Don't buy anything major right now. Save up and get a good preamp. Unless there's something wrong or mismatched with your other components, a preamp should make the biggest improvement in SQ.
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Thanks for your advice on focusing on the pre-amp to realize the most impact (musically, sound-stage, etc). That helps me refine my research.
I saw this Classe CP-47.5 for sale on this site. Would this be a good option for my speaker/amp set-up?
Is there anything specifically I should be looking out for in a new/used pre-amp?
Thanks Schubert... I did some research on these units and it looks like they have come out with some new updates to that DAC. It all reads very promising and reviews glowing. The only concerns I would have it that I would loose out on the ability to connect a CD player to this pre-amp and for ~ $1000, with DAC specs changing so quickly, would it date that much more quickly?
I'm trying to decide if this DAC would be a better investment over a good used hi-end pre-amp. Potentially something that I can hope to have for many years to come. I would even be willing to spend up to $1,500 (I know, not alot on audiophile spend) on a pre-amp if its something that would stand the test of time!
It would be more helpful to know what you're trying to achieve with upgrade. As far as I know Rotel units are harsh and have tendency to sound thin.
While I agree with presense of great preamp, integrated such as Krell KAV 400i is able to bring more body and refinement to your sound and could've been used as starter instead of Rotel stack. I'd consider Krell as jump-start upgrade to preamp and amp together.
Literally you'll spend less than you've planned after selling Rotel units making your short quick move to Krell.
I like it in all configurations: as preamp only or amp and as amp as whole thing.
Other than that, I'd wait perhaps for larger funds to invest.
Sorry about that. I did a Google search after your suggestion and for some reason was looking at EE's Mini Max DAC. The Pre seems to get rave reviews. For the music I listen to and the characteristics of my speakers it could be a great match.
How do you think my Rotel 990 amp would work with the EE Pre? It would seem to have plenty of power but its not great with low-freq (low end) sound. I'd eventually like to replace it too at some stage.
I see that EE has a few integrated amp. Does anyone have any experience with them?
Thanks agin for the suggestions..
I have the Mini-Max integrated in my bedroom.
8 watts drive Rega S 1 OK.
Everything that EE makes is high quality.
For The money, perhaps best quality in Audio.
EE mini-max is THE cheapest quality pre there is and uses only 3 tubes which are easy to find and make it easy to get the sound YOU like. You might be satisisfied with your rotel amp.
Problem with ALL tube power amps IMO is crappy Chinese and Russian tubes! Personally, I would buy nothing from Putin land.
If it were me, I would be looking to buy a integrated amp (not much over 5 years old used) and a DAC and use the Sony CDP as a transport. Should not be difficult to sell the Rotel gear. As Czarivey indicated, define what you are hearing for with an upgrade and find an amp speaker combination that provides. A good quality DAC w/USB can be had in the ~$500 range.
One route I was thinking was going with a good used integrated (like a Krell KAV 400 or 500) or pre (like the EE MiniMax or there's a nice Classe pre for sale on this site) and buying an Oppo 105 for the DAC and CD/SACD.
Oppo has a huge fan base online, so its very difficult to find an objective review. Does anyone have any experience with using Oppo for their music flies (mostly FLAC)?