Originally Posted by 00lunar
That's an expensive pre to have.
Anyway, what kind of DAC was it? The one from your sig?
Well, I have Essence III, guess it's worth a shot once my DP-777SE arrives. Though in chain like that I can't think of anything better than ES9018 based source, not in around $3000 price range...
Yes, I thought it was really expensive to use it purely as a pre-amp too, (I will jump if there is a much cheaper pre-amp out there that will give me the same performance.) but it just work well in that manner. The DAC I am using now is L.K.S ES9018, a relatively cheap China-made dual 9018 DAC, which receives pretty good reviews in Hong Kong, with mod options in future. To be frank, my ears can't stand Sabre based DAC in general nowadays as I find them too shouty and unrefined even though they offer plenty of details. When I plug the L.K.S DAC or the Minimax DAC to my Stratus directly, I can't take the sound for more than 10 mins. That's why I think the tube output/pre-amp function of DP-777 is pretty special, as it is able to transform the Sabre chip sound to a much refined, natural sound and at the same time, enlarge the soundstage and improve the imaging. Is it worth $4000 to $5000? I don't know, but I am just happy it works out this well in my system.