No pre-amp in the chain - Streamer to Power Amp direct?

chander

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Another question to pick your brains, I have been reading a fair bit since a couple weeks but I am not sure if I am the only person who thinks this is doable or maybe I am plain daft.

I have the opportunity to buy an almost new Audiolab 8300XP for a reasonable price, to accommodate for that I will have to definitely let go of my Audiolab 6000a, I can't afford to pay for one without selling the other. Now I have recently acquired a Bluesound Node 2i, streamer/dac.

Question - if I have a streamer working directly with the power amp, what issues am I looking at, or none at all, is it all groovy gravy? I could have used the 6000a as the pre-amp, but as I said, not an option, can't afford to keep both. Can this Node 2i to AL8300 XP recommended?
 

chander

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I have kind of found the answer - apparently it works. The Node 2i can also take care of the sub out, having no volume knob on the XP, the gain match issue should be eliminated too. The only issue I see if of "digital volume control". That is what I have understood. Not sure if my understanding is correct, the knowledge of the respected FMs will be appreciated.
 
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DB1989

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I have kind of found the answer - apparently it works. The Node 2i can also take care of the sub out, having no volume output on the XP, the gain match issue should be eliminated too.
Correct on both counts. Just remember to keep your paws off the gain on the poweramp and as a backup, jot down the number of steps it is required to be increased to level match.
 

chander

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Correct on both counts. Just remember to keep your paws off the gain on the poweramp and as a backup, jot down the number of steps it is required to be increased to level match.
The 8300XP has no volume knob, so I doubt that will be an issue. It throws what it receives, I will miss the 6000a, anyhow time to list it for sale.
 

DB1989

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If Node 2i does not have a digital gain control nor your Poweramp has one then go for a passive preamp.
It does.
The 8300XP has no volume knob, so I doubt that will be an issue. It throws what it receives, I will miss the 6000a, anyhow time to list it for sale.

@chander - However, i remember you were planning to get a TT. In that case, you might want to hang on to your 6000a since there's no gain on the 8300xp. This is because unless I'm mistaken, most entry level phono stages that I've encountered do not have a gain control. In such a situation, you'll be left with no way to modulate the volume. The 6000a already has an inbuilt phono stage so you won't have to get a new one either. Unless your AVR has a phono stage in which case, carry on.

Edit: And i just realised you can connect the phono stage to the AVR in case you want to modulate the volume so i guess that's taken care of as well.
 
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chander

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If Node 2i does not have a digital gain control nor your Poweramp has one then go for a passive preamp.
like @DB1989 mentioned it does, you can control it from the BlueOS app, the source that you are using or using the remote that Bluesound sells separately.
 

chander

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Well I read on another forum - apparently the numbers below make a "massive" difference, the gain on the Node 2i vs on the 8300xp won't match (below are 8300xp gain specs). So I guess I have to pause, educate myself a little and then work it all out. I hope I do not lose out on the deal in the mean time.

Gain29dB @ 1kHz (stereo)
36dB @ 1kHz (bridge)
 

chander

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i remember you were planning to get a TT
The TT can wait ;) I have lived without it for so many years :p, moreover I have so much to learn about that, I am no where close to even scratching the surface. This 8300XP however is not going to wait.

If Node 2i does not have a digital gain control nor your Poweramp has one then go for a passive preamp.
Now I kind of understand what you mean.
 

shyamv

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Well I read on another forum - apparently the numbers below make a "massive" difference, the gain on the Node 2i vs on the 8300xp won't match (below are 8300xp gain specs). So I guess I have to pause, educate myself a little and then work it all out. I hope I do not lose out on the deal in the mean time.

Gain29dB @ 1kHz (stereo)
36dB @ 1kHz (bridge)

As far I know, Audiolab 8300xp does not have gain control. The amp applies a fixed gain as per numbers above based on stereo or bridged mode. At 29db gain (ie 28 times input signal amplitude in volts) and [email protected] ohms, your amp needs approximately 1.2V to drive at full power. Typically fixed line out from DACs and CD players are 2V, so this will drive your amp at insane volumes. Hence the need for gain matching.

Node 2i does not have a digital volume control as it not a preamp as such. Only way for volume control would be via BluOS App by selecting variable volume option. Start with the lowest volume setting on BluOS and gradually ramp it up. Overall quality shall depend on how good the software volume control is implemented in BluOS. Not sure if it is bit-perfect like foobar or Audirvana etc. It should work but the results may not be that good.

Your Audiolab 6000A as pre-amp is actually gain matched at 29db to 8300XP. So you should consider keeping it as the results would be much better with this combo.
 

chander

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@shyamv thanks a ton for taking the time to explain it all. Though available at a very good price, I can't afford buying a new amp keeping the other, so it is either. Lets see what I can do.
 

shyamv

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Node 2i does not have a digital volume control as it not a preamp as such.

I looked up Node 2i and actually volume control (attenuation) is implemented via its TI DAC and not via BluOS software. This can be controlled via the buttons on the device or BluOS app. So it should be OK. You can give hook it up to 8300XP and give it a try.

However, it may or may not be as good as a dedicated pre-amp.
 

Eight1zero

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hi
i have a similar setup as u. i am using a vintage power amp with 6000a as a pre cum dac and bluesound node 2i as a streamer .. i tried hooking up the node straight the the power amp and i was not happy with a the sound quality at all.. it was way too thin sounding .. with 6000a in the mix the sound becomes fuller .. i would not invest in a power-amp and bluesound combo, if u don't have plans to buy a preamp
hope this helps
 

chander

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hi
i have a similar setup as u. i am using a vintage power amp with 6000a as a pre cum dac and bluesound node 2i as a streamer .. i tried hooking up the node straight the the power amp and i was not happy with a the sound quality at all.. it was way too thin sounding .. with 6000a in the mix the sound becomes fuller .. i would not invest in a power-amp and bluesound combo, if u don't have plans to buy a preamp
hope this helps
Oh it definitely does! Thanks for chiming in at the right time!
 

jls001

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Gain of a preamp or amp is usually fixed. e.g. 6 or 12 dB on typical preamps, or 0 dB on unity gain buffers; and 26 to 36 dB on typical power amps. There are sometimes amps with variable gain but they're not common.

Loudness or volume control is variable.

These two terms are different so please don't use them interchangeably.
 

arj

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Exactly as @jls001 has mentioned, gain and volume control are very different
  • Gain is changes in signal amplitude before the amplification it is not to be used as a loudness control and is actually manipulating how that signal will be handled during amplification and it is usually used in conjunction with other components to optimize the overall gain of the system based on the speaker/preamp used
  • Volume control is After amplification and to be used for volume control
Unless you have a volume control in the streamer and which automatically resets to the lowest please do not connect the same..there are cases of speaker drivers getting blown if the volume control is not at the lowest. Also you will have only 1 input

My suggestion is to retain the 6000..unless you can get your hands on a passive preamp
 
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chiraghbir

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I have kind of found the answer - apparently it works. The Node 2i can also take care of the sub out, having no volume knob on the XP, the gain match issue should be eliminated too. The only issue I see if of "digital volume control". That is what I have understood. Not sure if my understanding is correct, the knowledge of the respected FMs will be appreciated.


yes correct
 
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