Playback Design MPD3 DAC

JayKay

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Hi, just recently acquired a second hand Playback Design DAC and have been enjoying the same a lot. Have currently teamed it with a Jeff Rowland 525 Power amp and a minidsp as a pre. Would a pure pre amp be a better option? Would value opinions
 

arj

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A dedicated preamp even if its a passive one should give you better transparency. While I dont have much of an idea around the MiniDSP, I assume its not meant to be a preamp.
 

JayKay

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A dedicated preamp even if its a passive one should give you better transparency. While I dont have much of an idea around the MiniDSP, I assume its not meant to be a preamp.
Ok. I was also attracted to the in built Dirac Live Room Correction
 

Nalzan

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Hi, just recently acquired a second hand Playback Design DAC and have been enjoying the same a lot. Have currently teamed it with a Jeff Rowland 525 Power amp and a minidsp as a pre. Would a pure pre amp be a better option? Would value opinions
What speakers are you using?Also what is your playback software?
 

IndianEars

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Hi, just recently acquired a second hand Playback Design DAC and have been enjoying the same a lot. Have currently teamed it with a Jeff Rowland 525 Power amp and a minidsp as a pre. Would a pure pre amp be a better option? Would value opinions
I am very familiar with the Playback Design DACs... The MPD-3 is Great Value. Both the Playback Design DACs (MPD-3 & MPD-5) provide just a touch of Politeness / Rose tint in the extreme HF, something which will well match the sonics of the Sophia II. The Jeff Rowland 525 is also Superb! CONGRATS on putting together this set up.

I am also familiar with the miniDSP... and IMO, its a complete misfit in this exalted company. It is ruining the sonics of your entire system. Please remove it from your chain, ASAP. Your setup, and the investment already made, deserves a PROPER Pre Amp.


Until you get yourself a Proper Pre amp, remove the miniDSP and operate the volume control function, via the Audirvana Software. Software Volume Control is less than ideal but will be better than the miniDSP in the chain.

Without even getting into the Dirac Room Correction, the miniDSP takes in analog audio, converts it to Digital (A to D Conversion) processes the signal digitally (room correction) and reconverts the Digital Signal Back to analog ( via a DAC) . Hence the MiniDSP contains an AtoD Converter + a DAC and the package costs less than 30% of your Playback Design DAC Only. This should give you some feel for the quality of AtoD & DAC in the miniDSP.... all these you have placed Before your superb electronics gets their signals to process.....

Another pointer if I may ... Please Rip a few Good CDs that you have and use these as your test music. Do not rely on CDs downloaded or rips from others whose Rip Quality you are not familiar with. You will be amazed how Great your set up will sound .......
 

Nalzan

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I am very familiar with the Playback Design DACs... The MPD-3 is Great Value. Both the Playback Design DACs (MPD-3 & MPD-5) provide just a touch of Politeness / Rose tint in the extreme HF, something which will well match the sonics of the Sophia II. The Jeff Rowland 525 is also Superb! CONGRATS on putting together this set up.

I am also familiar with the miniDSP... and IMO, its a complete misfit in this exalted company. It is ruining the sonics of your entire system. Please remove it from your chain, ASAP. Your setup, and the investment already made, deserves a PROPER Pre Amp.


Until you get yourself a Proper Pre amp, remove the miniDSP and operate the volume control function, via the Audirvana Software. Software Volume Control is less than ideal but will be better than the miniDSP in the chain.

Without even getting into the Dirac Room Correction, the miniDSP takes in analog audio, converts it to Digital (A to D Conversion) processes the signal digitally (room correction) and reconverts the Digital Signal Back to analog ( via a DAC) . Hence the MiniDSP contains an AtoD Converter + a DAC and the package costs less than 30% of your Playback Design DAC Only. This should give you some feel for the quality of AtoD & DAC in the miniDSP.... all these you have placed Before your superb electronics gets their signals to process.....

