced outputs and the XPA-1 has balanced inputs from what they say. So no problem with 20 foot ICs.

    Passive preamps at 20 feet are definitely not recommended. I gather this has to do with impedance matching: ideally you always have very low output impedance on the source and high input impedance on the target (power amp). Passive pres don't typically provide low output impedance and long IC runs further increase the impedance seen by the power amp, thus unless you power has exceptionally high input impedance, forget a passive pre. The XPA-1 has a quite low input impedance of only 20 kOhms so it doesn't look like good match for long runs from a passive pre.

  22. #22
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    OK, so you have a Benchmark Pre and are considering Emotiva XSP-1 (or do you mean XPA-1) ??

    Long, balanced ICs are you answer. The Benchmark, (designed as a pro unit), as balanced outputs and the XPA-1 has balanced inputs from what they say. So no problem with 20 foot ICs.

    Passive preamps at 20 feet are definitely not recommended. I gather this has to do with impedance matching: ideally you always have very low output impedance on the source and high input impedance on the target (power amp). Passive pres don't typically provide low output impedance and long IC runs further increase the impedance seen by the power amp, thus unless you power has exceptionally high input impedance, forget a passive pre. The XPA-1 has a quite low input impedance of only 20 kOhms so it doesn't look like good match for long runs from a passive pre.
    The XSP-1 is a new preamp from Emotiva that is scheduled to be released in a few months... I was considering waiting for it to be released and matching it with my XPA-2 amp.....

    However running long interconnects or speaker cables would be far cheaper than the approx $800 for the XSP-1 or even a remote controlled Passive Pre like the Creek OBH-22 ($500)....

    I have the basic Benchmark DAC1... All 4 DAC1 Models (Basic, USB, PRE and HDR) have volume control... The Pre just adds an analog input and the HDR adds a remote...

  23. #23
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    The XSP-1 is a new preamp from Emotiva that is scheduled to be released in a few months... I was considering waiting for it to be released and matching it with my XPA-2 amp.....

    However running long interconnects or speaker cables would be far cheaper than the approx $800 for the XSP-1 or even a remote controlled Passive Pre like the Creek OBH-22 ($500)....

    I have the basic Benchmark DAC1... All 4 DAC1 Models (Basic, USB, PRE and HDR) have volume control... The Pre just adds an analog input and the HDR adds a remote...
    Ah! Sorry for my confusion. I believe the XPA-2 also has true balanced input so I see no no reason at all for a preamp just to get remote control and avoid long ICs.

  24. #24
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Ah! Sorry for my confusion. I believe the XPA-2 also has true balanced input so I see no no reason at all for a preamp just to get remote control and avoid long ICs.
    Yep, I agree... Spending the extra money on a Pre just to get a remote is a waste (unless the Pre would provide better sound quality than long interconnects - but it would likely do the opposite)...

    So now I'm trying to decide between Blackraven's long speaker cable suggestion and the general suggestion of getting long interconnects...

    (I actually relocated my amp to under my coffee table last night and have the DAC1 on top of the table - as my current speaker cables are about 7.5 ft; which is enough to go direct across the floor - it works, but obviously looks bad and has the cables in my walkway)...

  25. #25
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    So, how do you plan to do this? How are you going to run these extra long cables/IC's? Will you bring out the DAC to your listening seat during a session?

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