@adminpaul Hi Mr McGowan, if possible and if U have time, what were the times that U found using an external preamp useful?
I am not an electic & electronic engineer, but the preamps used to play a role when the sources such as turntables didn’t have the ability to output enough current for to drive the power amps. But now all sources almost produce enough currents (maybe for an ordinary user such as me the relationship between the sources output low impedance and the power amps high input impedence issues are not that clear) so ideally the best preamp should no preamp at all right now.
The assumption I hold onto is that if one likes a preamp at all, then they love it according to their audio preferences and those preferences don’t necessarily have to steer to high fidelity sound production… So in such a case we are actually satisfying ourselves (U can clearly say that that is the soul purpose of the industry and I have deep respect for that :)) but the camp which holds on the pure musical loyalty regarding production to the original recording conditions would not need at all a preamp I assume given the fact that the active circuitry and all extras don’t produce an advantage over the volüme control of the DAC. Is this true for the second category of people looking for that kind of sound production?
If volüme adjusting and input switching is not the single soul ability of a preamp then what more does it offer over the DAC’s preamp abilities?
Sorry for taking your time but I think there are lots of people like me WHO are trying to find the right way to tüne their systems? Do we just let go the loaylty part and stick to our subjective satisfactions or should we have more objective criterias? Thanks alot before hand,
It’s a really good question and as our newly anointed PS Expert added, a tough one to make broad generalizations about.
There are many that believe a preamp always makes for better sound, with instruments sounding more like their personas, voices sounding more natural and so on. I have heard these comparisons and on many systems they are indeed correct in their assessments - they do sound better with the preamp in the mix.
And much depends on the type of preamp as well. Most I know that believe preamps add to the overall musicality of the system seem to have a tube preamp. I have a tube preamp.
But then there is the other side to this Gordion knot. The DAC, straight into the power amp has an openness and aliveness to the sound that is uncanny and unmatched when going through the preamp. It sounds closer to the source, yet I am not always convinced it sounds as musically accurate. Yet I vacillate. Just a few days ago I swapped out of the preamp and enjoyed an entirely new approach to the music I hadn’t enjoyed before.
I know this rambling isn’t much help but the bottom line still remains: we must make our own decision based on our own listening patterns and system choices.
As I mentioned earlier, whenever I travel to show off DirectStream I never use a preamp. I know that displaying the differences in what people are used to hearing through a DAC are amplified by not having the preamp in the mix - and believe me, if I spend the time to travel somewhere to show off our products I want them in the best light. And if that meant a preamp, so be it.
But in my main listening room there is a preamp and I have the same goal. Go figure.