Hi - I’m new to the forum and looking for advice. I just made the move of taking my Preamplifier out of my stack and replacing my streaming, digital chain with a Lumin P1. I A/B compared the Lumin with and without Pre’s (Krell Illusions 2 & Zesto Leto) to my surprise the P1 sounded best hooked up directly to my Krell 300xd duo. I just sold off the Pre’s and want to splurge for a MK2 but if I do, would be hooked up directly to my amp (Krell 300 XD).
Does anyone have experience using the MK2’s volume control, going directly to an amp, no pre? I use the XLR inputs, the Krell is fairly sensitive, doesn’t require a high gain, voltage in. The P1 shines in the volume / direct to amp category, it has a preamp section, I bypass that and use LEEDH volume control they license, Lumin focused specifically on designing the P1 to perform its best without a pre in the mix. Based on all the stellar reviews of the MK2, convinced it’s an upgrade to the P1 DAC, only apprehension is on the synergy between the MK2 and the Krell 300xd duo without a Pre in between. I’ve tried going direct with other DAC’s through an Auralic Aries G1 with Volume control, in that configuration, my system always sounded better with a Pre in the mix.
Thanks in advance for any real world experience and or comments from the PS Audio team on how the MK2 and Krell 300xd will mesh.
Thanks for sharing your experience - really helpful! Was the performance you got without a pre in the mix something still really good, you wouldn’t know things could be better until you heard it with a Pre in the chain or ok hooked up direct and amazing with the Pre? Trying to gauge if I should make the switch, live without a pre for awhile and eventually add a pre to the mix or stick with the P1.
With the MK2 driving M1200 directly the sound was great, but I could still hear a stronger “digital” SQ to it. But with the BHK pre (tube input), the sound is more analog, and I could listen to music longer.
I ran my BHK 300’s with my DSD Mk1 for at least half a year and I loved the experience. The DSDMk2 should be the same. What you do gain with a preamplifier is more control of the signal. What the preamp gives you sound-wise is better soundstage with some more warmth. I use a BHK Pre. You’re still going to enjoy the musical experience it’s just a bit different.
I don’t have as positive experience with DSD Mk2 going directly into my Luxman M10X. There is noticeable baseline level noise (where as none with the preamp), especially listening at medium volume level, say around 30 on the Mk2. Worse if you listen lower. The noise won’t get completely overwhelm until 35-40 ish volume level. I have posted about this and Ted confirmed that’s kinda expected and for high gain amp or high sensitivity speakers, it’s better to have a preamp, so ymmv.
Happy anniversary Elk!! This forum can really go down the drain without you.
The MK2 is an extraordinary DAC. It would sound wonderful going straight to the power amps since there is zero loss in it’s gain control. But you can get even more performance out of it with tweaks like after market power cords and fuses, and especially a better preamp of sufficient quality to power it. A lesser preamp will just muddle the sound. I power mine with an Esoteric C-02 and I can tell you, the difference is not small. The sound is more dynamic, much more body, and bigger and more dimensional soundstage. The gain going straight also maxes out at times if the recording is recorded at a very low level, so it did not work too well in my system anyway. But you really have to try it in your system to see if you like having a preamp or not. Regardless, the MK2 will not disappoint any way you use it.