CD hook-up to headphone amp or thru preamp?


Here is my question. I have a Meridian 508.24 cdp, Melos SHA-1 headphone amp and ARC Ref 2 Mk II pre. What is the "best" configuration.

1) Meridian feeding ARC via bal and Melos via unbal?


2) Meridian feeding ARC via bal, Melos via ARC unbal tapeloop?

Any suggestions would be most appreciated
The "best" would depend on the output voltages of those two outputs on the ARC. You would need to use the one that matches the recommended input voltage of the Melos Headphone amp. WHy don't you try them both and see which you prefer??

I assume option number one would be using the ARCs main outs, so the signal would also pass through the ARC's volume control, etc?? I use my Grado headphone amp hooked up through my Counterpoint SA-5000 that way on occasion. It allows me to listen to LPs, or add some tube sound to CDs. It also allows me to bypass the buffers that are used in the tape loop output.

On the negative side, it adds an entire extra preamp of circuitry between the source and the headphone amp, and adds another volume control to the signal path. If I want to listen to CDs I usually go straight from my DAC to my headphone amp.

Why do you want to add the ARC into the chain?? Does the Meridian have unbalanced outs?? Can you go direct from that to the Melos and skip the ARC completely??
I don't want to add the ARC if I can avoid it. The Meridian has bal and unbal outs. I just don't know if both outs will work simultaneously (i.e. feeding two preamps). I want to avoid changing cables depending on headphone use or not. Thanks.