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Slee ZZ
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Should I swap my Mira 3 for an iNova with a Rega Fono phono stage?

Hello, all,
I’ve been a lurker for several years, but this is my first post. And I’m still a bit of a newbie, though I’m getting better. Having appreciated everyone’s opinions over the years, I’d like to ask you all about my dilemma.

I have a Rega Mira 3 amp with Rega RS3 speakers. My digital source is an iMac streaming AIFF files to an Airport Express. The AE is connected to the Mira 3 via the analog output (I know, I know). My analog source is a Rega P3-24 with a Dynavector 10x5 cartridge.
I absolutely love the sound of my system playing vinyl. However, the digital portion is only adequate, and I also hate not having a headphone jack! So, here are the options I’m considering. Which would all you golden-eared folks recommend?

Option 1: Simply get a DAC (Peachtree iDac or Rega DAC) that can handle the optical output of the AE and get a good headphone amp (Grado A1, perhaps?). This would cost me around $1,500.

Option 2: Get a Peachtree iNova with a Rega Fono phono preamp. This would cost me around $2,200, but I could then sell the Mira 3 and make up a lot of that.

Point is, I would like to upgrade my digital source, but do not want to lose the awesome Rega analog sound. I’m leaning towards option 2 because I feel it would definitely upgrade the digital, and, with the Rega Fono, keep the great analog sound.

Thoughts?

--Slee ZZ

jackfish
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If you like the Rega Mira 3 why
Slee ZZ
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Well, because the Mira 3

Well, because the Mira 3 doesn't have a headphone jack and I'm not enamored with how it deals with my iMac streaming.  And for approximately the same price for a great DAC with an optical input and a great headphone amp, I could get the iNova with a Rega Fono phono amp and have everything I want.  I guess the question just boils down to: Which one has the better amp section, the iNova or the Mira 3?

Slee ZZ
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I can explain further: From

I can explain further: From what I've read, the iNova's DAC section is the same as the iDac and is probably comparable to the Rega DAC.  And if the headphone section is as good as the Grado RA1, and if the amp section is as good (or better?) than the Mira 3, why not get the iNova?

Whatever I do, I certainly need to find some way to get the optical output from my Aiport Express going.  The analog output is lousy.  That's probably the weak link, and probably why the Mira 3 doesn't do so well with the streamed AIFF files.

jackfish
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I don't understand why just a DAC wouldn't

provide what you want.  The DAC in the Airport Express is the problem, not the Mira 3.  Get a decent DAC with a headphone jack, use the digital output on the AE and that problem is solved.  The Music Hall DAC25.3 for $600 has an optical input for your Airport Express streaming and a decent headphone amp.  http://www.musichallaudio.com/product_reviews/tonedac25_2.pdf

You need a 3.5mm (miniTOSLINK) to TOSLINK FiberOptic cable to connect the Airport Express to the digital optical input on the DAC. http://www.amazon.com/3-5MM-TOSLINK-FIBER-OPTIC-TOSLINK-mini-Toslink/dp/B00006LVF3

Then connect the DAC to the Mira 3 with RCA interconnects.

mreise
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I think the problem with the

I think the problem with the AE is that it provides limited options as a transport.  The AE is only capable of sending music encoded at 44.1/16.  Attaching a quality DAC to it is kind of a waste.  At least an iNova could accept high resolution signals up to 96/24 and still act as a capable amplifier.  The Mira is a nice piece of equipment, but given the OP's needs I'd probably go with the Nova.

commsysman
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Phono Stage???

I have to ask; where is the EQUALIZATION taking place now in your system? IS it taking place?

The vinyl record has the bass reduced by a factor of 100 or more in the recording process, so if you don't have a phono stage in there somewhere with an RIAA equalization filter, you will be listening to the raw info recorded on the record, which has way way too much treble and almost no bass; that is the way the sound physically exists on the surface of all vinyl records (otherwise the bass grooves would take up so much space on the record that an LP would have less than 5 minutes per side).

In any case, let me recommend the Musical Fidelity VLPS, which is a phono stage (with an RIAA Equalization filter) that is excellent and only costs $99 at Audio Advisor; connect your turntable output to it before it goes to the rest of the system and you will most likely make a great improvement.

 

 

 

Slee ZZ wrote:

Hello, all, I’ve been a lurker for several years, but this is my first post. And I’m still a bit of a newbie, though I’m getting better. Having appreciated everyone’s opinions over the years, I’d like to ask you all about my dilemma. I have a Rega Mira 3 amp with Rega RS3 speakers. My digital source is an iMac streaming AIFF files to an Airport Express. The AE is connected to the Mira 3 via the analog output (I know, I know). My analog source is a Rega P3-24 with a Dynavector 10x5 cartridge. I absolutely love the sound of my system playing vinyl. However, the digital portion is only adequate, and I also hate not having a headphone jack! So, here are the options I’m considering. Which would all you golden-eared folks recommend? Option 1: Simply get a DAC (Peachtree iDac or Rega DAC) that can handle the optical output of the AE and get a good headphone amp (Grado A1, perhaps?). This would cost me around $1,500. Option 2: Get a Peachtree iNova with a Rega Fono phono preamp. This would cost me around $2,200, but I could then sell the Mira 3 and make up a lot of that. Point is, I would like to upgrade my digital source, but do not want to lose the awesome Rega analog sound. I’m leaning towards option 2 because I feel it would definitely upgrade the digital, and, with the Rega Fono, keep the great analog sound. Thoughts? --Slee ZZ

Slee ZZ
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Sorry for not responding.

Hi, all,

Thanks much for your comments, and my apologies for being slow in replying to all of you.  Deciding on whether to sell my Mira 3 and go with the iNova is now on hold: I've fallen in love with Magnepan speakers in the interim, and have sold my Rega RS3 speakers.  (I am using some old Pioneers in the meantime [meh] until I can convince my wife that some Magnepan 1.7s would, in fact, sound considerably better AND look nice in our living room.)

I'm not sure if the Mira 3 is powerful enough to drive those Maggies.  I'll find out.  It's rated at 90 watts into 4 ohms.  (The 1.7s are 4 ohm speakers, as I'm sure most of you already know.)  I can't find 4 ohm specs for the iNova, but it's rated at 80 watts into 6 ohms, so I'm guessing it'll be over 100 into 4 ohms.  I'm guessing the iNova will be a better fit soundwise for the Maggies.  It provides a bigger soundstage than the Mira (which would accentuate the monster soundstage of the Maggies), and a little better bass response (which is the Maggies' "weakness" if you could even fine one).  Anyway, that's my guess, but I still haven't heard the Maggies paired up with either amp.  I may just have to bring my Rega into the dealer to give it a whirl.

And maybe neither is really powerful enough or a good match for the Maggies, in which case I may have to go with something more powerful, and, probably, more expensive.  I'll really have my work cut out convincing my wife then!

Anyway, super long story short, have any of you ever heard Magnepan 1.7s being driven by either a Mira 3 or an iNova?

--Slee ZZ

jackfish
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If you love the Magnepan 1.7s you might be in for

a total reevaluation of your other possible components. Magnepans work best with significant power behind them.  If you have a small to medium sized room you might get away with the Mira 3 or iNova. But in all cases Magnepans really begin to open up with more power.

Slee ZZ
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Thanks, jackfish. Yeah, many

Thanks, jackfish. Yeah, many people have told me the Maggies need lots of power. My room is 11x14 with 9' ceilings, so I think I can get away with "weaker" amps for now. We'll see how they go; if poorly, I'll be saving up for something more powerful. 

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