IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo

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christopher-h

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IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« on: 16 Oct 2016, 02:43 pm »
Hi everyone

I was thinking of purchasing an HD AVA for 2 channel listening because I wanted more RCA inputs and room correction.  I am now reconsidering based on my earlier posts and responses.  Instead I am considering purchasing the DAC-9 and STA-9 combo, but then I look at the IDA-8 and wonder what I would be giving up by buying the small integrated.  Besides worrying that I am not spending ENOUGH, what else would I be missing out on?  And to be clear, if I purchased the IDA-8, I would spend the balance in my moving target budget on other audio equipment that would enhance my overall system!  I would appreciate your thoughts.

Regards,
Chris

srb

Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #1 on: 16 Oct 2016, 03:04 pm »
You wouldn't be giving up a lot, but there are a few additional features of DAC-9 + STA-9 that may or may not be of use to you:

1.  120W/ch (STA-9) vs. 100W/ch (IDA-8)

2.  Future ability to bridge and add a second a bridged amp for 290W/ch (STA-9 + STA-9)

3.  Non-digitized pure analog input (DAC-9) vs. digitized analog input (IDA-8)

4.  Additional AES/EBU digital input (DAC-9)


Steve

christopher-h

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Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #2 on: 16 Oct 2016, 03:22 pm »
Hi Steve

OK thanks.  The non digitized analog input should conceptually matter I think if I continue to enjoy vinyl and expect to continually improve and upgrade my turntable/arm/cartidge/phono pre etc.  However with the Nuprime switching amp running at 600 kHz, I expect I would not even be able to hear or sense a difference.  But maybe its important to KNOW that that particular signal is purely analog.  (Notwithstanding the possibility that the original recording may have been digitally mastered).

Chris

christopher-h

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Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #3 on: 16 Oct 2016, 07:39 pm »
I have looked through the (long) IDA-8 thread and have not seen any reference yet regarding running one's phono through the IDA-8 digitized RCA inputs.  Would this be OK and not discernible or would I be better served with the DAC-9/STA-9 where the input would remain analog.  Thanks!

Chris

mrvco

Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #4 on: 17 Oct 2016, 06:58 pm »
The IDA-8 also includes a remote control, while the DAC-9 doesn't.  My impression is that the AD-->DA conversion in the IDA-8 shouldn't be an issue for a TT / Phono Pre combo commensurate with the IDA-8's price point.

srb

Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #5 on: 17 Oct 2016, 08:55 pm »
The IDA-8 also includes a remote control, while the DAC-9 doesn't.

Although the DAC-9 webpage doesn't say "Includes remote control" in the Features list (like the IDA-8 does), the DAC-9 manual has a section "Using the Remote Control" and doesn't say anything about it being optional nor is there any listing for an optional remote under Products.

I think it would be odd if it didn't come with a remote.

Steve

stanleysg

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Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #6 on: 18 Oct 2016, 09:32 am »
Yes the DAC 9 comes with a remote. there is a youtube video that shows someone unpacking a DAC 9. The IDA-8 comes with 2 remote though
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIGWrfkoxE4

John Casler

Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #7 on: 18 Oct 2016, 03:49 pm »
Yes the DAC-9 has a remote.

The HAP-9 is the model that doesn't have a remote.

HiFiJeff

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Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #8 on: 19 Oct 2016, 04:56 am »
Yeah. I am real curious about this comparison myself.  I am close to making a purchase but the Sta and dac 9 combo really have me curious.  Even more so bridging the amps mono and doing two of those. So aside from the obvious huge difference in power, what would 2 STA 9's sound like compared to the IDA8?

JackD

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Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #9 on: 19 Oct 2016, 05:34 am »
The DAC-9 would seem to be the better front end and the two amp sections should be similar voicing wise.  So it depends on how much power you really need and does it justify the price difference.  I have another DAC using the AKM 4490 chips like the DAC-9 and it just lets the music flow.  I own an IDA-8 and if I had it all to do over I would probably buy the 9 combo if you don't need the inputs and features of the IDA-8. For money still the 10 combo is a winner and gets played at my house every day.

