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  1. #1

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    Default I need a preamp with spdif output

    I'm looking for something that I don't think exist, but here it goes:

    I'm looking for a 2 channel preamp with 2 digital inputs and a spdif output AND it needs to have a remote volume control. I'd use it connect my cable box and Oppo to my Overdrive dac.

    I need this for two reasons. One is that my Overdrive dac/pre doesn't have a remote and the other reason is that it only has 2 inputs. One is a USB (which I'm using for my Macbook) and the other is a single spdif. The problem is that I have 3 sources (computer, cable and Oppo).

    I did a web search and only could only microphone preamps with the digital output and couldn't find one with remote.

  2. #2

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    Could you connect your cable box through the Oppo?

  3. #3

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    What you probably should get are two devices:
    - A digital switch to put in front of your DAC. You really do not want to get one with a volume control as you will introduce artifacts into the digital signal upstream of your DAC. Something like this might work: http://www.inday.com/da4x/da4x.htm
    - A remote controlled preamp downstream of your DAC. Too many choices here.

    Considering the amount you have invested in that DAC, you want as little by way of additional components in the path though. So consider if being without a remote is really that big a deal.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by littlewoodboats View Post
    Could you connect your cable box through the Oppo?
    No because the Oppo doesn't have any inputs only outputs.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post
    What you probably should get are two devices:
    - A digital switch to put in front of your DAC. You really do not want to get one with a volume control as you will introduce artifacts into the digital signal upstream of your DAC. Something like this might work: http://www.inday.com/da4x/da4x.htm
    - A remote controlled preamp downstream of your DAC. Too many choices here.

    Considering the amount you have invested in that DAC, you want as little by way of additional components in the path though. So consider if being without a remote is really that big a deal.
    This Inday might do the trick at least for part of the solution.
    I want to avoid anything downstream from the dac for sound quality reasons. It sounds cleaner going direct to amp.

  6. #6

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    Another idea is keeping my current preamp (it has volume remote) in place, but then connect it to an analog to digital (spdif) converter. The opposite of a dac. Hmmmmm.......

  7. #7

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    I think Classe makes one but I don't know about the number of in/outputs. Maybe Peachtree ? Bryston ?

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    There are inexpensive a/d boxes that are made for vinyl ripping.

  9. #9

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    If you are concerned about introducing artifacts via a volume control, then get a resistor ladder matrix based volume control. I use a Li Audio preamp which has that kind of system. You can introduce artifacts in the digital domain as well, so not sure why you would convert back to digital.

  10. #10

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    Check out Meridian- they do what I think you're saying you want. Their gear is all digital, so they've got options that you wouldn't normally think exist. The 56* series isn't bad used... (to clarify, you're looking for models with numbers like 561 and 565). Don't worry if you find a used one without their remote- they're really good about pushing out the remote codes to everyone, so my TWC cable box remote would even control them.

    Anyhow, listen to what anonymouse is saying above- doing volume control in the digital domain has its own set of problems. You're probably better off getting a competent pre that also has digital inputs. Musical Fidelity CD Pre would have you covered and then some:

    http://www.musicalfidelity.com/uploa.../cdpre_eng.pdf

    Bryston also makes some pre's that you can get DAC boards for, but that's going to be pretty pricey.

  11. #11

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    I used an Inday switcher for awhile some time ago--it worked quite well.

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  12. #12

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    By the way- nearly all composite video switchers will work with coax digital audio. You won't get volume control or anything, but if all you need to do is switch sources it'll work fine. I actually do this with my B&K CT 610- it does all my audio switching (analog as usual, digital audio on the video I/O), then I have an outboard matrix switcher to do the high-def video.

  13. #13

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    What about using an optical switcher like this:

    http://www.amazon.com/Recoton-ADS100.../dp/B000034D6G

    Not much risk if you don't like the result.

    -Dave

  14. #14
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    I was going to suggest Meridian as well. Their DSP speakers only accept SPDIF input, so the matching preamp outputs SPDIF with volume control.