Another pointer if I may ... Please Rip a few Good CDs that you have and use these as your test music. Do not rely on CDs downloaded or rips from others whose Rip Quality you are not familiar with. You will be amazed how Great your set up will sound .......
I agree with the idea of getting a proper preamp and then using Dirac on your MacBook. As someone who has used DRC over the last 6 years or so(from the very first iteration of Dirac), I cannot imagine my system without it.I am currently using Focus Fidelity and the tonal balance I have been able to achieve is very satisfying indeed.
 

JayKay

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I am very familiar with the Playback Design DACs... The MPD-3 is Great Value. Both the Playback Design DACs (MPD-3 & MPD-5) provide just a touch of Politeness / Rose tint in the extreme HF, something which will well match the sonics of the Sophia II. The Jeff Rowland 525 is also Superb! CONGRATS on putting together this set up.

I am also familiar with the miniDSP... and IMO, its a complete misfit in this exalted company. It is ruining the sonics of your entire system. Please remove it from your chain, ASAP. Your setup, and the investment already made, deserves a PROPER Pre Amp.


Until you get yourself a Proper Pre amp, remove the miniDSP and operate the volume control function, via the Audirvana Software. Software Volume Control is less than ideal but will be better than the miniDSP in the chain.

Without even getting into the Dirac Room Correction, the miniDSP takes in analog audio, converts it to Digital (A to D Conversion) processes the signal digitally (room correction) and reconverts the Digital Signal Back to analog ( via a DAC) . Hence the MiniDSP contains an AtoD Converter + a DAC and the package costs less than 30% of your Playback Design DAC Only. This should give you some feel for the quality of AtoD & DAC in the miniDSP.... all these you have placed Before your superb electronics gets their signals to process.....

Another pointer if I may ... Please Rip a few Good CDs that you have and use these as your test music. Do not rely on CDs downloaded or rips from others whose Rip Quality you are not familiar with. You will be amazed how Great your set up will sound .......
It is the MPD-3. The previous owner had it upgraded to the Merlot. The setup as it currently stands does sound very nice and refined.

So the obvious choice for a pre amp to go with the JR 525 Power would be a JR Capri. However there don't seem to be too many Capris for sale on the second hand market. Any suggestions for a good pre amp to match the JR 525 power amp?
 

IndianEars

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Yes, the Capri would be a Great choice.

A friend has been toying with selling his Capri Pre. He is currently abroad. Do direct message me after about 15 days & I will put you in touch.
 

JayKay

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Yes, the Capri would be a Great choice.

A friend has been toying with selling his Capri Pre. He is currently abroad. Do direct message me after about 15 days & I will put you in touch.
Will do so, thank you

I agree with the idea of getting a proper preamp and then using Dirac on your MacBook. As someone who has used DRC over the last 6 years or so(from the very first iteration of Dirac), I cannot imagine my system without it.I am currently using Focus Fidelity and the tonal balance I have been able to achieve is very satisfying indeed.
Yes, totally agree with you about Dirac.
 

Yelamanchili manohar

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Hi, just recently acquired a second hand Playback Design DAC and have been enjoying the same a lot. Have currently teamed it with a Jeff Rowland 525 Power amp and a minidsp as a pre. Would a pure pre amp be a better option? Would value opinions
Hi Jay :)

You have a great system there :)

Iam a thorough advocate of dsp, and have 3 different systems for the same, including a minidsp shd. But in my opinion, what separates speakers at different price points, is always the treble. Which is very very delicate. And that sense of air is what separates the boys from the men. When i tried the minidsp SHD after my dac, i felt that air and liveliness, which are the life of music, got sucked away. I am not aware of the rest of your chain. But if possible, feed your digital sources to mini dsp for correction, and then feed to your dac. Iam a certain no-no for mini dsp in the analogue chain, after a first DAC conversion. All the best :)

