Review: Decco Amp, pre-amp with built in DAC

Category: Preamps

I have been an audiophile all of my life and was a dealer for such noteable brands as Audio Note, Goldmund and more.
When I set out to find an audiophile set-up for my personal office, I started as most people, researching audio cards for my high-end computer (QX6850 Quad Core Extreme) etc.
After trying numerous cards and countless hours of research, I ended up with the ASUS Zonar D2X audio card with what most consumers would have considered very good sound through my AudioEngine speakers or Monsoon Planer’s. Results for a guy who was used to S.E.T. amps was not satisfactory, especially in the midrange.

I talked with some of my industry friends who told me about the Era speakers and the Decco amp, processor and tube pre-amp all in one box. There descriptions sounded like they had been smoking something as they pretty much made it sound like it was on par with $4000 pre-amp, amp combinations with a killer DAC as a bonus. When I found out that the DAC had no filter or up-sampling I was sold, as this is the hallmark of AudioNote Dac's which I have always thought were the best sounding in the industry, bar none.

The combination arrived beautifully pakaged, I mean beautifully (AudioNote take notice). They were double boxed, with protection everywhere. I was impressed already.

Let me just cut to the chase. This combination rivals equipment I have sold costing 5 times as much. Midrange, transparency, soundstage and imaging (oh that imaging) was to die for. I ordered a Siemens 6922 from Tube World to see what kind of a difference it makes and will let you know later. But at this point I have to tell you that I cannot imagine anything sounding better for the money. By the way, I opted for the D4 speakers as I need a small footprint on my desk but was blown away by the incredible soundstage and open transparent mid's and highs. I am using an Earthquake Sub crossing them over at about 70hz.

I am a happy audiophile sittting in my office with very expensive equipment out in my living room being neglected:)

By the way, I have no affiliation and do not sell any of the products listed here.

Associated gear
Nordost Vishnu Power Cord, Furman line conditioner, Red Dawn Speaker cable and interconnects.

It's great to hear that there is yet another choice out there for a great budget system. Download/rip your tunes to a laptop or PC, connect it to the Decco and off you go to audiophile land!

I have the 2003 version of your setup. I have a Red Wine Audio Reali-T which is a Class-T amp, non-OS DAC and passive pre-amp all on one small box. It's also battery powered, so it is ultra quiet. Great setup, but I'd guess it has been surpassed by some newer products.

My other enjoyable budget system is built around a pair of Quad 12L Active speakers. Connect a CD/DVD player (I use an Oppo which has remote controlled variable volume) or an iPod and you've got a simple complete system for very little money.


Let me state for the record that I am not a dealer for any product mentioned in this post as these were purchase soley for my personal enjoyment and have no potential gain in this review. Contact your local Decco or Era dealer for purchase of this product.
I second jcaudio's comments. I have stated this before in another thread and suggest the Decco DAC, peamp and amp is the product of the year.