Audio Resolution Opus 21. There is a review somewhere comparing the two, try StereoTimes or Soundstage or check their web sites. May even try a search here on Agon. THe reviewer kept the Opus.
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I have a Quad CDP player that I plug directly into the Power Amp. It even has 3 digital inputs which allow you to plug in other components to use its 24-192 DAC. Not as mellow as my previous Rega but the Quad has great detail and great tight bass compared to the Rega. The volume control is on the CD remote.
Depends on a few factors, the input sensitivity/input impededance of your power amp and the cdp's ability to drive it and how long the cable run is from the cdp to the power amp.
Most cdps are designed to drive the high impedance, high
sensitivity input of a preamp.
Without the added gain and impedance buffering provided by the preamp most cdps don't sound as dynamic when use to
drive a power amp directly. Yes- they'll play loud, but
the sound can be flat and lifeless.
I'm using a buffered passive preamp between my cdp and power amp, which only needs .75 volts to put out it's 300 watts/ch., plus my speakers are fairly efficient(another factor to consider) and it works for me.
I suggest you talk with Cary and tell them about your system.
I have the Cary 303/200 CDP, and I prefer to listen to it through my ARC preamp. The sonic difference is subtle: slightly warmer and more involving. I might mention that before I rolled the tubes in the preamp, the difference was more or less negligible. I agree with Kana813 -- call Cary. Also, there have been some previous threads on this topic that you should take a look at.
You absolutely want a preamp if your budget allows for at least $4.000. for the pre alone. That's what it will take to better a CD direct or with a passive volume control. Anything less and it would be better to buy a better cd player and go direct. Once you get up to the likes of Herron or Hovland or cat etc. it is no contest that the pre adds dynamics and life to the music that no passive setup can match. Don't listen to the idea that less is better because the digital volumes are crap. and the analog volumes are still a filter in the signal path with a input and output impedance that affects the end result just as much as an entire active preamp!
I agree, Msa. here's no question that my Aleph 2 monos are much happier having an Aleph P pre ($1800 used) pushing them rather than direct from my EMC-1 MkII (balanced).
It all depends upon gain and impedence matching, which can be a huge problem when going direct from a CDP to a power amp. Good luck.