PS : Coming to the preamp part, to be honest, I feel this is one of the most important components in the chain. Analogue or digital sources are feeding a 2V input to the preamp. And we are powering the preamp with 220V, to attenuate that 2V signal, before we pass it on to the power amp. . So in the end, are we listening to that pure 2V signal from source, or the 220V coming from our wall socket, used to attenuate that 2V signal. And volume control is a very very tricky business, which we usually take for granted. A completely transparent, and true to the source volume control, which doesn't add colouration or sink dynamics or detail in the bargain are really expensive. I've tried my fair share. I will not share which all preamps have impressed me, as i dont want to be seen as advocating one design philosophy or implementation as being better than the rest. But I would certainly and solidly recommend a good preamp in your chain, fed by dirac live in the digital domain, feeding a room corrected signal to the playbacks design dac. All the best :)
 
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JayKay

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Hi Jay :)

You have a great system there :)

Iam a thorough advocate of dsp, and have 3 different systems for the same, including a minidsp shd. But in my opinion, what separates speakers at different price points, is always the treble. Which is very very delicate. And that sense of air is what separates the boys from the men. When i tried the minidsp SHD after my dac, i felt that air and liveliness, which are the life of music, got sucked away. I am not aware of the rest of your chain. But if possible, feed your digital sources to mini dsp for correction, and then feed to your dac. Iam a certain no-no for mini dsp in the analogue chain, after a first DAC conversion. All the best :)

PS : Coming to the preamp part, to be honest, I feel this is one of the most important components in the chain. Analogue or digital sources are feeding a 2V input to the preamp. And we are powering the preamp with 220V, to attenuate that 2V signal, before we pass it on to the power amp. . So in the end, are we listening to that pure 2V signal from source, or the 220V coming from our wall socket, used to attenuate that 2V signal. And volume control is a very very tricky business, which we usually take for granted. A completely transparent, and true to the source volume control, which doesn't add colouration or sink dynamics or detail in the bargain are really expensive. I've tried my fair share. I will not share which all preamps have impressed me, as i dont want to be seen as advocating one design philosophy or implementation as being better than the rest. But I would certainly and solidly recommend a good preamp in your chain, fed by dirac live in the digital domain, feeding a room corrected signal to the playbacks design dac. All the best :)
Hi,

Thanks for the insight especially with regards to the pre-amp.

Well, I am pleased to inform you that I have sold off my miniDSP and replaced it with a Jeff Rowland Capri S2 which is paired with a Jeff Rowland 525 power amp. Extremely happy with the sound :)

Hi Jay :)

You have a great system there :)

Iam a thorough advocate of dsp, and have 3 different systems for the same, including a minidsp shd. But in my opinion, what separates speakers at different price points, is always the treble. Which is very very delicate. And that sense of air is what separates the boys from the men. When i tried the minidsp SHD after my dac, i felt that air and liveliness, which are the life of music, got sucked away. I am not aware of the rest of your chain. But if possible, feed your digital sources to mini dsp for correction, and then feed to your dac. Iam a certain no-no for mini dsp in the analogue chain, after a first DAC conversion. All the best :)

PS : Coming to the preamp part, to be honest, I feel this is one of the most important components in the chain. Analogue or digital sources are feeding a 2V input to the preamp. And we are powering the preamp with 220V, to attenuate that 2V signal, before we pass it on to the power amp. . So in the end, are we listening to that pure 2V signal from source, or the 220V coming from our wall socket, used to attenuate that 2V signal. And volume control is a very very tricky business, which we usually take for granted. A completely transparent, and true to the source volume control, which doesn't add colouration or sink dynamics or detail in the bargain are really expensive. I've tried my fair share. I will not share which all preamps have impressed me, as i dont want to be seen as advocating one design philosophy or implementation as being better than the rest. But I would certainly and solidly recommend a good preamp in your chain, fed by dirac live in the digital domain, feeding a room corrected signal to the playbacks design dac. All the best :)
and yes, the next step is to install Dirac in my Macbook :) :)
 
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