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Can a Little dot mkiv drive active monitors

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I know it can be done but is it bad for the monitors? Also would I get better results driving a regular amp with loud speakers?
post #2 of 15

You should not feed active speakers from an amp at all, they have their own built in amplifiers. Just connect them straight to your DAC. That's the point with active speakers wink.gif

post #3 of 15

I see no reason as to why one couldn't connect active speakers to the preamp outputs.

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your replies, The reason I ask is I have a little dot mkiv that sounds amazing and I don't want to sell it for a regular amp that won't sound as good and its not string enogh to drive regular speakers. I know it's standard practice to drive a preamp into an amp, which is in essence what I would be doing with the active speakers. I'm just not sure if it would loose fidelity or if an active speaker is designed to accept a stronger signal than what comes from the phono preamp like a regular amp can.
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by martybu141 View Post

I know it's standard practice to drive a preamp into an amp, which is in essence what I would be doing with the active speakers.

 

Into a [power] amp, yes.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by martybu141 View Post

I'm just not sure if it would loose fidelity or if an active speaker is designed to accept a stronger signal than what comes from the phono preamp like a regular amp can.

 

Confusion... Where did the phono preamp come from? Have you got a turntable there? Please rephrase.

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Yes i have a turntable.
post #7 of 15

The classic chain of analog hi-fi separates has the following elements.

 

turntable --> phono preamp --> preamp --> power amp --> loudspeakers

 

The phono preamp (aka phono stage) is a line-level source like a tuner or a CD player or a DAC. So, a system might look like this:

 

turntable --> phono preamp -->

tuner -----------------------> preamp --> power amp --> loudspeakers

cd player ------------------->
 

The preamp (unlike the phono preamp) doesn't really do much amplifying at all. It is mostly a control device with source selection and volume control.

 

An integrated amplifier has both the preamp and the power amp functions in a single chassis. (An integrated amplifier which contains a tuner module is called a receiver. Integrated amps and receivers of the vinyl era often had built-in phono stages. Nowadays, not so often.) So, instead of

 

sources --> preamp --> power amp --> loudspeakers
 

a system could consist of the following elements.

 

sources --> integrated amp --> loudspeakers
 

In the above, we did not consider active speakers. To be more precise, the term loudspeakers could be replaced with the term passive speakers in all of the above. Active or powered speakers have built-in power amp modules. Instead of

 

sources --> preamp --> power amp --> passive speakers
 

a system with active speakers consists of the following elements.

 

sources --> preamp --> active speakers
 

If you only have a single source which has a volume control function (like some DACs do) or if your active speakers have a convenient enough volume knob, your system could be as simple as this:

 

source --> active speakers
 
Functionally, headphone amplifiers are integrated amplifiers the purpose of which is to drive headphones instead of loudspeakers. Some have additional functions.

 

So far we have only covered the analog audio chain. There are many options for the location of the digital-to-analog conversion in the audio chain.

 

Does this clear any of our shared confusion?

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
You're the guy I've been looking for! Thanks for the detailed explanation. The whole reason I ask is because I'm in love with my preamp, and to get passive speakers I would also have to buy the power amp. If I get active midfield monitors it would be a cheaper way to keep the preamp. So this might be another dumb question but would the solid state amps in the monitors change the signal from analog to digital?
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by martybu141 View Post
So this might be another dumb question but would the solid state amps in the monitors change the signal from analog to digital?

No an amplifier will never convert a signal, that's what a DAC does (Digital to Analog Converter). Solid state just means that the amplifier consists of transistors and operational amplifiers (opamps), instead of vacuum tubes used in tube amplifiers. Transistors have replaced vacuum tubes in most appliances, but are still used in audio equipment since some prefer the sound signature they cause.

 

The signal has to be analog for the speaker to be able to produce the sound. An analog signal represents the the actual sound while a digital signal is sampled data from an analog signal. The reason why we still store audio digitally is it takes less space and isn't so prone to distortion and other faults. So in your typical case you got digital data going from your storage (harddrive, CD...) to a DAC where it's converted to an analog signal, then the analog signal moves on to be amplified by an amplifier before finally reaching the spaker and turning into sound waves. Of course there may be other steps like crossfeeds on the way too but that's the basics.

 

*edit* I might add though that you can, of course, have amplifiers and DAC's and whatnot in the same device like a receiver but the circuits themselves got nothing to do with each other.


Edited by spittis - 1/3/13 at 1:32am
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Cool thanks a lot guys, I appreciate the feedback!

So it sounds like my path:
Phono---->phono preamp-->tube preamp->active monitor. Will work well.
post #11 of 15

Yes, that should work just fine. It is, however, always a good idea to hear the system before you commit to buying.

post #12 of 15

Do you turn the volume all the way up on the active monitors and control all volume through the preamp?

Sorry, never used one.


Edited by Johannes Freed - 1/3/13 at 3:34pm
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Good question johannes, I borrowed my friends active monitors and you have two volume controls. You can turn the monitors to a 2 then the preamp to a 6 or vice versa to attain the overall volume you like. My concern was if I turn the monitors to 2 is the signal they recieve from the preamp too strong and can damage the monitor amps but it sounds like it isn't a problem.
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by martybu141 View Post

My concern was if I turn the monitors to 2 is the signal they recieve from the preamp too strong and can damage the monitor amps but it sounds like it isn't a problem.

 

It should not be.

 

Set them the way you find most convenient to use, unless some other way sounds clearly better...

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Something I have noticed is when I let the tubes do the heavy lifting it sounds better, on most songs.
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