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Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp (Read 886 times)
Alex
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Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
12/31/19 at 19:30:20
 
I am having a hard time finding a receiver to use with my SE84UFO. Either I am too dumb to figure out how to send the signal from the receiver to the amp, or I simple donít understand the manual. I have tried a $600 Denon from Best Buy and an Onkyo from Best Buy as well. Lon, on this forum has given me a lot of info and tried to help, (All praise to Lon.) but I cant seem to get it going.
So I have decided to take a different approach. Can anyone who is running an amp through their receiver tell me what receiver they are using? I hope that Best B will have the receiver and I can go there, purchase it, and follow your directives on how to set it up.
Thanks in advance,

Alex

Once I get enough responses I will delete this to avoid having too much clutter on Steve's forum, unless someone wants me to keep it up... perhaps there might be someone else like me who may be able to use this.
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Lon
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #1 - 12/31/19 at 19:46:42
 
Alex, I think it will help if you could detail what you are trying to send to your amp, and what you are using your receiver for in front of the amp.

Most of us here are not using receivers and Zen amps, we're using a preamp or a DAC or a turntable and phono preamp or . . . . I don't have a lot of experience with music on phones or via blue tooth--don't have music on my phone, don't stream from a computer, don't use music "on the go" so I may not be much help there, but there are many here that do know quite a bit.

It seems that you may need a device to convert your digital music into analog and then send those two channels of analog into the Zen amp. And perhaps perform remote volume control as the Decware amps don't do this. I know there are receivers with digital to analog converters, I don't know if they accept blue tooth, that's a tech beyond my personal experience.

Let us know your source(s) that you use and would like to send to your Decware amp, that's a good foundation to helping you solve this puzzle.
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Donnie
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #2 - 12/31/19 at 20:26:47
 
Alex,
Am I right in remembering that you are trying to bluetooth from your phone?
If so I would get myself an AudioQuest DragonFly and a cable to go from the headphone plug into RCA's.
Simple, cheap and easy.
No reason to use lossy Bluetooth when you can get a direct connection.
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Alex
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #3 - 01/01/20 at 00:49:31
 
Donnie, you are correct, I am trying to stream Bluetooth from my phone to my receiver. But it doesn't have to be my phone that I use. I hooked up my laptop to the receiver as well and changed the source to the input that the laptop was on, still no sound. So I dont think it need to be D to A conversion, I just need some sound. I'm doing something wrong. During thanksgiving I bought a cheap sony receiver for $150 and easily streamed music from my cell onto the receiver to my speakers which was hook up to the receiver. But I bought this Onkyo because I wanted to upgrade.

Lon, what am I trying to send to my amp? So unless I have things wrong, I am under the impression that the way things should work is this receiver can server as my preamp. As a preamp it feeds signals to my tube amp. My Decware tube amp has speaker posts which I have connected two speakers to. So I have NO speakers connected to the receiver, only to my Decware amp. Is this setup correct?

Now if I am correct with the set up, I should be able to feed Ö. like record player music if the player is hooked up to the phono of the reciver, its just a matter of changing the source to Phone. I should be able to play a CD and it would be a matter of me changing the source to CD. So I assume the same should go for my iPhone Bluetooth.
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Lon
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #4 - 01/01/20 at 00:59:15
 
Well, in theory that's how it should work except that the receiver you have does not really function as a preamp as it has no preamp out. So what you need is to find a receiver with a bona fide preamp out (which is common in vintage receivers but not necessarily as I understand it current ones). If you are using bluetooth for your phone connection, I think you'll need a DAC inside the receiver or preamp, but I may be wrong there, I don't use bluetooth or have music on my phone.
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Alex
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #5 - 01/01/20 at 01:15:18
 
OK.. so that's what the problem may be. I guess I need to get a DAC and use the DAC that has streaming capabilities. There is one named Audio Byte Black dragon I like but that's around 1200 bucks. I guess I can get an Emotiva or something cheaper and use that for now.

