I have an orig 2.0 with aaa/ddd options. Yes, the power upgrade is necessary. I use mine for eq and conversion. I have used it as a pre, (it's pretty weak) but my Emotive Audio is much better.
Is that stupid to have a $10K pre on the back of such modest dacs and noise? Let's put it this way. 30 years of hi end dogma taught me to stay away from eq. I had Genesis 501's, Cain and Cain Ben's and Quads in the room both before and during the tenure of this unit. All excellent speakers and all RADICALLY different sounding.
IT'S THE ROOM. You've got to get it out of the way and Tacts or Rives or other digital eq is the only way to do it. I'm "screwing up" expensive and high quality signal sources from a VDH Black Beauty, Ensemble phonobrio, Wadia 830, etc., according to purists. I'm definitely converting excellent analog signals to digital and back (and I'd like to avoid it), but if the signal is pure, and still sounds like hell due to my room, then I'll just have to "distort" it in order to make it sound like music.
I've suffered as a purist for years with room nodes and resonances. Great equipment and expensive upgrades that never really went anywhere near as far as needed.
I play trumpet in a big band, cornet is a community band, have taught horn and played in orchestras. Until 5 years ago, I played bass (I'm 50) with a Fender Jazz and Aguilar tube amplification through Euphonic Audio boxes. I have a pretty good idea of what real music sounds like.
If I have a fire, my TACT (upgraded and hopefully, a later series) is going to be the first thing I grab, after my Wife and kid: they can carry the Emotive and Shunyata Hydra.
By the way, the TACT documentation is straight from hell and you have to work with the equipment in order to make heads or tails out of it. the websites are a saving grace and absolutely necessary. The learning curve is steep. It took me two weeks to build and "save" my first one. However, when you do, you'll never go back, no matter how "pure" and fine your other hardware is, unless you have the luck and money to have an acoustically correct listening room constructed for you.
I've had mine for 2 years now and still learning things about it, but I 've got the basics down.
Just my HO,