2 channel Preamp or Pass on the PRE???

I am trying to figure out what the benefit of using a preamp in 2 channel is? I am using a CD (variable outs) as the source, and running directly to a pair of monoblocks.

What are the benefits, other that being able to use more than one source, and the ability to use a sub, that I don't get by going direct?

You're going to get honest answers from people who prefer the sound each way.

The direct drive method, (no preamp) operates your system without any additional circuitry and connecting cables. There is certainly good argument for less is more in this case.

Ultimately, the answer comes down to equipment. The best quality preamp will sound better in most every situation. The best preamps will do a better job of driving the interconnect cable and input stages of the amps, while providing additional gain and dynamics.

The problem is, it may require a very high end preamp to overcome the direct drive method.

Personally, I prefer the sound with my Callisto in the system, even if I had no additional sources.

Thanks Albert, I would not have thought of that. I actually like the sound the Marantz CD-80 fed to the MA-24 47wpc of class A does with the Hales Revelation Ones. I tried the same set up with the Aerial 10Ts, and it didn't sound right at ALL! That said, it is a nice set for the Hales. I just wish at time I could add a sub, but I don't think that is possible in my current set up, is it?

Perhaps I lack the ability to discriminate but I have listened to several CDP to Amp configurations that were amazingly dynamic. One system that absolutely floored me was a Wadia 850/Pass Labs 150/DAL SC4a setup. As I plan to obtain an analog rig I have a preamp. This has allowed me to run a long interconnect from pre to amps, thus removing the rack from between the speakers. Amazing how this increases the depth of the soundstage.

Also subs like REL recommend connecting to the amp instead of the pre. So this combination would work fine in a CDP/Amp configuration.
Matt413575 -

What does your last statement mean?

"Also subs like REL recommend connecting to the amp instead of the pre. So this commbination would work fine in a CDP/Amp configuration"

How would I wire a powered sub with this system?


REL recommends that the sub should be connected by the supplied Neutrik Speakon cable to the speaker output terminals on your amp and not to the preamp.

Check out there website and click on "setup". I believe the address is www.REL.net
I started out going direct. Now have a ARC LS15 pre and could not be happier. The tube pre made my solid state amp.
Another big consideration is the quality of the volume control on the CD player. If this is not of high quality it will degrade the sound and will largely if not more than offset the benefits of skipping the preamp. I'm not familiar with your Marantz CD player, but I'd be suspect of the quality of any CD player's volume control priced under $3000. I'd echo what albertporter said and mention that this is obviously a very system-dependent issue, but if I were you I'd at least try a couple high-end preamps(Pass Labs, Ayre, ARC, etc.) to see what happens in your system. I might also try an Audio Aero Capitole run directly to the amp in your system to see if that makes a bigger difference than adding a preamp--lots of people seem to like going that route. Best of luck.

I use direct setup and I could not be happier. Here my system components.

Wadia 7 transport
Wadia 9 DA
Mark Levinson No.20.6 Monoblocks
Mark Levinson No.23.5 Dual Monaural Amps
Wilson Watts/Puppy 5.1
Wadia fiber ST glass cable.
Mit 750 speakers cables
Madrigal Gzel, 10 meters IC's Balance XLR biamp.

I'd used to have a Mark Levinson No. 26S preamp in the chain running in balance mode. It is nice and wonderful. But it no where near the setup that I have now. So I sold the ML no.26S. I think I will never spending any more money on electronics. I listen to music, and buy more CD's. lately.