Any DAC/CD direct with power amp success stories?

I'm trying to do a survey.

Please indicate your DAC/CD, interconnect (Brand/length/XLR/RCA), and power amp (impedance info), speakers will be great.

I had a Levinson 39 and then a new 390S straight into a Conrad Johnson Premier 11a and B&W Signature 30s for 10 years of musical happiness. The analog volume control in both was very very good. As good as my new CJ Premier 16LS, not quite but if you are looking for simplicity and very good quality this worked well for me. Better than a 3000 dollr preamp and a 3000 dollar CD player would have at the time, which was a long time ago and digital has no doubt improved some since then but if all you want to play are CDs this is a cost effective high value way to go. I used a transparent music link super IC which wasn't as good as the Cardas Golden Reference I use now. The Cardas isn't as bright and is slightly warmer over all which is what my ear prefers.
I have used a Benchmark DAC1 and a Lavry Black DA10 direct to a pair of Meitner MTR-101+ monoblocks via 1-metre single-ended interconnects (Canare StarQuad, Mogami 2534, DH Labs SilverSonic, Cardas Golden Cross)--XLR-to-RCA in the case of the Lavry, as it only has XLR outputs.

I found I preferred running the DACs first into the Meitner PA-6i+ preamp. Direct-to-amp is slightly more "pristine and delicate", but, for my ear, loses too much in dynamism and bass "slam" and articulation.

The input impedance on the MTR-101s is 22 kOhm and the output impedance of the Benchmark is 30 ohms, but I don't know the output impedance of the Lavry.

In any case, the foregoing was just an experiment, as I use three sources (FM, turntable, CD) and require, if nothing else, the source selection of a preamplifier.

I have tried some upscale passive preamps, too, but found I prefer a quality active preamp to passive/TVC.

Hope this helps.


A long time ago I had my CD player - Denon DCD3000 (S10 in Asia) driving my ARC classic 60 directly and immediately I discovered so much more detail I missed in the treble. Putting an AI L1 veiled it a little bit but it provided a lot more meat to the body and soundstage. ultimately I kept using a preamp since then.

The remote controlled motorized volume control on the DCD3000 is a bonus ... so I never expected too much out of it.
dcs Elgar or MSB Platinum to tube amps--Melos or ASL Monoblocks. Shunt to ground custom volume control and quattro fil.

Terrific sound, especially with an Offramp serving lossless files through the Sigtech room DSP.