HiFiJeff

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Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #10 on: 19 Oct 2016, 04:44 pm »
So many choices. I for sure don't need the extra power right now. I am moving from a 2 watt per channel SET amp to the NuPrime. So 2 watts to 100 watts will be a MAJOR difference. I am sure the IDA-8 will be more than enough power for my super 94.5 DB efficient Supercharged Omega 3XRS's with no crossover.   

rustydoglim

Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #11 on: 27 Oct 2016, 09:00 pm »
IDA-8 is a good choice.

RafaPolit

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Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #12 on: 25 May 2017, 03:16 am »
May I revive this thread for a further take on this issue?

I am probably looking at the exact same options: IDA-8 or STA-9 + DAC-9.

As I see it:
The advantages of the IDA-8 are:
- One single equipment, less footprint (at least vertically! :P :) ), less cables
- One single remote control (more on this later, specially turning off the amp)
- More 'neutral' sound (this is where the real decision-making probably has to happen)
- Obviously the price!

The advantages of the STA-9 + DAC-9 are several, but for this comparison the key points would be:
- Separated equipment, room to grow
- DAC has true analog non-digitized inputs
- More power

These are the obvious ones, if I missed something, add it to the list please!.

So, down to the process I am battling with:
- I mostly hear Classical music, Opera and Mellow pop and ballads... acoustic music.  Will the ultra-warm combo of 9s get in the way for the orchestra sound?  Or is it so subtle I won't notice?
- The lack of a power down solution for the STA-9 has me really upset and baffled.  Options suggested here are: leave it on always, or buy a remote controlled Outlet Conserve Switch Surge Protector?  Really... so I would need, at the end of every night, to get up from bed and turn off the equipment? I really cannot believe that was the approach.  You want to turn off your equipment? Pay $1000 more for the ST-10!  This is absurd, and I am really, really torn about something so obvious and simple that should have made it into the STA-9 and which is also present on the STA-6!!!
- As I explained elsewhere, costs here vary a lot from the US, and for me, the IDA-8 would cost $1330 and the 9 combo would cost $2050.  What is the perceived improvement of the STA+DAC scenario that would justify $700+ of difference?  Is it something noticeable?

I am sorry for this questions, because in a regular scenario on a different country this would be easy: try both, keep your pick.  That is not me though, I have to custom order either one or the other and will take as long as 60 days to get fulfilled.  So, I really appreciate all the input I can get.

Thanks and best regards,
Rafa.

Armaegis

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Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #13 on: 25 May 2017, 05:56 am »
- I would personally lean towards the 9 combo as you also have the potential to do monoblocks in the future.
- classical music especially has large dynamic swings and would appreciate the power capability
- don't worry about leaving it on; the idle power draw is only about the same as leaving on an LED lightbulb, besides which they sound better when they are warmed up!

mresseguie

Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #14 on: 25 May 2017, 07:19 am »
Hello, Rafa.

I searched back through your posts to discover you have Totem Rainmakers. I don't have them myself, but I do have a pair of somewhat similar speakers. They're called Adelphos, and are 8 Ohm, 87dB and play down to about 42Hz - close enough to offer my thoughts, I think.

I've owned an IDA-8 since they were introduced. I've used it to power the Adelphos, 4 Ohm 84dB LS/5-R Fritz Speakers two-way monitors, GR Research LGK speakers, PranaFidelity fifty/ninety speakers, and a couple other speakers.  The IDA-8 is tremendously useful and easy to use. For $995, I cannot fault it. However, it has no business powering my 84dB speakers. Sure, music comes out of them, but the speakers do not 'sing'. The 87dB Adelphos sound pretty good with the IDA-8. My 'travel' audio system is my IDA-8 and my Adelphos.

Now do not misunderstand. I'm not suggesting this amp will compare to a $2500 to $3000 amp because in my opinion it will not. However, if you want a convenient all-in-one that can play all day and switches off with a remote control, this will do it. You may someday tire of your 4 Ohm speakers and get an easier to drive 8 Ohm pair.

Now, with what I said above...if I could go back in time (and be subject to the same needs and financial limitations I was under at the time), I would do as Armaegis has suggested. I believe the 9 combo will sound superior to the IDA-8. The extra 20w/channel won't mean much, but you do have the flexibility to buy a second STA-9 in the future to really make a difference in dynamic power. Additionally, with a separate DAC, you will be able to upgrade to a better quality DAC someday because DAC technology is zooming into the future.

Have you checked the website for refurbished or demo units? You could save a couple hundred dollars very easily.