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    Add this to the dac and then you will have 4 spdif inputs.
    http://www.twistedpearaudio.com/digital/cs8416mux.aspx

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    Meridian is uber expensive stuff though.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drenis View Post
    Meridian is uber expensive stuff though.
    Older Meridian isn't too bad. The 565 ones on eBay right now are overpriced, but with some patience you can pick one up in the $200 range. There's about 4 models in there that will work. 561, 565, 568 and 518 for sure. Check the manual on the 562. The 518 is probably the most dedicated to the actual task at hand, plus it does some other interesting digital domain manipulations. Nothing amazing by current standards, but pretty solid performer. The others are all preamps with digital pre-outs, so they're going to have other crap you might not need. If you get a 565, look for the DTS symbol on the front or confirmation it's been upgraded to the latest software- the ones with out have much lower resale.

  18. #18

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    Thanks for suggestions. Out of everything, I think the Meridian digital processor would fit the bill the best. It has the spdif output and a volume control. Schweeeet! Thanks guys.

  19. #19
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    Meridian electronics are ugly though...

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  20. #20

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    Can you a digital surround preamp/processor. I use my Marantz av560 for only 2channel it has all of the inputs and outputs you desire.
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  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by zingo View Post
    Meridian electronics are ugly though...
    Yup ugly and the wrong size, too- Narrower than a standard rack, but not narrow enough to put two of them side by side. And every single piece looks exactly the same on the front.

    Here's the link to my FS when I dumped the 518 I had- describes it a little better and has links to reviews:
    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...light=meridian

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by zingo View Post
    Meridian electronics are ugly though...
    I agree.

  23. #23

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    Used Parasound C2 about $500 you may even wind up running it standalone for the SQ.

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    I still don't see why you need an spdif output in a preamp unless it's for a monitor or digital tape loop. It sounds like you either need a DAC with more inputs, a signal switcher, or another DAC. How would an spdif out on a pre solve your problem of too many sources and not enough inputs?

    My Musical Fidelity CD-Pre24 has what you describe, but I just dont see how it would remedy your problem. It's possible I don't understand your situation.

    Last edited by newrival; 12-05-2012 at 11:55 AM.
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    I suppose another useful purpose could be to route into a digital active crossover in a bi/tri-amp situation.
    design is where science and art break even.

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by newrival View Post
    I suppose another useful purpose could be to route into a digital active crossover in a bi/tri-amp situation.
    That's what I was doing with it. Keep everything digital until right before it hits the amp. In this case, I think the OP likes the results of his DAC directly coupled to his amp, thus the need for volume control going into the DAC.

    However, it does occur to me: Does anyone know if the volume control on the Oppo changes the digital out level or just the analog output? Most cable boxes have a setting where you can switch the audio output from fixed to variable, so a simple switcher might still do the trick.
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  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by newrival View Post
    I still don't see why you need an spdif output in a preamp unless it's for a monitor or digital tape loop. It sounds like you either need a DAC with more inputs, a signal switcher, or another DAC. How would an spdif out on a pre solve your problem of too many sources and not enough inputs?
    With a preamp with a digital output, I could connect my DVD/CD player and cable box to it via digital inputs, then using the spdif ouput on the preamp to connect to the dac. I want the dac connected direct into the amp. This way I can use the remote volume control in the preamp to adjust the volume to the dvd/cd and cable, plus have the added benefit of it going through the dac.

    UNC- I found out the hard way that my Oppo disengages it's volume control feature when the digital output is engaged.


    I just realized a moment ago that I have an older Harmon Kardon AVR 635 w/remote that has been packed away in my closet for a long time and it has everything that I'm looking for. Now I feel stupid because I already have what I've been looking for I'm going to sleep now and will unpack the HK over the weekend.

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by unc2701 View Post
    Most cable boxes have a setting where you can switch the audio output from fixed to variable, so a simple switcher might still do the trick.
    This could be helpful. I didn't notice this feature in my Directv cable box. I forget which HD model it is. Is this setting in the on-screen menu or a physical switch in the back of the box?

  29. #29

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    Software setting. I haven't been on DTV in about 8 years, so I can't help you, but look in the audio settings- it should also have a PCM vs pass-though setting that you'd have to set to PCM for your DAC most likely (otherwise it'll send 5.1 to the DAC which it can't handle).

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