Preamp to feed a Yaqin tube power amp.
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Hi. Looking for advice. I have this Yaqin EL34 amp that I need to run off a DAC connected to a MacBook Pro. I’m using an original issue Objective O2 DAC to run my headphone amps. What kind of preamp / DAC-preamp should I use to drive this thing? Know any that include a phone stage? I’m looking in the under $300 range.
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: Tubes: 6CA7T x 4 12AX7B x 2 12AU7 x 2  Maximum Output: 40W per channel (8Ω) Output Jacks: Two channels with two groups gold plated jacks Output Impedance: 4Ω and 8Ω Input Sensitivity: 0.25V Input Impedance: 20KΩ Input Jacks: 4 Groups gold plated isolated RCA jacks (CD, DVD, Tape, and Tuner) Distortion of Harmonic Wave: ≤0.9% (at 28W) Frequency Response: 10Hz ~ 76KHz (-2dB) Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >85dB (A weight) Supply Voltage: AC 110V / AC 220V, 60/50Hz  Power Consumption: 220W Net Weight: 18kg (40lb) Shipping Weight: 23kg (47lb) Shipping Dimension: 60 * 45 * 30 cm (24" x 17" x 12")
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Sujay Rao
87
Oct 24, 2019
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Thanks. Valuable feedback. I did check these things. I can’t get a peep out of any DAC connected directly to it. If you look at the specs, input sensitivity is 0.25v which is very low. The JDS Labs Atom has a line out which is volume controlled. On high gain, playing classical music, volume on the Atom set to 50%, the Yaqin plays loud enough at about 75% volume. There’s no discernible clipping/distortion till the Atom hits 90%. Even then, it is negligible. The Atom is a poster boy for neutra sound. As a result, the Yaqin sounds clinical, precise but rather limp. No tubey warmth. Playing from Amarra helps since this music player, by itself, has a warmish character. I had an old forgotten FiiO K10 USB DAC -amp, predecessor to the E10K. It has a line-out independent of the volume pot. Fished out, dusted off and plugged in, it sounds heavenly! Great detail and loud enough. The line out from the Dark Voice is fantastic too, but expectedly very, very warm. Anyway, I’m enjoying playing it off the E10 for now.
Oct 24, 2019
Fayne
873
Sep 30, 2019
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Why use a pre-amp? That MC-13S should be able to eat line level audio from the RCA out of any DAC. If by phone you mean headphone, just get yourself a DAC with a capable headphone stage. Something like a DX3 Pro would work pretty good there. Definitely under $300. You could also do something like a Topping D70 or a MassDrop x Grace SDAC-Balanced, and pair it with a balanced headphone amp like the MassDrop THX 789, MassDrop x Cavalli LCX, Monoprice x Cavalli Liquid Platinum, or LOXJIE P20 via XLR. Pair the YAQIN via RCA. I don't have the platinum, but all the other balanced amps I listed have been working wonderully for me. Most all of these are usually expensive, but the SDAC-B and LOXJIE P20 combination is ~$250-$275. If by phone, you mean phono(graph) preamp/RIAA stage... For Moving Magnet (MM) cartidges, the YAQIN MS23B is pretty fantastic once the tubes have been rolled to something other than the super cheap Chinese 12AX7B tubes it ships with. I currently use one with my Denon VL12 turntable. Couldn't be happier now that I've got some GE Matshushita 12AX7A in it from 1975. Can be found for $200 on Amazon. For Moving Coil (MC) cartridges you could always try a Schiit Mani. It does MM and MC, but YMMV there, I don't own one so I can't give my personal opinion. $129 and that Schiit is yours.
(Edited)
Sep 30, 2019
Sujay Rao
87
Sep 30, 2019
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I have the Liquid carbon. Will try out your suggestion. Thanks
Sep 30, 2019
Fayne
873
Sep 30, 2019
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The MC-13S is an integrated amplifier, which means it has a pre-amplifier built in. It should not need an external pre-amplifier for any sources other than RIAA for turntables without built-in preamp stages. I'm going to assume that you've got the speakers on the right posts for the impedance, if you've got them wrong it'll sound super quiet or ultra loud depending on your speakers. 4ohm speakers to 8ohm post will be quiet/muffled, 8ohm speakers to 4ohm posts will be loud and distorted. If you're doing software volume control of the DAC, just set it to the max and do the volume control via the left knob on the MC-13S. If you want a quick and easy way to see if it is your DAC being the problem, just RCA up to a TV, Cable Box, or any other component that spits out line level audio via RCA.
Sep 30, 2019