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Posts by project86

It sounds pretty darn good with HE-500. You can do better, but it will cost you money, desk space, and system complexity. It's really quite enjoyable from an all-in-one. 
I always stick with the native rate of the track currently being played. It seems to do a good job with anything I throw at it.
  I could see some people bothering with it because it's small, relatively affordable, and easy to use. If you aren't all that computer savvy, this would make a great way to bring streaming to a more modest system. Maybe a Bifrost/Valhalla combo with HD650 or something along those lines, components all priced commensurately to the Aries Mini. Now you have control via your tablet, Tidal streaming integration, and can easily tuck it away on a shelf - unlike a laptop which...
  Good point. People balk at digital volume controls, but many of the better ones can give substantial attenuation with no loss of resolution. Even poor ones should be fine with a modest cut of maybe 10dB, which will give some more usable range on the CMA800R. 
I'm fairly sure it is the Alps RK27 with the 41 detent option, which is one of several variations they offer. The level 1 volume upgrade gets you the volume controlled RK27 - I had it on the review loaner and it is smooth, no detents/steps.
The CMA800R has an output impedance of less than 1 ohm. So no impedance related issues there at all. The only thing I'd be concerned about is gain. TH900 is rather easy to drive, and with the CMA800R gain comes on real strong, real quick. So there's not a ton of usable volume range before it starts getting too loud. I didn't find this to be a deal breaker but I don't know what volumes you listen at. It depends on the music being played as well.    I do think the CMA800i...
Also, don't be afraid to drop to -12dB pregain (the lowest setting). That's where I keep mine most of the time. I find that even with my HE-6, I still have plenty of volume most of the time. Using RCA inputs will allow you to crank the volume higher, with most DACs anyway. Not sure what the RCA output voltage is on your M51. But like I said, go -12dB and knock down a bit of volume on the NAD, you'll find a lot mroe usable volume range. 
 Your M51 (and many other high quality DACs) can do at least a small or medium amount of attenuation without losing any fidelity. The lower you drop that volume, the more likely it is to have sonic consequences, but 10dB or even 20dB is usually fine. That's not always the case with all DACs and once you hear it you can't "un-hear" it if you know what I mean. For the AK devices, they are concerned with giving a full scale output so your external amp gets the higher voltage...
  Not sure if there really is a "norm", everyone does it different. Some are like the D100, others have a sensor so line-out gets muted when headphones are plugged in, and others have buttons/switches to select which is active. 
Neither, both are always active all the time.
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