Thank you for you input. Im still learning,
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Donnie
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #6 - 01/01/20 at 01:33:50
 
Alex,
Truthfully you really don't even need a DAC, your phone has one in it, not a great one but it has one. Just a conversion cable should be all you need.
If you want to improve upon it, go with the DragonFly and a cable.
You can go straight nuts up from there, upgrading way up the food chain.
To tell the truth Bluetooth sucks, I can't stand to listen to it. †Too much is lost in the conversion.
I'd start cheap and move up from there.
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Alex
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #7 - 01/01/20 at 01:44:12
 
Ok Donnie, thanks. So can you please tell me the precise setup that I need? So I don't need this receiver that I currently have, correct? I will do some research on how to use the Dragon fly with my amp.

Thank you very much.
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Donnie
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #8 - 01/01/20 at 02:43:22
 
Alex,
This is how I would do it if I were using a phone.
It does matter if your phone has a USB output or if it is Apple, but there are adaptors.
My phone has a USB out, so here we go.
I'd go with a DragonFly Cobalt and a dragon tail.
https://www.audioquest.com/dacs
I'd then get myself some 1/4 headphone to RCA adaptors from your favorite cable vendor and hook it all up. Simple, inexpensive and good sounding.
You could probably go with the Red, but I always go with the newest so that it doesn't go obsolete so soon.
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Dominick
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #9 - 01/01/20 at 04:45:59
 
Alex....in one system I run the Dragonfly Red in the same fashion that Donnie mentioned. †If you are using an iOS device, make sure to use the Apple camera adapter kit †and not the regular USB adapter. †It has way better galvanic isolation and will allow you to keep your device charged while you are using it.

Option #2: †First off...I would avoid Bluetooth if you can. It compresses and degrades the sound the too much. †Everything sounds too thin and you get alot of smear. †

For an inexpensive solution I would buy a Google Chromecast Audio device and tie it in to your home WiFi network. †Way better sound, and it will let you stream up to 24/96 Hi Res. files from your mobile device. †All you have to do is download the Google Home app, set it up, and make sure you have the ďFull Dynamic RangeĒ setting enabled. †You will go from the 3.5 mm jack on the device into your amp with an adapter cable. †You can pick up the CCA on eBay for like 50 bucks. †

FYI.... they were discontinued by Google in the beginning of 2019, so they are a bit harder to come buy. †The device uses a combo 3.5/ mini Toslink output jack....so if you want to go into a separate external DAC....you can. †You will get way better sound than using Bluetooth. †

One small hiccup...†If you use an external DAC and run the CCA with a Mini Toslink adapter, all 24/96 files (and higher) will come through with an occasional click/pop. Itís basically the limitation on the device. †There are work arounds, but that is another topic of conversation. †

If you use the internal DAC of the Chromecast Audio (CCA) via the single ended  out with a Y cable, you will be able to play 24/96 files and get full sound. †Any file higher than that just gets down converted to 24/96.


I run my CCA via Mini Toslink into my external DAC and just play music avoiding the 24/96 files. † Itís no biggie and I still get great sound through my external DAC. †

Whatís nice about the CCA option, your mobile device is no longer tethered. †You can move freely around the house and change music at will. †Here are 2 quick John Darko videos that will give you a better idea of the device...

https://youtu.be/4m8v7xjWu60

https://youtu.be/qX2LbNfMAS4


Hope this helps.

Dominick
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Alex
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #10 - 01/01/20 at 12:37:31
 
Dominick, Lon and Donnie, I really appreciate your input. I think Iím going to go with the Dragonfly. I have the cable that plugs into the headphones outlet of my  pc that splits into two jacks that I plug into my amp that feeds my speakers. I guess the same would apply here: the Dragon usb has a dongle with a jack for headphones and use my current wire, plug into the head phones output of the dongle which will the plug into the  input outlet of my amp.

