all good info ...
- Jred, this is not hyperbole, but when I went from the 2.5 DAC to the 3.7, I went up 2-3 stages of improvements: From the 2.5 to the 3.5 to the 3.7. Like I said, Everything sounded better. After having the 2.5 DAC for 4 years, I thought I had a great DAC until I listened to the 3.7 DAC. :)
- since you are looking at the 3.7 for $3000 with a 30 day trial, I would encourage you to try it. If you are not impressed (tho I doubt it) you can return for a refund.
- the External PSU for the 3.7 is a hybrid power source: both Solid State and Class D- so no worries about all Class D "dryness". In fact, this is one of the main upgrades from the 3.5 to the 3.7 was to modify the power source, adding SS, and getting a boost not only in overall performance, but especially in the PreAmp section, which I felt was lacking with the 2.5 (which for illustrative purposes is probably about on par with your 1.7 DAC).
-and since you have the 1.7 and reflink, you would also be moving up another 3 stages. THIS IS THE BEST PART, b/c the original audio signal coming from your DAC needs to be as clean and resolving as possible as it goes through your PreAmp, amp, etc. E.g, if you replace your amp, you would still have an inferior DAC signal from the 1.7 compared to the 3.7.
Remember, the audio signal resolution only DEGRADES as it goes through your system, it does NOT get cleaner or more resolving. It may change the signal from the audio flavor of the PreAmp, cables, etc, but it will NOT get better.
- the best thing an audio person can do is keep a balanced high quality audio signal as it goes through their entire system. that is why experienced audio folks tend to spend about 30% on the DAC/source, 30% on Pre/Amp, and %30 on speakers. the problem is that a lot of folks spend too much on Amps and speakers, and neglect how important the original audio signal is (DAC/source). when I heard this years ago, I balked at it. but now, I see its wisdom ....
the TWL’s sound good, may check them out in th future.
I’m running mostly Nordost Blue heaven and Red Dawn with PCs and ICs. I use them as I A/B equipment, so as to keep some consistency from one test to another.
- I used the Red Dawn into the BC Ref500s with the BC 2.5 DAC into the Dynaudio’s. There was just a bit too much on the high end, started to bug my ears. After I replaced the 2.5 with the 3.7 DAC and used a PS Audio PC10 PC, that mild sibilance went away.
- I have the PrimaLuna HP amp, Im in the mountains of CA, and it gets hot 4 months of the year
- per PL, they devised the HP to not overheat or overrun the tubes, so they will not degrade more quickly. they say they run them about %50 capacity for long life. yes, there it will auto-off if overheated, but I’ve never had that happen, I think the PL is too well build for that. I just have to sell my HP b/c I have no AC, and the whole room gets so hot, I cant even enjoy the music.
- and seriously, you have a great equipment list, but I think you would get the most audio benefit and best bang for your buck with the 3.7 DAC.