I just got the Grace m902 in for review. This is a headphone amp and a DAC in a compact package. MSRP is $1695. Since I'm starting the review process, feel free to ask question for the next few weeks.
Will you be reviewing the unit in the role of a preamplifier as well as a headphone amp?
If you mean using it to drive a conventional power amp and speakers, no I wasn't planning that (though maybe I should?). One limitation as a preamp is that each source must have a different input type. Meaning you can have one single ended source, one balanced, one S/PDIF etc.
I was going to cover the DAC portion as well as the headphone amp.
CEO and Editorial Director, Nextscreen LLC
I've used the 902 to drive two single-ended devices (amp and subwoofer) with no issues using a pair of XLR to RCA adapters.
I had one in house at the same time as a Benchmark DAC. You should definitely try it as a preamp.
Contributor to The Absolute Sound, EnjoytheMusic.com, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications
It is true what you say, but I think it's a very good combintation with two analog inputs and mutliple (4) digital inputs. Remember too that the balanced input can be used single ended as well with a simple adapter.
I look forward to your review!
Your point about being able to accomodate two single ended analog sources via adapters is a good one. Thanks.
Two votes is enough for me. Preamp it is!
I have one that I bought to use as a DAC/Headphone amp. I was feeding it with a Wadia i170 and using HD800 phones. This combo was not a good match at all. At first I thought it was the HD800's but when played on other headphone amps, DNA and a older Singlepower (yes I know) they sound great but very bright and harsh with the Grace. It worked better with a CD as the source and also the Sony Qualias were a better match.
Actually I still have it sitting unused if anyone wants to buy it!
JeffK: I may be interested in your Grace 902. How do I contact you?
you can reach me at: jfkbike [at] verizon [dot] net
Things to test:
1. Have they improved the jitter rejection, especially on usb
2. How does the digital volume control work with 24 bit files, is it dropping bits?
Joe Joe - If you look at the literature for the m902, it states that the volume control is analog - not digital.
It seems to be a cutting edge device
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If you want to use it with a computer, note that it only supports sampling rates up to 48 kHz/16bits. That's more like trailing edge. The Benchmark DAC1 suite supports up to 96 kHz/24 bits.