So, I'm a relative newbie to the DIY hifi world.

Initially, I'd like to build myself a pre-amp to replace my Quad 34, whichI suspect is the weak link in my system (pre y2k Rega Planet, Quad 34, 2x Quad 306, PMC TB2), with the follow up being to create a pair of mono block power amps (probably Hypex UCDs) and possibly a sub.

Looking around, most of the pre-amp kits seem to be some variation on the passive theme. (would prefer to work from a kit as my electronics theory is pretty weak). My only experience of passives is an Alps Blue "pot-in-a-box" I built to sit between the Planet and the first Q306 prior to getting the Q34. It sounded kinda flat and lacked oomph, and generally I wasn't impressed. (I saw one comment the other day that equated pots/attenuators to "driving around with your handbrake on" which I felt was quite apt.

Based on that, I'm quite taken with the TVC idea. (Glasshouse ones look good). However I'm not sure whether my current kit will have the required synergy mentioned. (I think the Rega has a 2V output, the schematic I have for the 306's says 375mV input for full output. No idea about impedances)

One other possible issue is that of cable lengths. I can do a short run from the CD to pre-amp, but ideally I'd like to move the amps to the bottom of the 'speaker stands (short speaker cables = better grip??). These cable runs would then be in the 4m territory. Too much?? In an ideal world, I'd run a balanced connection (once I upgrade the amps), but that adds another layer of complexity to the setup. Can anyone recommend a simple unbalanced -> balanced buffer module and PSU?

Lastly as an aside, does anyone know if the 306s can be run bridged?

Any advice gratefully received. I'm reasonably good at the practical end of things, but quite lacking in the theory area to make decisions as to what will and won't work.