No remote on First Sound;I have one. I would give the edge to the FS.--- Placette is more famous for their passive units;not sure where their active stands
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I just upgraded to the Ayre K1-x. (It is a SS preamp also).
It also has adjustable gain in case your sources have low or high gain already. It is fully balanced as well, with lots and lots of input and output flexibility, for both balanced and single-ended inputs and outputs.
It is very neutral, dynamic and has a great built-in (but optional), balanced phono stage.
(I use analog mostly, and the phono stage's incredibly low noise floor, (no noise floor really), was a real plus, and it has adjustable gain and loading).
It too has a remote, although it controls volume and mute only. Which is fine by me since I usually use analog only.
(I am really enjoying the benefits of having a remote, never having had a preamp with one before!)
Price: $6,750 + $250 for remote + $1,600 for phono stage
Total = $8,600 (Although, I paid $4,000 used.)
Other good SS preamps include Klyne and Pass.
Other good tube preamps include ARC, Hovland and CAT, but neither of the later two come with remote, as I recall. Both the CAT and Hovland also have very good to great phono stages. (The CAT Ultimate Mk II was on my short list, FYI)
Good Luck in your search.
I owned both the FS and the Placette Active at the same time for about two years. Finally I sold the Placette, but it could have gone the other way. They are both terrific and I loved them both. Currently, the FS is duking it out with a Klyne. The jury is still out.
My feeling is that Placette is "known" for the active unit. I'm less sure about the passive models. It's the active that has garnered the great reviews, and with good reason.
You can't go wrong either way.
I compared both in detail. They are both wonderful. It would be hard to go wrong with either. I would choose the First Sound over the active Placette, because the sound of the FS is more to my taste. But the Placette is astonishingly transparent without being harsh at all, and it does not sound weak the way passive stages often do.