Sonnet Morpheus Owners! Preamp or Not?

I currently run my Morpheus MKII direct into Benchmark AHB2 mono blocks via the balanced outputs and really love the sound.  I'm thinking of a Benchmark LA4 Pre for its features. I'm wondering if I'd gain or lose any sonic qualities with the Morpheus in this configuration or is it likely neutral?  Do you use a preamp with your Morpheus? Appreciate your inputs.


The LA4 tends to make DACs sound better. Mostly because the volume control is one of the best and the preamp is so quiet that the DAC is usually the weaker link (noisier). I bet your DAC is no different and it will sound better with the LA4.

Interestingly, for me, the AHB2 is the trickier amp to get right with the LA4. Both are so revealing that weakness anywhere in the system is going to stick out.

I have an easier time pairing the CODA#16 and Sanders Magtech with the LA4, However, the reason I have trouble with the AHB2 is because one of my DACs is too hot, the Benchmark DAC3B and in another system the speaker is a bit bright. So not really the fault of the AHB2.

Used a Morpheus with four different preamps and each time the Morpheus sounded better direct into the amp. The voltage regulated volume control in the Morpheus is designed to work best with no preamp. You’re getting the signal straight from the dac chips to the amp. Why add a preamp and associated cables to buffer/color the signal? You’ll be better off accessorizing elsewhere.

Understood but there are features of the preamp the Morpheus doesn’t have and the voltage regulation to the DAC boards spec best when output is full and fixed. Not sure if this matters when listening or not.

The LA4 is quite transparent as are the AHB2’s so coloration should not be an issue. Thanks for the feedback folks and looking for more experiences from members.

I have run my Morpheus direct to my amps, Synthesis 98 mono blocks, and thru my preamp, synthesis 117DC. The preamp opened the soundstage, the music was more realistic, better details with better transients, and a warm engaging sound. I have the Morpheus paired with the sonnet Herme streamer. I keep looking at an upgrade path, but I am so pleased with what I am hearing I’m content for a while. Hope that helps.

Yes, thank you.  I'm in agreement on the Hermes/Morpheus being such a pleasure to listen to music through, and I too see no obvious upgrade path. In fact, I worry any change would be a change I wouldn't like - I'm super happy with this setup.

I like to have the precise volume and balance control, switching, etc of a preamp but don't want to sacrifice the quality of Morpheus in any way. If there was a bump upwards in sound with a preamp that would be a real plus.  I understand that while varying the voltage to the DAC boards is a clever volume option with little or no downside, wouldn't an optimum fixed voltage be best?

Thank you all for sharing your experiences please keep them coming.

The Pasithea DAC is a huge improvement over the Morpheus. Same sound profile, more space, detail, expanded frequency response. 
I’m using an Hermes into a Pasithea straight into a Metrum Forte. All designed by the same designer to work together without a preamp. 

Thanks, and then this preamp discussion should apply equally to the Pasithea as well as the Morpheus.