It was not easy, but I finally placed my SimAudio 70i amp in bypass mode. It was not an easy process.
I am using the volume control on the Bricasti M21 DAC to control the volume. The sound is good but NOT light-years better than using the preamp. My ’gut reaction’ is it might not be as clear. The music does not seem as smooth. Preamp might add more air. I am still doing more listening. Please stay tuned.
So, an hour later, as I stated above, when going direct, I felt the music was missing something. The music was not as open or engaging when going direct to my SimAudio amplifier. The music felt more closed in.
I switched back to preamp mode and everything was sounding right. The air and engaging factor were returned. The music sounded much better.
For my application, and setup, I believe the preamp is needed to help the music sound natural, clearer and engaging. My experiment is done, and I am keeping my SimAudio 700i integrated amp. Case closed.
I know that other people prefer going direct from a DAC to a power amplifier. Based on my audition, my decision is depend on my equipment, my environment and how I listen to music. There is no right or wrong answer since it just depends on the individual.