@Tim: from what I can gather, Jrivers dithering isn't great, so I'm probably losing something, especially as I tend not to turn the volume up past 30%. Also, it'd be interesting (for piece of mind) to see what a physical preamp can do. However, a demo would have to happen first as this is something I'm not confident on taking a punt on!
I'm happy to wait a while as it actually sounds better than it ever has done before, pre amp or no!
@Martin: thank you for the kind words. I'm sorry if I made it sound too sciencey (I try not to, I find places like 6moons hard to read because of their flowery language).
Keeping it simple, I've done my utmost to remove fuses from the chain (where it's safe to do so) and make sure the power my system is fed is as clean as feasibly possible at every opportunity (power conditioner has euro plugs, so no fuses, but and the big but is, all of the gear is internally fused and the plug going into the wall is fused too) whilst removing any opportunity for the gear to vibrate (via the isolation platforms).
All of the wiring is neat, (for the first time ever ) no power cables touch anything (including each other) and the signal cables have their own space too. Speaker cables are kept from the floor via 4 granite slabs (these were added since photos were taken) and I'll be adding some Shuntaya research dark field cable elevators (v2) for shits and giggles, im too curious to see if they work; I'll report back.
Speakers: Usher mini dancer II DMD
Preamp: MFA Baby reference mk ii TVC
Amp: Sanders Magtech
DAC: Longdog VDT1 transformer coupled DAC
Source: Self built PC (SOtM pcie usb output card with upgraded ultra low jitter clock card, Paul Pang RAM, pure SSD, passive cooling & Paul Hynes Audio SR7EHD psu providing power on separate rails to each SSD, the CPU and SOtM card)
Power: Isotek Aquarius Evo3 (Schuko)
Cables: Speaker cables - TQ Ultra Black, Interconnects - SLIC Innovations Eclipse C x2, Curious USB cable x3
Ancilleries: USB regen, Acoustic Revive rgc24 under dac, Acoustic Revive QR - 8 (inside DAC) Stillpoints under amp, Shunyata darkfield v2 elevators under cables, Franc Audio isolation platforms under speakers, RDC combi-bases and spikes under oak platforms on everything, Hi fi Tuning Supreme throughout, Akiko Audio Tuning Sticks on speaker cables and inside DAC
Software: JRiver MC21, Dirac room correction