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Thread: DAC direct to Spectral Amps

  1. #21
    Addicted to Best! marty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ack View Post
    It's been said a number of times - Spectral amps are current driven, and very few DACs or other preamps can properly drive them. Spectral eased the language in some recent amps, like the 400RS, but tightened it again in the 300RS. That alone creates user confusion, and understandably so. Other functions provided by their preamps include DC and oscillation protection, and I have triggered the DC-offset protection circuit a number of times with my Pass XP-25 myself; apparently, it is not all that stable in that department.
    Tasos is correct but there's more. Spectral has flip-flopped on this issue more than Mitt Romney. Although my 400 owners manual specifically says the only requirement is to use a low output impedance pre-amp, they have now instructed their dealers not to sell a Spectral amp of any kind to someone not using a Spectral pre-amp. This is at least the 3rd or 4th flip- flop in over 20 years. Wow. It's more confusing than "fat Oprah?" thin Oprah?" Make up your mind already Spectral and stick to it!

  2. #22
    Addicted to Best! caliaripaolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marty View Post
    they have now instructed their dealers not to sell a Spectral amp of any kind to someone not using a Spectral pre-amp.
    it would be better they start naming their gears as "integrated amplifier"

  3. #23
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    So... Since 3 days I have a DMC 30 SL G2 in my system. Compared to DAC direct, there is a huge difference in Sound!
    The 30 SL goes into 180 via Shotgun S1, and along with this I bought a MH 770 UL. All stuff was from a collector and still boxed new and 100% mint. This Pre changed worlds compared to Weiss DAC 202 direct: Timbre, Imaging, soundstage, dynamics and flow changed a few level. So: DAC direct works, but after having the Pre in since someone days, I would not recommend it at all!

  4. #24
    Marty, I was thinking about what would Spectral's position be if the company were to ever get around to developing their own SOTA DAC. You know, that every safe guard would be exercised so the amps wouldn't burn up because the design could/would support driving those amps without a pre amp in the singal path. But today, according to Spectral, there's something which is beyond our collective understanding that would jeopardize the warranty should we want to drive those beautiful amps directly with our DAC's which is just ludicrous.
    Last edited by lydon; 05-18-2017 at 10:50 PM.

  5. #25
    VIP/Donor [WBF Founding Member] ack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lydon View Post
    Marty, I was thinking about what would Spectral's position be if the company were to ever get around to developing their own SOTA DAC.
    If the 4000SV is any indication, its really low output makes it sound very thin driving the amps; so, I guess QED, no need to guess what the DAC might do. I measured -12dB difference between my Alpha and the 4000SV.
    Sources: mod. VPI Aries 3;mod. JMW 10.5i/Ortofon A90;mod. Pass XP-25;Spectral 3000SL xport/mod. Alpha DAC;mod. Magnum Dynalab Etude;mod. Revox B-77II Amplification: Spectral DMC-30SV/DMA-400RS Speakers: Heavily mod. MartinLogan (custom Mundorf xover, cabling, woofers; structural mods);mod. REL Cabling: MIT Oracle 50ic,MA-X/Oracle 90.1 Power: MIT Z-Strip, Magnum Z-Trap; Shunyata Black Mamba CX HC cords, Typhon Tweaks: EAR Isodamp c1002 References: Live unamplified music
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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ack View Post
    If the 4000SV is any indication, its really low output makes it sound very thin driving the amps; so, I guess QED, no need to guess what the DAC might do. I measured -12dB difference between my Alpha and the 4000SV.
    Indeed...and at the risk of (re)stating Spectral's design philosophy....their intent is clearly to offer products that work best together.

    if you dislike this approach...don't select Spectral..not like there's a lack of alternates.
    Speakers: Avalon Acoustics Indra; Preamp: Spectral Audio DMC-30SS; Amps: Spectral Audio DMA 360v2 Monoblocks; Analog Cables: MIT Oracle; Power Cables: MIT Oracle; Digital: JCAT FEMTO USB Card / Regen Isolator --> Vivaldi DAC and Clock [ChordMusic Clock Cables]; Racks: Finite Elemente Pagode Edition HD4 and HD9 Amp Supports.

