In Reply to: Are you running 390S directly into preamp? posted by Howie on May 21, 2003 at 22:21:50:
I am running ML383 / 390S combo into Amati Homages.
SP Cables are Transparent Wave 100, IC is Transparent Musiclink XLR
Question is how to improve the sound - currently neutral, and somewhat uninvolving.
Heard the 30.6/31.5 combo - imagery, detail and resolution superb.
"uninvolving" is exactly what happens when most CDP with vol. control are run directly amps!
I use Opus 21 (has analogue vol control) and used to have Cary CD301 with vol control. Both sounds much more involving and "defined" when used with a preamp equivalent.
The catch is that a good-enough preamp that won't degrade sound while adding excitement is mucho expensive.
If you want to try it cheap, I suggest a Harmonic Recovery System unit, which is basically a minimalist preamp without any volume control to optimize interface. I've seen'em used for like $200. It works for me!
Have you tried upgrading the passive parts in your HRS? It really improved mine. I run it between the cdp and placette passive pre with mapleshade ics.
The Mark Levinson No. 383 he has is an integrated amplifier, complete with pre-amp section.
I did extensive home listening of a 390S, and found exactly the same thing: very detailed, very smooth, but totally uninvolving. I also found that the player seemed to be "in a hurry" tempo-wise.
I ended up using a Sony SCD-1 as a transport with a ML 360S DAC, and it sounds wonderful. If I were you, I'd get rid of the 390S and get something else.
While you're at it, upgrade your cables. Transparent makes good stuff, but you are in the low end of their product line, and your gear is definitely not low-end. I'm using Transparent Ultra and Reference in my system and it makes a huge difference.
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