The -db is also connectable to a computer, so I can control the output level to the DAC. And yes, I just plug straight in to the DAC. Sounds great!
I was talking to David, the head guy over at Cypher Labs that makes the -db. He said the -db output is still amplified. He said there are three Op amps in the -db. He said something like the SR-71B could have 8 or more Op Amps.
Just seems to me, the less the music has to go through, the better the output. But since DACs are amplified to a certain degree anyway, you may as well modify the sound with whatever coloration synergizes best via your amp.
Very interesting. Surprised that the DAC amplifies that much but not surprised that certain amps aren't optimal. I have bought and sold several quite popular portable amps that just didn't 'do it' for me.