I tried. I had lots of bruises on my head from my wife to please reduce the number of remotes on the couch. My stereo needs a checklist to get the proper audio to play. Half of my digital inputs are selected by the DS DAC, the other is routed through my DLIII and selected by the preamp. The reason I still have the DLIII is because I have two sources with SPDIF outputs, my Oppo blue-ray player and the TV set. One can go through the DS, the other is orphaned, but luckily I still had the DLIII. But one has to know where the music is coming from and must set up the DS and preamp (using the aforementioned checklist) to get things to play. Gets painful when one is bonked on the head all the time . . .
So I thought: “why not combine digital source selection with the analog source selection in the new preamp?” This way only one remote is needed to pick the desired channel, either digital or analog. Then that remote can also control all the volume. It would be simple. Sprout simple.
But digital sources are changing and adding standards all the time. It wouldn’t make sense to have a fixed feature set for the digital inputs. So why not have slide-in boards that could be adapted to any new technology when it came along? Much like the Bridge slot in the DS, the preamp could have multiple slots for bridge, 4 SPCIF coax, APTx bluetooth streaming, and be versatile for any new technology that came along.
OK, so all we’re talking about is a new digital switching chassis, one that could be the extension of the new preamp. It has 4 slots in it, the size of the Bridge. No touchscreen is needed. The digital control signals from the touchscreen of the preamp could be connected to the new extension chassis to control the desired digital source. It just needs a serial data wire from the new preamp down to the digital expansion chassis.
The preamp touchscreen could be programmed and named by the user to define which digital or analog inputs are selected. When an analog input is selected, the proper analog channel is vectored from the analog input, through the preamp volume control, and to the amp. When a digital input is selected, the preamp tells the new expansion chassis to select the desired digital signal, route it to an I2S or SPDIF coax output connector that goes to the DS or other master DAC, then automatically switch the analog side of the preamp to the dedicated analog input associated with the output from the master DAC, through the same volume control, and on to the amp.
So one box does all switching and volume control for both analog and digital. The box is adaptable for future yet-to-be-developed digital technologies, unlike Sprout that has a locked-in feature set. It’s cheap(er) in that there is no separate touchscreen or remote needed.
Heck, I think this could do for audiophiles what the Apple IIe and IBM PC did for home computers. Opens up new territory, new markets. What Paul calls “Blue ocean” territory. No one else comes close to doing this. When set up properly it makes the entire stereo as simple as Sprout to use. Makes the spousal-approval argument that much easier.
I couldn’t convince Paul, though. Sigh. But it’s his company, his name on the door. Who knows, maybe I was nuts to suggest such a thing.
I just wish I could take off my helmet when I watch TV with my wife . . . .