Top notch integrated vs DAC direct into stereo amp

I'm still asking myself if a top notch integrated amp like the Audionet Humbold + separate DAC would do just as good as a DAC direct into a stereo amp for example Totaldac d1-Direct going into Gryphon Antileon Evo or D'Agostino Momentum S250.I know this has been discussed many times especially preamp vs no preamp but what about top level integrated vs DAC direct  into amp.An ultimate integrated amp would cost about the same as a great stereo amp therefore the question can be raised.Cheers.
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Well guys a guy that owns Stern + Heinsenberd + Totaldac Twelve compared with and without Stern just adding a Totaldac D1-Driver in place of the Stern.Suprisingly he liked better the presentation going direct into Heisenbergs without the Stern in the chain.I could get a very good deal on a pair of Heisenbergs.

My take is the simplest path is best.

Correct, as most dac’s today (not tube output ones) have output stages the equal and maybe even better than many active preamps are. So if you have a dac that has a volume control use it direct into your poweramp, if no volume control then use a passive preamp.

Nelson Pass,

“We’ve got lots of gain in our electronics. More gain than some of us need or want. At least 10 db more.

Think of it this way: If you are running your volume control down around 9 o’clock, you are actually throwing away signal level so that a subsequent gain stage can make it back up.

Routinely DIYers opt to make themselves a “passive preamp” - just an input selector and a volume control.

What could be better? Hardly any noise or distortion added by these simple passive parts. No feedback, no worrying about what type of capacitors – just musical perfection.

And yet there are guys out there who don’t care for the result. “It sucks the life out of the music”, is a commonly heard refrain (really - I’m being serious here!). Maybe they are reacting psychologically to the need to turn the volume control up compared to an active preamp.”

Cheers George
I do get all that and that is why I went for DAC direct into amp to start.  Just saying in my situation, the preamp improved the sound.

First setup: PS Audio DS DAC into BHK 250 amp.  These are hybrid tube pieces, so maybe that mattered, but inserting the BHK Pre improved sound.  This equipment is now all gone away.

Second: Auralic Vega G2 DAC into Classe CA-2300 Stereo Amp.  Inserting Audionet Pre1 G3 improved sound here also.

I am now upgrading to Audionet Pre G2 and mono Amps, so will be interesting to see which I prefer!

I agree if only one (DAC) input why use a pre...and like to keep things simple..and avoid an interconnect...but my ears will tell me.
These pieces are above my price range but to me that Total DAC D1 Driver just looks like a preamp without volume control. I guess I like things simple the Humboldt Integrated with a DAC looks pretty good if it can handle the speakers. Good luck finding what you like.
Since i'm going end game amp the two best alternatives seem to be a Mephisto stereo or Audionet Heisenberg monos.I want to stay SS, the Totaldac is already very analogue sounding so i don't need tubes.You guys prefer Gryphon flagship or Audionet flagship ?Mephisto stereo is 54K and Heisenberg 70K euro prices.