Poor sound but added a pre-amp and now much improved

I’ve got a NAD USB DAC which I have plugged into my NAS which is running Roon Server.

I also had a power amp and connected my DAC direct to the power amp over XLR and the sound was dull and nothing special. I have some Monitor Audio Gold bookshelves and an AudioLam MPWR stereo power amp.

Yesterday I dusted off an old Meridian pre-pro (561) and used that as a pre-amp and also switched to RCA cables as the Meridian doesn’t support XLR. The sound improvement was amazing, the whole thing has come to life and sounds like it should.

Is this expected behaviour? I had foolishly assumed that adding another component couldn’t improve and would maybe even take something about from the music.

Pre-amps can be the magic ingredient in a system. And they get largely forgotten in source or speaker first arguments.

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I guess so, I’m truly blown away by how much better it is.

I had pondered selling the Meridian but will keeping it now for sure!

Meridian 500 gear still stands up today as it was designed properly with music in mind.

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