Are Pre-Amps necessary?


With all the advances in digital sources, do we still need a $5,000 pre-amp?

All we need is a switching device and maybe a Phono preamp/RIAA curve device.

Tone controls are another thing of the past. Room correction has taken over if that is something you want to use.

Thoughts?
vanson1
I have a pal with a Mytek brooklyn bridge ( he's waiting on the Mytek Empire to arrive). His amp, speakers and connects are high end to die for gear. He played a track I know with and with out his pre-amp and directly out of the streamer. We could here no difference. YMMV

Are Pre-Amps necessary?

vanson1 With all the advances in digital sources, do we still need a $5,000 pre-amp?
jasonbourne521,167 posts10-15-2021 10:31amPreamps can look real cool - like my Audio Research SP6! However a passive pot works just as well since most all DACs output 2 volts - enough to drive most all amps into clipping (1 volt needed).

Jason is correct here, a little more elaboration below.


Many amps are 1.5v or less input sensitivity for full output, and most dacs today are well over 2v output these days, so there’s no problem with being able to voltage drive.
And most dacs today have very low output impedance output stages, that are equal to or better than many solid state preamps to drive any capacitive interconnects with, especially bettering most tube preamps.
So it’s a furphy to say a preamps drive better than dacs can direct.
And like I said if a passive pre has no voltage or impedance issues then it is the next best way.

Sure balanced has it’s place in over 3mt interconnect runs, for noise cancelation only, below that there is no need for it. As single ended is just as good, and better in many cases better, as the balanced inputs of many poweramps are just a "balanced opamp" then leading the into the real single ended input of the amp which will sound better.

Cheers George
Sure balanced has it’s place in over 3mt interconnect runs, for noise cancelation only, below that there is no need for it.
This statement is false both audibly and measurably. The benefit of balanced operation is there even if the cable is only six inches long.