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Double amping = distortion?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I currently own a matrix m stage amp that I will be pairing with my ultrasone hfi 780's.

 

My current sound card (which would serve as a DAC) has died on me so I'm looking to buy a new one.

 

I have been looking at the udac 2 but I have some concerns. The udac 2 has a preamp in it aswell. If I use the udac with my matrix amp, will the double amping lead to distortion?\

 

Thanks!


Edited by Pankie - 1/27/13 at 12:51pm
post #2 of 7

yes, THD will increase anytime you add a gain stage.  Even if your gain stages are set to attenuate (low volume), the circuit will still introduce its fundamental THD to the signal.  THD is cumulative... AFIAK.  Its not all together a bad thing though.  If the sonic attributes of each circuit combine for a pleasurable net result that exceeds the additional THD, you'll come out ahead.  Sometimes I take the line out from my millet and feed that into my PPA.  Kind of a cool effect with my newly acquired K701.  I add the even order harmonic distortion and strong center stage image of the millet to the spacey-ambient sound of the PPA.  On a neutral/revealing headphone like the K701 its readily apparent.

post #3 of 7

The udac 2 has line-out (RCA) so I don't see how you'd double amp. You'd only double amp if you connected the headphone-out of the udac to the matrix line-in.

 

But I wouldn't get the udac 2, it's not the best DAC for the money.

 

 

Anyway, if you did double amp, the device with the highest distortion would dominate the distortion. If you had two equal devices, the distortion would increase by 3 dB max. (that's a tiny increase)


Edited by xnor - 1/27/13 at 2:17pm
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your help! What kind of DAC would you reccomend in similar price range? Should I just pickup another sound card?

post #5 of 7

There are many options. For example Xonar DX, or a standalone ODAC.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

The xonar dx is decent you say? My amp has rca inputs so I'd be using the line-out from the xonar through a 3.5mm to rca cable to connect it to the amp

post #7 of 7

Yes.

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