Who needs a Preamp??

Seriously, if your cd/dvd player has volume control as my Oppo does.
and you own a phonostage with volume as my PS audio does,  then
you your issues are:
-how to power a sub
-how to listen to tv thru your system

Who believes that a preamp Improves sound??

I would love to use DAC-amp directly and save on the preamp, XLR and power cables, and save some rack space and free an outlet. But truth is that in my system adding a preamp (Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE stage 2) made a lot better sound than going direct. Specially on dynamics.
made a lot better sound than going direct. Specially on dynamics.
That is the sound of a typical "impedance mismatch" when this is said with direct or passive or even active preamp .

Audiophiles need to understand this "impedance matching" (>1:10 ratio) a lot more.
Then there will be a lot less experimenting and expensive mistakes done if they do.
If not they’re just p*****g into the wind changing things without any idea of what’s needed.

Just like a "impedance mismatch" can be had with "nearly" all tube preamps into a power amp with less than <10-20kohm input impedance.

It’s called "impedance matching"
And it goes right down the chain from source to speakers.
1: Source direct to poweramp,
2: Source to preamp,
3: Preamp to poweramp,
4: And yes even poweramp to speaker load impedance (this ones called damping factor)

Cheers George
Post removed 
The whole issue can be nicely summed up with a, “it depends”.  

Of course I might be accused of being lazy with that response, but it depends.
I am also a poster child for preamps.  Won’t go into the dozens I have built and owned, but I love preamps! Beyond infatuation at this stage in our long relationship. Yep, it depends says it all.  
To use or not to use preamp it depends from a system and amplifier topology.

I use SET 300B amplifier. And in this topology the short signal path is important.
My amp is integrated and it is a good solution for low power SET amplifiers.
I also have an external phono stage for vinyl source.
Both phono stage and DAC are connected to input of my integrated SET.

If someone use more powerful amplifiers (especially mono-blocks) with more sophisticated circuit and long signal path it is more reason to use preamp.
To answer your question, IMO.  Without a preamplifier you are listening to audio components but with a preamplifier, you are listening to music.  
Ok, sorry a question that ha probably been answered before but I cant seem to find.

To open up my speakers (reduce impedance? - decrease the brakes put on them by volume) do I keep my volume on my amp up high and control volume with my DAC or vice versa?

My equipment: (I am sure midfi to many of you)
Innuos to Comet Exogal DAC to Audion KT 120 amp to Rethm Saadhana

I was interested in this thread because when I use my TT (Rega Planar 6) I have to then go through my Audio Hungary APR 204 pre-amp as it is my phone stage
itsjustme +1

The title of this thread motivated me to bypass my dac/pre

My Oppo 105 V V C sounds a whole lot better after I upgraded the IEC to one on Ebay that includes a heavy gauge silver wire harness. I further improved the sound when I replaced the OEM power module to one with a large toroid and superior parts. And while that made a quantum SQ jump it was when I upgraded my 1.0m XLR cable to WireWorld series 8 and replaced my AA DPA-1 with Ric Schultz EVS 1200 (newest IcePower dual 600w modules), which he then tweaks, that has me wondering whether a preamp is needed: I love this amp!.

Since bypassing my Audio Alchemy DDP + PS 5 power supply preamp a few days ago (not chump change), which I bought to play Redbook via my Marantz HD CD 1), I have listened primarily to SACDs, but 2 days ago I tried Redbook again. So far so good- very good, in fact. It seems that eliminating a power cord, and various digital cables (and another source with its PC and digital cables) can’t hurt WHEN the source has been, or is, improved
Passive pre-amps have definitely made my system sound worse.  Using no pre-amp with my CD playe,  tuner, and even XM Polk radio was worse, and that is far from great anyway. A far as the electronics and physics involved, please inform me.  I am curious.  I can understand the tuners, because a switch bypasses the probably crappy gain control, and I can understand that my electronics could be better than the passive pre-amps I tried, but no pre-amp with the CD player?
One of the best improvements I made to my system was getting rid of a Conrad Johnson preamp after buying a Lampizator big 7 DAC with a volume control. Removing the preamp lifted a hazy veil and allowed crisper dynamics in more detail. It also put two grand in my pocket after selling the preamp. 
Good move. I made a similar move 30 years ago. Never look back. Something might be gaining on you! 
I was forced to temporarily use my Ayre Codex as a preamp when my CJ preamp went up in smoke (my fault, trying to improve the power supply).
The sound was listenable. I have also listened to vastly more expensive and better DACs (DCS) used without preamps. The sound is always lifeless and flat, the opposite direction from my beloved vinyl and true musical enjoyment - no moments of getting lost in the music. There are reasons, beyond simple controls that every truly outstanding system I have heard utilize a preamp. I believe only theoreticians and misers skip the preamp.
I have not encountered a passive that can drive a high current amp and cables as well as a top tier preamp with a really good VC. As many have stared most commercial units use really poor quality VS's.  What people do not understand is that while a line level component may have enough voltage to drive an amp to clipping it is NOT the typical situation at listening levels. Most people only listen at 1 to 5 watts RMS which is a greatly attenuated level. If you think about it in terms of signal level being transmitted across the interconnect we are talking very low signal levels here that are far more sensitive to ground currents, common mode noise, RF noise and impedance reflections. A really good preamp can deal with those issues with supreme transparency whereas almost every passive outside of a TVC seems to be very sensitive to RF which give a slight edgieness that I feel people mistake foe transparency. Larger amps that draw significant currents also are difficult for a passive as the ground loop induced currents have no mechanism to control them being that the output impedance of a passive is extremely poor.  Now an amp with a well integrated volume control has some potential though
 my thought process has always been your amp and preamp is only as good as the interconnect cable that connects the two products some people love separates me I got myself a really good integrated and that's my word on that
There are three camps here concerning the use of preamps. The active, passive, and the no-preamp crowd. Who's right? There are no right or wrong answers here, strictly based on personal preferences, the type of gear involved and the speakers you are dealing with.  For myself and with the current set-up, I like an active preamp which gives me the ability to switch between multiple sources and provides the proper drive for my particular amp.
OCD HiFi Guy (youtube channel) recently did a preamp shootout, including a stock Freya II and one with lots of mods. It didn’t come close to the others compared