Thank you very much folks.
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Donnie
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #11 - 01/01/20 at 13:34:42
 
Alex,
I think that you will be happy with the DragonFly.
You can use it with your phone or your laptop.
Like I said, this is just dipping your toes into the waters of computer audio. The water can get as deep as you want real quickly.
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Alex
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #12 - 01/01/20 at 21:57:09
 
Thank you Donnie. Iím looking forward to hearing this amp  with my speakers that I built. The speakers sounded marvelous when I streamed music from my cell to a cheap Best Buy receiver.  And this was without the Decware amp and without having any insulation in the speakers. Now Iíve added the insulation and have the amp. Now Iím ready to test. I did play my laptop through the amp  and wasnít that impressed with the sound. Not as impressed as I was when I played music the the cheap receiver. Iím thinking with the dragon fly the sound will be much different.
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Donnie
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #13 - 01/01/20 at 22:04:23
 
Tell me about your speakers.
It seems like I am building them all of the time.
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Dominick
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #14 - 01/02/20 at 03:48:04
 
I concur....you will definitely be happy with the dragonfly.  My old Subaruís CD had crapped out on me, but I have the tape player as a backup.  When I am in my car, I take the Dragonfly with me and use it connected to the cassette tape adapter that has an 3.5 mm audio out.  The sound is truly enjoyable.  If you can swing it...buy the Dragonfly Cobalt.  When I bought my Dragonfly Red last year, the Cobalt was not out yet.  Iíve heard and read that there is a noticeable difference between the two.  

Dominick
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Alex
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #15 - 01/03/20 at 18:52:52
 
Donnie that is awesome. This is my first build so Iím excited. Iím not into all the internal measurements of enclosures because itís too much dog gone work. Lol. Call me lazy.
My next project will be open baffles since thatís much easier.  When Iím done with my current build Iíll post it somewhere an add the link here. Do you have any pictures of what you have built?
My speakers is 33Ē x 17Ē x14Ē made of Baltic Birchwood. The side panels curve out giving the speakers an oval shape.

Dominick, I may end up with a used red dragonfly because Iím just testing for now. Eventually I plan to buy either the Uniti Atom or Nad M10 DAC.  I saw a used chord for sale  for 300 bucks but not ready yet.
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Donnie
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #16 - 01/03/20 at 22:09:53
 
Alex,
See what happens when you start into the wormhole that is computer audio.
I'm hoping that the Dragonfly works out well for you. You will probably need to run the volume wide open on your phone and the Dragonfly to get enough input voltage for your amp.
If you want to see some of my projects, look here. I've made quite a few speakers. Not high quality as far as looks, but they sure do sound good!
https://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1463956965
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Dominick
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #17 - 01/03/20 at 22:19:18
 
I have no regrets with my Dragonfly.  As Donnie indicated...you will probably have to run the phoneís volume wide open.  Not sure on the phone you will use, but on my iPhone X, I run it 1-2 clicks south of max.  I have found that it will sometimes distort a bit at full volume, depending on the quality of the music, and the service you are using.  Once you play with it a bit, you will find the sweet spot.  

Dominick
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Alex
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #18 - 01/03/20 at 23:43:01
 
When I get the Dragon I'm not going to run it on my cell. Ill run it from my pc and stream media from Youtube and other media outlets. What I likei about the phone is the bluetooth function. If I have to run wires from the cell to the amp I think it defeats the purpose... at least for me.

Those speakers are lookin pretty darn good. I dont think mine will come close to yours at all, especially since this is my first build.
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Alex
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Re: Using a best buy receiver as a pre amp to amp
Reply #19 - 01/06/20 at 02:04:09
 
Donnie,

Here is an image of my build. It's still in the process. This week I'll be drilling 3 ports in the front to test the various sounds.
https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/attachments/full-range/793859d1573423329-audio-n...
After the build I plan on laying veneer on the box. It will either be paper backed rosewood or Bubinga.
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