Preamps

Discussion in 'Preamps' started by sphinxvc, Sep 21, 2016.

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  1. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    Well, I have tried the passive preamp route and it has left me underwhelmed. Freya in passive mode is flat in my setup as is the Sys. When I say flat, I mean the soundstage is lacking any 3D quality even with my Pioneer M-22 amp which is better than Vidar is this regard. Freya seems pretty good in tube gain mode but I went looking for more.

    I didn't like passive preamps 35 years ago and I still don't like them today.....
     
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  2. JK47

    JK47 Guest


    You need toobz in your amp for the "3D quality"... not your pre
     
  3. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    Your posts here and elsewhere indicate to me you have no idea what you're doing when it comes to line stages. Pre-amps by definition cannot ADD anything to the sound, only subtract (there are some rarer cases where an active line stage can provide sonic benefits). Think about it, you're adding an additional component and set of interconnects that in theory do not need to be in the chain. Of course in practise we need something to control the volume and possibly manage I/O.

    If you think your current system (sans line stage) is capable of the "3D Quality" you seek, all you need to do is find the most transparent pre-amp that fits your budget and application (required gain, inputs and outputs, etc.). Passive pre-amps come in different shapes and sizes, some of which are as simple as inputs and outputs wired to an attenuator, and they are not all "flat". They can, in many systems, be more transparent than active circuits employing tubes. You cannot lump active and passive line stages together like tubes vs. solid-state or any other dogma. Do some research and find out what your system needs.
     
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  4. Priidik

    Priidik MOT: Estelon

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    I used to think that too, until messing around with passive attenuators vs good actives revealed what's wrong with the passive attenuators:
    - they usually suck some excitement and soundstage size out of the performance. It is it's own kind of veil.
    I have found that good tubed pre or power amp commit the opposite sin, they tend to expand soundstage artificially.
    That's hardly a negative to most people, yet I feel it does deviate a bit from what the recording intended to be.

    So, effect block in between doesn't add anything?
     
  5. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    I should clarify, it won't add anything positive; other than the exceptions I mentioned. Just distortion in the literal sense if that's your thing.
     
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Personally, I am kind of a purist. What something like the Freya does to the soundstage is interesting, but ultimately too diffuse toward the back of the soundstage for my tastes. Even if the Freya were more transparent and without the bloom, I am not sure that I could live with it's more diffuse effect on the stage.

    Now the Saga's touch is more deft, at much less a cost to transparency. It then becomes harder for me to decide. If an amp has naturally good soundstage, I'd go probably go passive mode or something like SYS, assuming that the source outputs can power through it without sounding dull or soft - which happens more likely than not regardless of Zin / Zout.

    It's a balance of several things: not having too much of an artificially deep (and usually too diffuse) soundstage, maintaining enough balls from the source, and avoiding veil / loss of microstuffs.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  7. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    Gee wiz, thank you for the kind words.....just because I do things differently than you might does not mean I have no idea what I am doing. I certainly have a plan. It may not be a plan you like, but it is a plan that I think works for me. Maybe you need to take a step back. I am doing my best to learn. Not everyone has the experience and knowledge you have. I have to learn about the sound I want and the only way to do that is to experiment. Also, preamps can certainly add things to the sound. "Improving" the soundstage may indeed "add" to what was recorded but that sound may be closer to what the music sounded like, or would sound like, live.

    I am fairly confident that I am looking for something different than Freya or Sys to go with my M-22! I am not going to magically know what it is without listening to preamps until I hear what I want to hear. As I said, I know from 35 years ago that I did not like passive preamps. Maybe passive preamps sucked more then than they do now. All I know is that I have yet to hear a passive preamp I liked more than a quality active preamp and that I much prefer the sound I get from Freya in tube gain mode. After doing a lot of research and reading, a tube preamp paired with a SS amp is a well like combination by many. So I went looking for a 6SN7-based tube preamp that was well regarded and I believe I found a good one. If it doesn't provide what I am looking for, I will have no problems selling it at a slight loss. I will then evaluate what I have learned and take a different path and I will do that until I am satisfied. That "different path" might be a high quality passive preamp.

    Who knows, I may even decide to try some tube-based amps somewhere along the way! I can do that since my speakers are quite efficient.
     
  8. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    [​IMG]
     
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  9. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    Nice photo. Yeah, I am thick as a brick. I am so thick that I was an Engineer at Apple for 10 years, founded an Internet company, sold it, and retired at 53 years old.

    Now, if you want help me learn something versus being condescending, I am all ears. Otherwise, I will try to find the sound I am looking for the best way I know how....
     
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    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
  10. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    Can't say I care if you developed mission-critical semiconductors for NASA or were Elon Musk's water boy. We're talking about building an audio system and the role a pre-amp plays in that.

