Digital inputs in high end 2-channel preamps


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Why don't we see digital inputs in high end 2 channel preamps? With the proliferation of digital devices, a digital input seems like a natural. Is this something we can expect on the horizon?
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Convert?fit=crop&h=128&rotate=exif&w=128mitch4t
Digital input means the preamp would need to include a D/A Converter within it's architecture.
Mitch -
I actually agree with you on this.
That is why I have a Boulder 1012 which is my Preamp/DA Converter.
Incredible unit!
Well, Mitch4T, check out the McIntosh C48 and C50 pre's. They have 2 optical, 2 coaxial, and 1 USB port. I have one, and for me personally, they could've left that nonsense off. I hate paying for technology that I personally will never use. But for you guys who think you need it, this is a superb preamp. It has a superb DAC in it for this.
Part of the reluctance on the part of manufacturers to build, and consumers to buy, a single box with both preamp and DAC might be that DAC technology is changing so quickly. Keeping them separate has the same advantages as other separate components provide, a simpler upgrade path and more choices in tailoring the sound to your liking.
There would be many drawbacks. The only real plus I see is that most DACs do not have as good of output sections as a good pre amp IMO.
I think the convergence of preamp and D/A converters will accelerate. There are any number of D/As that function as preamps. I believe Theta was the first to do it, but there are excellent to state of the art offerings from Benchmark, MSB, Wadia and Esoteric. And I think we are going to see more products like the McIntosh C48 (a very good, but not great digital section) which are full function preamps with digital inputs. As a product niche they make a lot of sense and have no downside. The D/A can be designed as an add on circuit board card, much like some phono preamps, which can be readily replaced as new technology advances.
There are, afaik, three preamps:
McIntosh C48
McIntosh C50
Classe CP800

and an integrated
Harman/Kardon HK 990.

There must be more.

Kal
There are products from Bryston, Meridian, Stello, Grace, Accuphase and Goldmund that I know of in addition to the Boulder mentioned above. I can only assume there are others.
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Okay, I'll fess up. I'm an Audio Research fan through and through. I was hoping that AR would do this in their Reference series preamps going forward. As Onhwy61 said above, they could build it into the preamp in a modular fashion whereby they could swap out a module on the chassis to update the DAC. I believe if a few of the recognized audiophile names like Krell, Audio Research, Conrad Johnson, Pass Labs, ect, built such a unit, it would standardize the concept and the rest of the high end community would fall in line to be competitive.
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And we're now seeing more and more items marketed as dedicated DACs that can also do some source-switching and volume control -- that is, act as a preamp in their own right: Benchmark and the new Bel Canto 3.5 come to mind. So, seems indeed like there is a growing convergence. That said, suspect that there will always be a place for stand-alone, single-purpose units.
The Bryston BP-26 has had a DAC option available for many years; way before they offerred a stand alone DAC product.
The latest issue of TAS has coverage of the last CES and there were a dozen or so new preamps or integrated amps w/ D/A built in or as an option.
@Onhwy61

Can you provide this list?

Thanks,

Scott