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Preamps and integrateds?

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amey01

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Could you help me clarify something guys?

I don't understand the role of the preamp and integrated amplifiers. Why don't we use a multiple input power amplifier with variable gain? I know it is possible because I have seen (but not heard) one or two examples. I don't understand the need to have a seperate component to destroy sound quality.

I know previously preamplifiers were primarily for the phono input, but long after this role has passed we were still using preamps. Of course, stand alone phono preamps have always been available that could have been used to directly drive a power amplifier. Confused!
 

twich54

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Flexibility in equipment set up / match is a big reason for alot of us.
 

Craig

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It is a faulty assumption to assume that a preamp destroys sound. Of course there are preamps that do more harm than good. And then there are amplifiers and source components that benefit from active preamplification. It is usually system dependent including the quality of the preamp being used. Obviously, you need a way of controlling the volume level into the amp (never mind source component switching for now) and the volume control can be a prime source of degrading the sound or not. Some source components benefit from a preamp boost. A preamp may also help drive the amp if you have long interconnect runs or the source component output is relatively low.

I've gone direct to amp before using a Cary 300/200 Cd player with it's built in volume control and I didn't like it as much as I did with a preamp. I've used a Squeezebox SB3 Music Server direct to amp with good results. I've also used an Art Audio Carissa amp with a built in volume control and it sounded very nice. It was airy with good soundstaging and imaging. A good active preamp can improve dynamics.

There are amplifiers that can be ordered with a volume control. Art Audio Art Audio Amp/Phono and Preamp Upgrade Options is one such company and the upgrade is only $200 for a Goldpoint Stepped Attenuator or $500 for remote controlled volume. An inexpensive upgrade for an expensive amp. But you can eliminate the cost of a preamp. There are also phono preamps that can be ordered with a volume control.

A Stepped Attenuator used for volume control is expected to have better sound quality than a remote controlled volume (much simpler and more direct design using single resistors and there is no motor involved. But the Stepped Attenuator is rather bulky. Goldpoint Stepped Attenuator Preamps and Controls

A passive preamp is very close to no preamp at all. It's all system dependent and a matter of taste. Going preampless is very appealling especially if you're seeking more of a light and airy sound and can do without some dynamics that a high-quality active preamp can offer. But then again, you're system may be dynamic enough already.

A preamp can either improve the sound, do nothing, or degrade the sound. If it degrades or does nothing then taking it out if the chain will of course be a good thing and many times, simple and direct is the way to go. As Roberto would say...
 
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Anthony A.

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sorry, i don't mean to hijack your thread, but i am too considering a tube preamp and have just 1 question if someone could chime in (i'd rather not start a whole new thread). since a preamp does not have any decoders or dacs, is it possible to hookup your tv's l/r speakers rca outs to your preamp and, when watching regular tv the sound now comes from your logans as opposed to the tv's cheapo speakers?
 

jjqiv

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Craig said:
A Stepped Attenuator used for volume control is expected to have better sound quality than a remote controlled volume (much simpler and more direct design using single resistors and there is no motor involved. But the Stepped Attenuator is rather bulky. Goldpoint Stepped Attenuator Preamps and Controls

A passive preamp is very close to no preamp at all. It's all system dependent and a matter of taste. Going preampless is very appealling especially if you're seeking more of a light and airy sound and can do without some dynamics that a high-quality active preamp can offer. But then again, you're system may be dynamic enough already.

A preamp can either improve the sound, do nothing, or degrade the sound. If it degrades or does nothing then taking it out if the chain will of course be a good thing and many times, simple and direct is the way to go. As Roberto would say...
Well I am using a passive pre (Placette) that incorporates a remote controlled stepped attenuator and I get great dynamics, solid images and an airy top-end. Who says you can't have it all.

And the winner of the DVD-A vs SACD format war is................the trusty old LP"
 
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jjqiv

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Anthony A. said:
sorry, i don't mean to hijack your thread, but i am too considering a tube preamp and have just 1 question if someone could chime in (i'd rather not start a whole new thread). since a preamp does not have any decoders or dacs, is it possible to hookup your tv's l/r speakers rca outs to your preamp and, when watching regular tv the sound now comes from your logans as opposed to the tv's cheapo speakers?
As long a your tv has audio RCA's out, you can certainly do it. It would have to be a pretty cheap TV not to have this capability.
 

roberto

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amey01 said:
Could you help me clarify something guys?

I don't understand the role of the preamp and integrated amplifiers. Why don't we use a multiple input power amplifier with variable gain? I know it is possible because I have seen (but not heard) one or two examples. I don't understand the need to have a seperate component to destroy sound quality.

I know previously preamplifiers were primarily for the phono input, but long after this role has passed we were still using preamps. Of course, stand alone phono preamps have always been available that could have been used to directly drive a power amplifier. Confused!
Hola...I´m just going to chime a little bit here...if you are thinking to use the variable volume from the cd, many of these units, the digital volume control, when you are using it, takes some digital info away, .making to loose or loosing image, and dynamics, you must keep at the maximum this control, so with the help of a premaplifier, you can adjust the level without loosing any important info, keeping your sound as good as your input. There are many good preamps out there that will sound very nice and solves this digital problem. Happy listening,
Pura vida,
Roberto.
 

Jeff Zaret

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Anthony A. said:
sorry, i don't mean to hijack your thread, but i am too considering a tube preamp and have just 1 question if someone could chime in (i'd rather not start a whole new thread). since a preamp does not have any decoders or dacs, is it possible to hookup your tv's l/r speakers rca outs to your preamp and, when watching regular tv the sound now comes from your logans as opposed to the tv's cheapo speakers?
Anthony A,
I am doing it in my bedroom. I have a system in there and I am using a receiver and my TV does have RCA's out jacks. The same would work for a pre amp connected to a system.
The sound is fine. :)

Jeff :cool:
 

SteveInNC

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Jeff Zaret said:
Anthony A,
I am doing it in my bedroom. I have a system in there and I am using a receiver and my TV does have RCA's out jacks. The same would work for a pre amp connected to a system.
The sound is fine. :)

Jeff :cool:
Some TVs also have both fixed and variable output RCA jacks, so you could conceivably feed the TV straight to an amp as per the original discussion and use the TV's volume control. Most TVs like this also have a menu item that lets you defeat the internal craptastic speakers that they use so that the only audio is via the RCA outs.
 
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