Added Toys on Audiophile Systems.

edited March 2013 in Other hi-fi gear
Just a few questions.
1) How many people think "White Coloured Kit" is a better buy than Black/Silver ?
2) Are "Remote Controls" a unnecessary function on audiofile kit?
3) Would a built in "DAC" into a Pre-amp or Integrated Amp be a useful function or just added cost?   

Can you please give your points of view.


  • Morning Col

    As a world famous design consultant, I am happy to give my opinion, but usually it would cost you millions!

    1. White can be absolutely the coolest colour if done right (it rarely is). The switches/buttons need to be special (in an understated, quality fashion - not bling), and the whole thing should be as minimal as possible. Also, if possible, some edges and corners look better rounded.

    2. Remote - I miss mine. If it can be added without compromising on audio or ramping the cost too much, a remote is almost essential IMO. I know many who wouldn't buy kit because because it doesnt have a remote. There are fewer nut-cases (like me) who are willing to go without in pursuit of better SQ..

    3. That depends entirely on how good the DAC is, Shirley? DACs are moving on fast now, not just in terms of SQ but also in features. 24/192 is a minimum standard, DSD processing is becoming very popular and any new DAC should be natively USB 2 compliant.

    Is a pre-amp truly relevant in this day and age? Don't most digital sources produce enough gain at line level? Most Audiofools use external phonostages anyway, so maybe a DAC with remote, and a bypass or active stage for a TT is what's needed. In terms of features and usability, I think Johhn Westlake's MDAC is about right (or will be when the optional upgrades come out shortly), it's just a shame IAG can't build the base unit properly.

    (For the sake of completeness, the MDAC is a remote control DAC with some nifty processing and filtering, and there will soon be a second box available with an improved power supply, phono stage, stepped attenuation - in addition to the dithered digital volume control on the basic DAC.)

    Bet you wished you never asked...
  • edited March 2013
    I'll answer your questions as soon as I have the time, Col, but in the meantime:
    1. Dark Green is the coolest colour :-D

  • Ha! Don't listen to him, he's sooo last season....

    One thing, if you do build in a DAC that's great, so long as there are other line level inputs. Some people will still prefer their own DAC, or at least want to compare theirs with the inbuilt.
  • So a broom stick and Blutac will be OK for volume, simple, done.
  • Hi Col:
    1. No strong opinions. Sometimes it can look a bit Apple-copycat-wannabe, but it wouldn't put me off.
    2. Remote is peferable for me for sources. Less so for amplification.
    3. Personally i would perceive it as an unnecessary cost. That's just me.
    1. I think it's more to do with the overall design and execution than colour. What does it look and feel like, overall? A good purple design may win out over a clumsy Apple-copy aluminium box. Hmm. Maybe not purple!
    2. I would want a remote volume on the (pre-) amp if at all possible. Although I wouldn't want it to add significantly to the cost - after all, I get one automatically with my TV
    3. It depends on how good the DAC. And I wonder if the world is tuned to the idea of DAC with pre-amp, rather than pre-amp with DAC?

      For a, say, Atom-based 'mini system', bought for its compactness, it would probably make a lot of sense. But personally, I like to have separate boxes so I can upgrade a component at a time.
  • edited March 2013
    For me - 1, White is a little too 'blingy'. I am normally a black or silver box man but fuschia anyone ? 2. Remote probably for the pre but as simple and minimalist as possible. 3. I am of the old school of separates ie a pre is a pre, dac is a dac , headphone amp is a headphone amp. My MDAC does all three but I only use the dac as instinctively I think the fewer components working in the box the better !
  • Someone designs these things? Who knew?
  • Dear All, 
    Thank you for taking part in these questions, I have now decided not to make any electronics for TQ for the time being. 
    Many thanks
  • For me, white is offputting....too bling and contemporary for anything but a contemporary room or dentist's room!

    Remote controls are something in my "nice to have" but "unnecessary" category as I know that the remote control function ups the costs and adds complexity (and often a deterioration in performance) to circuitry.

    Finally, a DAC built into a preamp is an eminently sensible solution and reduces box count too.  The way things are going, with multiple connectivity on a preamp, you can reduce cabling and simplified layouts.   I tried the Perreaux Audiant preamp with inbuilt DAC and it was fabulous.  Great DAC, great preamp.  These days, it seems to make a lot of sense.  All IMHO.
  • Just a few questions.
    1) How many people think "White Coloured Kit" is a better buy than Black/Silver ?
    2) Are "Remote Controls" a unnecessary function on audiofile kit?
    3) Would a built in "DAC" into a Pre-amp or Integrated Amp be a useful function or just added cost?   

    Can you please give your points of view.

    1)  White kit smacks of Apple wannabe to me.  It's best left to Cupertino or Lamborghini Murcielago's.
    2)  Remote for me is almost essential.  It only has to control the volume - I'm too lazy to make the long (15ft) and arduous trek to my equipment rack.
    3)  I think there's a limited market for this.  The DAC market is changing rapidly, especially with the increasing popularity of computer audio and I think this is one box that should be a separate device.  For those looking to consolidate the number of hi-fi components on their rack then it's a good idea, but I suspect this group are in the minority.
  • Specialist hifi is not just about digital sources.  A good preamp is vital for such items as a turntable or tape machine.

    As to remote controls - a motorised volume control on a preamp is a nice luxury but call me flat earth, do i want to pay an extra few hundred bucks for a remote when I am perfectly capable of getting up to alter things.  I mean at a live concert can you alter the volume?

    As to DACs - well all I can say about the digital medium is my main listening is on CD (when not vinyl) all DACs sound different but when compared to analogue (vinyl analog recordings) it doesn't sound right.  Not all true of course a live digital recording sounds better than a highly multitracked studio recording.  The reasons are obvious - each track is a sample not 100% of the original (unlike analog) so the more tracks the more samples and when mixed down to a stereo recording the final cut is a sample of lots of samples.

    The sad thing is CDs did not move to the DVD medium to get improved sound quality and the world seems hell bent on MP3 and its obvious faults.

    Off board DACs are a better idea so at least the upgrade path is easy should the world finally come up with a decent digital medium for music. 

    Finally I do like to glance through the sleeve or booklet for what i am playing.  I like to physically look through my collection to choose what to play.  I do not like having to boot up a device and then find the menu then scroll through what is there to decide what to play.  So until someone comes up with a bookcase to hold my CDs so when i choose one and pull it out a relay passes the command to the computer to say play Dire Straights Brothers in arms track 6 or until they invent headphones that read my mind and play what i think in my head I will continue with my old kit.

    It is funny isn't it people spend thousands upgrading and changing yet so many are now going back to buying old Quad Amps or Mackintosh because they sound great.  
  • edited March 2013
    White..NO   Has to be Gloss Black with Gold pinstripes and maybe a hammered black case ..or has that been done before     =D>

    No need for a remote..UNLESS it is the ONLY control..and programable to control everything else.

    Or better still comes with no remote..but is run from standard Hex IR codes so can be easily controlled from the programable range of remotes.. MUST have discrete on/off codes..not on/off toggle remote codes.
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