Suggested Pre-amp for turntable to Anthem MX-720 receiver driving Lexicon 7 channel amp
I happened to be at an auction locally and they had a Technics SL-D303 turntable as a lot (no cover but everything else seemed to be fine). Has Stanton cartridge. For price I thought it was worth it (less than $20 including all costs). I've been wanting to get a turntable for some time and based upon reviews it seems to be a reasonable quality inexpensive turntable, especially for what I paid. I think it will allow me to start playing some of my records (mostly high qualifty classical, including Organ) on my regular sound system and allow me to feel out what I like and don't like with the sound with the objective if needed of upgrading.
However before I can start to hook it up, I know that I'll need to pick up a DAC to connect the turntable to my Receiver - an Anthem MX-720. I don't want pay a lot for the DAC but don't want an el cheapo either. And I know that DACs run the gamut from $20 to $20k and everything in between. And here's where it gets complicated. We listen to 98% classical music, heavy on the Baroque and Organ type, or instrumental. No Jazz, pop or things like that. Some musicals.
My speakers are all Martin Logan Classic ESLs in the front l/r, ESL C in the center and ESL side left/right with 4 electro motion R type in the ceiling for the ATMOS speakers. SVS tall subwoofers are paired into this system. I have learned (the hard way) that the ML speakers take a lot of power, way more than most receivers can handle, thus LF/RF are bi-wired into the lexicon amplifier so I have plenty of power for them.
Not understanding exactly the role of a DAC between the receiver/amp system and the turntable, I have a little concern about using a tube DAC versus a digital DAC as to whether the speakers with the type of music we prefer whether we could overdrive a Tube DAC. I honestly don't know.
I have heard that Tube DACs produce better sound for the anthem to send on the speakers but here again, Not sure.I don't want to spend a lot (preferably less than $500) for a DAC but want something that will work well with the Technics turntable but if I decide later to go to a more sophisticated newer Turntable, all I have to do is to just replace that turntable with the newer one with no loss in sound quality. I seriously doubt that considering the room and other factors that I can get seriously better sound than the Anthem and the Lexicon without seriously spending a very large amount of money and changing the room dynamics substantially. The system does a great job with Blue ray, SACD/DVD Audio music now just fine. I might upgrade the SVS's to the newer versions now, but I get pretty fair bass now as it is (including LFE effects where besides hearing down to 10-15hz, we can feel the vibrations of things such as that explosion in the Star Wars movie or the 1812 overature and the cannons exploding with no issues on the cannons exploding or causing issues with the speakers.
I have had
Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 Preamp
recommended as well as a
T7 Vacumn Tube Mini Phono Stage RIAA MM Turntable Preamp
which is a very wide range as I see the general price on the Pro-Ject as $399 and the T7 as $65.
So basicly two questions:1) Would I be better off with a Tube DAC or a Digital DAC for the near term? And what would be the recommendation?2) Does my concern about Tubes not having enough juice matter for the DAC?
I personally lean all things being equal to preferring a Digital DAC as I don't want the long term maintenance of a Tube system. I'll freely admit, I'm old school and spent years working with tube systems before digital became prevalent and remember all the maintenance required on those tube systems, so if I can get reasonably good sound from a Digital DAC, that's the way I'd prefer to go. But if there is a serious noticeable difference and digital never would be good enough versus a Tube Dac, then I guess that's what I'd need. To be honest, I want a decent (lower priced but reasonable quality - mid range). Something in the Anthem range of quality for DACs, but maybe slightly cheaper than one of those (say mid-upper range DENON).
Last question: Is the Technics SL-D303 reasonable starting quality or is it too old and out of date and something newer would be better?