try a tubed line stage if you really want to make a difference. I used to have some mccormack gear - and is really nice, but i didnt care for the preamp (mine was rev B ALD-1). As far as the power amps, I think you'd be well served with a DNA-1 rather than 0.5 mono's - cheaper and takes far less space. Just my $0.02
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You have my vote for the DNA 0.5 Rev A, I have owned one. If you consider the DNA 0.5 Deluxe & compare it to the DNA 1 Deluxe, the differences between these two amps are not just output power but sound quality, the 0.5 Deluxe having a more refined & sweeter sound, many audiophiles will agree. Also given the fact the 0.5 has enormous headroom, I believe this is a amp that can drive virtually any speaker, even ones that are 4 ohms. There are always some compromises made when you move up the ladder in power, the lower powered units always sound better. But given that I believe the DNA 1 to be a superb bargain when compared to other brands of equal power ratings.
I will agree with both the Swampwalker and Phd with respect to the 0.5.
I have had both tube and SS preamps with my McCormack DNA-225. There are wonderful possibilities, either way, in addition to passives. My only caveat would be to make sure you pay close attention to getting something with a good quality attenuator with as many step increments as possible.
You mention the RLD-1 and upgrades. DO NOT ignore the possibility of having that piece upgraded by Steve McCormack. I have heard of good things regarding that particular upgrade. Here is a link to a review on and upgraded RLD:
I just received back my DNA-225 last Friday after having Platinum upgrades completed. I will be forwarding a review after everything settles in but I have just one word for now - INCREDIBLE! Plus, Steve is an absolute PRINCE to deal with. I suggest giving him a call to discuss your situation. He will be honest and give advice depending on your needs and tastes without "selling". Good luck.
The DNA-2 Revision A amp is a beautiful sounding amp and I too intend to keep it for quite some time.
The previous owner of the DNA-2 Rev A replaced it with a DNA 0.5 Rev A Gold because his Vandersteen Model 5s have active woofers and he didn't need the added poundage nor powerage of the DNA-2 Rev A.
As I recall, he stated that sonics of the 0.5 Rev Gold and the DNA-2 Rev. A were near identical, except that there was a bit more weighted presentation with the DNA-2 Rev A because of the power differences.
Hi there 'Goners -
I figure I might as well throw in my `5 cents worth, and that would be to simply state my fondness for dual mono amps. I particularly like the true monoblock configuration (which also provides the highest power), but I also like using a pair of matched stereo amps in the "passive vertical bi-amp" configuration (this depends on having bi-wireable speakers). Single stereo amps are certainly convenient, but mono pairs offer higher performance. They also allow you to place each amp alongside its speaker, thus keeping the speaker wires as short as possible.
Steve McCormack, it is always excellent to hear from you! The mono blocks really do make alot of sense. I would think they would be the final solution to an great sounding system, as many audiophiles will agree. In regards to the vertical bi-amping, I have a question. I have biampable speakers. Once the bridging straps are removed the maximum output power to the high frequency drivers cannot exceed 50 watts & the low frequency drivers 100 watts. Can I safely drive these different drivers with the same output power? If not what are your recommendations? Thanks
Hi Phd -
I suspect you mean to say that your speakers are "bi-wireable." This simply means that separate inputs are provided for the high-pass and low-pass sections of the internal crossover network. To say that they are "bi-ampable" suggests that they have a separate set of inputs that bypass the internal crossover and connect directly to the drivers, and this is very unusual.
If they are bi-wireable as I suspect, the maximum power the drivers can absorb stays the same whether-or-not the jumpers are installed.
Speaker power ratings are notoriously vague. To say "the high frequency drivers cannot exceed 50 watts" doesn't really provide much useful information. We need to know if they are talking about peak or average power, under what conditions, and for how long in order to have some understanding of what the limits actually are. If the manufacturer is suggesting that the tweeters can handle up to 50 Watts RMS for any appreciable length of time, that is a *LOT* of power for a tweeter!
In any event, the answer to your question is yes - you can safely drive both inputs from the same amplifier. The vast majority of our listening is done at relatively low *average* power - just a few Watts, typically. Peak power may be quite high, but only for a fleeting instant. Your speakers will handle this without any problem.