Good Preamp with Digital Input

I am in the market for a new two channel preamp and would like one that will match well with my McIntosh MC352 Power Amp. My speakers are Magnepan 3.6's with a REL Sub. Most importantly, the new preamp must have at least one optical input and a remote.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Z-Systems RDP-1,assuming you are using a DAC.
EMM Labs DCC2 would be hard to beat as a DAC/pre combination. the new Signature Edition version, when matched with the SE CDSD transport, will give you the best digital out there.

most of the other DAC/pre's use a digital volume control and digitize all inputs; a bad thing IMHO.
Theta Gen VIII. The Z-systems, good as it is, is all digital, no analog and no D/A.


By nature, a pre-amp would generally not include a digital input. Typically a pre-amp is an analog device and a digital input would indicate that you need a DAC inside the pre-amp.

There are some all digital preamps that have digital inputs, but convert the analog sources to digital before "processing" them. There are also several pre-amp/DAC combinations on the market.

I've used the Monarchy Model 33 DAC/pre-amp and thought it was excellent at the $400 used price I paid for it.

You will increase your choices if you simply buy the pre-amp you want and buy a an external DAC to provide the digital input you require. The output of the DAC would be connected to your analog pre-amp, therefore the "pre-amp" would not need a digital input.


I second the idea to simply use an external DAC. You gain significantly more flexibility.

Bryston has one, I think the model number just changed from the BP-25DA to the BP-26DA or something like that. It's supposed to be just a regular analog preamp with a dac card in place of one of the inputs. If it's from Bryston it's probably pretty good and not too pricey, check it out.
April Music makes a highly regarded preamp/DAC with multiple digital inputs. Tact makes a digital preamp with extensive room correction equalization. Grace makes a preamp/DAC that while targeted towards the pro market has the features you stated.

A combo preamp/DAC is an excellent idea that offers the possibility of very high performance with reduced clutter and significant costs savings when compared to more traditional setups. You might also want to consider several CD players that have digital inputs and could function as a preamp in a simple system. I know April Music and Quad produce such units.
If I remember right, Bel Canto has some analog preamps with their highly regarded DAC installed, and a remote. Hence, a true analog pre-amp with at least one digital input. Check them out.
all good suggestions...also if you can afford it, check out Boulder
Manley Labs- WAVE
This might work
M24 tube dac plus line stage
Check out Stello never heard but got good repo or Quad CDP 99.A complete CD player with built in pre with digital inputs.
Jeffjazz, thats a good call. That DAC/Pre looks very interesting to me as well.