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In a digital system how important it an analogue preamp?


DomT
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5 hours ago, Camverton said:

Very interesting and illustrates that there is no one ideal choice when it comes to hifi. Some need extra pizazz to tickle their music nerves into life, others find that distracts from the music and is an irritation. Perhaps an emotional versus intellectual approach.

I think I favoured the former but have moved to the latter approach. Much the same when it comes to performances of classical music. Back in the day when I listened to Mahler at the Festival Hall conducted by Solti or Haitink, I tended to prefer the “orgasm in every bar” lay it on with a trowel style of Solti, now I would go for the more considered approach of Haitink (RIP sadly, his death announced today).

So it is with hifi, Martin Logans and big valve amps to German Physiks fronted by Chord; oh, and very little Mahler and a lot of string quartets!

Interesting response. 

Yes, I guess I prioritise an emotional connection as opposed to an intellectual one. I think my journey has taken the opposite direction to yours! 

It'll be interesting to find out what you think of the current implementation of my system the week after next! 

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1 hour ago, JANDL100 said:

Interesting response. 

Yes, I guess I prioritise an emotional connection as opposed to an intellectual one. I think my journey has taken the opposite direction to yours! 

It'll be interesting to find out what you think of the current implementation of my system the week after next! 

Just to clarify, I do like an emotional connection with the music very much. I have come to find that if the equipment adds extra emotion of its own then that gets in the way of my connection with the music. 

The most important feature of a hifi system for me these days is a “holographic”, for want of a better description, presentation of the performers in front of me; something our choice of speaker type is rather good at. That cuts the chain for me of listening to hifi in favour of fooling me into thinking I’m listening to real performers playing real music. For me reproducing all the micro audio details of an instrument also helps with that illusion.

Analogue pre-amps, particularly valve ones, used to work for me but eventually got in the way. I now use a Chord TT2 as pre into the power section of an MBL integrated.

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7 minutes ago, Camverton said:

I have come to find that if the equipment adds extra emotion of its own then that gets in the way of my connection with the music. 

This^^^^^

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21 hours ago, mtbmarkymark said:

My own experience has been similar to DomT's but wHIZZY makes a good point about it being difficult to generalise. I have had active ATC 50's for a couple of years now and spent much of lockdown trying various DAC's and Preamps. I have found that my digital front end often sounds better with a preamp despite the DAC's that i have tried ( Dave, RME and Weiss 501 ) all having good quality volume controls built in. In my experience a good preamp can add drive and dynamics.

Not every preamp has been a success however. A krell 222 added drive and dynamics to but also a slight coarseness and lack of transparency on balance i prefered DAC direct to this.  A Music First Classic v2 was ultra transparent but didn't add drive in my setup.  A Bel Canto Pre 3 VBS was excellent but i think my current PS Audio BHK will be a keeper since it combines adding drive & dynamics with a touch of valve magic ( AKA euphonic coloration ) which i enjoy.

Having had a visit from an audiophile friend recently i have been reminded how personal taste has the capacity to alter what is prefered so YMMV

It simply can’t.

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I was about to challenge the emotional vs intellectual assertion but Camverton beat me to it. We have to be careful not to suggest that those who enjoy clarity/accuracy/detail/transparency do so only intellectually, a left vs right brain thing. I suspect the vast majority of us enjoy (by definition?) with our emotional right brain, we just enjoy different things. The exceptions are those who choose their systems on measured performance as evidenced by graphs and numbers. They’re just weirdos. 😏

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31 minutes ago, Camverton said:

Just to clarify, I do like an emotional connection with the music very much. I have come to find that if the equipment adds extra emotion of its own then that gets in the way of my connection with the music. 

Heh heh, where I come from that's fighting talk! 😄

As far as I am concerned, at any rate, it's not about equipment adding extra emotion of its own, it's about allowing the emotion of the musical performance through. Surprisingly few hifi components are very good at that ime. 

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I bet there is someone out there who has "rich" sounding components from source to spkrs...that also claims to enjoy clarity,accuracy,detail & transparency?   It's a funny old world and we are each very,very funny.  :) 

* Have a good wknd folks.

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25 minutes ago, TheFlash said:

It simply can’t.

I agree.

I don't think it's about adding drive, it's allowing the drive inherent in the performance through, rather than diminishing it. 

Edited by JANDL100
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39 minutes ago, Camverton said:

Just to clarify, I do like an emotional connection with the music very much. I have come to find that if the equipment adds extra emotion of its own then that gets in the way of my connection with the music. 

But unless you were at the mastering session it’s just a guess though. 

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Just now, JANDL100 said:

I don't think it's about adding drive, it's allowing the drive inherent in the performance through, rather than diminishing it. 

Perhaps, though little lets the original signal through like a TVC pre. If there is “drive” in the original signal, a huge amount of it will be there at output, more than any active pre. I have loved some active pre’s but I recognise that they are adding their own (desirable, enjoyable) flavour rather than letting more of the original signal through.

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5 minutes ago, JANDL100 said:

I don't think it's about adding drive, it's allowing the drive inherent in the performance through, rather than diminishing it. 

Good point. Hadn’t thought of it that way round but makes total sense 

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10 minutes ago, JANDL100 said:

Heh heh, where I come from that's fighting talk! 😄

As far as I am concerned, at any rate, it's not about equipment adding extra emotion of its own, it's about allowing the emotion of the musical performance through. Surprisingly few hifi components are very good at that ime. 

Most active pre’s add their flavour. None can let through more than a TVC passive pre.

Edited by TheFlash
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2 minutes ago, DomT said:

Good point. Hadn’t thought of it that way round but makes total sense 

How?

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12 minutes ago, JANDL100 said:

Heh heh, where I come from that's fighting talk! 😄

As far as I am concerned, at any rate, it's not about equipment adding extra emotion of its own, it's about allowing the emotion of the musical performance through. Surprisingly few hifi components are very good at that ime. 

Adding a preamp into a chain which previously had none simply cannot let more of the original signal through. No additional component can do this.

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2 minutes ago, TheFlash said:

Most active pre’s add their flavour. None can let through more than a TVC passive pre.

That might be your experience but it isn't mine. 

There's a few too many definitive statements that are actually subjective opinions in this thread than is really healthy. 

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