I currently own a BDA 3.14 in a hybrid 2 channel/HT system and have been experimenting with a direct connection of the 3.14 to a NAD M25 bypassing my Anthem AVM 60 pre/pro. The configuration has brought a noticeable improvement to the sound compared to using the AVM 60 as an analog pre amp.
I am considering the purchase of a BP 17 cubed for proper two channel listening without having to disconnect/reconnect cables. The HT bypass feature should allow for easy integration into my existing system.
How does the digital pre amp feature of the 3.14 stack up against the pre amp capabilities of the BP 17?
The 3.14 can be used as a preamp but one of its limitations is the total amount of voltage out capability - it is limited to 2 volts - which is OK in most cases depending on the input sensitivity of your power amp. The BP17 is far more capable of much larger voltage swings and therefor is much more versatile with different power amplifiers.
I find that with the larger output capability you get better dynamics and more ease in the presentation. The BP-17 also has more flexibility to the type of source as well - analog,
Phono, Digital etc.
The main issue though is when you use a Digital Volume control (like in the 3.14) to drive the power amp the quality of the audio signal is a function of how high in level the output is. With Digital volume as you lower the level you also loose BIT's and therefor quality. With the BP-17 that is not the case so any volume level still provides maximum performance.