What if you could buy a digital pre-amp with no analogue inputs? It could become common – just as integrated amps stopped including a photo stage.
Here’s my report on an upgrade from 8XPdQX to the (FPGA Based) Hugo2. Both used as a digital preamp thus:
- Cyrus Stream X2
- Chord Hugo 2
- X Power + PSX-R
- 2x Mono X
- PMC Fact 8 speakers.
NB. No speakers were attached to the 8XPdQX.
NB. Hugo2 has a remote for controlling gain.
- As HiFi fans, almost nobody would want this solution, 100% digital from source up to (but not including) the power amplifiers. No analogue inputs.
- As an IT guy (and mathematician) it makes complete sense to me that an FPGA is the perfect platform to build a DAC, and I think in future they will all be made that way.
- As a musician I’m hearing more physical stuff. When I played 50 year old (v.familiar) tracks, I got new insight into the actual notes played by Jimi Hendrix and Paul McCartney and how they’re being played.
- That detail is also evidenced as: hearing the room acoustics of the recording, previously unnoticed timing of notes, and emotion in the physical delivery. As you all know.
- Amazed that I can pocket this DAC (/“headphone amp”) and listen on the hoof. The lovely Cyrus integrated amp (& PSX-R + CD-T) is now repurposed as a 2nd System, wedded to Dali Piko and a Bluetooth receiver, and the TV.
- I haven’t ever heard a Cyrus Pre-Amp /DAC; not anywhere. I’ve no idea and I’m certainly not making any comparative claims. OK?!
This is just a heads up to listeners (and developers) that non-analogue digital solutions seem to work, allowing one to spend all the money on doing just one thing really well. Add in some leapfrog / game changing tech, and it’s big news.