Why do you need a separate Preamp? DCC2 by itself should do very well as a preamp.
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If you feel that a second pre is necessary (remember, the EMM has an active pre stage), then most probably an ultra clear device is indicated. Of the few I know, FM acoustics and Goldmund come to mind. Aesthetix is well regarded -- but I haven't heard the hot-rodded ones (the standard version is very good).
Mind you, these items are expensive! I'm not quite sure why you need a separate active pre... can you elaborate?
I will be exploring along the same lines....for its including pwer amps....but I think rather than better per se u shld think about what kind of sound or your overall system synergies....the DCC2 preamp to me is very transparent, neutral, solid state preamp....so seeing how tube preamp (especially when your pwer amp is SS) would be a worthwhile experiment: CJ, Acoustic Research, Aesthetix etc
I run the CDSD withe DAC6e Signature Edition. I only use the DAC6e for 2 channel sound (even though I can run multichannel) however as I am a 2 channel purist. I did debate therefore to switch to the DCC2 as the 2 channel Switchman within is indeed outstanding. However the synergy to my system is the ARC Ref 3 which IMO is the finest preamp that I have ever owned. For this reason I have stayed put and would never switch. I have friends who use the ARC Ref 3 with their DCC2 as well as another friend who uses the DCC2 with a Lamm L2 Reference preamp. I tried the latter and even though I had anticipated that the Lamm L2 Reference would excel in my system because I use Lamm ML 2.1 monos, it was just no contest. The ARC Ref 3 was simply the better preamp
I run the D-200 stereo amp right now but will be getting the M200 monos in two days (hopefully). I have had the ARC Ref *2* pre' in my system and currently use the First Sound 4.0/Paramount Plus pre-amp.
The First Sound and the GamuT combo is just stunning. The FS pre's are a simple (but extensively executed) tubed design with everything completely manual with dual mono controls (and internals). If you can deal with that, I can't think of a better pre-amp with GamuT amps.
In my system, The Ref 2 had a wider sound stage, but the FS pre' had a lower noise floor and the music seemed to sound less processed and more immediate. The Ref 3 maybe an entirely different matter.