Recommendation from dCS gear owners

I have all dCS gear (Verdi->Purcell->Delius) I was thinking of adding a preamp, the Delius is directly driving my Sonic Frontiers Power 3 mono tube amps that drive Genesis 350. I need the preamp so I can integrate my HT. Currently I have to switch cables back and forth. My question here is, if I go for a reference level preamp like ML 32, Pass X-02, AR REF 2, or BAT VK-51SE would I get any improvements? of course I would have to add another set of interconnects on the way but assume that I will also use reference quality cables. I would like to here from those who have similar gear and did comparison with and without preamp.
p.s. I live overseas and doing such comparison myself will be very costly.
Ok, I just sold a Delius. Have a BAT vk50se. I hear the 51se is better. Anyway, the 50se ain't bad. I am running a BAT VK75SE and Wilson wp6's. Here is my opinion. The Delius running straight to the amps at near full volume is pretty amazing. The transparency, the palpability is to die for. Everything that you like now I imagine. The 50se did help a little with depth and soundstage size-not a lot, a sutble thing for sure. A better power cord on the Delius made more of a diffence.

Now the 50se walks all over the Delius at lower listening levels. I never noticed it when I ran my Delius direct for awhile. Never could understand what everyone around here would say when those digital volume controls mess things up a little. All that transparency stays all the up/down the volume range. So, my vk50se always stayed in the chain once I had the preamp.

To me, and for my listening level preferences, the preamp makes a huge diff. Any of the 4 you mention above are great, just pick the one that best matches your amp.

XLR's cables here a must I think.

Hope that helps...
I have said several times in threads that controlling volume with a digital preamp is not the way to go. However, I would have thought DCS might be able to do it as well as a good preamp. Jfrech, has changed my mind. If DCS does not do it well at low volumes, probably no company does it well at low volumes. I have had a Camelot Uther DAC/ditial preamp (not quite in the same league as the DSC gear), and came to the same conclusions that Jfrech did.

Anyway, I would suggest an Ayre K-1x preamp if you can afford one. I have the K-3x, and it is... well amazing. I can only what the 1x sounds like.

My 2 Cents.

Could you guys comment about digital preamps in this thread?

We would appreciate your wisdom.


I have a dCS Purcell and Elgar and briefly ran the Elgar direct to my Classe CAM 350 power amps when a former preamp, a Pass X1, developed a temporary problem. Somehow the direct connection just missed something--it was utterly clear, but there was some quality of air and ambiance missing. Subtractively or additively missing? Who knows? But I do have a preamp recommendation for you you haven't mentioned, the Rowland Synergy IIi. It's very shallow (6 inches), which does wonders for heavy cable connections, demonstrates no solid state failings--extraordinary detail with no nasties--and is fully balanced, which means your dCS units will love it. (Between the Pass and Rowland I had a single-ended only tube-hybrid preamp, the Lamm L1, and neither the Elgar nor my Classe Omega SACD player sounded their best single-ended. By comparison, the sound off my turntable just glowed.) The Rowland is more expensive than the Ayre K-3x, which I compared it to, but to me the Rowland simply sounded warmer and richer in my system. Based on my clear preference for the Rowland, I didn't hunt down an Ayre K-1x, which in turn is more expensive than the Rowland. As to a comparison of the Pass X-1 and the Rowland, since there was a preamp between my use of them for almost a year, and a few other system changes, I can't say which one was superior, but they're both great.
well, thank you guys, I guess one more thing that I should also mention, the cable run from the preamp to the amp is 30ft I am ucrrently using Transparent XL balanced. now the question which preamp would function better in this set up? i.e. long IC and tupe amp at the end? all cabling are XLR by the way.
I did try that, to connect my DAC directly to the M-60's and my Pass amps.
The result is much worse than using a high quality preamp between. My digital combo is adjustable in every area ( DCS units ). The ONLY sound best when their digital volume is full open !
Otherwise you loose information!!
I did the same with a Wadia 860. Definetly same result. When someone uses digital directly to amps and says it is super, then he has no idea what will sound really good or he used a average preamp before, which was nothing special.

The best way is to go for a preamp with gain controls. Then you have the best from both worlds.

Just a recommendation.
I'm using my bat vk50se with a 25ft run of Trans Ref xl xlr's to the bat vk75se. Works great for me. I also have had it with just 1 meter of the Trans ref xf between amp and pre. No diff on the 25ft run.

KF...I have no exper w/ digital preamps other than what's built into Wadia and DCS. If it's a digital volume control, my guess is it's going to suffer the same fate. I know Mark Levinson uses analog volume controls in their cd/dac players for this reason.
Interestingly, I disagree. I run my dcs delius direct to my amplifier (ML 335) and the sound is a as lively as with a ML 32 pre-amp. Remember, you're adding components in the signal path. The delius has a v good preout board and this is the same that it is used when going through a preamp. Sometimes lack detail is confused with "bloom" and similar terms.
I have modified Melos Monoblocks that I drive directly with my dCS Elgar/972. I've tried various mfg's "reference" preamps and the only thing that I thought was added was cost. However, the Melos are high input impedance which makes them easy to drive without a preamp and I added a very high quality stepped attenuator in the Melos so that for any serious listening I have the digital volume control at full out.