Originally Posted by Alex_O Rules /img/forum/go_quote.gif This isn't necessarily true. For example, the Benchmark DAC1 PRE can function as a source and preamp.
But the DAC1 Pre is a pre-amp with built in DAC. At least according to Benchmark themselves...
"The DAC1 PRE is a reference-quality stereo pre-amplifier, headphone amplifier, and computer audio playback device, incorporating the 24-bit, 192-kHz DAC1 digital-to-analog conversion (DAC) system." DAC1 PRE Overview | Benchmark Media Systems, Inc.
A DAC with a variable out (forget about the preamp label) can. Basically if there is a volume/output adjustment (on DAC or down the line), yes. If not, as iriver said, boom. Quality though as a functioning preamp likely varies (as have the three I've owned with adjustment - DA10, Duet, Pico).
I did run a tiny Pico into a large Emotiva RPA-2 for a while. Looked funny, but sounded pretty good.