An old thread, but I wanted to "testify" as I have recently been enjoying my old Monarchy 18B DAC direct to a PSE Studio IV amp with wonderful results. Coming off of "old iron" tube integrated too, which surprised me- huge soundstage, great height/width and air- I didn't think I could live without tubes, let alone without a preamp too, crazy. The tipping point was replacing the cheap volume knob with a ladder stepped attenuator (inexpensive one)- this created a significant SQ improvement- true, there really is no "slam", I can't crank it and rattle the windows (I don't do that much any more) - I couldn't do that with my30 watt tube piece either, so I guess I'm used to that- but I'm pushing Vandy 2CE's this way, so I am doubly surprised- just a wonderful, clear, crystalline presentation-
I will likely grab a preamp at some point both because I'm an itchy audio guy who is always changing things, and because I feel a little "inadequate" without the pre- Ha! But I recommend those with the right set-up give it a try- a quality attenuator is a key factor too, keep an eye on that.