I was in Quito with my late father about 8 years ago. It is a beautiful city and the people are very friendly. I hope to return someday.

Michael

RafaPolit

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Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #15 on: 26 May 2017, 06:13 pm »
Thanks! I am inclined to agree with everything!

My only final concern is the added warmth of the DAC-9 + STA-9 combo over the IDA-8, specially for large classical and opera works.  What do you guys think? Not really an issue? Or keep it safe and just go with the IDA and save some money?

I really am after the best sound for my system.  I have been reading that the Rainmakers are more or less neutral without being too bright, but not to the warm side, so a warm amp actually could be a nice match.  But I do think that I tend to prefer the brighter sound, so I am really scared of the sound getting 'muddied' or 'smoothed' by the warmness.

Any insight regarding that?

Thanks again,
Rafa.

John Casler

Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #16 on: 26 May 2017, 07:46 pm »
  I have been reading that the Rainmakers are more or less neutral without being too bright, but not to the warm side, so a warm amp actually could be a nice match.  But I do think that I tend to prefer the brighter sound, so I am really scared of the sound getting 'muddied' or 'smoothed' by the warmness.

Any insight regarding that?

Thanks again,
Rafa.

I tend to think that the proportion of differences might be perceived as greater than it is.

That said, I have been spending a LOT of time recently with an STA-9 pair running into a pair of Evoke Ruby speakers, and no one would think them "softish".

They are more detailed and transparent than some comments might suggest. 

On the other hand, I have also used the IDA-8 extensively and while it is a TOTAL Over Achiever, it is not of the sound quality of the 9 series overall, nor should it be, as they are more expensive, and "should" be more refined.

What you really need based on you stated goals is the DAC-10/STA-9 combo, but that blows your budget.  :duh:

in1unison

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Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #17 on: 26 May 2017, 08:21 pm »
Hello Rafa,

I can offer my experience with DAC-9 which I purchased week ago.

Little background: I have MA GX200 ribbon tweeter speakers fed by Yamaha A-S1100/ CD-S1000/ CA SM6 streamer. Mostly listening to classical, chamber jazz and ambient electronica at moderate volume levels in a 4×6×3m high room. Described setup sounds very revealing, somewhat bright, without being harsh; Ideal, I would say, for analytical music listening.

So I decided to add some warmth and after reading on-line reviews decided on DAC-9 which I use as DAC + pre-amp. That set-up, comparing to one described above, sounds full bodied and "softer around the edges, without loss in detail however. Female voices and acoustic guitars are where this DAC shines, it simply ads extra dimension to the presentation. Where it looses a bit of resolution is with classical choral works, everything still sounds "velvety" but layering of different human voices is somewhat lost.

All in all, I am very happy, as it gives me sound I was after.

If you say you like somewhat bright sound, I wouldn't go for STA-9/DAC-9 combo or IDA-8 for that matter. As for me I am looking to purchase STA-9 (or two) as I am very pleased with "warmth" of companion DAC-9.

Wish you good luck with search for audio-nirvana that will please you!  8)

Regards,

Jan A.
« Last Edit: 27 May 2017, 06:47 am by in1unison »

Samac

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Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #18 on: 26 May 2017, 09:19 pm »
Rafapolit,

I was wondering, have you considered the NuPrime IDA-16. Your Totem Rainmakers are fantastic speakers and Totem speakers like power. I've had the IDA-16 now for nearly two months and absolutely love it. I still get up every morning and can't wait to turn it on. Absolutely great build quality and functionality and it sounds so good. Check out the reviews.

Good luck with your amp search.

Cheers,

Scott

RafaPolit

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Re: IDA-8 or DAC-9/STA-9 combo
« Reply #19 on: 27 May 2017, 04:33 am »
Thanks John, Jan and Scott.

John, you nailed it: I need the 10 combo... and would love it if budget weren't an issue.  But as it is, I can't go that route, they would cost  US$5.5K!!!

Scott, to put things in perspective, the IDA-16 will cost me here US$4,450.  So yeah, it would be ideal, but I cannot justify nor actually have that kind of money.

But as Jan has pointed out, maybe I'm looking at the wrong solution altogether. Utterly lost, and beggining to feel sort of desperate. Thanks fellows for the input and bearing with my inability to decide!

Best regards,
Rafa