If you can find a used Timbre TT1 balanced model you would be all set. It had a regular rca output, but also a special buffered 7v output for driving passive preamps. It also had balanced outputs but I don't know what the output voltage of those were. It was a fantastic sounding dac, sold new for around $4K. You can find them used from time to time, usually selling for around $800. Well worth an audition.
The Altis Ref had two boards that were offered two(Two tubes) and four(Four tubes)voltS. I have both.
I have a Cal Alpha DAC connected to my ARC preamp and it really makes a big difference in volume and sounds great. If you like to try the Cal Alpha get the one that is not the 24/96, the regular one has a higher gain. You can find one under $400.00, excellent combo with the ARC gear!
A Theta DSPro Basic I has an output between 6 and 7 volts if I remember correctly. Not sure though if you they came balanced.
Q007 remembers correctly. I had to turn down my preamp 6db when using the Theta Basic. I think it had a balanced in/outs
Great Guys! Thank you for the speedy feedback on this and the suggestions.
I'd say that it matches what Q007 says about the Theta with what I experienced. However, I think (not sure) the version 1 hadn't balanced out, and even the v.II were not all balanced.
What a joke I was not keeping the Theta Pro Basic II with balanced output! I bought instead a Krell Stealth, that works ok on the sound field, but not happy with the output.
I never heard of the Altis, I think it will be a difficult task to get one around Europe. The Cal Audio I tried was a tubed version (can;t recall the model) and didn't work out well on my system. Had only RCA out though.
Thanks again, will start hunting dac's!
All the Theta DACs have high outputs. In a Stereophile interview the designers claimed they sounded better that way. Both the Pro Prime IIa and Pro Basic IIIa have balanced analog outs, and sell used in the USA around $350-400 and $650-800 respectively. I've owned both but prefer the Pro Basic III because it features AES/EBU input from the transport.
I'd like to second Johnd's suggestion of the Timbre. I live near the two owners of the company, when they were in business, and a few visits to one of their homes was absolutely astonishing in that the DAC really did sound like analog. Through the years, I've never bought one, but I have yet to erase it from my mind either...
The XLR outs of the Benchmark DAC1 are high output. I don't recall the level but you can check the manual online: Benchmark Media
My Electrocompaniet ECD-1 is definitely high output (unless everything else I have is low output). We're talking a couple hours difference on the clockwise motion of the pot.
The XLR outs of the Benchmark DAC1 are high output.
The Benchmark is pretty versatile in that regard. You can switch back and forth (on the back) to use the op-amp/volume pot, or have a fixed output and bypass the op-amp. In the fixed mode it also has tiny pot screws, one for each channel, that allow you to adjust the fixed output of the Benchmark. I cannot recall the range of that adjustment, but I'm sure you can find it online, per the other poster's suggestion.
Thank you all for the information. If everything goes well, I'll be buying a Theta Pro Basic IIIa.
I'll keep you'll posted.
Brgds from sunny and warm (hot, rather) Spain
The highest output DAC I've ever had in my system was the Weiss Medea. It has 2 output levels and trim pots for more exact settings. Max output voltage is about 15V if I recall correctly. Before you spend your money on a new DAC consider that the sound quality of a DAC's outputs is likely to be less than that of a tube preamp. IMO you could get better results for your money by finding a tube preamp with the proper gain.
Thanks JazzDude, my problem started the minute I changed the LS25MK2 for the Reference 3. That is, volume control "problem".
Awfully low gain the Ref3 has, however, I could swear that the LS25, inspite of having a +18db gain (6db more than the REF3), did not sound as good as the new one.
Besides, I cannot afford changing my line stage, it is only 6 monthes old...
The Wadia 27 has adjustable output voltage. It can pump it out if you need to.
Audio Aero Prima mk II has high output according to the 6 moons review.
Thanks Rja, I wonder how high the Wadia goes? And the Audio Aero?
Anyhow, I just bought a Theta ProBasic IIIa from a fellow A'goner (thanks RRoss!).
Will get it here by the end of the week (USPS provided) and will update the results/changes against the Krell Stealth (wich will be for sale right after).
I have a friend that bought an AA Capitole MKII and is deeply in love.
He feeds directly a Pass X150, then into a pair of JMLab Mezzo Utopia, and cannot get it below -25 db on the display without being unlistenable loud. But, it is an integrated, the Prima is a DAC I guess?