  7. #27
    VIP/Donor [WBF Founding Member] ack's Avatar
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    Moreover, there is no volume control in the player, nor was there one in the previous DAC, so probably unlikely there will be one in the new DAC
    Sources: mod. VPI Aries 3;mod. JMW 10.5i/Ortofon A90;mod. Pass XP-25;Spectral 3000SL xport/mod. Alpha DAC;mod. Magnum Dynalab Etude;mod. Revox B-77II Amplification: Spectral DMC-30SV/DMA-400RS Speakers: Heavily mod. MartinLogan (custom Mundorf xover, cabling, woofers; structural mods);mod. REL Cabling: MIT Oracle 50ic,MA-X/Oracle 90.1 Power: MIT Z-Strip, Magnum Z-Trap; Shunyata Black Mamba CX HC cords, Typhon Tweaks: EAR Isodamp c1002 References: Live unamplified music
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  8. #28
    But that would mean that the DAC would not be SOTA. Just for a moment, imagine, that the consumer of this device is a single source person, just digital. The analog outputs are the same quality as those found on the latest Spectral pre amp. The lastest SHHA modules, the fabulous volume control pot, etc. etc. Then why would you need to take that extra step of requiring the use of a pre amp? That my friends is already happening today without the blessing of the company, but with some risk. It's called pushing the envelope. Now should Spectral create such a DAC then I would fully expect the company policy to be they don't require a pre amp and your warranty would be honored to safeguard your investment in an amplification system. Now that would be truly SOTA engineering as well as thinking on their part. Wouldn't you agree?
    Last edited by lydon; 05-19-2017 at 10:39 PM.

  9. #29
    VIP/Donor [WBF Founding Member] ack's Avatar
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    You may be making too many assumptions regarding an analog volume control inside the DAC or player - an analog volume control (which is what they apparently favor) usually sits between an active buffer and an output stage (for a number of reasons, one being to keep input and output impedances fixed), and if the player has only an output stage, you are asking for a lot more complexity than you think. Obviously, I don't have their schematics, but it seems to me the player does indeed have just an output section. In other words, you are suggesting to effectively put the basics of an analog preamp inside the player or DAC, and that means a lot more than just an additional potentiometer. Since you are then implementing the basic circuitry of a preamp you might as well offer additional analog inputs. Well, FWIW, such a thing existed in the SDR-1000 from the 80's. By now, I am sure you are thinking, well, so many other DACs have variable output - true, like mine, but how many of them sport true analog volume controls.

    Moreover, to say that the DAC would not be SOTA for lack of variable output is like saying no phono preamp w/o one can be SOTA either; or any other source, like a Sequerra tuner, or a tape deck.

    You do have good points, but I feel they are overly simplistic. There was also a thread here a while ago on this very issue: why not put a preamp inside the DAC with additional inputs... I was too lazy to respond.
    Last edited by ack; 05-19-2017 at 03:48 PM.
    Sources: mod. VPI Aries 3;mod. JMW 10.5i/Ortofon A90;mod. Pass XP-25;Spectral 3000SL xport/mod. Alpha DAC;mod. Magnum Dynalab Etude;mod. Revox B-77II Amplification: Spectral DMC-30SV/DMA-400RS Speakers: Heavily mod. MartinLogan (custom Mundorf xover, cabling, woofers; structural mods);mod. REL Cabling: MIT Oracle 50ic,MA-X/Oracle 90.1 Power: MIT Z-Strip, Magnum Z-Trap; Shunyata Black Mamba CX HC cords, Typhon Tweaks: EAR Isodamp c1002 References: Live unamplified music
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  10. #30
    Yeah, I'm no electronics engineer thats for sure. Though my material point is that; in this 40th year of the Spectral brand I personally would love to see the team create a truly great SOTA DAC that all user would be proud own and use daily. The company's white board in the past has surely changed throughout the years with other companies designs capturing the attention of those at Spectral. But should they market their own unique design let it not be a standard affair. It could simply come down to whether or not the company wants the investment in a (pre amp & amplifier) and then you can do as you will. Which exist today and that would just be a profound disappointment. For as long as enthusiasts have been waiting for a phone stage from Spectral whatever makes it way to market, my hope is that their future DAC will be spectacular in every way that matters to those who listen and take there listening seriously. Being able to bypass the pre amp would be in my opinion one such indication of the technical advancements to make it truly SOTA.
    Last edited by lydon; 05-19-2017 at 10:37 PM.

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