    First, some philosophy. A pre-amp cannot improve the soundstage. It can shift the presentation by committing sins of commission, or addition through subtraction. If you think this is in any way transparent or closer to "live" then I cannot help you, and you are doomed to cycle through mediocre gear chasing a certain sound you will never achieve. It can allow for the source to fully drive the input stage of the amplifier if it was incapable of doing so on its own, which may yield its own sonic benefits most notably with regards to dynamics.

    Some practical advice. If I recall correctly your system was Yggdrasil > M-22 > some stupid efficient floor standers. It's likely safe to say you don't need any additional gain, you should consider passive volume control via transformers. If you have the budget for it and don't want to DIY these are a good option, but a little overpriced. If you must go active look for something with low gain and a simple signal path. I can't tell you exactly what to buy, only point you in the right direction.
     
  11. Priidik

    Priidik MOT: Estelon

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    Signal theory wise, the logic is there. (edit: @ultrabike will say I'm wrong, because whatever 'improve' means to somebody.)
    Perceptively, many will disagree, like the Vali2-->Jot case (where one sinner helps out another resulting in unique synergy, possibly besting either on their own for pleasure of listening).
    From experience: there is no single flawless component in the chain, ever. There needs to be synergy, sometimes flaws need to be covered up or shifted around, or strong points lit up.
    Most people don't care about absolute transparency, which is retarded goal anyways.

    I like EC2A3 for pre much more than passive resistor attenuator, even with Yggdrasil, which has low enough output R.
    @winders you could try something like Aficionado as pre, and it can be used as power amp with your speakers as a bonus.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
  12. frenchbat

    frenchbat Almost "Made"

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    Given the price of the aficionado, if the goal is a decent preamp, that gives some financial leeway to try a top end TVC/AVC passive (from musicfirst for example but there are other good ones out there. Donald North is working on one iirc)
     
  13. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    Speaking of retarded, let's not bring up pre-amping a fucked sounding headamp like the Jot as an example of system synergy. For all we know it could be a special case where the input stage of the Pivot Point topology has a unique reaction with the gain of the incoming signal. All I wrote above was in reference to stereo systems, not dedicated headphone chains where a line stage really has no place. I will be the first to admit that no component is perfect, but pre-amps are not really the component to tune systems with from my point of view. Not only does it make zero logical sense; there are much better places in the chain to balance strengths and weaknesses.

    I do care about absolute transparency and my advice will always come from that perspective. It's not really a retarded goal as impossible as it may be it doesn't mean you cannot attempt to get as close as possible within compromise.
     
  14. HitmanFluffy

    HitmanFluffy Hoping to see real genitals someday!

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    >Pre-amp
    >headphone amp


    [​IMG]

    You could just not get a garbage amp to begin with and dodge the extra money for the pre, which is completely pointless for headphones anyway. Your pre is for volume control and possibly gain/impedance issues if needed, goals to be reached with as minimal a loss in transparency as possible.
     
  15. Mshenay

    Mshenay Barred from loaner program. DON'T SEND ME GEAR.

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    An yea frankly black works in better than silver at least in my home rig, the portable office space is schiit silver
     
  16. Armaegis

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    :eek: :punk:
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    I assume that you are looking for something like the Freya, that will deepen and expand the M-22 soundstage a bit more, but without the Freya's slight veil and bloom? This was my experience too with the M-22. The soundstage of the M-22 was good, but it was not as holographic and IMAX sized as the Hegel H2. I wanted the H2 stage with the M-22, so I actually preferred the Freya on the M-22 more than passive.

    One thing I would advise is to not go down the deep end. Any two stage tube preamp is going to have loss or veil of information, and color the sound for better or worse.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
  18. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    Yes! Except I don’t have the H2 as a reference. I have Freya’s passive and tube gain modes to compare and know I prefer the latter. I am sorry that I was unable to articulate my thoughts as clearly as you do in regards to what I think could be done better. The feedback and individual reviews I have read regarding the Don Sachs M2 line stage give me hope that it may provide what I am looking for....of course it could all be mass expectation bias too.

    If my experiment does not get me where I am trying to go, I will evaluate what I have learned and will probably ask you what you would suggest since you know exactly what I am experiencing and seem to understand where I am trying to go. Thanks, by the way, for being fair and treating me with respect.
     
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  19. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Sometimes you just gotta try it and hear for yourself, hopefully used so you don't take a bath if it doesn't work out.

    After finally getting a Yggdrasil and listening to a whole bunch of speakers really hit that message home for me. Everyone will rave or shit on whatever they want, and in the end it's your money and you need to be happy with the purchase.
     
  20. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Now it's your turn to post a neener neener meme.
     

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