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Stax amplifier - line iN or Pre-amp IN connections? SQ is better from Pre-amp!!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi All

I have a question.

 

I have the 717 and a pair of SR-007s. I use a valve based standalone Audio Note 3.1 DAC with a line stage inside which is very smooth, no edge or digital harshness.

 

So, the SQ I am getting is great, very happy. However, I have found I vastly prefer using my Audio Note M3 pre-amplifier outputs in the system chain than to feed the Stax amp (and switch out the volume pot on the Stax amp) than connect it direct to my fixed line outs on the DAC.

 

This goes against logic I thought, as I then have a line stage in the DAC with a fixed 2V out and another line stage in the Audio Note pre-amp that has a maximum of 4.5 V and is 10 ohms (as transformer coupled).

 

Do anyone know or have the same experience if having a pre-amp feeding the Stax amp it is getting a bigger signal by an active component and that is resulting in the SQ being better?

 

My DAC line out direct to the Stax amp sounds thin, cold and flat, lower dynamics. The volume would be at 12 oclock to get normal listening with this connection method.

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated Spritzer!

post #2 of 3

Personally I think that this does not go against logic, as you are using the Stax 717 as a pure power amp, so there is only one attenuator in the path.

Using 2 attenuators is what wrecks things in my experience, even passive ones. (Digital ones can be OK; I actually do this with my Oppo 105 player.)

And the Audio Note attenuator is probably a lot better than the Stax one.

 

What you have is like a traditional audio system now: Unattenuated source (your DAC) --> preamp w/gain --> Stax "power amp";

so all is well.

 

[I think you mean you are not using the gain control in you DAC, so correct me if I'm wrong.]


Edited by rgs9200m - 3/29/14 at 9:46am
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi rgs9200m

 

Thanks for your post. I am fascinated in this subject, as I am looking at changing out my DAC for a newer model that has a Pre-amp built in (all valve), thus in theory I could miss out a whole gain stage with the (in theory) increase in SQ as less parts, less valves etc.

Quote:
 [I think you mean you are not using the gain control in you DAC, so correct me if I'm wrong.]

I don't have an attenuator in my Audio Note DAC. Rather it is putting out a standard 2V line output.

 

I am thinking the line level is too weak and lacks enough drive and current thus lack bass and lower dynamics.

 

When I use the Pre-amp and connect the Stax amp, even though I only need 1/3rd of the volume pot to

get good listening levels, the SQ is far better.

 

Thus, I am thinking a few guys out there with line outs to a Stax amp, instead of Pre-out to Stax amp

may not be realising the full potential of the SRM-717 or 727?

 

With the BHSE or KGSS they are fully integrated amps, so pre and power combo. I know those amps

have more voltage swings than the 450V on  my 717, but I can have seriously loud levels on my SR-007s without any clipping

or distortion, so plenty of headroom.

 

The DAC to Stax connection route just didn't float my boat at all, very flat and low fi in comparison.

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