I have tried many passives over the decades, including autoformers. Most likely the biggest issue was impedance mismatch. My current amp (EVS 1200) was interfaced with a AA DPA-1 + PS 5. Recently, I bypassed the pre and came straight out of my Oppo 105 with upgrade LPM that has a large toroid and better parts than the OEM. PS. Sounds pretty darn good. Keep in mind Ric also has a Oppo, albeit a 205, meaning impedance is probably matched

I have a ~ 15 yo PS Audio GCC 250 the GC stands for Gain Cell, sort of a passive. Why isn’t that tech still around?
While this thread seems to have run its course, I’ll nonetheless ask for some guidance. I totally get the active vs passive discussion, having had placette and reference line one way back in the day and several actives since.
i now have the lumin x1 and it’s Much better w any active pre.  
I’m interested in the Townshend Allegri ref, but gotta wonder how that could improve on going direct using the dac’s volume control.  
My experience revealed that if one is going to be happy with an outboard dac it needs a high quality and beefy power supply. When I first got my Audio Alchemy DDOP-1 the seller did not have the PS 5 outboard power supply. It took about 8 months before I finally found one and the resultant improvement was definitely worth the $695
My Oppo 105's well known weak link is its OEM power supply. By chance I came across aftermarket LPMs on ebay for $200 and up. Even the ~ $200 ones had a very large toroid, and pretty decent board parts. I also upgraded the OEM IEC to a Furutech with attached silver wires to the board and ground and a bypass jumper for the 110/220 o/o switch. Best ~ $300 I've ever spent. No outboard dac can compete for the dollar value and extremely high sonics. This method also eliminates a power cord, interfacing cable, likely shelf space, and vibration control trinkets
for the last 2 days I have been cranking the gold remaster of Night Moves: very visceral and enjoyable.
Straight in is very nice indeed, however

I want remote volume and remote balance from listening position for EVERYTHING, so I use Chase Remote Line Controller RLC-1 in ANY system without hesitation, I never want to be without one.

sold, but info, they come up for sale now and again.


S/N 105db,, they say Absolutely No Noise and it is true.

It says via tape loop which can be done if using a preamp, however I go direct to the amp.

I’ve gone direct or thru Chase RLC-1 into my Tube Mono Blocks; into my McIntosh 2250 SS Amp; Integrated Cayin A88T Tube Amp; Carver SS Cube Amp. None of my audio friends nor I could ever hear any difference.

I/we listen for hours, back and forth, stereo/mono/various volume levels/mixes from various engineers, individual tracks benefitting from a minor balance tweak, ...

It is from the Quad Era, so it has two outputs, front and rear, they are identical, I used to send one to Tube Mono’s and one to MC2250, separate speaker wires to nice German banana plugs at speakers, easy to compare tubes to SS.

Absolutely need the remote, no panel switches.

I’m using two, and have a spare.

Low Volume ’Loudness’ (low volume bass boost) is built in

I am a fan of Fletcher Munson EQ for low level listening, the primary benefit for me is to boost the bass players in Jazz at low volumes, that difference keeps it involving when low. This unit has automatic ’loudness’ (low volume boost)


you can find threads about people disabeling that feature, however, they don’t know how to properly use the unit.

It starts with no boost, and you adjust your volume elsewhere to your lowest normal volume, and leave that alone. then boost RLC-1, no eq, just more volume. When you lower the volume below your default start, the RLC-1 will then automatically and progressively engage low volume boost, use it right it’s terrific.

low volume eq effects highs also, but that is not what restores involvement for me, it is keeping the bass player in the trio rather than losing him/her

The OP mentioned he has an Oppo, as do I. Mine is a 105. It never floated my boat run direct UNTIL I upgraded the oem crap power supply and bypassed the 110/220 jumper. Lots of LPS choices on eBay under $300.

Doing these simple things, plus using the balanced outs to my balanced amp, and leaving the cover off provides a pretty amazing result, for less than what a decent PC would cost to a decent preamp. I have a Audio Alchemy DDP-1 + PS 5, the PS came 5 months later. The combo made my then PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell pre sound like a typical thin (no meat on the bones) passive, but the upgraded 105 direct to map via quality XLRs is better still